A learning disabled child is a child who has at least an average IQ but has difficulty learning in school. Current statistics indicate that 6-10% of children in the U.S. have some type of learning disability. That means if you have 50 children in your pack, you potentially have 5 with learning disabilities. If you have 10 in your den, you are likely to have at least one with a learning disability.
If you take five children who are not functioning in the classroom and exclude the following:
- The child who is mentally retarded or impaired in some way.
- The child who is emotionally disturbed.
- The child who has not had the opportunity to learn.
- The child who may be deaf or blind.
The one remaining is the child with learning disabilities.
Children with learning disabilities exhibit a wide range of symptoms. These include problems with reading, mathematics, comprehension, writing, spoken language, or reasoning abilities. Hyperactivity, inattention and perceptual coordination may also be associated with learning disabilities but are not learning disabilities themselves. The primary characteristic of a learning disability is a significant difference between a child's achievement in some areas and his or her overall intelligence. The number of symptoms seen in a particular child does not give an indication as to whether the disability is mild or sever.
Learning disabilities typically affect five general areas:
Spoken language: delays, disorders, and deviations in listening and speaking.
Written language: difficulties with reading, writing and spelling.
Arithmetic: difficulty in performing arithmetic operations or in understanding basic concepts.
Reasoning: difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts
Memory: difficulty in remembering information and instructions.
Suggestions For Den Activities
Keep some perspective as to the real purpose of scouting and the activity involved: DO YOUR BEST
When memorizing the Cub Scout Promise and the Law of the Pack, utilize visual aids and practice it out loud as a group.
Make reading and writing activities a cooperative effort. Pre-gathering puzzles are a good example of a non-competitive activity.
If the child has difficulty writing, have a parent or leader write in the book what the child dictates.
Diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is like having your radio set to scan all of the time. It will not stay tuned in to one station for any significant length of time. Some children with ADHD are not really hyperactive. They do not bother other people but they may have difficulty in group settings. They are stimulated by the activity around them which causes them to be unable to focus on the matter at hand. Other children with ADHD have a very high energy level. These children may have problems physically staying with the den activities. Some to these children will be on medication. Most of the medication corrects neuro-chemical imbalances but does not make the child lethargic.
Suggestions For Den Activities
The setting for the den meeting should have definite boundaries. Activities should be at a specific location. They should not be told to just find any place but be told exactly where to work. There should be no free time. There should be a consistent schedule that is followed at each meeting. If a child leaves the boundaries of a den meeting, it works best if he is physically guided back to the proper location.
Suggestions For Pack Meetings
These children need individual attention during a pack meeting to keep focused. The best way to handle this is to designate someone to be with this scout. This could be a den leader, assistant den leader, den chief or another adult.
In the end, what counts are human qualities. A person's sense of himself, his feeling of comfort with himself, and thus his ease with others are what matters. How many adults do you know whose knowledge of spelling or trigonometry makes any difference to you? Does it matter how good your friend's handwriting is or how many historical facts he can recite? Is it important that your friends be athletic and very scholarly as well as talented in some artistic field? The chances are that you want to be with a person who is fun and caring. You want a friend who laughs with you, not at you, who can share your worries as well as your pleasures. You want someone you can count on whose word is good, and who comes through on promises, who doesn't keep score on favors given and received. To be a good friend, to be a fine mate, to become a good parent.. these are crucial roles in our society and goals of scouting. These are roles and goals which the learning disabled child can fulfill.