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christineka

altering a mb for special needs

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Thought I'd just change this first post. I have looked into the matter and now have new respect for scouts with special needs. There is no altering badges at all. There can be badge substitutions for earning rank, but nothing else. Wow! I will call the sn scout's mother to see what we can do to help her son earn family life, if that is really something he wants to do. (The scoutmaster does not ask the boys what they want to work on- he picks badges for them.)

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Pretty sure that when accommodations are necessary it's the council that sets them upon request/review, not the individual counselor.

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We had a special needs scout once who couldn't complete a MB because of his handicap, so we called our district and asked for advice. We sat down with the District Commissioner discussed a plan and altered a requriement or something. I don't know what the offical word is on altering MBs, but that was how we approached it. Barry

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christineka:

 

Have you looked at the 2013 Guide to Advancement? (hint start on page 72). Read all of that section with the attitude of complying with advancement procedures and not, "how can we get around this".

 

There doesn't seem to be a requirement governing the quality of the outline. If he explains it well enough and can put a pencil to paper, let him do it himself. It doesn't matter that it's not legible. If you understand his intentions, I don't think anyone would be skirting anything there.

 

5 chores: discuss with mom. I think the responsibility is important here and not the difficulty of the chores. Feeding the dog, making sure the porch light is out by a certain time seem reasonable to me as long as there is 1 or 2 "hefty" chores like cleaning room or taking out garbage, whatever his abilities will allow.

 

Scouter99 is correct that only the council advancement committee can give alternate requirements. District folks do not have the authority.

 

Absolutely you should understand what the boys abilities/disabilities are. Discuss the entire advancement process with mom so she understands. The scout's doctor's opinion will matter also. Remember that it won't be easier for the scout just because he has disabilities and not every disability gets alternate requirements.

 

Good luck to you on this. Thank you for your efforts in Scouting.

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It was also really hard doing this as a group. It shouldn't have been done as a group in the first place. I'm just too easily shoved around because I've got no backbone. This kid in particular needs personal (with a buddy) time with a counselor, not to attempt doing badges in a group.

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chistineka ... Requirements can not be added or dropped, but expectations are adjusted for the ability of every scout. This is one reason some leader prefer that scouts are older when working on some merit badges, life saving for example. But BSA says any scout can work on any merit badge. There is no age or capability minimum.

 

IMHO ... and I think BSA says this too ... it is important to consider effort and making it a meaningful experience.

 

For example ... if you teach Personal Fitness to two scouts. One is eleven and in no sports. The other is 17 and captain of the Football team. For the 90 day exercise program, I would expect significantly more from the older, football player.

 

It is not at all about demanding a pound of flesh. It's about the MB experience being meaningful.

 

If they were to be the same, then BSA would have written something like ... for 90 days do 100 sit ups each day, 10 push ups, 5 pull ups and 200 jumping jacks. Absent numbers (i.e. 20 nights of camping), I interpret it as adjust to the capability of the scout.

 

koolaidman was right with the chores. Adjust the chores for the ability and situation of the scout.

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Thanks for your efforts, Christineka. As the parent of an autistic scout, I can say that I wish all Scouters saw things your way.

 

I had a similar discussion recently with the director of my child's church play. She offered a way to make participation easier on him as he was clearly struggling. I thanked her for making "the play about the kids instead of making the kids about the play.".

 

At our former church, a different director had my son in tears as he absolutely couldn't understand her verbal instructions in a loud, crowded room, and she refused to provide a written script. She said written scripts caused her problems when she needed to make changes. She changed the script so often, I couldn't follow it either.

 

If a kid can't hear/see/walk/hike/etc, standing firm on the scout handbook will only drive the kid away. I find it hard to beleve that's what BP had in mind. Absolutely accommodations need to be made for a child's disability.

 

Scouting is suppose to serve the kids, not the other way around.

 

GeorgiaMom

 

 

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Our council has a special needs troop. Many special needs kids don't join it, including my own ADD/Aspie son, but the SM of that group was a wonderful resource for advice on how to accommodate MB's so kids with special needs can accomplish on an equivalent level.

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There are some "modifications" that are approved by BSA for disabilities. They are NOT posted and are only available from the Council/BSA HQ. National is the only entity that is allowed to change ANY requirement for a MB.

 

If your Council does NOT have the documents, have them check with National Advancement team.

 

My $0.02

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