I may have earned the equivalent of a few college credits related to the study of developmental, or cognitive, differences during my tenure as a Scoutmaster. What are cognitive differences? Autism, attention deficit, hyperactivity, Downs syndrome and learning disabilities of all stripes.
Disabilities are, by definition, a condition that makes it difficult for someone to do the things that other people do. Difference is a way in which people or things are dissimilar. I am not attempting to be politically correct. I am using the term ‘difference’ advisedly to express a concept: those of us who are cognitively different from others are not incapable of thinking or doing, they simply relate to the world differently. Understanding this helped me help my Scouts
Scouting can be a wonderful, broadening, enriching experience for boys with developmental differences. Perhaps the greatest benefit is the growth and enrichment this inclusion has provided for myself and all the “normal” Scouts.
Don’t treat these Scouts as patients – treat them as boys. Better yet open your heart and learn their language; you may be able to help them learn yours.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Mark Haddon’s novel is written from the point of view of an autistic fifteen year old boy. Looking at the world through as an autistic boy, seeing what he sees, thinking what he thinks reveals what seems irrational or odd to one is perfectly rational and normal to another.This revelation has better enabled me to work with Scouts identified with learning differences. It is not too much to say that attemting to understand and interpret differing points of view rather than condemning them as irrational or wrong would go a long way to solving most problems we encounter. Excellent reading.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Amazon