From Scouting Magazine’s ‘What Would You Do?’
One of our Boy Scouts has Asperger’s syndrome. He does well learning Scouting concepts by reading, but he has struggled with camp-outs and activities that are not highly structured. What can we do as a troop to help him succeed? Also, it is taking him a long time to complete advancement requirements. How do we encourage him to keep putting in the effort to complete his requirements, even though they are more challenging for him than for other Scouts?
People with Asperger’s have difficulty recognizing non-verbal communication and the cues of social interaction like facial expressions. Imagine that everyone around you is wearing a mask and you can’t ‘read’ their facial expressions and you have some idea of what it is like.
Encourage your Scouts and leaders to ask and answer questions of this Scout non-judgmentally to help him ‘read’ the social cues he may not otherwise recognize.
As for requirements I’d just ask him if he is having any particular difficulties and offer to help. Scouts get to advance at their own speed and level of interest. Encourage him as you would any other Scout.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Scouts with Apsberger’s. It challenged me to look at the world a bit differently and I think I learned more from those Scouts than I ever taught them!