Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
Scouting and SN(30 Posts)
following on from a couple of recent threads, our experiences with the second-nearest group have been really positive (the very nearest seemed excessively strict and formal for our particular needs!!)
Ours is fantastic. DS is a beaver. Plenty of children on the spectrum. Adults who keep the children firmly under control while allowing them enough slack to have great fun.
DS with AS was a Beaver, and a Cub, and a Scout and is now an Explorer Scout.
Scouts have been fantastic with him all the way, firm and consistent and very good at reasonable accommodation and second chances.
So that's 11 years of endorsements!
My 3 DC's with Down's (1 boy 2 girls) went right through the Scouting Movement 6-22yrs. It was brilliant they went to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Had a fantastic time and totally included. Even to the point we were hosts to 5 Jordanian scouts at one time! LOL
I always recommend scouting for kids who are slightly out of step with their peer group in some way.
DS has been going to Beavers for a few months now and loves it. They have been very considerate and patient. Giving him jobs to do knowing he cannot keep still for long periods or concentrate. He feels part of it all and its good for social skills too
My DS did well in Beavers and Cubs and we always found the leaders really helpful and supportive. Scouts wasn't quite so good, although the leader was supportive. There are regional (or maybe district) SN co-ordinators so they have someone to turn to for advice.
My mother ran a cub pack some 40 years ago and even then they were told to be as inclusive as possible to children with disabilities. She particularly remembers an autistic boy and making arrangements for him. Scouting gets my vote.
Sorry to rain on your parade, but we have not had good experiences with the scouting movement here. DS (AS) went to beavers but they refused to move him to the cubs in the troup as they couldn't deal with him - but they never asked for help or advice or said there was a problem even when I had asked.
We went to a different group for cubs after a while and they excluded him after he spat at a child who had been goading him all evening. The other child was only told off. There excuse was that it the young leaders didn't have the experience to deal with him. Again we had been talking to them and they didn't admit that they were struggling and ask for help before it became too much for them.
We are thoroughly disenchanted with the whole scouting movement as a result.
Not hang, I mean haven't (prob obvious that be prepared isn't my motto)
Does anyone have any exprience with a child with a resitricted mobility? Our son has EDS, plus Dyspraxia. He also has various other co-morbid conditions which would mean that if he was away for more than 3 hours we would need to be with him - to cath. him etc - but he is Home Ed-ed at the moment and we thought it would be a great way to get him out of the home environment, before he eventually goes back into a school.
I would try to contact your local Headquarters and ask them which unit in your area would be best for him.
Some leaders have experience with Sn's and others dont, some are prepared to learn and others not so.
If they make some suggestions, go and visit a few and ask questions.
I do Guides not scouts but in our local units we have had girls with many different needs and some have bought their one to one carers with them.
Scouting should be able to be flexible to allow your Ds to access it.
do check with your district hq as ineed says, our area has a sn pack that has a really good reputation locally an the pack 2 of mine go to are really keen to get dd3 in, she has mobility issues and others too. You could also see if you could get something like direct payments to pay for a carer to go along, something we are just starting to think about for dd3.
Beavers was very good for us. Ds1, AS. was at his worst then. And the 2 ladies went over and beyond the call of duty for him. They threatened that he wouldn't be allowed to the christmas party, one year, after persistent bad behaviour, and that sorted him right out!! Now in Cubs. Seems fine. Is going on Cub camp soon. And is VERY excited.
Dd2 has cp and was a beaver quite happily, went to camp etc.
I also know another young teen with a condition that presents v similarly to AS (he was originally dx with AS for four years before an MRI for something else revealed a brain malformation) and he has a carer provided by SS who attends scouts with him. He's been off to camp and all sorts and it has been so good for him.
Tbh if there is an issue with a particular group it is usually to do with the volunteers themselves and an incomplete understanding of the options available to them. Not all of the volunteers will be au fait with everything scouting (particularly if they are v young or are parents that just got roped in because the group needed leaders and their kid happened to be a member!). The scouters who do it because they love it (and remember none of these guys are paid, they give up an enormous amount of their own time to plan and lead) will bend over backwards to make scouting accessible to everyone.
If there is an issue with a particular group, I would speak with the district or group commissioner, or fill in the online query where you can ask which group which would be most suitable for a child with a particular sn. Some of them still meet in halls which are not particularly wc accessible, for example.
I am all for disability rights, but where volunteers are concerned, I'm not one to jump up and down and demand rights under dda. I would rather gently explore the options - a volunteer with no experience of sn might find the potential of a complex child so daunting that they would leave the movement rather than ask more experienced scouters for help for example, and I wouldn't want that on my conscience! I would rather they got support towards inclusion, but with no experience of sn, I would feel it was my job as a parent to facilitate it, iykwim. They should be perfectly capable of doing so, but tbh if you get a group of inexperienced volunteers, they may not be.
That all sounds very encouraging, thank you x
I am a cub and beaver leader, and we have lots of kids with SN. SN is definitely well represented in scouts and they are very welcome. Here is my one tip:
1. Be honest with the Scout leaders about the disability. My only problem with SN kids is with parents who don't fully disclose because they don't want us to pre-judge their kids:
I've set a Morse code activity before, and didn't know we had two profoundly dyslexic kids in the group. Morse code is very hard, and if I'd known I'd have set them extra help to avoid them being embarrassed and upset. One girl I had to take out and ask her if she struggled with reading and she told me she can't read at all and she's 10. I should have been told. Now, when we do map reading (grid references and contour lines), I make sure she is in a group with an extra volunteer and the gentler children. She doesn't always need to be with the gentler group - but she does if we are doing activities that involve reading.
I have taken profoundly disabled kids camping and under special needs the parents write "none". We all know this kid is very disabled, and now I have to ring you up special and drag out of the parents that the child wets the bed and may have asthma around a camp fire. If I hadn't made an extra effort to ask..., and can I remind you that I also work and have kids and hobbies and we could have saved a lot of time if you'd been upfront
I welcome bedwetters at camp. Please just tell me in advance and when I ask you to send an extra sleeping bag, please send an extra sleeping bag.
If your child struggles with impulse control, please tell me. I am pretty strict with discipline at my meetings. If your child is struggling with behaviour, I have an entire bag of behavioural tricks that will help prevent behaviour rather than deal with it after the fact.
My final advise is that you don't have to stay at the meetings. We're good at this and we're very happy to include SN kids in the dens and packs. The great thing about Scouts is it gives all children confidence and all children find a way to shine at scouts. I love being a scout leader, because I really love how all the different activities highlight children's strengths and push them to achieve.
jandy, sorry to hear about the useless lot who hang read their own guidance and article
It wasn't me who had problems, but alison.
They have a commitment to equality and diversity. If you have problems it might be worth going to District level or even higher.
Sorry, that alternated between second and third person in the most unreadable way. I am currently parenting with a bad head cold. Forgive my writing.
Para thanks for saying that. Parents do need to be honest about their child's SN, but we don't always get the response we hope for.I told DS' youth organisation about his AS and gave them written info, hoping it would explain why he was a PITA at times, but they saw it as me asking for special treatment.
Kids with AS totally deserve special treatment!!
I'm sorry you had a bad time. I went on camp once with another group and they were always yelling at one of the cubs. I am sure the boy had ADHD, he just seemed to have no control at all and yelling at him didn't do a bit of good. I felt badly for the child and the leaders because they were all so frustrated. It is true that not all Scout leaders have experience with SN or know what to do, but lots of us do, and almost anyone who sticks with Scouts is caring and patient. The best bet is to choose a group run by adults and not young leaders and college students.
Para DS is a Cadet and the pseudo military ethos doesn't lend itself to special treatment.
What a great thread. Lovely to hear of so many positive experiences.
Great post by Madwomanintheattic.
Sorry to mix your posts up jandy and Alison!
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