Membership Survey Tool

This tool has been used by several councils to survey its membership and estimate the number of Scouts with disabilities they serve. The tool was developed and approved by the National Disabilities Awareness Subcommittee.

Several BSA 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.

This information comes from an Abilities Digest article that also summarized results collected by Three Fires and Erie Councils.

The Survey Tool

Here are links to the survey:

What the Survey Asks

The survey starts by identifying the unit and the leader filling out the survey:

  • Unit number, district
  • #Scouts in unit, #Scouts with disabilities, #Leaders with disabilities
  • Name of person completing survey, position, phone, email address

The remainder of the survey asks for the number of Scouts who fall into these categories:

  • Scouts w/ Disabilities who have earned the unit’s highest rank in the past year (i.e., Arrow of Light, Eagle, Summit, Denali)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger’s syndrome, PDD-NOS)
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Blind or Sight-Impairment
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Cognitive disability (learning disabilities, reading disorders such as Dyslexia, writing disorders such as Dysgraphia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Speech Impairments, Down Syndrome, etc.)
  • Developmental delay (Down Syndrome)
  • Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities (Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Tourette Syndrome, etc.)
  • Physically disabled (Cerebral palsy, spina bifida, paralysis, mobility impairments, etc.)
  • Seizures / Epilepsy
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Multiple Coexisting Disabilities

Sample Results

These numbers are based on estimates from unit leaders and may not reflect formal medical diagnoses.

  • A typical response rate: 50% of units in the council (30% is good)
  • Percentage of youth with disabilities: 10% to 18%
  • Common disabilities
    • ADHD: 4%-8% of youth
    • Autism spectrum: 1% to 3%