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GSleaderSG

Parent in need of advice

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On 10/3/2018 at 6:25 PM, Momleader said:

Our leaders in my district have been told to  “ do like the schools and follow the SPED accommodations”.

I'm sure you meant no harm, but, to a significant number of people in the special needs community the acronym/term SPED is offensive.  Special Needs is fine but in reality, the term accommodations, needs no adjective.

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Oh sorry. I didn’t mean to offend. In our part of the country that’s the acronym used at my kids school. That way they aren’t saying 504/IEP accommodations since all those kiddos (mine included fall under that department)

 

i do still I’ll stand by the statement that the volunteers do the best they can with the training/experiences they have though - and for a council to expect them to deliver the same services a school might without providing assistance or resources isn’t good for the scout who needs assistance or for the troop who needs support in the giving of that assistance. 

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On 10/3/2018 at 6:25 PM, Momleader said:

This is where councils should be offering more support to leaders who are in the trenches. 

Our leaders in my district have been told to  “ do like the schools and follow the SPED accommodations”. However they don’t give any resources and what they forget is a lot of (volunteer)leaders don’t naturally have that kind of work experience in that area.   Would it be detrimental for you or the dad to become involved with the troop so if they run into a problem you can help both your scout and the leaders through it?

Does your council have a scouting with special needs person who could maybe be an ally with resources to the leaders in your son’s troop?  That way everyone could learn to work together for the benefit of the boy and any others thy have challenges in the future?

Scout leaders are volunteers.  We can't be forced to follow the actions of the schools.   While I agree with the idea of helping Scouts if I can, I would chafe at being told I have to follow an IEP as a volunteer. 

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

I'm sure you meant no harm, but, to a significant number of people in the special needs community the acronym/term SPED is offensive.  Special Needs is fine but in reality, the term accommodations, needs no adjective.

And in 20 years, the word "accomodations" will be offensive. There is no need to continually revise the language to not offend. The most innocuous term today will end up offending tomorrow.  For example, handicapped was the nice way to say things (much nicer than crippled), then "disabled" took over, and now, it's "differently abled."  When does this stop?

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21 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

Scout leaders are volunteers.  We can't be forced to follow the actions of the schools.   While I agree with the idea of helping Scouts if I can, I would chafe at being told I have to follow an IEP as a volunteer. 

I would a agree that being required to rigorously  the same accommodations outlined in an IEP is not the way to go.  In some cases these accommodations are not appropriate for scouting, plus the patrol method creates a different dynamic that what is seen in a classroom.  However,  it would seem to me that an IEP (if parents are willing is share!) could be a good starting point to plan for the correct modifications/considerations needed for children with unique needs.  

 

On an update to my particular situation:  Troop position elections were held earlier this week.  I have reached out via e-mail to SM to find out who has been elected SPL etc.  and whether my son retains his current position (Bugler).  So far no reply. 

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49 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

And in 20 years, the word "accomodations" will be offensive. There is no need to continually revise the language to not offend. The most innocuous term today will end up offending tomorrow.  For example, handicapped was the nice way to say things (much nicer than crippled), then "disabled" took over, and now, it's "differently abled."  When does this stop?

Well, you get to choose your response and I couldn't care less what language you choose to use.  I just shared how it's interpreted in my community.  FWIW, language is revised all the time (we don't say ye or thou or foresooth much anymore), in fact language was changed to create the term in question.  

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2 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Well, you get to choose your response and I couldn't care less what language you choose to use.  I just shared how it's interpreted in my community.  FWIW, language is revised all the time (we don't say ye or thou or foresooth much anymore), in fact language was changed to create the term in question.  

So true.  "Groovy" and "dream on" have long since been replaced by  "awesome" and "whatever".  :)

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11 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Well, you get to choose your response and I couldn't care less what language you choose to use.  I just shared how it's interpreted in my community.  FWIW, language is revised all the time (we don't say ye or thou or foresooth much anymore), in fact language was changed to create the term in question.  

beyond that, the use of the word accommodation relates to the language used in the ada. People (especially in education) say accommodation because the legal language in the 504 talks about accommodations.

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1 hour ago, Momleader said:

Oh sorry. I didn’t mean to offend. In our part of the country that’s the acronym used at my kids school. That way they aren’t saying 504/IEP accommodations since all those kiddos (mine included fall under that department)

No apology required @Momleader, and no offense taken, I was just sharing how the terms are used in my community.  I had no idea it was still in general use elsewhere.  My boy falls under the umbrella of IEP as well.

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Posted (edited)

Back to this Scout and how things are going in the troop. @GSleaderSG is your son new to the troop? How old is he? 

I'll share my son's early experiences in Scouting.  My son has ADHD and social skills challenges.  After his first summer camp, the committee chair called us and arranged a meeting to discuss our son not fitting in, and it felt like pressure on us to leave, except, we had no intention of leaving.  Unfortunately our CC was not very sympathetic to working with a scout with special needs.  That CC, who was overbearing himself, ultimately left Scouting.  He suggested that my husband be on top of my son at all times, but my husband is an ASM and already attends every meeting and every outing and is there, but my husband was not going to nanny our son. 

But, what we also did that I feel was important, was do some work on our side to help our son with his social skills issues. For us, that meant finding and working with a psychologist with a social skills group class for early teen boys. Our son attended this class weekly for 2.5 years and is now in individual counseling.  I felt that helped a lot, and I think that growing up a little has helped our son a lot.  He has learned strategies like slowing down and thinking, he learned breathing exercises, he learned how to visualize what might happen in the future based on what he's experienced in the past and he's learned how to notice people's facial expressions, tone of voice, and other social clues that can help him react more appropriately.  They played games with challenges and had homework every week. 

So if your son is young and new to the troop, I would not worry about a minor delay in advancement.  But I would absolutely demand (courteously) that the bullying and teasing be stopped.  That is as unacceptable as your son hitting someone.  The troop adults cannot condone teasing and bullying. 

The Boy Scouts cannot teach your son social skills, but they should provide a safe environment for him to learn in, and also they should partner with you to find some strategies that allow your son to do his best.  

You need to work with the leadership to make sure they are not isolating and shunning your kid.  Don't worry about advancement so much unless he is in danger of losing an opportunity to make Eagle by 18.  If he is being purposefully held back, that's no good.  But as you said,  I think a break from advancement for violence is OK.  Your son needs to restore relationships.  You should ask your son about the positions and how the elections went and try not to be a helicopter parent.  

If you have any tips or tricks that can help, then share that info with the Troop.  

If you can get your son into counseling to help him manage his emotions and possibly work with a specialist on the speech too, that can help him a lot.  There may be options at your school, or talk to other parents with kids with similar social skills concerns about if they have gotten help and who is good in your area.  We drive a bit to get to a very good psychologist, (and pay out of pocket) and it's worth it. I think of it as an investment in our kid's future. 

Best wishes.  

P.S.  Super-cool that your son is Bugler, our 10 year old might be a future Bugler too!

P.P.S. Volunteer for things and get involved with the committee.  It's harder to kick out a boy whose parent is contributing. You also need to get to know as many adults in the Troop as you can, make some friends. 

P.P.P.S.  You need to suck up a little to the leaders and be kind to them too.  Treat them like they are the experts in Scouting and helpful (unless they are particularly antagonistic) but they are your partners and team mates, so be very respectful and appreciative to the people working with your son.  Be careful not to be the angry parent because it gets you nowhere.  

 

 

Edited by WisconsinMomma
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Posted (edited)
On 10/5/2018 at 10:17 AM, perdidochas said:

Scout leaders are volunteers.  We can't be forced to follow the actions of the schools.   While I agree with the idea of helping Scouts if I can, I would chafe at being told I have to follow an IEP as a volunteer. 

We had an adult leader who nearly said -- I'm not doing jack for your kid, it's not my problem, and basically said no to every suggestion we made to try to help our kid. He ultimately decided that he would just not be around our kid at all because he didn't like our kid's challenges and was very critical of my son's (minor) behavior concerns.   (Sounded great to us based on the attitude we were getting! Other leaders in the troop were easier to work with.)  I understand that not every request can be made, but adult leaders should try to be kind and helpful as much as possible, especially when working with kids who have struggles. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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A few general points. 

  • "Special needs" are not all one and the same.  ADD, ADHD can be very different than obstinate defiant behavior disorders.  I'm not sure the scout in this situation, but some challenges need more than others.  
  • It's more about finding that magical mix where your son fits in right.  It's less about one troop being more accommodating than another.  Over the years, I can count a dozen plus scouts that had ADHD and some with relatively severe developmental issues.  Most worked out fine.  One we had to effectively ask to try another troop as we could not find that magical mix.  Another left before of their own accord.  We think of ourselves as accommodating, but it's hard to get that right mix.
  • Independence ... I think a key part that makes scouting work is the boys need to some degree be able to function on their own.  Walk down the trail.  Go to bed.  Use a stove.  Follow general instructions.  Adults can't be at every location at every moment.  The exact right leader can be at the right spot every time.  

  • Teasing and bullying ... Teasing and bullying can be every bit as much of a character flaw that needs help as ADD, ADHD, etc.  We can help teach and we can correct incidents, but it's not a light switch that we can flip and make it go away.  Even worse, kids often tease and bully kids they see as vulnerable to it.  Once it's started, it's hard to stop.  And, after an incident, even small actions can be seen as teasing and bullying.  

IMHO, having a parent there ... in the shadows ... may be the best fallback.  The parent shouldn't inject themselves in every aspect of the troop, but the parent can be there in case their son reaches that edge.  You can't expect leaders to be there at every moment.  You can't expect the right youth leader to be there at every moment.  If your son needs a bit more help or a safety margin, you might need to help a bit more. 

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Hi folks, 

 

Thank you all for being a sounding board here...  not much progress is being made.  Monday marked e-mail number three to the SM  to ask about talking with SPL etc.  Still no reply.  There was a general "who was elected to what"   e-mail that went out before my last e-mail on Monday. I thanked SM for sending it out and asked if he had thought about my suggestion of talking to senior boy leadership.  Over the weekend (during popcorn sales - the only event we are allowed to participate in at the moment)  I briefly mentioned to the troop committee chair that we had reached out to SM but hadn't heard back -  she suggested I cc her on additional e-mails.  I did on Monday, but so far nothing - I'm trying hard to be patient but it's been almost three weeks since my one chat with SM about this issue. 

 

A few folks had asked about age, participation, etc:

Son's age is 12 and he's been with the troop about a year  and 1/2, so I'm not terribly worried about advancement at this point.

My son, until now, makes effort to be at every troop meeting and is there more often than most boys and even the SM.  I've been helping a bit with organizing popcorn sales. My husband and son have signed up for >8hrs of popcorn sales this season.  My husband is not quite ready to take on any sort of leadership role (he was never a scout) but he's willing to attend all meetings, outings and camping trips with our son. I figure he'll get sucked in eventually if we stick around. 

My son does see a councilor  2X a month and goes to weekly to a social skills program. In addition to ADD/ODD he's likely on the spectrum but we have opted not to have that diagnosis made official.

I don't want to imply the other boys are bullying per say. Yes - some tease. But I'm not confident it rises to the level of bullying. I've heard similar taunts directed towards other who are able to take it in stride. Unfortunately my son internalizes these sorts of things.  

 

 

Edited by GSleaderSG
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46 minutes ago, GSleaderSG said:

... "My husband is not quite ready to take on any sort of leadership role (he was never a scout) but he's willing to attend all meetings, outings and camping trips with our son. " ...

Your statement sounds about right.  Let your husband be there for your son.  Your husband can read books, relax, go for walks, etc.  But at the same time he can be there for your son to support and provide a safety net.  Often kids just want sympathy and empathize and to know they are important.  Your husband being there would probably help.  

Also, your husband can help the troop without taking on an official role.  There are always dozens of ways to help at any camp.  Just walking over to help with adult dishes.  Or cook an adult meal.  Or help the SM / ASM setup / tear down their own stuff.  

A friendly hand is always welcome.  

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Your husband is going to attend all the scouting activities with your son? 

Your sons success in situations like these is very dependent on his parent's actions with the troop. These things are complicated and there are so many variables that we can only advise so much. I had one scout with a challenging behavior where most of the concerns about him came from other parents, not the scouts or scout leaders. 

I don't know where you husband fits in this dilemma, but I feel like you are going to have to get more involved.

I hope I'm wrong. I know you have your hands full with the GS Troop. 

I've been where your SM is at. There are so many variables to find balance.

Barry

 

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