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  • #46
    Originally posted by GeorgiaMom View Post
    Dear Fox 76,

    I'm so sorry to hear about how the father of your Asperger's Scout is treating you. It's awful that a lawsuit is being threatened. Thank you for volunteering your time with the boys.

    As the mother of an Asperger's Webelo, I have a few thoughts:

    1. I love the gentle and nonconfrontational approach RememberSchiff described. I understand the trepidation a parent can have about being "out" with their child's intellectual disability. I haven't yet told my son's den leader, although I know I shouid. It's scary. I don't know how he may react. RS is describing a great way of establishing a friendly and trusting relationship with all the Scouts' parents so that he can create an environment of safety for the parents to talk about their son's disability.

    2. I got very discouraging news from the parent of an older Scout the other day who has dropped out of Boy Scouts due to his intellectual disability. Like my son, her son has extreme difficulty with written and spoken language. My son has a high IQ and is terrific in science, chess, building things, etc. He has great difficulty speaking or writing about what he has done.

    My friend's son got an MB counselor who insisted he write out what he had done in detail with no help from his parents. He couldn't do it, and quit Scouting altogether. My friend said the MB counselor didn't care to hear about her son's IEP in school or learning disability. If my child had that counselor, we'd be in the same boat.

    When you say "the father started doing his MB for him", Fox 76, are we talking about helping a learning disable child with the portion he can't do (writing?), or truly doing the whole thing for him? My son can build you a working trebuchet, but he truly can't write above a kindergarten level. What do we do in cases like this?

    3. We are blessed that our son does not lash out or scream when he feels overwhelmed. He just zones out into his own imagination very quietly. It does make him appear unfriendly. The truth is he gets along very well with one or two good friends at a time, but a large, loud, busy group is just too much for him. What do we do?

    I am seriously considering whether we should make the jump to Boy Scouts next year. I would appreciate hearing constructive advice from Scouters as to how this has gone for them. I have already had some great responses to earlier questions on this board, thank you. I am specifically interested in how to deal with the MB writing issue that caused my friend's son to quit.

    Thanks,

    GeorgiaMom
    GM,

    First, in terms of advancement until First Class, I can't think of any of it that requires writing. In fact, I can't recall many Eagle required MB requirements that require writing, For example, Citizenship in the Nation only has one thing that requires writing--that is to write a letter to a your U.S. Senator or house member. The rest of that MB are all discuss, describe, etc., none of which require writing. Unless the specific requirement states to write it out,


    In terms of making the jump, talk to different troops. Our troop has a variety of boys with processing and other problems.

    I think the IEP is overboard and inappropriate. It is to be used by professionall educators who are trained in assisting with special ed. It is not an appropriate thing for a volunteer counselor to be bullied into agreeing to by fear of lawsuits. I'd quit first. That's not to say I'm not sympathetic and wouldn't accommodate those differences, but IMHO, the IEP and threat of lawsuits is beyond what I volunteer to do. It turns being a Scout leader into a legalistic nightmare. I'd find another organization to volunteer with.

    I do think that you and prospective troops need to discuss this issue. In terms of the MB counselors, you and your friend can sign up to become MB counselors. Then, you could counsel your friend's son and vice versa, and avoid that counselor.
    Last edited by perdidochas; 08-29-2014, 09:40 AM.

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    • #47
      Thanks, Perdidochas. I should clarify that it is not my intent to bully any volunteer by requiring they follow my child't IEP. That's much more legalistic than what I had in mind.

      I wish we could find a reasonable compromise between the admittedly granular and legalistic requirements in an IEP and the whim of an MB counselor who told my friend that learning disabilities are just a crock, end of discussion. It is very frustrating as a parent to constantly have to prove that your child really does have a legitimate issue, and I wish there was a reasonable way to provide documentation.

      I am happy to hear that the emphasis on producing massive amounts of writing for every MB might just be a personal decision by this particular MB, not the organization as a whole. I will explore further.

      Thanks!

      GeorgiaMom

      Comment


      • #48
        GM,

        Here's a link to the offiicial MB requirements:
        http://www.scouting.org/meritbadges.aspx

        Click on a MB to find out the requirements. the ones with silver borders are Eagle required.

        It's easier for a MB counselor to just read answers that a child writes on a worksheet than to listen to their explanations verbally.

        MB counselors are not allowed to add or subtract from the requirements. Unless the actual requirement says "write" there is no writing required.

        Just looked at some MBs, there are some that require more writing than I expected--Personal management for one. Most or the writing required in the Eagle required badges is making plans/menus/etc.

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        • #49
          Part of being a leader and counselor is to be aware of special issues and needs. Obviously, if the scout or parent is not forthcoming, problems can arise. A frank discussion with the boy's leader and parents on how to deal with the challenges is the proper route. But, there are unfortuneately people that simply think legal bullying is the only good response, and that everyone should simply know their child is "special". The worst part of these cases is that the child generally never learns to properly cope and then becomes a severely challenged adult in time.

          But, volunteers are not required to be phycologists or counselors for severe emotional and physical disorders. And, it is unfair to expect otherwise, especially if the family does not make it known directly. Hopefully the COR and council will back the leaders should it go too far.

          Comment


          • #50
            GM, I have a son with Asperger's Syndrome also. I have to call you out though on language. Asperger's Syndrome is neither a learning disability nor a mental disability. It is a developmental or neurological disorder that affects social skills and interactions, including repetitive behaviors. The social aspect may be profound or minimal depending on the person. Asperger's Syndrome may be accompanied by mental or learning disabilities but those are independent of Asperger's Syndrome. We can't expect people to understand our kids if we aren't clear about what it is and isn't. Sorry, it's a pet peeve of mine.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by perdidochas View Post
              I think the IEP is overboard and inappropriate. It is to be used by professionall educators who are trained in assisting with special ed. It is not an appropriate thing for a volunteer counselor to be bullied into agreeing to by fear of lawsuits.
              Hardly. My son's IEP is available to all adults who mentor him. While there is technical information describing his situation and justifying his needs to the public school administration, the recommendations are written in layman language similar to the Health Form asking about allergies and how to recognize and react. Knowledge is power.

              So if I know a scout has short term memory problems, I am not going to spout out a list verbally and ask him to quickly repeat that list e.g.,
              MBC: Ok scouts in First Aid, you come to an accident scene you need to remember the ABC's - Airway, Breathing, Circulation,
              MBC: Johnny in First Aid, tell me what are the ABC's
              Johnny: I um.
              MBC: Johnny weren't you listening...the ABC's Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Now tell us.
              Johnny: I um can't...
              Johnny literally cannot get the information out of his head. Now if a MBC cannot accommodate a disability when informed upfront, he should courteously inform the scout and his SM that another MBC should be sought
              But step back suppose the MBC had read the IEP recommendations, he or she may have learned that while the scout has short term memory and verbal processing issues, he is strong in visual memory so a graphic poster of the ABC's may have been an effective teaching method. Knowledge is power.

              Scout troops are similar to schools. Both can be immeasurable help in educating and developing youth or they can be hell. You have to find those schools and youth organizations that understand, care, and have the willingness to meet your son's needs. And yes it is often damn hard to impossible.

              My $0.01 for not being so Cheerful.

              Comment


              • #52
                It wasn't my intention to misuse the term "Asperger's". My son has only been diagnosed for less than a year, and I am definitely climbing a steep learning curve. He has other learning disorders, including auditory processing disorder and dysgraphia. It is hard for me to know sometimes where one disability stops and the other starts.

                Thank you, RememberSchiff, for an excellent description. My son is also great at visual learning, but terrible at auditory learning. It is very frustrating when a child can repeat pages he has read verbatim, and yet cannot repeat back a 3 item list that is spoken to him. Nevertheless, this is part of the problem my son is experiencing.

                I see nothing wrong with expecting parents to help their own child with learning disorders. I doubt that most parents of LD kids are trying to wear out the volunteers with extra work. I've always asked for resources so I can give my child extra help at home. Mostly, I'm looking for understanding.

                Thanks,

                GeorgiaMom

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by GeorgiaMom View Post
                  Dear Fox 76,
                  When you say "the father started doing his MB for him", Fox 76, are we talking about helping a learning disable child with the portion he can't do (writing?), or truly doing the whole thing for him? My son can build you a working trebuchet, but he truly can't write above a kindergarten level. What do we do in cases like this?
                  GeorgiaMom
                  The Scout was not learning disabled. In fact, he was highly intelligent and was on the high honor rolls at school. What he had difficulty with, sometimes a lot of difficulty with, was social interaction. In any case, the situation with his Scouting experience concluded to everyone's satisfaction, and after a lot of unnecessary discomfort and upheaval, we all moved on. But I will never place myself in a position like that again, and as long as I'm on the Committee, I will endeavor to prevent any other adult leader from becoming embroiled with something like that.

                  Basically, parents have to be forthcoming with us and help us deliver the program in the best way that we can for their Scout, instead of being mysterious and overly protective. If they won't, then I would say please take it on the road. As someone else mentioned, we are all volunteers.

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