The national office has released a slightly revised version of the “Introduction to Working With Scouts with Special Needs and Disabilities,” item #510-071. It is now available on this web site and should also be available from the Disabilities page of Scouting.org.
The COPE course was not the only focus of disability adaptations at Philmont Training Center last summer. Instructors and participants in the DIVERSEability and DisABILITY training course experienced several other adaptations. Long-time PTC instructor Scott Hellen (on left) was pleased to find the classrooms already prepared for individuals in wheelchairs. In a previous summer the PTC staff had produced wood blocks to raise table heights to better fit wheelchairs and the blocks were already installed when the course staff arrived. New picnic tables better accommodated people in wheelchairs as well as others with mobility problems.
Here is Volume 5, Number 4 of Abilities Digest. Highlights include:
- Adapting Activities: DisAbility adaptations for the COPE Challenge and course experience at the Philmont Training Center.
- Adapting Advancement: Perspectives on advancement as a method, not a mission, and on achievable challenges.
- Recognizing Abilities: Every council may present a Torch of Gold Award annually; Nominations for the 2019 Woods Services Award are due December 31; Earning the Special Needs Scouting Service Award.
The Seabase conference has been canceled for January 2019.
Come and join us in the beautiful Florida Keys to learn how to work with Scouts with disabilities. We are offering the volunteer training conference Diverseability and DisAbilitiy – How to Apply Proper Methods in Scouting with Special Needs
When: January 13-19, 2019
Where: Florida Seabase
It’s a great place to be in January!
This conference is for Scouters, professionals, and parents that have a passion for helping Scouts with disAbilities become involved in all that Scouting has to offer.
The BSA’s National Disabilities Awareness Subcommittee has a Resources Task Force that maintains lists of resources to help Scouts and leaders address special needs and disabilities. Lists of web site links and mobile apps have been posted to the AbleScouts.org web site under the “Tools” menu.
A list of helpful websites is at ablescouts.org/tools/ndas-links/.
A list of helpful applications appears at ablescouts.org/tools/ndas-apps/.
Bipolar disorder is one of many special needs that we need to understand in Scouting and in life. The negative side of a bipolar individual can be frightening and this prejudices many against anyone with bipolar disorder. Psychological and medical help can control bipolar behavior. Unit leaders can’t automatically exclude anyone based on a disability, especially if a youth member’s parent. Instead, leaders should find out how well the behavior is controlled. Bipolar disorder, like other disabilities, shows different degrees of affliction. Individuals should know where they fit on this scale. This keeps Scouting open to the family where practical and ensures the safety of other youth members.
Councils have tools available to estimate the number of Scouts with disabilities they serve. Three Fires and Erie Shores Councils have conducted surveys over the past few years to quantify and understand the breakdown of Scouts with disabilities within traditional and special needs units. This information helps the council Disabilities Awareness Committees improve service and support the Scouts, parents and volunteers. A one-page survey was included in the re-charter packets for each unit within each district of the councils. Specific objectives include:
- Identify the various disabilities represented within the council’s membership.
- Determine the need to target specific training events by district or council.
- Understand the breakdown of different disabilities within each district.
- Determine how the committee may provide support and/or resources to individuals, units or districts.