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Scouting Helps Scouts Of All Abilities

November 29, 2017

Read the story on CubScouts.org >>>

Scouting is for every boy, regardless of ability. Or even disability.

Asperger’s syndrome is a type of autism. This developmental disorder affects how a person interprets language, communicates and socializes. A lot of times, a child with Asperger’s syndrome may just seem like a normal child behaving differently.

Sean Brand of Pack 369, chartered to Iveland Elementary School PTO, was first diagnosed with Asperger’s right before starting kindergarten. Like many with the syndrome, Sean struggled with social skills.

“From kindergarten to first grade, we tried tee ball, we tried soccer. He just didn’t fit in. It just wasn’t his niche,” explained Sean’s mom, Nicole Sutton. “Then, when he was in second grade, I decided, ‘Well, we tried everything else. Let’s try Cub Scouts.’”

And that’s when something amazing happened.

Sean really liked the idea of earning awards for his work. Nicole purchased their first Cub Scout handbook and Sean immediately started completing requirement after requirement. Approximately six months later, Nicole wasn’t the only one who saw changes in Sean.

“I get his [school reports] in the middle of the year and the teacher said, “His social skills are through the charts. I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it.”

Fast forward three years and Sean is now a first-year Webelos. His favorite activities involve all things STEM. In fact, he’s only three requirements away from earning the Supernova Award.

“He’s more independent,” Nicole said of the changes she’s seen in Sean since joining Cub Scouts. “He wants to be on his own. Before Scouts, he was always holding onto mom. Now, he’s wanting to be more independent.”

The Boy Scouts of America has many resources available for Scouts with special needs. Additionally, the Greater St. Louis Area Council has its own advisory committee to oversee and provide support to special needs Scouting.

For more information, visit stlbsa.org/special-needs-scouts.