Announcement Module
No announcement yet.

Not Quite Right in the Head - Our Responsibilities?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
Conversation Detail Module
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Teaching someone with impulse and anger issues to use a gun seems a bit irresponsible.


    • #17
      Lemme roll in a few hand grenades:

      Kicking a problem child out of your troop will probably guarantee your status as a target, even years down the road, if Scouting is important to the boy.

      Having a parent steady their child only goes so far. Wasn't Lanza's mom his first target?

      E61: "Teaching someone with impulse and anger issues to use a gun seems a bit irresponsible."
      As Basement observed, that's what the reporters are going to say.

      Okay. You have a boy who is borderline. You don't that think he'll survive the two 3 hour classes required to go on the shooting trip. He survives, scores well on the tests, and demonstrates good muzzle awareness during the safe handling drills. Although he sneaks off when he's not on the firing line and eats half of his patrol's food, he qualifies. (We always had an instructor within arms reach of him.)

      E61, lemme hear your version of the conversation telling him and his parents that he can't go on the shooting trip because he has no social skills...

      This boy may turn out great! But right now he scares me.


      • #18
        The BSA program is run by volunteers, let me say that again, volunteers. That means we do what we can when we can. With all the noise about BSA leadership requirements, expressed or implied, I do not remember anyone at anytime saying we had to work with those who make us uncomfortable. That includes youth and adults

        The troop I used to serve had an Aspergers child. He went off on another kid and beat him pretty bad. The Troop Committee said the only way he could come on another trip was if Dad was along. Dad was along and he beat another kid bloody. We helped him become a lone scout. As much as the boy may have needed scouting, we needed a safe environment for the other youth, and adults.

        PS: Does not being a volunteer for a faith based youth organization make us all "righteous do-gooders"?


        • #19
          If you've met one kid with Asperger's, you've met one kid with Asperger's. Each Scout is an individual. We're in the character building and responsible citizenship business. Let's focus on that. A recent conversation with an Asperger's/Eagle Scout said that Scouting was the best thing he ever did. And yes, there were times he needed a timeout (he eventually learned when and how to do that himself). Don't give up on our kids. They need you (and you'll learn that we need them).


          • #20
            I'm probably going to be labeled as a heretic, and some fine folks who are dealing with children of their own that have been diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's are probably going to want to hang me from a yardarm but - so you have a kid in your troop identified with Aspergers - so what? There's a good chance I can walk into your Troop and start to plug at least half of your Troop members somewhere on the spectrum. Chances are you've had kids in your troop with Aspergers and Autism that were never diagnosed, and you never knew the difference because no one ever labeled them with it.

            The moment someone is labeled, you start to think differently - now the kid is "not quite right in the head". Stop thinking that way and start treating the lad as the individual he is and things will be much better for all.


            • #21
              Well said. Thank you.
              This is exactly why many parents hesitate to tell anyone about the diagnoses. They don't want their kids to carry the label. Now people will attach baby killer to it!
              If we play this game correctly, Scouting is the one place these "different" kids can feel safe. They can fail witout ridicule, try again, and ultimately succeed and be recognized. Of all the kids you serve, these kids need you the most. Don't turn your back on them.


              • #22
                CalicoPenn wrote: "start treating the lad as the individual he is and things will be much better for all."

                Fully agree. Individual clinical labels are not the cause. Plus these days, almost everyone could be clinically labeled.


                BDPT00 wrote: "Scouting is the one place these "different" kids can feel safe."

                Fully agree. Scouting needs to be the "safe" place.


                BDPT00 also wrote: "Of all the kids you serve, these kids need you the most. Don't turn your back on them."

                I disagree and we need to stop using this statement. I understand and generally agree with the attitude, but every time we've had trouble with a scout we've also been saying "if anyone needs scouting, he does" for at least six months to two years. The key is that if the scout can't function "INDEPENDENTLY" within the scout oath and law, then scouting is not a good match and they will drive away other good scouts.

                Now, some of our best scouts have major mental and physical disabilities. I am excited and proud to have them in our troop. We go the extra length by doing things such as bringing orange road construction cones to put by their tent so they remember which tent is theirs. Or they bring a service dog. Or we keep their pocket knife for them and help them use it when they want to use it. Or one of many other things.

                But in the last year, my attitude has changed on other boundary cases.

                I propose a few rules of thumb...

                - If mom and dad need to come with to help them change their clothes, toiletries or help them with the program, fine. Glad to have them.

                - If mom and dad need to come with because we don't trust the scout, then scouting is NOT the program for them. Scouts need to work with scouts and our volunteeer scouts are not taught to handle mental illnesses.

                - If an otherwise intellectually normal boy can't respect the personal space of others or won't stop swearing or won't stop intimidating others, then scouting is not for them. They might need scouting, but they are driving other kids away that also need scouting.

                If kids are willing to work within the scout oath and law, they are very welcome. If not, then they need to move on.

                I think we as scouters need to start taking a harder stance. In the long run, it will help the program and help restore the good name of scouting.


                • #23
                  I am just a youth scout that has grown up to be a SM for my son and his friend

                  That is a big problem that I see with many Scouters. When I signed up to be a Scouter, I signed up to be a Scouter for the boys in the den/pack/patrol/troop/district/council.

                  I had a youth who was autistic. Granted, when he would get frustrated, he would rarely get violent and his father was usually around for the majority of outings (and did not hover).

                  What helps a lot of these boys is routine and less chaos. What you don't get much of on a youth led outing is routine and you do get much chaos. At first, I got lots of parents telling me I better not assign their child to share a tent with this scout. Finally a mother (not his mother) gave all the other mothers a fairly good lecture (in the best sense of the word) about atracizing and making this kid feel accepted. He later became one of my favorite scouts. A year or so later his younger brother joined and he was much more difficult to integrate into the troop than his older brother. But, it was a good learning experience for both myself, the SPL and other adults and for most of the boys too. I also feel that Scouting helped these boys too.

                  Yes, never compromise safety but heck - we teach these boys to use knives, fire and evern deep fryers! Why can't we manage the same risk with other youth?


                  • #24
                    Very well said, acco40. Never once did you mention a particular diagnosis. Thank you. The issue I'm seeing right now is that people are trying to understand the shooter, and when they discover a label, they use it, whether understood or not. That isn't doing anybody any good. Respect is a two way street, and yes, routine and knowing what to expect is important. That includes fairness, rewards, and consequences ... for everybody.
                    Acco, your posts represent fairness and understanding. They do not represent a knee-jerk reaction to a label. Yes, this can be very difficult at times, just like being a parent (and we didn't get training for that either). It's on the job training, and we owe it to everybody to do our best. Hey! There's a catchy phrase.


                    • #25
                      The moment someone is labeled, you start to think differently - now the kid is "not quite right in the head". Stop thinking that way and start treating the lad as the individual he is and things will be much better for all.

                      I complete agree.


                      "Treating the lad as the individual he is" has to actually mean something. If the individual he is is a dangerous and unstable one, you've got to treat him as such. And by "you" I mean "us - all of us." And if we don't have labels conveniently applied by someone else (who then is reasponsible for any mislabling), then we have to make those decisions ourselves.

                      They're not comfortable decisons.

                      Labelling a kid something doesn't make him that, but declining to label him doesn't make him not that either. We owe kids the respect of treating them as individuals, but that goes for the non-spectrum kids too. If we're too busy treating the kids acting out as individuals instead of lumping them into a group labelled "misfits", we might actually be forgetting to treat the other kids as individuals and lumping them into a group labelled "don't bother me kid, I'm busy keeping Kenny from melting down."

                      Or worse, lumping them into the group labelled "targets for Kenny when he snaps."

                      I wish the world wasn't that way, but it is. All we can do is the best we can do. But CalicoPenn is right, abdicating responsibility to someone else, waiting for them to officially label a kid, is not a brave decision.


                      • #26
                        Peel the label away...

                        So would you tolerate a kid who hits, fights,attacks or lashes out..... How about the kid that throws a knife at another???

                        Of course not..... he would be disciplined and eventually dismissed.

                        I think what happens is the parent and society forces us to tolerate their acting out more than we would for a "normal" boy.

                        So BDPT and acco is it ok if the angry fellow in OGE tents with your scout?????

                        Sure the kid was dealt a bum hand in life, Not my was either the vacines or mom had the flu when she was pregnant or what ever.....

                        In the other thread there is talk of making scouting safe with fire arms.....In other thread there is talk about mitigating risk..... So where do these youth fall in all of this.


                        • #27
                          Hmmm ... let's see, we have two in our troop with mild Asperger's, one being evaluated for depression and a couple more with their own (diagnosed) emotional issues. It has been quite a challenge the past couple of years as the first two boys will occasionally fly off the handle -- just when we think they're getting it under control, we had both of them go into rages this past weekend.

                          The SM, COR and I have discussed this before precisely because of the first two but we have to think about it because of the other three as well. Our first and foremost responsibility is the safety of the boys, all of them. We have talked to the parents of all of them but at the same time, it's not going to help any of them develop into responsible members of society if we ostracize them.

                          What this means is that we are ALWAYS watching the ones with a tendency to fly off the handle. At summer camp, this can mean one of us shadowing them through merit badge classes as other Scouts teasing them only makes things worse. I won't lie -- it's exhausting and emotionally draining sometimes -- but it's also one of the reasons I volunteer.


                          • #28
                            So a few comments from my personal experience.

                            I have recently despatched one lad with aspergers onto Explorers aged 14 and have had another one recently start. Both display very different personality traits. What has been the same is that we have had very supportive parents from both.

                            Something to remember is that kids with aspergers need very simple and clear instructions and guidelines which, importantly, you MUST stick to. These not be any different to those laid down fro anyone else, they do not get special treatment just through having a diagnosis. If you lay down rules with clear consequences if they are broken and then fail to enforce those consequences it can actually lead, ironically, to even more confusion and disruptive behaviour from the child involved. Keep it simple.

                            Difficult in a big troop I know but it is vital that the child understands that when addressing a group that they are included in the group being spoken to. It is frustrating and it may seem like they are being deliberately rude, but they are not. It is simply the case that if you speak to 30 scouts giving instructions, and one of them has aspergers, they can completely fail to understand that they are being spoken to. Take the time to check that they understand what has been said and let them ask questions, no matter how dumb those questions may sound, and make sure their PL knows that they have to do likewise.

                            Kids with aspergers are often very practical individuals. If you need to get them to calm down then finding them something practical to do while they get themselves together can do the world of good. We would get the older one to help fix a broken stove or lantern or something when he had a moment. It would help him calm down an awful lot quicker than just isolating him. When he had got his self control back we would then turn to the discipline side about what he had done and what the consequences were. Our younger one tends to become even more withdrawn rather than disruptive when he is having problems, were still working on how to get him to perk up when that happens.

                            I think it is very knee jerk reaction to consider kids with aspergers a threat. Some can lash out more readily than any other teenager, thats true, but it doesnt mean they are more likely to stab or shoot someone.

                            Of course other members of the troop have to be protected from their excesses and that is where the clear rules come in. Every member of the troop has the same standards expected of them. But every member of the troop, whether they have a diagnosed condition or not, is treated as an individual in terms of how we communicate with them and how we manage them in the immediate aftermath of an incident. The actual consequences though remain the same for everyone.

                            Its also worth remembering that scouting on its own will not be a treatment for all that kids problems. We/you are just one experience that they have. They have family, school, friends outside of scouting.


                            • #29

                              FYI, it's not the schools that want to mainstream kids, its federal law via the DoEd. Been a while since I took my education courses, but mainstreaming came about in the 1980s or therabouts via federal law because groups of parents demanded that their kids be mainstreamed. Don't remember the details as it's been almost 20 years since I took those courses, but I do know it has caused issues, i.e. more staff needed, discipline problems and interruptions, etc.

                              And not all parents wanted their kids mainstreamed. Some did want their kids separated, but the schools cannot do that due to federal law. Also if memory serves, additional federal monies go to schools based upon the number of kids mainstreamed.


                              • #30
                                If I gave the impression the youth we removed from the troop was because he had Aspergers, I apologize, I thought I made it clear the reason he was removed was because he presented a danger to other scouts.

                                Whether he had a clincial diagnosis or was just "mean" we would have done the same thing