Autism Spectrum Disorders and Scouting
By: Scott Robertson
Posted On: 2012-05-15
Tony Hooker wrote this as one of his Wood Badge Ticket Items,. It's about Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Scouting. Some tips he recommends, from having dealt with his son's den where most are Aspies, or ADHD or both.
1) Consistency and Planning. Have a routine order to a den meeting, that the boys know about. Start with Pledge/promise/law, or some ceremony every time If there is any Sit down / boring stuff do it first. (If you have 30 mins. of their attention, use it on the stuff that needs focus) Active stuff second Game last, as a reward if they get all the other stuff done. If you can write it down in advance, that would be awesome. Many aspies respond to written instructions/schedules a lot better than verbal stuff. 2) Special Interests. Most boys have 1 or two special things they are interested in... Kids with Asperger's are like that to an extreme degree. - Find out what those interests are, and use them as a tie-in whenever you can. If he's Interested in Dinosaurs for example, you can tie that into some other things. For example, the Leaf Rubbing part of The Tiger Badge... Show pictures of Fossilized Leaves from prehistoric times. WHen it comes to the food pyramid, talk about how some Dinosaurs are Carnivores and Herbivores, but we are omnivores... 3) Expect Some issues with sensory issues. If things are too loud, lights too bright, etc. it might set off a meltdown or extreme misbehavior. For My son, it was stuff that visually looked wet. He can't stand the sight of wet paint, something about the way light glistens off of it. Made it very difficult for him to make a Pinewood Derby car, so we worked on some different ways to color it. (Weird, I know... But It's the unexpected stuff.) If he has sensory issues, find out what can be problem starters from his parents. 4) Fine motor skills will likely be an issue. Riding a bike, tying shoes, these can be challenges for them for many years later than others. 5) Dealing with meltdowns. When he does have a meltdown, make sure Mom and Dad have a quiet place they can take him to. You can't reason your way out of a meltdown, and it would distract the whole den while you try to. 6) If he has one or two close friends in the Den, try to make sure he consistently gets paired up with them. At that age, they can't understand well why they don't get to do something with their best friend, and making a new friend is a HUGE hurdle for them. It's a big challenge to deal with Asperger's, but it's extremely rewarding.
You can find a in depth document he wrote on this topic at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kJAdct2P8U7_-auih_QWzh0R7hbRXIsTgb1CYIy7vD0/edit?hl=en_US