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I had a similar problem with a scout a few years back when he joined., Not sure if the exact diagnosis, but while a straight "A" student, he had a big socialization problem as well as being disruptive. Mom wouldnt admit there was a problem though. When he signed up to go to Summer Camp his first year, our Committee wrote a letter to the parents requesting that dad go along. He did and it worked out wonderful. Dad has been back to camp the last four years (because he wanted to, not because we requested it!) and this year the scout went on a High Adventure trip without dad and was very good. By the way, he now has 25 MB's and is just a project away from Eagle.


Dad has told us it was the best thing we ever did, as it got him more in touch with his son (and away from mom, I think!) Sometimes things do work out for the best....

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As the parent of an ADD/gifted 12 yr old scout - these are all some very good suggestions!


One thing to keep in mind, though - ADD/ ADHD is different for every child - for example, my son IS hyperactive - he wiggles, taps, hums and whistles his way through a day - making him be still is sheer torture for him. But he HATES sports. his lack of physical coordination makes him think of any of the suggestions for running, sit-ups, ets as a punishment, rather than a release. So we give him other outlets for his excess energy - Two of our ASM's have a "chemistry" with my son - i think because they see themselves as boys in him - and they are great in that they consistently ask for Jon's "help" - in schlepping equipment, being a demo person in first aid and other teaching examples. This gives him that "physical" outlet and keeps his attention focused. One of them found out that Jon is somewhat of an expert for his age in astronomy - and enlisted Jon's "help" in leading a star hike on a recent campout. This allowed Jon (who can sometimes annoy the heck out of his peers) to shine and gain the interest and respect of his peers.


Not all ADD/ADHD kids ARE physical and Agressive - in fact many aren't. They ARE impulsive, and often immature for their age. Structure & consistency is VERY important.


Inability to sleep, or "wind down" is very common. I have alot of trouble getting my son to go to sleep at home - but not on campouts! One thing that I think helps with this is that we have small tents in our troop - 2 boys to a tent. In a pinch or with an odd number, we can do 3 in a tent. But with only two - when your tentmate passes out - it's kinda hard for the other boy to keep awake! Also - you might look at your evening "down time" - are the boys all awake and active before they go to bed? Have they just finished roasting marshmallows or telling gristly campfire stories that make them listen to every rustle of leaves once they're in their tents?? For ALL the boys -- it might be helpful if you plan to finish all treats at least an hour or two before bed. Wind down with some quiet star watching, campfire (non scary) stories, music or singing.

As for involving the parents, There are ways to involve them WITHOUT having them hang over the boy. You might point out to the parents, that if they were willing to serve - as committee members, fund raisers, merit badge counselors, etc, that would free up you and the ASM's to work with their child. I figure that if I am there, that frees another adult to work with my son. Yes, I keep my "Jon radar" on, and am prepared to intervene if necessary - but in 2 years with our troop,it really hasn't been necessary. Mostly, my "intervention" has been in the form of being open with the troop adults about my son's abilities and problems, and giving them suggestions on what works with him and what doesn't. Also, because I AM involved with the troop, I KNOW the boys personally, and can talk to my son outside of troop activities about getting along with all of them. Scouting has helped his socialization skills immenseley.


The only thing that probably WONT work is getting additional meds - ADD meds are ALL stimulants. He might "behave" better - but he would definately stay awake longer. And the next day he would be a wreck. Unless they give him some kind of medication to help him sleep - and as an ADD parent who's DR suggested this,(and we tried it - not good!) I know that I and most other parents of ADDer's will fight this idea. Would you want to give your child stimulants by day and sleeping pills at night? It's bad enough that we have to medicate them at all!



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Good point, LauraT7, that some ADHD kids could see the physical activities as punishment rather than release. Your idea of keeping them moving schlepping equipment and so on is a good one and one I've used a lot.


On the meds for sleep idea: I also am pretty uncomfortable with the "drugs to go, drugs to stop," mindset of some of the medical profession. However, I have found that my sons who also have some nasal allergies sometimes benefit in two ways from a low dose of a little generic form of Benadryl at night - it both opens up stuffy noses, and makes them a little drowsy so they drop off to sleep better. It's cheap, bought over the counter, and low-risk when used as directed. We don't use it all the time, just occasionally. If he's been having trouble sleeping for a while, and this happens to work on him, you might think he's really stoned, he'll sleep so much the first night. But that is most likely him just catching up a sleep deficit.


My sons really did not know their noses were stuffy, BTW, as they've "always been that way."


It may backfire, some kids get hyper on it, but mine don't. It's just a suggestion for those who are looking for a low-risk way to help iron out a sleep cycle problem without having to resort to strong sleeping pills. Having a bit of a sleep disorder myself, associated with chronic pain, I've gotten pretty good at this. Sleep deprivation does not make good Scouts - or Scouters!


BTW - since I started carrying an obscenely comfortable inflatable mattress I sleep better in camp than I do at home... it was hard to admit I was so old I needed such luxury but man, does it make a difference....



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some people tease me about my air mattress - but I don't think they'd want to see how grouchy I can get when I have a stiff back and little sleep! With it, i sleep like a baby - one of the reasons I love camping! I sleep better on my air matress after a day outside than I do in my own bed!


As for the benadryl - my son and i both have allergies - and the over -the counter benadryl has been around for awhile - and used to calm kids (and my dog! who's afraid of stornms) for long time. We have non-drowsy prescription meds for both of us, and nasal spray if needed - And you're right - if you have allergies and are always stuffy and sniffling - you tend to not notice it anymore - including the fact that it is keeping you up. (or that your snoring is keeping up your tentmates?)


But i wonder, too - at camp this summer, i had a couple of extra air matresses, a sleeping bag and assorted equipment in my car - for 'just in case'. One boy had trouble sleeping - said there was a "bottle cap" kinda thing under his tent floor - bothered him at night - he could feel it through his foam pad. I offered him one of my air matresses - but he wouldn't take it. My son has one of those self-inflating foam matresses - and we left a night early - Jon offered him tahat and he wouldn't take it. I have noticed before an insistence on the part of the boys to "rough it" with bare-bones backpacking equipment when they don't have to be uncomfortable. I'm guessing the other boys would tease them if they went the "luxury" route. But WHY?

I know some of the adults have made comments to me about my matress and folding chair but I ignore them. If they had to live with my chiropratic bills they would bring a decent chair & bed, too! ( many do bring chairs) And Again - I am NOT talking about a backpack or canoe trip!


So why do the boys feel they must sleep on those miserable foam pads that are nothing? No wonder they can't go to sleep!





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  • 2 months later...

As a Den Leader & SM with Scouts who are ADHD/ADD and on medications I would not dream of informing a parent about raising or lowering their son's medication from my experience with him. I'm sure the parent has spent much more time dealing with this issue than I have.


I have an interesting story from a troop meeting last week. "John", a very active ADHD boy in my troop was having a difficult time behaving during a skill/game session. Two-thirds of the troop was involved is erecting tents (one leader, the others blind folded, a team building exercise) and one-third of the troop were judges. John was a judge and was supposed to remain silent but observant (he was standing and could walk about). Our normal meeting room in the Church was being used (garage sale?) so we were in the choir room with many "new" distractions. Anyway, the 11 yr old boy kept interrupting, picking up things he was not supposed to etc. Towards the end of the meeting I quietly and semi-privately asked him why his behavior was lacking this evening. He looked at me matter of factly and said, with no hint of sarcasm, "Because I have not had my pill today." Inside I chuckled and the best I could come up with was telling him that that was no excuse. He was correct of course, but I did not want him to use that fact as a crutch.

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My son has ADD and I'm the tiger den leader of 10 boys. I've found it difficult but not impossible. If you have an ADD/ADHD boy, you need that parent working with the boy. I don't care what age he is unless he can control himself. My son's attention isn't where the rest of the boys are most times. If we do a den meeting and he's not "there" then I let him be. These boys can't consentrate with so much stimulation to the brain. Things like outside noise, something that isn't in a rotine, a lot of boys --- so much can take away their ability to stay on tack. Personally I work on things at home with my son and let him do what he can in the den. In other words don't sweat the small stuff. But by all means the parents do need to be involved.

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I'm a Webelo Leader and my son is ADHD. I absolutely LOVE the words of wisdom from SagerScout. Thank you so much for sharing them with the world. I only wish every non-ADHD person who touches my son's life could read them and I only wish that half of the people he encounters in life will care enough to give him the benefit of the doubt (and without discussing his behavior or shortcomings with everyone else). Afterall, it's as good an investment for them as it is for him. We can be the ones that can either make these children or break them.



SagerScout's advice was a great refresher for me, too. I need to be reminded of those very things often, because living with an ADDlet can get pretty tense. And, right on target about ADHD being a gift in certain settings!!


I think Sctmom's suggestion about medication is a solid one, too, although not as popular or accepted by everyone. Medications are a touchy subject and, I have to admit, could easily be taken offensively. Most kids medication wears off in the early evening or even shortly after school is over. There are many kinds of meds out there now, but traditional Ritalan usually only lasts 4 hours or less. I've asked our physician to give my son a prescription for 'emergencies' so that he can enjoy an evening with his friends or other activities occasionally.


The Poem was beautiful - I've seen it before and needed to see it again.


In my den, I don't have any other diagnosed ADDlets, but all of them have strong personalities. I think it's a big asset for a leader to have an ADHD son. It makes all the rest of them seem easy even when they're being difficult or wild. :)


Laura was right-on when she said, "One thing to keep in mind, though - ADD/ ADHD is different for every child." That is SO easy to forget. You discover a child in your Den or Troop is ADHD and then you begin to expect the next one to show the same symptons. I could get into the symantics of ADHD and what is actually happening up there in the brain, but that would be better explained by someone else. Suffice it to say the ADHD affects each child in different ways, hence some have coordination problems while some excell in sports. Some find writing and drawing almost painful (my son) while others revell in artwork and writing beautiful stories.


Did you know that Einstein, Mark Twain, Robin Williams, Thomas Edison are just a few of the famous people who are, were, or believed to be ADHD? Go here to see a full list - http://www.oneaddplace.com/famous.htm


Now, as for parents versus no parents for ADDlets at meetings, I believe it really depends on the Leader AND the child. We have one leader in our Pack who can't, and doesn't want to, deal with any kid who has any problem including mild ones. She snips and snarls about the disruptions caused by non-ADD kids, much less ADD kids, all the time. I wouldn't leave my son alone with her for 10 minutes (even though I've thought of it in one of my meaner moments after her smugness has annoyed me for long enough).


As for me and my son, I'd like to hover for the rest of my life :), but I know it's detrimental to his well-being. I know, too, that I have been his worst enemy at times when I run out of patience and when I want him to set an example for the other kids. So, I believe that Sager really had something when he/she said parents can make things worse. And, as I said, it's really a matter of what the Leader is like AND what the child is like.


All I can really say is, please hang in there with these kids, please have patience and please try to look out for their well-being. I think my son is very lucky in many, many ways.. very talented, but he also experiences rejection day after day after day. He bounces back so quickly, it's easy to think nothing bothers him. It does - it's forming his personality and how he really feels about himself deep down. It will have an influence him and the way he views the world forever.











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This the responce I received from Steve Ledingham. He's the guy that wrote the article in Souting Magazine about ADHD.


Thanks for contacting me per you problems with ADHD Scouts. Do you have

a copy of my book, the Scoutmaster's guide to ADHD?


In the book I have some specific techniques to help with these kinds of




1. Identify the problems. (and assign a specific pair of scouters to the


2. Has the Scout been diagnosed?

3. Is the Scout on medication?

4. Is he taking the medication and who is responsible for monitoring that?

5. Pair the problem scout with one or two other scouts who will help guide


6. Have an open and honest discussion with the problem scout, and the adult

scouters, and experienced scouts who will be working with him.

7. Secure an agreement as to the expected behavior and work out some sort of

non-embarassing code which will allow the helpers to indicate problem

behaviors. (such as pointing at my ear=please settle down.)


I am certain you will have to get help from his peers to work towards

controlling this problematic behavior. This process will take some time,

probably 4 to 6 weeks of consistent work, until you begin to get some

favorable results.


I can send you a copy of the book if you would like. The cost is $15.00 plus

$4. For shipping. If so send a check to me at:


D. Steven Ledingham

2917 Sherwood Rd.

Columbus, Ohio 43209



D. Steven Ledingham

Information Management

Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow



I have not purchased the book so I can't review it for you, but he seems to know a great deal about the problem and the BSA.



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It isn't our position to diagnose these kids. Only quailfied doctors can do that. The only thing that we as leaders can do is make sure these kids remain busy. If you can do several different things in a den meeting this will keep them from getting up during meetings. This is a touchy subject with many parents. Some parents know there is something different with their child however there are others that will deny the whole thing. Best thing is to be knowledgable about what to do with these boys but not influence parents on your beliefs. There are a couple of boys in our pack that I believe could possible have ADD/ADHD but I would never tell the parents unless they came to me first. Please do read up and try to understand that these boys need lots of guidance and PATIENCE(lots and lots of patience) most of these ADD/ADHD kids are very smart and loving just keep trying to reach them.

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  • 5 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Just a note to say "THANK YOU" to all the scouters who have the patience to work with boys like my son.


These boys can get SO MUCH benefit out of the scouting program - if given the chance.


On a recent outing with a new scout parent, (who was frustrated with the behavior of two of our boys - one of which was my son) I had to again try to explain the difference between ADD /learning disabled kids and 'normal' kids who "just need discipline and consequences" to this parent. Like many whose kids have no social/emotional dificulties - he just wasn't buying it.


Funny thing is - his boy has physical difficulties, and has not attended many activities (small for his age, Athsma, allergies and heart trouble) for which the troop has tried to make any number of accomodations to help the boy advance.


hopefully, as Dad gets more involved with the troop, his eyes will open, as yours have, to the fact that Each and every boy is special, and needs to advance in his own fashion - whatever it may be.


To all you dedicated Scouters - Thanks Again!

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I have observed (in a non-scientific manner) that when adults are not themselves ADD/ADHD, or if they do not personally have an ADD/ADHD child, such adults are less likely to understand 1) what the child is experiencing, and 2) appropriate responses to superficial behaviors. I wonder if anyone else out there has a similar observation.


In reference to the original question, a practical measure I try to use in behaviorally difficult situations is to feed everyone. And not with junk food but with something with protein and calories (meat, cheese, cream, noodles, etc.). As you might surmise, our troop eats very well. At their age, boys quickly focus on the food and afterwards they seem a little more manageable. It seems to level the field and provide a common focus, even if for only a while. And....it really does taste great, perhaps altering the mood of the leaders?....H'mmmm.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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Packsaddle - In my observation, you are QUITE right that a good shot of protein and a few calories will improve everyone's behavior and temperament, including the scouters.


My middle son had many, many problems arise at around 11 am. He'd then race to the cafeteria for his pizza-and-Gatorade fix. Then he'd have more problems around 3 pm. He's not ADD, he's got an anxiety disorder, but they have some commonalities. Many ADD kids can hyper-focus - my son does that to the nth degree. He'd get into trouble for not being able to switch subjects on cue. I'll never forget the day he got in terrible trouble because he would NOT put down the high-school physics book he was reading to watch the Bill Nye science video she had planned for them. (He was in 7th grade at the time). He simply could not disengage himself from the interesting subject he was learning to watch a video that he'd already seen several times anyway. We ended up in a committee meeting over it, where I found myself saying things like "Let me get this straight: he's not allowed to study science during science?"


All that said, I do think the teacher had a right to expect cooperation, but she also needed to understand how to break his concentration in a productive manner. When I asked him about the incident he had no memory of the first several minutes of discussion - he didn't hear it. Those of you with ADD scouts will often find this true. You have to say their names and get both eyes to focus on you before you can talk, else you might as well just start whistling.


Since he's been homeschooled, he eats a less sugar-laden diet, and his anxiety has improved to the point where he no longer needs medication and handles new experiences well. He's still hyperfocussing but his new teacher (me) doesn't mind much, as it seems to work well for him and lets him figure out quite a lot of stuff that other people find difficult. Like- algebra. And physics, still an interest of his.


Coincidence? I don't know. But trust me, I stack the deck when planning the grocery list.


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  • 3 weeks later...

There may be two different ways to handle this.


One is to have his medication changed or get him an additional medication for night time.


The other is to give him his medication later in the day so that it lasts later into the night and hopefully until he is asleep.


Thinking of the situation I would recommend the first option if possible.


Kids who are ADHD etc. are like energizer bunnies when their medication wears off. This is not the child's fault. I am glad that his parents realize that he does need medication.


As far as what you can do as the leader if they do not want to change his medication about the only thing that I can suggest is trying to provide a calm environment for him for an hour before LIGHTS OUT.

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janssenil, I just noticed your reference to the famous persons who either were ADD/ADHD or suspected that way. I just want to add that we are also superior at... ahem, how to put this delicately... romance. Not much relevance to the boys now, but they certainly have something to which to look forward.

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