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THREE FIRES COUNCIL St. Charles, IL Special Needs Committee. The Three Fires Council’s Champions-”OHANA” Program. “Nobody Left Behind” “Nobody Forgotten”. SCOUTING for boys with special needs. (FOR ALL SCOUT LEADERS). Objective :.

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three fires council st charles il special needs committee

St. Charles, IL

Special Needs Committee

the three fires council s champions ohana program

The Three Fires Council’s Champions-”OHANA” Program

“Nobody Left Behind”

“Nobody Forgotten”


By the end of this session the participants will have a better idea of how to work with the boys with special “abilities” in the patrol/den and troop/pack to guarantee success for all of the boys.


Why are you here?

What do you expect from this session?

What problems are you dealing with?

what is a disability
What is a disability?

What is the difference between a boy with a problem and a boy with a disability?

A disability is a real and permanent medical condition and cannot be eliminated.

A problem is made by individuals and can and should be eliminated. A disability can sometimes cause a problem in behavior, in learning, and/or in socialization.

Disabilities can be physical or mental and include learning disorders.

what is a learning disability
What is a Learning Disability?

Learning disabilities is a term used to describe a group of disorders that can affect a person’s listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities.

Other areas that can be affected include motor coordination, self-regulatory behaviors, social perception and social understanding.

what is a physical disability
What is a Physical Disability?

Physical disabilities are impairments that are physical or mental that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Examples include: seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, working


Boys (and adults) will sometimes try to eliminate a problem without understanding the cause (disability).

It is our job as leaders to prevent these situations in the first place by understanding the disability.


We must, as leaders, always keep in mind that each patrol/den and each troop/pack is one group, but that the group is always made up of individuals.

Boys with disabilities have the same need as any boy to be successful, and to be accepted socially and emotionally. We must work with the problem to insure success. For this to happen, we must REACH out to these Scouts and be sure they are part of the group.

reach out to these scouts and be sure they are part of the group
REACH out to these Scouts and be sure they are part of the group.






examples of disabilities
Examples of Disabilities




Learning\ Developmental





work with the parents and the scout
Work with the parents and the scout.

Communicate, communicate, and communicate more, with parents and the scout.

Do not talk about the scout behind his back, even to his parents, but include him.

It is HIS disability and HIS life you are dealing with.

Assume he is competent to understand and handle his disability.

You will be surprised how much more cooperation and effort you will get by respecting the scout's abilities to understand his own situation.

Find out what the problem really is and its characteristics find out what, if any medication he is taking and how often (what is the expected effect?)

Find out what triggers the characteristics, and how to avoid these triggers.

Find out how they handle the problem at home, at school (what does the Teacher do?)

Determine the best accommodations (ex: shorten assignments, reminder prompts)

What do the parents and scout suggest you do to communicate on a regular basis - to get feedback as to how you are doing as well as any changes that may have occurred with the scout (medication changes, etc.)

If the problem is truly a disability and if the scout wants to talk about his disability with the scouts in the patrol/troop, den/pack, give him time to teach and let the group learn along with you.

Leave this up to the scout and his parents how much is said. Some boys and their parents do not want to admit a disability and feel they will be treated differently if others know.

he s just a boy and boys will be boys he doesn t have a disability
"He's just a boy, and boys will be boys. He doesn't have a disability"?

DO NOT DIAGNOSE, accept parents answer.

Turn the problem around and bring it on yourself. This way you will not antagonize the parents or the scout. (example: I am having trouble dealing with the behavior. Your son isn't getting the benefits of the program because I am spending time on him rather than delivering the program.)

Ask the same type questions as above and enlist the aid of the parents (what do you do at home, etc.)

plan meetings so every scout will be successful
Plan meetings so every scout will be successful.


Good attitudes towards others are contagious. If you treat the Scout with disabilities as you treat the others, all of the Scouts will catch on and will see him in a positive light.

Communicate with the SCOUT about his problem and treat him with respect.

Don't talk about him, talk with him!! Never be condescending. Assume he is competent.

Use the Golden Rule on everyone!

have written rules of behavior and have them posted
Have written rules of behavior and have them posted.

Make your rules reasonable, state them simply in terms the Scouts understand.

No more than 5 and do not bend them. (With more than 5, most boys will not be able to remember them.)

If possible, let all the Scouts participate (take ownership) deciding what these are.

establish guides toward the proper way of acting
Establish guides toward the proper way of acting

If rules are broken, role play appropriate behavior required.

Discuss with the scouts what following the rules would “look like.”

Set the limits and establish ways to intervene when rules are broken.

have different levels of difficulty for an activity
Have different levels of difficulty for an activity.

Break the activity into parts.

We want everyone to be able to complete the task at hand.

Be creative.

Find ways to make every Scout successful.

Maybe different parts of the job are appropriate for different scouts.

give extra time and attention to those who need it
Give extra time and attention to those who need it.

DO NOT "baby" the Scout or do anything for him that he can do for himself!

Remember fair is not the same as equal.

If necessary, explain to the scouts that they too will need some extra help on something sometime.

give extra time and attention to those who need it1
Give extra time and attention to those who need it.

You are giving help so that one particular scout can be successful too.

Fair is every individual getting what he needs. Fair is not necessarily equal.

praise and accept the best effort of each scout
Praise and accept the best effort of each scout.

Keep expectations high, but give the freedom to fail.

If you don't, a boy will quit trying.

Challenge each scout to his own limits and don't let him use his disability as a "cop out”.

praise and accept the best effort of each scout1
Praise and accept the best effort of each scout.

Don't allow him to get overly frustrated.

If he has done his best, that's what the program is all about.

Again, don't do for him what he can do for himself.



Eliminate the word "don't". Try “Let’s do this instead”.

If a Scout is doing something unacceptable, give him a positive alternative.

Redirect him.

redirect cont
Redirect – cont.

Example: if a scout is getting aggressive, don't tell him to stop, tell him to ....

Be specific!

Give examples. Know your scout and what would be a good alternative.

If behavior is simply to get attention, ignore the behavior but not the scout.

redirect cont1
Redirect – cont.

This is a vicious circle and your response can make the difference.

Look at the behavior as his way of communicating.

Figure out what his behavior is saying. Don't try to control the behavior.

Transition to acceptable behavior by redirecting.

do not give a choice if that choice is not an option
Do not give a choice if that choice is not an option.

If there is a choice to be made, let the Scout (or group) make the choice.

You, as the leader, must honor the choice he (or the group) has made.

Choose your words carefully.

Remember, if you do give a choice, you must abide by the decision.

running your program
Running your program

The need (usually) to slow down activities.

The need to experiment, to find out what works and what doesn’t.

The level of participation by boys could vary considerably.

running your program cont
Running your program – cont.

Look to parents and others for help.

Seek professional guidance if needed.

Some leaders prefer parents attend all scouting activities to attend to their own child’s needs.

Others leaders prefer not to have parents present in order to help the scout develop more independence.

running your program cont1
Running your program – cont.

A good source of additional help is a nearby troop or crew, the Order of the Arrow or a local chapter of Alpha Phi Omega (a service fraternity for college men and women)

You may need to designate specific leaders as aides to the unit rather than giving them a den/patrol to lead.

Aiding Scouts with disabilities is an excellent Good Turn for other Scouts

adaptive approaches
Adaptive Approaches

Materials Adaptation

Example:A Cub Scout has little hand strength and is trying to carve.

Solution:Substitute a bar of soap or balsa wood.

Architectural Adaptation

Example: A Scout in a wheelchair is unable to go hiking because the trail is inaccessible.

Solution: Substitute “trip” for “hike” and/or select alternative route.

Leisure Companion Adaptation

Example: A Cub Scout cannot stay on task and runs around.

Solution: An adult or older youth can become a buddy for the Cub Scout.

adaptive approaches cont
Adaptive Approaches – cont.

Cooperative Group Adaptation

Example: A Cub Scout has difficulty remembering the steps in a project.

Solution: Work in cooperative groups to ensure completion for everyone.

Behavioral Adaptation

Example: A Scout is unable to participate because of low concentration levels.

Solution: Talk with parents/guardians about a behavioral plan.

timeless values
Timeless Values

Use common sense – treat them with respect and dignity

Be understanding – people with disabilities have the same responsibilities and obligations that you have (only theirs might be harder to meet!)

Be patient. Don’t hurry; try to match their pace.

Be natural. Don’t worry about using words related to the disability (example; “see you later”, or “give me a hand”).

timeless values cont
Timeless Values – cont.

Speak directly to the person, not to his companion.

Don’t assume the person is sick. Most people with disabilities are healthy. Remember, you can’t “catch” a disability.

Help make your community accessible. Are your meeting places user friendly? Campsites? - service opportunities!

Key words – Tolerance and Inclusion; Acceptance, Mainstreaming

six point plan for success
Six Point Plan for Success:

Keep precise/accurate records, especially of advancement. (This is critical to troops)

Use official Scouting equipment, it is the best available for camping and hiking.

Seek advise from leaders presently working with Scouts with disabilities.

Follow the program guidelines.

Develop and use the patrol method. (Troops)

Keep the outing in Scouting.

advancement in cub scouts
Advancement in Cub Scouts

The boy’s performance is judged solely by his parents on the basis of whether he has done his best toward meeting a requirement.

Requirements for any achievement can be substituted by the Cubmaster and pack committee.

The Webelos leader should use the Cub Scout motto in determining whether a scout has earned an activity badge. Do your best!

Leaders should help parents draw the line between expecting too much and too little.

advancement in boy scouts
Advancement in Boy Scouts

Boy Scouts should be challenged to meet the requirements for ranks as stated in the handbook.

In cases where it is impossible for scouts to complete merit badges required for the Eagle rank use the Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges.

Use an Individualized Scouting Advancement Plan(ISAP) to help the Scout modify rank requirements.

Boys with severe disabilities may remain in Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting or Venturing beyond the usual age limits to continue to earn advancement awards.


Remember, Scouts with disabilities and non-disabled scouts are more alike than they are different.

Focus on the sameness' and figure out how to make the differences less.

Making the program work depends on your attitude and willingness to make it work. It can and it does work!