In my last post I talked about how I was as a Scout, my learning disabilities and what Scouting meant to me. In this post I would like to offer a few points on how to deal with other Scouts like me.
The first thing don't hide the problems from the youth. When I was youth I did not know they were trying to kick me out or even some of the results of my actions. I did not comprehend how my actions were affecting others. I believe in retrospect that if I had known I may have made more of an effort to change.
Another big thing don't treat kids with ADD / ADHD, etc as being different that only encourages them to use there challenges as an excuses. But on the flip side don't push them to hard either, just encourage them to go with the flow and do what the others are doing as much as possible. The best way to handle those bouncing off the walls is by keeping everyone so busy there is not time for problems to occur.
Many times people think a “time out” is the best punishment for these kinds of kids. My mom actually found with me it was far more effective to force me outside to ware off that energy as until I did no matter anything else I would just be bouncing all over the place.
There were very few campouts I went on with out my dad. Generally I was pretty good on campouts. However I recall two different campouts where for some reason, that I do not recall now, he litterly had to chase me down, tackle me and pin me to the ground. There were also a few campouts that ended with me being “grounded” to the seat of his pickup. I differently was a difficult child.
I know today and can see it looking back for some reason I lack the ability to interact at a social level. I can not read, other then the obvious body language, am unable to produces tones to reflect if I am joking or serious for example when I am talking. All of this has left me doing much research and I believe it may be possible that I am Autistic … more specifically Asperger's Syndrome which is a high functioning form of autism.
Anyway my point is Scouting is for everyone, not just the easy ones. Sometimes its the difficult ones that need us the most. So stand up for them, help them, be there for them … but there is nothing you can do until the parents and the youth are ready to accept it.
For more ways on how to work with challenging Scouts listen to this podcast http://www.leaderscampfire.com/index.php/2008/03/27/the-leaders-campfire-44/