Typical Troops, Atypical Scouts

SunriseAbout 1 in 8 kids these days have a “special need” or “invisible disability” or something else that poses a challenge in traditionally structured situations like school or Scouting. In ages past, a Scout leader could expel or “ease out” a Scout that presented behavior problems or otherwise didn’t “fit.”

It’s important to talk about how we will work with kids in the normal troop environment with special needs.  ADHD, autism down syndrome. Leaders need tips on how to handle kids, their parents and medication. 

Key Points

  • Scouts in every troop cover a spectrum of maturities and behaviors
  • One in 8 kids have an invisible (behavior-affecting) disability or other issue.
  • Know your Scouts: personal meeting with parents of incoming Scouts.
  • Accommodations: Timing, Scheduling, Setting, Presentation, Response
    • How many troops have Scouts cluster in patrols?
    • How many troops have Scouts stand during announcements, or sit in chairs, or sit on the floor? Accommodations!
  • Being strategic about tantrums and meltdowns
    • Tantrum is acting out but still paying some attention
    • Meltdown is a loss of control and attention to outside
  • Calming strategies
  • Medication: what have other people used?
  • Scenarios
    • Scout hasn’t earned a rank advancement in a long time (Cub or Boy Scout)
    • Some Scouts hassle a Scout who is “different” until he melts down
    • Scout is being pushed out of his unit because he’s too much trouble.


  • Video series on Scouting with learning/behavioral issues
  • Sample “know your Scout” sheet, notes on accommodations, meltdowns, and calming techniques.

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