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My suggestion is to join an existing troop in your area. If you fear rejection, speak with the SM about the problems as you see them. Involve your son in the discussion. Allow your son the right to speak for himself and for his goals in life.


Will he be rejected by the Scouts in the troop? Your son may need to learn to advocate for himself to be included. He needs to be included. The Scouts in the troop will grow measurably by learning inclusion.


Will your son be a burden on the troop? It works best when any parent is available to assist in the activities of the troop. If there are special needs, then these can be addressed in a timely and efficient manner.


Your son may need accommodations or modifications, depending on the disability to be able to participate to the extent allowed by his abilities. Will he be able to do every activity? Check with your doctor or psychologist for any limitations. Use reason and caution when planning for an event. Planning is a leadership skill and your son can participate by learning it.


A person with a visible disability can increase awareness about disabilities in general, a necessary service your son can provide. Don't hide your son under a bushel of disabled Scouts. He is valuable in his own right.




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If you feel you need a separate special needs unit then you should be working with the District Commissioner and the District Executive who have the information on how to start a unit. Also, each Council has a person assigned to special needs issues and have resources available.


I did a search on special needs in Scouting to develop some resources for our district as part of my Wood Badge ticket. There are resources out there.


I'm sorta with Fuzzy Bear. As someone who works with people with disabilities on a daily basis, I really prefer to see individuals included in existing units. At the same time, I know that sometimes the disability is significant enough that inclusion in an existing unit just isn't feasible.


Just don't jump into forming a special needs unit without developing the needed infrastructure and getting district support. You CAN'T do it alone.


Good luck.



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Our council has a DE specifically responsible for special needs programs. She plants and supports units that focus on special needs (as well as helps units that include special needs kids in their program). She is always on the lookout for people wanting to start a program. I would check with your council to see if they have a person in this role. They would be a great asset.

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The site rex2796 references has excellent information but please be aware that they have NOT updated many of their pages in a long time. Always get the latest information regarding advancement requirements, etc. from BSA.


With that caveat, this is an excellent website and I found it to be a useful tool as I was developing my resource handbook for our district.

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I guess I should add that I too work with people with disabilities/abilities and have for a long time.


A few years ago, I was Camp Director and one segment was held for people with disabilities. Fear was our main obstacle and we all dreaded it. There was nothing but horror stories before.


After it was over, I was not to be the same. I experienced the deepest appreciation ever from individuals that enjoyed the simplest experiences in the out of doors. These kids were not even Scouts but their responses were of genuine gratitude. Without exaggeration, I will forever treasure that one corner of my life.


The following year our Council deleted the program. It was thought of as too expensive. I don't really know their real reasons for the cancellation but had they experienced what I had, no price would have been too high.


I just wished I had the right words to convey the feelings that I still have after all this time.


I want the Council to know they made a terrible mistake.


I hope your son finds his answer. I know he will appreciate your efforts.




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Your post does not reveal much about the numbers that you have in mind nor the nature of the disabilities or even what adult and funding support that you have or expect. In the absence of the detail I offer my recollections of Scouting with disabled people. I add that I have never had a connection with a disabled Troop or event.


I knew well three boys with 5% vision or so, a totally blind SM (also leader trainer), an intellectually disabled leader and his son,


Have also met two other intellectually disabled Scouts and another with cerebral paulsy in my District. There would be more Im sure but we have no disabled units of any kind. The first I knew of one PL was when he undertook a reading at a Scout spiritual service. It was hard to understand him but heck we listened - probably got more attention and respect than any other presenter there.


In short. They enjoyed a mainstream Scouting experience.


However I can readily imagine physical and adult support reasons why a mainstream experience may not be useful.


I can also see a reason to cater for emotionally and behaviourally disabled Scouts. But that can disrupt a Troop enormously. The cost there is at the expense of the other Scouts. In the work I do I can see that a Troop of disruptive Scouts could be effective in changing them positivally but there are not enough adults with the skills needed. I have one right now who is the subject of another thread and in a mainstream Troop that is hard enough.


If after this rambling post (sorry) you still see the need for a Troop of Disabled Scouts then pls provide some more details.


Good Luck

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Greg O. was Mentally Retarded and a member of our Webelos group. He was slower than the others but everyone let him blend in wherever and whenever they could. I guess after a while none of us paid much attention. Greg did not always understand all of the rules of the game but the others just coached him until he got it.


I had to spend extra time teaching him some the ideals of Scouting but that was only until his brother found out we needed a little extra work. Greg finished the last requirements a week before bridging.


His family showed up at the ceremony in full force. Greg had done it and there was real pride of accomplishment. He and all of the Scouts were as good a group as any leader could ask for anytime, anywhere. We took pictures of ourselves at our last meeting. We placed the camera on a tripod, put it on timer and there we were for years of memories.


I wouldn't take anything for the experience with Greg O. and that bunch. We had the best time and all of us learned a great deal, me more than all of the rest. Greg completed every requirement without modification but with plenty of assistance.


PS. Greg went on into Scouting with his older brother where he continued as before. He didn't complete his Eagle but then most Scouts never reach that goal either.




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