Accommodations For Scouts

Skit night around the campfireA typical troop has Scouts across the spectrum of behavior and maturity. About one in eight of these Scouts may have a special need or disability that calls for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) at school. When we accommodate the latter, we help more typical but less mature Scouts as well. Accommodations often fall into five categories: Timing, Scheduling, Setting, Presentation, and Response. We examine these below.

Be sure to accommodate Scouts when completing advancement requirements. While written requirements must be followed to the letter, accommodations may be used where appropriate. For example, a list might not need to be a written list, and the Scout might not be the one actually writing things down.

To insure success for all Scouts, some accommodations may be necessary to assist with completion of a task.

Some guiding principles are:

  • Not all Scouts with special needs require accommodations.
  • Ask parents for guidance as they may have ideas you haven’t thought of.
  • Be respectful of the Scout’s culture and ethnicity.
  • Integrate accommodations into meetings and outings.
  • The goal is to decrease a Scout’s frustration.

Sometimes using an accommodation may require other actions. Using these accommodations will hopefully decrease frustration for the Scout, although it may not necessarily eliminate the frustration.

Use Timing accommodations WHEN:

The Scout requires more time to read text, write responses, use electronic devices or require assistance to stay on track.

Accommodations: Allow more time to complete a task, change the time when subject is presented, or allow the Scout to complete the task in small time blocks.

Use Scheduling accommodations WHEN:

Coordination with the effects of medication needs to be considered or for Scouts who have a low frustration tolerance. Accom-

Accommodations: Schedule task when medication is most effective, utilize active participation during times when the Scout is likely to move around, and provide frequent breaks.

Use Setting accommodations WHEN:

A Scout has difficulty focusing attention in a group setting, and other Scouts may be distracted by the accommodation.

Accommodations: Personal assistance including supervision and cues, preferential seating, lighting and other environmental factors, and possibly a different location.

Use Presentation accommodations WHEN:

A Scout has specific sensory needs, difficulty reading or understanding assignments, or following directions.

Accommodations: Change the group size, determine the rate of introduction of new skills, lecture, or demonstration. Teach prerequisite skills, pro-   vide visual/ auditory cues, or use BookShare or Braille. Adapt existing materials, provide additional resources, use games, simulate role-playing, or activity-based lessons.

Use Response accommodations WHEN:

There is a physical or sensory disability that limits the Scout’s ability to respond, memorize, put things in sequence, orient direction, organize things, or other problems that may interfere with successful performance.

Accommodations: Allow the Scout to record answers, respond orally, use assistive electronic devices (computer, communication device, etc), make projects instead             of written papers, shorten assignments, reminder prompts, scribe answers, use adapted materials such as colored ropes, or use light weight equipment. Allow the Scout to point to answers or give multiple choices instead of requesting open-ended responses.

This contribution was taken from the presentation handout materials that accompany the “Program Planning for Scouts with Disabilities” and “Camping for Scouts with Disabilities” presentations posted at