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Alabama Scouter

scouts with disabilities?

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The units should welcome scouts with disabilities.. But, there are some that don't for most, it is more of a fact that they are average parents who do not know how to work with the disability, and if the parent/guardian are not willing to be there to help guide these volunteers, it turns into a frustrating situation..

 

Now our troop, is one that welcomes disabilities, but until we had one volunteer who took special disability classes to know how to reach them, it was at times for us frustrating..

 

We have had people with sever asthma and epilepsy (to the point of life threatening in an attack), dystonia, a boy with 3/4 of a heart (heart could stop anytime, when it does no way to revive him), learning disabilities bordering on retardation..

 

We first try to work with the parents, they have been with the boy and know how to motivate them, and what they are capable of and what they are not.. In some cases (like the heart problem) the parents are asked to go on every event their child is involved with..

 

I think the worst was the boy with the learning disabilities who had a single parent mother, who had issues herself.. She would always put the boy down, and tell him he could not do anything, and that he was too dumb.. So the mother had to be removed from the situation to get him to do anything, still it was hard to figure out how to engage him.. This is when the one person took the training and within 3 months the difference she brought out in him was amazing, plus she was able to guide other volunteers the right and wrong way to get his fullest attention and interest.

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I would ask you council about programs they know about.. It was not council or district lead training, but it was a weekend (maybe 2) of a group that works with the disable who put together a program for the scouting community.. It had one person who was in the organization and in scouting, and a few others from the organization that helped them..

 

So it is not something I could title, or guarentee you can find the same in your area.. But my first stop would be to ask your council to find out if something similar is offered by a disability organization in your area..

 

My friend credits this training as being very benificial and truely worth it's weight in goal.

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Troops I've seen have had boys with various types of disabilities, ranging from physical to cognitive to emotional impairments.

 

Physical disabilities can be dealt with to a large extent by modifying aspects of your program as necessary, for that boy. Learning disabilities, I find, really aren't that big a deal in scouting. Even a boy with fairly serious learning disabilities can go camping, learn some new skills, and have fun.

 

The emotional impairments are much more challenging because it is so easy to assume that the boy is just a pill/is spoiled, and because there are often few overt clues to help people accept that a boy has a medical issue. Also, emotional impairments don't necessarily show up in a predictable manner. Sometimes, the boy may seem perfectly "ordinary," until all of a sudden, something happens. Kids are not always terribly patient with each other under the best of circumstances so group relations are sometimes a real challenge here. Even many adults get frustrated and lose their cool or resort to blaming the kid and/or blaming his parent(s). Let's face it, most of us are not trained to deal with these things, most of the time.

 

For a while, one troop I'm familiar with had a boy with bipolar disorder and another boy with severe behavioral issues (I don't recall his medical diagnosis, but he was on and off of all kinds of serious anti-psychotic meds, some of which appeared to make him worse). That wasn't an easy time.

 

 

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My son and I both have a disease classified as one of those "invisible" illnesses that is rare and just not talked about in the mainstream media. We both appreciate it when people ask questions and want to understand, and always are willing to share places to get information. I've even taken a fellow leader to a doctor's appointment so we could have questions answered together.

 

Open discussion and understanding form a lasting bond between the boys and the parents if everyone is on the same page.

 

I've traveled with some units who have visited ability service centers and sat in on some of their training, even having the boys come in for some training on how to work with disabilities and then working an art project with the members (A Wood Badge ticket item which was amazing!).

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