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shankers
23-11-2005, 04:27 PM
SPECIAL NEEDS SCOUTING

It is the Scout Association’s Policy that no young person should be prohibited from joining the Association on account of physical, social, educational or mental capability. Therefore, there must be hundreds of young people involved currently who have Special Needs, and probably a lot more who are not involved because they have special needs.

My name is Michael Shanks, I am currently a Scouter with the Glasgow Disabled Scouts and a member of the National Commissioner (Special Needs) Support Team. I am currently working on a project to develop the resources available to leaders and advisers on the topic of Special Needs.

Do you think we provide enough resources?
What could we do better?
What would you like to see?

Your views are very important and I would like to hear from as many of you as possible. Either add to this forum or email:

[email protected] ([email protected])

Many thanks,

Michael.

RichmondDESC
23-11-2005, 06:55 PM
Difficult question. Our county has a special needs advisor and our district is in the process of appointing one, so in some respects I would say that we are fairly well provided for. The ACC special needs is very knowledgeable and she runs awareness workshops off her own back, sometimes as a part of other courses. She is only a phone call away and is always willing to help.

However, special needs doesn't figure prominently in either the old or the new training scheme. The question is, does it need to be? I personally think no, as it is quite a specialised area needing people with the specialised knowledge.

The main thing that I can see is needed, and this relates to most issues - not just special needs, is someone we can go to with specific questions. We are lucky in our county, others probably aren't. Is there a special needs advisor at Gilwell? Quite probably, but I don't actually know. If there is, then their details should be readily accessible on Scoutbase.

I think one of the difficulties leaders face is ignorance, whether that be dealing with special needs, different cultures or religions, medical conditions and the like. I suppose in a way they all fall under special needs. Sometimes it is difficult, and maybe a little embarrassing, for a leader to ask a child or their parents about their needs for fear of upsetting or offending the parent. I am sure in reality the parent would not be offended in any way, but sometimes you could feel awkward asking.

What makes this issue so difficult is that there is no one answer - everybodies needs are different. If I was to suggest one thing that would help then it would be to teach leaders how to talk to parents about their childs disabilities - then the fear of the unknown will be gone, as it will be unknown no more.

1stRustington
24-11-2005, 12:42 AM
Everyones abilities to do things are different whether they are classified "disabled" or not.

Provided you are open minded and willing to think laterally, then there should be no boundarys. The most important part is that all parties are honest with each other and that the leaders are seen to make a reasonable effort to accomodate all of their YP. If our unit is holding a hike, it is obvious that our 2 physically disabled members can't fully participate. However, they help the leaders with the running of bases/preparation of refreshments etc at checkpoints so are as included as possible.

We have 4 YP with various disabilities with an Explorer Unit of 30 and it causes no problems at all:)

Ryan G
24-11-2005, 01:01 PM
I'm on the ball today with all these debates going on!

The night is young on this one, so I'm not going to contribute much (plus I have a lecture in 10 minutes!) but it seems to me that although Scouting's ideals are very worthy of this day and age, and the efforts made are valiant, we're all struggling to keep up.

There's still uproar and opposition to girls in Scouting, with resources stretched and some Groups not being able to meet demands.

Similarly with those who are "disabled" in some way. In many a school and youth institute across the country, there are specially dedicated departments to assist in these matters. Leading is almost like a full time job, you have to teach, engage, reward, promote and organise a lot of children. Many leaders who have no professional qualifications do this amazingly well, coping with the many, ever changing demands society thrusts upon them.

But I think to continually thrust more and more of these demands upon them is a quick and easy way to deter them from volunteering. Ideally every not only does every district need a special needs advisor, but so does every group. Realistically it'll probably never happen.

Talking with parents, getting assistance from district can really help, but when it comes to large scale implementation that can't always happen. Large groups can have greater demands for advisors, some parents are unwilling to support (not just limiting to those with children who have special needs). In the end people can and will get left out of the loop.

Perhaps some form of more frequent adult training programme would be of assistance, I'm not sure, and I can't elaborate further because I have lessons!

shankers
24-11-2005, 06:15 PM
Thanks for all your comments so far - very much appreciated.

There is a wealth of resources out there already, but I suspect they are not widely available. The National Commissioner for Special Needs, Sue Burton, is probably at the end of a phone line whenever you need her - as are many other Special Needs Advisers up and down the country.

How many counties/areas out there have someone responsible for Special Needs?

I think that Special Needs Scouting is an extremely important area to develop and ensure is sucessful. Every section, regardless of age, every group, regardless of background, location or number of leaders will be affected in some way by Special Needs - and it is critical that we get it right so these young people are as fully integrated as they can be.

Please keep the comments flowing! Everything you say is being taken note of - watch this space for them being put into practice soon!

matt2501
28-11-2005, 04:58 PM
I do accept that these resources showld be available, but are they really that nessescary?

On Scoutbase, it states that requirments for badges are free to be changed t suit a member with special needs. My sister is a Brownie (A bit different I know) and her pack just do things that are not by the book, they need no resources. They will bend things to allow her to take part to e best of her ability.

So does Scouting really need all these resources??

curtisuk
29-11-2005, 09:51 AM
most of scouting now is to best ability of the scout in question but the recourses are ther to help leaders who do not have a clue on that subject.
use it or not its up to a leaders ability to know what resources are avaliable and if they are not sure thet should ask some one to point them in the right direction as I all was advis new leaders that sit befor me and others in the appointments commity and I know they all was mention in training.

shankers
29-11-2005, 12:28 PM
Again, many thanks for continued feedback.

The resources available are not really to assist with running of programme etc, as this is just taken as granted. They are there however to assit leaders with more complex disabilities, and tips and tricks that could be used to assist them to make the job a little easier.

For example, how much do we really know about Muscular Dystrophy? How to help someone with autism? How about dyslexia? This is the kind of support that we should aim to provide leaders - at the end of the day, without being politically correct, it is much harder work to have a Scout with Special Needs - but we can do some things to lighten the load at least slightly!

Keep the posts coming!

RichmondDESC
02-12-2005, 10:40 AM
This just through from our county Special Needs Advisor

There are 6 updated factsheets available from Scoutbase:

* Diabetics FS250009 (45KBytes PDF)
* Asthma FS250018 (20KBytes PDF)
* Speech Impairment FS250023 (49KBytes PDF)
* Autism FS250025 (45KBytes PDF)
* Cerebral Palsy FS250027 (46KBytes PDF)
* Down’s Syndrome FS250030 (45KBytes PDF)

So the information is there, it just needs good a communication system to let everyone know.

Kastor
18-12-2005, 02:15 PM
I have someone with Asperger syndrome and the Scoutbase factsheet is next to usless. Most of the info I got about it came from the internet and the normal support groups.

Calum
12-02-2006, 12:03 AM
I think a lot of buildings and groups have the facitilities for disabled Scouts (as lots are in church's and town halls etc.). Our group can't, as our hut was built in 1961, and comprises of two ex-POW huts. Our new hut should provide the facilities as far as I know. I also think it needs to be publicised more to the disabled children our there, who are probably unaware that they can join, or are discouraged for any reason. I think you're doing a great thing Michael, and just out of interest, how many are there in your group?

shankers
12-02-2006, 02:14 PM
Thanks for more feedback.

The Glasgow Disabled Scouts is by no means the only special needs scout group in the UK, but is certainly one of the largest. We currently have around 90 disabled young people, in four sections (Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Network). This results in more than 100 staff members - quite an operation!

Many thanks for your interest.

thirddun
12-02-2006, 08:32 PM
It's been interesting reading all your comments. I myself are technically classed as 'disabled' with a hidden disability as I am diabetic. Personally I do not view this as a disability rather more a challenge. Having had it since the age of 11 (now 20) it did not get in the way of Scouting and in fact pushed me to do many things I would never have dreamt of. I had some great leaders who were able to have the backup there in case i needed it. Whilst it is not always easy the best thing is to give the young people their independance. Recently we've had a Diabetic cub in our pack and naturally as mum's do best (as I well know) they worry. Once I had a chat with the parents and told them some of the things I got up to they soon relaxed. Also having had a deaf cub for a short while I have found it's best to be aware of the issue but DON'T make it an issue, if they need help they'll ask or you'll soon notice.

On a serious note I am more than happy to talk to anyone if they do have any questions, require advice or want a chat about Diabetes. I can be e-mailed any time at [email protected] Obviously I am not a proffessional in the subject but sometimes first hand experience can provide that valuable insight.

Richard
14-02-2006, 12:31 AM
Yeah I think that is generally the case in many circumstances where Scouting adapts and takes account, and manages with certain health problems people have.

Sometimes its more straightforward to take account of the health issues people have. Othertimes it takes a bit more thought and preparation, but it can be done.

The Special Needs advisers are a great assest, but also many people on this board, and around Scouting, either have dealt with these issues in a leader capacity, or have personally dealt with the health problem or may know someone who has.

Its a very good point to note most of us will deal with or have dealt with some form of health issue within our Section.

Bethanlouise16
02-05-2006, 09:32 AM
:confused: our ESU has been asked if we would take on a disabled person. he is in a wheelchair but cant speak or use his arms or legs.
we have mixed views about accepting him into our group.

we would love to because it will be a relly good experience mixing with people that arent dissabled but are worried that if we change our programme too much for him he wont be doing things that normal people do which may be what he wants. also we would loose out on doing things that we enjoy doing!!

any one got any ideas?? please email me!! [email protected]

Raksha
02-05-2006, 12:37 PM
Our Troop has several Scouts currently with a variety of impairments at different levels. We do not consider any of them to be disabled. We try very hard to make all activities accessible to all Scouts and Leaders, and we work round any challenges that we face, impairments include, severe visual, severe hearing, Aspergers, ADHD, moderate visual, diabetes, epilepsy,Dislexia, to name but a few.
Leader impairments include arthritis, visual (where are my glasses this time?), and the inevitable growing old disgracefully. The only barriers are attitudes.
So far as Bethan's group is concerned, the YP concerned can communicate, you just have to learn how to communicate with them and then ask them what they want to do! You wouldn't turn away some-one who couldn't speak your language would you? Wheelchairs can go to extraordinary places these days!

matt2501
02-05-2006, 02:59 PM
I am registere disabled, right now I am having problems with my heart and tend to leave everything to other leaders, and manage any paperwork, but for the rest of the time (I do have an ongoing condition) I just do as much as I can

shankers
28-09-2006, 08:37 PM
Thanks for all your further comments.

I would still like more feedback (particuarly in light of Penny's request for information regarding Downs Syndrome - which shows that maybe there needs to be more information out there).

Have you used the Scouts.org.uk Special Needs pages?
Have you used the factsheets?
Have you needed a factsheet which wasn't there?
What would you like to see on the SN Pages.

All your criticisms, comments, etc are gratefuly appreciated - and taken on board.

Look forward to hearing from you all!

Kind regards.


Michael

Raksha
10-10-2006, 02:58 PM
I would like to see fact sheet on Aspergers syndrome

matt2501
10-10-2006, 03:04 PM
I would like to see fact sheet on Aspergers syndrome
I would, and i wouldn't mind one on marfan's syndrome,

What are the chances of that?

shankers
10-10-2006, 04:15 PM
Thanks "Ninthskip" and Matthew.

A factsheet on Aspergers Syndrome would no doubt be useful. It is covered a little in the more general ones. I shall pass it on...

Marfan Syndrome is a little different. I currently have a kid with Marfan in my group, and the problem with it is defining exactly what it is. Because Marfan is principally to do with connective tissue (indeed it is referred to as Connective Tissue Disorder) it can go in extremes - from unnoticeable to wheelchair user etc.

Incidentally, there is a very good website at

http://www.marfan.org/nmf/GetContentRequestHandler.do?menu_item_id=2

which explains Marfan.

I suppose there are probably a lot of disabilities out there which we don't currently have factsheets for. Any other suggestions for new factsheets? Any suggestions for other Special Needs resources?

Thanks for your posts...

Kind regards.

Michael.

matt2501
10-10-2006, 05:11 PM
I currently have a kid with Marfan in my group,I myself have it!

Whenever anyone asks, I always point them to http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_4130000/newsid_4138000/4138030.stm
LOL, it was a long time ago

From what you said about it though,
THere are strict limits on what I can and can't do, and I am tired of having to explain it, I had severe chest pains (causedd by it) back in april and had to leave a string of camps, and miss others all together.

I still can't play contact sports, or do much physical activity at all, but to people who don't need to know, I am just a regular, tall, person. But withing Scouting, it has always posed a few problems

shankers
10-10-2006, 05:45 PM
Sorry Matt - I didn't pick up on that... I thought you had someone in your group with it!

Kastor
10-10-2006, 06:00 PM
I would like to see fact sheet on Aspergers syndromeI'm with you on that.

Raksha
11-10-2006, 10:29 AM
A factsheet on Aspergers Syndrome would no doubt be useful. It is covered a little in the more general ones.

The trouble with the other general fact sheets is that they can't cover all the extremes of Aspergers. I have several YP with this Syndrome all of whom are different!

Testarossa
14-10-2006, 09:56 PM
There is a fact sheet on Asperger Syndrome, but it is in with the Autism information based on the fact that it is on the Autistic Spectrum. (FS 250025)

The problem is that Autism is such a vast subject, and every child with the condition is very different. The factsheets are lacking in valuable information, but if it was made too detailed, perhaps people wouldn't read it. There are lots of other places on the web with valuable information on how to deal with YP on the spectrum.

My son has ASD which is what drew me into Scouting in the first place as he usually ends up excluded from anything he joins - that and the general lack of Beaver Scout Leaders.

A fact sheet on how to deal with sensory issues surrounding YP with Asperger SYndrome and Autistic Spectrum Disorders would be useful. All too often, I see these YP shut down - they sit on the floor and refuse to move even when they put themselves in danger. Other leaders will tend to shout at them, and this just makes them "switch off".

We also have a child with Attachment Disorder, a child with Dyspraxia and a nut allergy as well as a child with developmental delay due to being very prem. It certainly keeps us on our toes.

weefatbob
15-10-2006, 07:11 PM
Is it just me or have you started to get more kids with special needs than before?

Currently we have three kids in wheelchairs and about half a dozen with various autism related disorders. I find the information on ScoutBase useful, but never enough. I'm not sure it could ever be enough though.

Perhaps factsheets which have scouting examples. Like "I am taking my Cubs on a night hike... " and in that factsheet would be tips and tricks on how to make it better for a range of disabilities (e.g. those with ADHT - keep their attention, or those in wheelchairs - plan the route carefully etc etc).

I think it would also help if HQ could keep a database of local Special Needs advisers, as I don't have a clue who my local adviser is, and I could have done with her help!

Testarossa
15-10-2006, 08:40 PM
I know who our advisor is, but I've never spoken to her. There is a lot of info on the net that I have used, and talking to the parents gives you the best insight into each child. Since the parents know them better than anyone, I ask them what strategies work, and what doesn't. I use signals with a couple of the kids, such as pulling on my ear if they are not listening so I don't have to stop what I am doing, but they know I am not happy that they are not listening. I also use thumbs up to show them I am pleased with them without having to say it out loud in front of the rest of the group. Works for a couple of the kids, but not with others.

As for getting more SN children, all mine are in one year group, so they will go up to cubs within months of each other - God help Akela!

It has been noted in the local school that this years year 3 is a particularly bad year for children with behavioural difficulties. Must have been something in the water 7 yrs ago.

I do think that more children are getting a diagnosis of ASD & ADHD these days rather than being branded naughty or lazy which makes it look as though there is an increase. Once they have a diagnosis, parents are more willing to let them try things like Scouting, whereas before they wouldn't have sent them. My son has both diagnoses, but after changing his diet and putting him on a cooked breakfast instead of the usually rapidly absorbed carbohydrate cereals, there has been a significant improvement in his attention span. Makes you wonder whether a lot of the problems could be sorted through food.

Raksha
16-10-2006, 07:54 AM
Is it just me or have you started to get more kids with special needs than before?

I think that this is down to an improved attitude towards children with SPecial Needs. It is becoming recognised that ALL children benefit from additional activities/opportunities and that their special need should not prevent them from taking part. I think back to when I was a child (not so long ago - only 46 now) and you just did not see people with Special needs in the community as you do now. there were special schools and homes where people were shut away. A lot of work has been done by a lot of people to get to this place and as Scouters we can continue this by offering opportunities as best we can for the individual.

05-03-2007, 04:36 PM
I have many learning difficuties and have briallinat leaders who all are tought by our GSL what to do if my self who has aspergous syndome or the other autisic Scout who is severely autisic have sensory overloads. But, I am going to the Jamboree this year and am very worried that there wont appreciate how difficult some situations such as the changes, differnt people and the such as well as the airport to poland for international expirence. I have tried explaining as has my parent but there dont understand there are trying. Has anyone found anyother resource that I can show my Contingent leader to help them understand?

Nick
05-03-2007, 06:00 PM
Try your local authority, West Berkshire has a Autistic Development Worker, part of her job is to advice local organizations on Aspergers Syndrome. I arranged for her to give a short talk one evening on Aspergers Syndrome to the leaders and helpers in the district. She arranged for parents of a cub to attend the evening to answer questions. It was very useful with lots of tips and things to look out for that aren't covered on the factsheet from Scoutbase.

My son had just been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at the point where I joined the troop as an ASL. I organized the talk following a summer camp where the SL at the time thought he knew better how to manage my son's condition than I did! So I do understand the difficulty you are having.

On a more practical note, have you considered going to the Jamboree for a weekend before it starts as part of the build crew? This would allow you to have a look round before it gets crowded. This might help you with the typical Asperger's problem of finding unfamiliar situations difficult.

One problem I have noticed with the Special Needs advice from headquarters, training courses (module 36) and on this notice board is that when you ask for advice on specifics such as what activities are appropriate for a wheelchair user, the usual reply is that "you should adapt your existing programme or game". This I found to be particularily unhelpful as what I and I suspect most leaders want in this situation is a set of examples which other leaders have found to work. When you first gain a Scout with a special need with which you are unfamiliar progamme examples, games and tips appropriate to their needs are very useful for the first few weeks until you gain more understanding of their abilities.

I think it would be very useful to setup a database or forum for the various special needs with tips, appropiate games or things to definately avoid could be listed. My first tip for Asperger's Syndrome is to distribute the menu for a camp well in advance to all of the campers. Then encourage the parents to try out the foods with their Scouts, I have found that this reduces the cases of Scouts refusing to eat unfamiliar food.

All the best with the Jamboree,

Nick

Raksha
05-03-2007, 06:29 PM
Katie, you have a private message

05-03-2007, 07:01 PM
Thanks NinthSkip-Replied

Another tip- Have visual timetables!!

Biscit
05-03-2007, 07:07 PM
Not all aspergics are alike, I know one who will eat anything.

05-03-2007, 07:22 PM
I am not to bad on texture in the mouth just clothes lol!! Although, I hate it if I get told I am having ***** for tea then it gets changed to """"""""""!

derekchambers
06-03-2007, 11:32 AM
Generally I am not thaat involved with Special Needs but I am currently dooing an IT course for a special needs group and I must admit there are not enough resouvres. Luckily my ASL is very experienced with special needs and inclusion and our district have a special needs advisor so it has been made eassier

Derek

Biscit
06-03-2007, 11:59 AM
Generally I am not that involved with Special Needs but I am currently doing an IT course for a special needs group and I must admit there are not enough resources. Luckily my ASL is very experienced with special needs and inclusion and our district have a special needs advisor so it has been made easier

One thing that's just popped into my head (echoing Matt's comments) is that everyone is different, we all have our special needs. Sadly it seems many seem to have a very narrow definition of what constitutes "normal"- not accusing anyone, just stating my experience.

In my Explorer Unit we counted at the last census 5 out of 22 members had conditions that could be termed a disability or a long term illness, but I doubt any of the other leaders could name all five. Actually come to think of it I would have to sit down with a membership list.

This is not to say that the others are ignorant of the needs of their fellow leaders and explorers, just that we are all treated as people with our own individual charactaristics. Many of the disabilities will go under the radar, yet we cope with each other on our own level.

derekchambers
06-03-2007, 11:02 PM
i agree everyone is different we probably have out of 40 members around 10 that could be termed a disability or a long term illness, yet we have only officially been told of 2. We also generally find that those that dont do well at school because of this are excellent cubs/scouts and love the practicle side of the program we do like kayacking, climbing, archery etc

Penny E
07-03-2007, 07:29 PM
Even though we have several Special needs kids the most challenging problem for me has been ADHD because of the impact it has on the behaviour of the rest of the Cub Pack. I can't remember if there is an SA factsheet, but if there was, it wasn't any help at all! I have learned by trial and error to cope with the outbursts that come with ADHD, but I could have done with a far better set of "coping strategies" from the start.

For those who remember my question about the Downs boy we wanted to admit to Beavers ... He has been with us for a term, and it has been a complete success. He is totally integrated in the Colony and the other children adore him. Best of all, his confidence has rocketed, so he has begun to interact far better with his peer group at school, and has been making huge leaps academically. His parents and the teachers are staggered at what a difference there has been in him.

However, my favourite observation is that he is now seen to be "more normal" by other parents, and I believe he has even had a couple of tea invitations, which certainly wasn't the case before.

My Beaver leader deserves a medal for this one.

Penny E

tomahawk
07-03-2007, 09:20 PM
i personally would find it useful to have a "checklist" of things I might need to consider for differently abled children - like a list of things I should remember to ask the parents about.

At Beavers level, many of the children are newly diagnosed or in the process of being diagnosed, so its very hard for the parents to admit that there is a probem and they often downplay the issues. ("oh he can be a bit unruly" - child bounces off the walls!) Being able to say "many children with dyspraxia are XYZ...does that apply to your child?" would be useful as a way of opening discussions because the parents may not actually be very forthcoming with the information.

Also, there doesnt seem to be much information on the emotional impact that the disbility has on the child - low self esteem, agression, depression, behavioural problems etc. It would be useful to understand how feeling different is not the same as feeling special, and how we can help the children boost their self esteem, control their aggression etc.

Tourettes may also be a useful guideline to have.

shankers
07-03-2007, 10:37 PM
Thanks for your continued comments - sorry I haven't added here for a while.

I am still keen to hear your views, and I have taken on board your suggestions about new factsheets.

If I have got it right, most of you think that some factsheets are useful (although some should be changed) but also a lot of situations can't be helped by factsheets (specific to the situation).

Any ideas how we can improve our collection?


Michael

RedSquirrel
08-03-2007, 09:31 PM
great debate shankers...i have sent you a long winded email so i apologise in advance!!!

im with you all on the idea that we should be a ble and willing to create and change a programme to fit a special or extra need but many leaders and helpers nedd to have readable resouces in order to take in the info about a condition. I have had many youngsters through beavers with mild learning conditions and some with severe problems, but they are all beavers and scout memebers.my own son has several medical and learning conditions which make him who he is, but he is practicaly an explorer ( apart from the fact he is 5) as he knows more about scouting than most of our scouts!!!
im lucky enough to have just done a degree in the field and i work full time for a specialisy college so im always on a course or reading a new descriptive about some new condition. what we ( as leaders ) really need is to know who to call and where to email for each county/area. if your group/survey shankers can highlight that then we might get somewhere...

as for the jamboree, it should be well adapted, im working with the special needs teams and i will post a link to this thread with my head of department..

09-03-2007, 06:18 PM
UPDATE:

I emailed my contingent leaders explaining it all! Anyay got a phone call from one of the leadership saying that her sister is also Apspergic so it wont be a problem she then went on to say that I was to let her know what triggered the overloads. Any way shes waiting on CSU (I think the Contingent Support) to find out where the qiet areas are going to be. We are also seeing if we can get on the flight earlier! So things are looking up :)

RedSquirrel
10-03-2007, 10:37 AM
katie, you can request ( or the leaders can) an early entry on to the plane and you should be allowed to have a first exit too...

Testarossa
10-03-2007, 02:16 PM
We always get on the plane first with my son (he is high functioning autism) and we try to sit by the exit door so we can get off first. The problem with getting off is that despite the seatbelt lights being on, passengers get up to get their bags and you can't get through the scrum to get off first unless you are by the exit.

Worth asking which exits will be opening on landing as some airlines filter everyone off through one door (usually Ryanair and Thomsonfly)

jediwannabe
07-01-2008, 12:45 PM
We always get on the plane first with my son (he is high functioning autism) and we try to sit by the exit door so we can get off first. The problem with getting off is that despite the seatbelt lights being on, passengers get up to get their bags and you can't get through the scrum to get off first unless you are by the exit.

Worth asking which exits will be opening on landing as some airlines filter everyone off through one door (usually Ryanair and Thomsonfly)

I don't know much (or anything) about autism, but wouldn't perhaps be better to wait until everybody else has gotten off the plane? I'm just wondering ;)

big chris
07-01-2008, 12:57 PM
I don't know much (or anything) about autism, but wouldn't perhaps be better to wait until everybody else has gotten off the plane? I'm just wondering ;)

1) autism - v broad term. everything from keen stamp collector to person with no apparent connection with external stimulus can be classed as autistic.

2) queuing with an autistic child can be tough. expecting him or her to understand something like 'having to wait your turn' is difficult. to try to teach that lesson on crowded plane is daft. there are better places to teach about queuing... alton towers is a classic. 2 hr wait for gratification.

ianjames
07-01-2008, 09:51 PM
Special needs scouting is a very emotive area, the range of disabilities both visiable and invisiable can be too much for a lot of leaders to contend with. As a group we have I hope always tried to accomodate those disabled young people who have wanted to join us and i think for the most part we have been sucessful with them, possibly because some of the leaders have first hand knowledge of the conditions we are working with or have been able to work well the young people and parents. Consequently we have always had a high number of special needs young people in the group because it is known we will take them where other groups won't. In all the time I have been involved only once have I refused to take a Young person away on activities and that was on H & S grounds because I couldn't spare 2 leaders to watch and follow him when he decided to dissapear.
I would agrea there are a wealth of fact sheets concerning a multitude of conditions BUT the written word doesn't answer spacific questions that leaders may have, it only generalises.
As for district, we donot have a special needs advisor, and the County organised event we attended was next to useless. Those there had more idea than the people putting on the event.
Requirements for badges can be tailored for all young people, we do not changew the program, just accept that some will do better than others on a lot of things, its the effort put into it that matters.

Mrs Chug
10-01-2008, 07:03 PM
I have two Autistic children in our group of Beavers, one of them is my son.

So I am quite lucky to have already been on a course, when he was diagnosed, on how to comunicate with him and on how to calm him down as he does get very excitable but he also finds it very difficult deal with long sentances and getting him to wait is also most impossible. So when looking at and planing an activity I am thinking on two levels one for the more able beavers and on a different level or working out how best to explain to those who have difficulty in understanding. I have also had the chance of working with special needs children and adults incl those with down syndrome and md.

And on apersonal note I have also had experience of dealing with a child having a heart problem, as my daughter had tetrolgy of fallots till she was 8 months old and under went open heart surgery, so I know what to look out for in children with these types of difficulty. And as I myself have been diabetic for 27 years and as I only have one hand, I am able to look at it from all points. As on a personal note I have been the victim of the "Do you take sugar, syndrome". But as some may class me as disabled, I have never viewed myself as this as I have never known anything different as far as my hand is concerned.

I have alsways taken part in everything that I can and will always do my best, I have completed rock climbing and absailing, Number 1 Para assualt course in Aldershot, I drive a manuel car, the only thing I can't do is knit, but that is no great loss. But the key thing I don't do is judge, I will let a child try everything if I think that they are having problems I will say have you thought of trying to do it this way, they will always find their own way round things.

Taeniura
11-01-2008, 09:47 AM
The attitudes in society have changed over the years and in my opinion we now accept that YP with disabilities have as much right to take part in activities as able bodied YP. My old group in London had a delightful YP with Cerebral Palsy. He joined the group as a Beaver and when I left he had just achieved his Chief Scouts Gold Award. One of his parents used to attend and help in the early days but he asked them to stop coming when he reached Cubs as he did not want to be marked out as special.His fellow Cubs took a pride in helping him, he appreciated that there were some games that he could not do in his wheelchair so he helped referee, other games he was a demon player. He used to sail with the Group as a Scout and has continued on to Explorers.It is amazing where wheel chairs can go now and I am sure that he will go far.

We used to have a Cub in my new Group with ADHD who was a bit of a handful, I contacted the District SNA she promised to come over and help and advise but never turned up so we just coped on our own. We were asked to take a YP with Downs last year. Two of us went to see the Mother as no one in the Group has any experience of Downs. She explained to us all the problems we talked about the Scout program and what Scouting had to offer, two days later his Mother rang me and said that she had decided that he was not going to come, no reason was given.

Disability is not a reason why a YP should not take part in Scouting, support is needed in some cases but the support and help that the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts can give makes it possible and confirm my faith in human nature.

Like Mrs Chug I can't knit either but we all have different talents and life would be very boring if we were all the same

Testarossa
02-02-2008, 11:54 PM
I don't know much (or anything) about autism, but wouldn't perhaps be better to wait until everybody else has gotten off the plane? I'm just wondering ;)

No, cos then you have to queue at imigration to show passports. If you get off first, you can be through immigration before everyone else crowds you out:bigsmiley

We are off to Spain again next week. I plan to take hand luggage only, as waiting fro the bags is also a nightmare as he tries to climb on the moving belt.:o

Testarossa
02-02-2008, 11:56 PM
1) autism - v broad term. everything from keen stamp collector to person with no apparent connection with external stimulus can be classed as autistic.

2) queuing with an autistic child can be tough. expecting him or her to understand something like 'having to wait your turn' is difficult. to try to teach that lesson on crowded plane is daft. there are better places to teach about queuing... alton towers is a classic. 2 hr wait for gratification.

Sorry to double post, but just wanted to point out that if you take evidence of your child's disability to Alton Towers (such as DLA letter) you can get wrist bands that lets the child (or adult) and up to 3 carers board the rides from the exit, based on the fact that Autistic kids don't queue, and many rides do not accept wheelchairs though the queue.

Alton Towers is very disability friendly.

Mrs Chug
03-02-2008, 12:01 AM
No, cos then you have to queue at imigration to show passports. If you get off first, you can be through immigration before everyone else crowds you out:bigsmiley

We are off to Spain again next week. I plan to take hand luggage only, as waiting fro the bags is also a nightmare as he tries to climb on the moving belt.:o

I can really understand that one.

Although we don't use that as a reason for getting through early. As we make it into a game for Kieran, the only time we have got on or off a plane early was when I broke my foot and not down to Kieran although he loved it it, being carted rounted the airport not having to walk, he sat their waving at every one as we drove by.

husky
02-03-2008, 11:22 AM
Apologies for digging up this old(ish) thread... but I was doing a search and stumbled upon this.

I am an -occasional- ACSL with a pack in London (where I am doing my studies), and I do scouting in Singapore as well, that being my usual country of residence. I've recently come to meet a Scouter in Singapore who is keen to start up a special needs cub pack, where the membership would be composed of youth from a local diabetics support club. Discussions are in the works with both parties (scout leaders and the diabetics club) and the new pack is quite close to being established, but they are seeking advise from scout groups elsewhere (meaning... everywhere and anywhere in the world!) who have had some experience in catering to such special groups. This is the first time this has been attempted in my country, so we're (they're) completely new to this. Any tips on who I can contact regarding such a venture, or if anyone here has any experiences and pointers to share, it'll really be much appreciated!

Testarossa
02-03-2008, 12:02 PM
I did consider setting up a Cub Pack for kids with Autism, but the amount of help I would have needed was phenominal. I don't have any advise, but with you the best of luck with this venture.

RedCoat
02-03-2008, 12:55 PM
Norfolk Scout County operate a special needs Scouting unit in Norwich. I think you can find a link to the Leader through their web site.

Testarossa
14-03-2008, 10:14 AM
Can't find the link. If you know of a link to any special needs groups, please can you post it. I am trying to set up a list of special needs sections/groups for a web site I moderate for parents of children with special needs.

Thanks.

gerbil
18-05-2008, 09:26 AM
Here's a link for the Glasgow Disabled Scouts http://www.glasgowdisabledscouts.org/ can't think of any more off the top of my head but i'll see what i can come up with.

big chris
19-05-2008, 02:46 PM
http://web.mac.com/wee_pad/BLDF/Scouts.html

Testarossa
20-05-2008, 04:50 PM
These links are great. I've posted them on the Parents Side by Side website for parents who have kids with special needs to see.

Thank you. Keep them coming please if you find any more.:bigsmiley

Biscit
15-09-2008, 12:32 PM
One thing that's just popped into my head (echoing Matt's comments) is that everyone is different, we all have our special needs. Sadly it seems many seem to have a very narrow definition of what constitutes "normal"- not accusing anyone, just stating my experience.

In my Explorer Unit we counted at the last census 5 out of 22 members had conditions that could be termed a disability or a long term illness, but I doubt any of the other leaders could name all five. Actually come to think of it I would have to sit down with a membership list.

This is not to say that the others are ignorant of the needs of their fellow leaders and explorers, just that we are all treated as people with our own individual charactaristics. Many of the disabilities will go under the radar, yet we cope with each other on our own level.

Thank's Biscit, that's a very useful and insightful post. :mad:

big chris
15-09-2008, 12:45 PM
Thank's Biscit, that's a very useful and insightful post. :mad:

it makes sense to me...

locally to me, the borough is reducing statements by 50%/year. (mo. it makes no sense.)

if you look at areas of social deprivation, the kids might be school action or school action plus with about 3% statemented. Move 3 bus stops down the road to an area of middle class, well off types and there is almost nobody on school actions but in some areas, 20% statemented needs.

So... are socially deprived children less likely to be autisitic? or do their needs slip under the radar becaue their families can't play the system, can't afford external consultants etc.

i can point to very autistic kids being denied adequate support by an iniquitous system. I can also point to kids who do not get support because their parents cannot accept that their child has special needs. (A process that is often described as being like a bereavement. You grieve for the son you will never have before you can move on with loving and supporting the son that you have.)

Scouting attracts the autistic. It appeals with its structure and routine. So we are likely to see both the recognised and the undiagnosed needs and possibly to have a higher than average number among our membership. How we recognise it, deal with it, support and help varies greatly. I am about to get 4 kids into my troop. 3 have statements for autism and 1 really should have one. at school, they get 2 LSAs between 4. At scouts? they will be thrown into a mix with 47 other kids... how will they cope... who knows? I'll do my best but it will be difficult for them. very difficult.