Adaptations for Individuals With Disabilities
following is from Pack 215's Virtual Cub Leader Book -
Flexibility and individuality are key words to remember
when adapting Cub Scout Academics and Sports for boys with disabilities. For
instance, a fast-moving sport may be difficult for some Cub Scouts with
disabilities to participate in. The pace may be too quick, and they may not have
enough time to make decisions. Scouting for Youth with Learning Disabilities
(No. 33065), Scouting for Youth with Emotional Disabilities (No. 32998A), and
Understanding Cub Scouts with Disabilities (No. 33839) are important resources
for packs and dens using the Cub Scouts Academics and Sports program. Here are
some general ideas for adapting the program for boys with disabilities.
Adapt the activity, or use mentors, to help a Cub Scout to
participate. The boy should be involved to the best of his ability and so that
he feels good about his participation.
Involve the boy in a needed, unique role that enhances the
activity. For instance, he may be the team manager, the timekeeper, or the
person responsible for equipment
Determine alternatives. For instance, miniature golf could
be used instead of a full golf course; wheelchair races could be used instead of
Incorporate special helps into the activity. For instance,
during bowling, use ramps with wheelchairs and guide rails for visually impaired
youth. During basketball, youth can use a scooter board. During swimming, let
youth use artificial aids to help them move across the pool.
Shorten time limits as needed for the mental or physical
ability of the Cub Scout.
Include family members when planning a boy's participation
in your activity. A knowledgeable parent or guardian is the best resource to
help you adapt an Academics or Sports activity.
Pack leaders, with the boy's parent or guardian, may
determine different requirements in a specific academic subject or sport to
better suit the Cub Scout's ability.
Here are some other helpful hints:
Soccer, basketball, and volleyball are easy to adapt for
Computers can often be adapted to deal with specific
If baseball is too fast use tee ball or softball.
In basketball games, adaptations could be minor changes in
the rules; for example, don't use the three-second rule, let players cross the
centerline, and permit double dribbling.
Most youth with disabilities participate in physical
fitness activities, and special-Olympics games are held in the summer and
winter. Common sports for youth with disabilities include fishing, horseshoes,
gymnastics, aerobics, hiking, and walking.
Cycling may be possible, but pay attention to potential
added dangers on the road to some youth with disabilities.
rating the highest in acceptability for youth with mental disabilities are
swimming, softball, soccer, basketball, and physical fitness.
Serving Youth With Disabilities And Special Needs
founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has had fully participating members
with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Dr. James E. West, the first
Chief Scout Executive, was himself disabled. Although most of the BSA's efforts
have been directed at keeping such boys in the mainstream of Scouting, it has
also recognized the special needs of those with severe disabilities.
The following BSA resources can be
used to increase the awareness of Scouters working with people with
A Scoutmaster's Guide to Working With
Scouts With Disabilities, No. 33056A
Scouting for Youth with Physical
Disabilities, No. 33057C
Scouting for Youth with Mental
Retardation, No. 33059B
Scouting for the Hearing Impaired, No.
Scouting for Youth with Learning
Disabilities, No. 33065A
Scouting for the Blind and Visually
Impaired, No. 33063B
for Youth with Emotional Disabilities, No. 32998B
The following resources are BSA
publications regarding membership and advancement for disabled Scouts:
Advancement Committee Policies &
Procedures, No. 33088C
Boy Scout Requirements, No. 33215D
Boy Scout Handbook, No. 33105
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge
Pamphlet, No. 33370
Application for Alternate Eagle Scout
Rank Merit Badges, No. 58-730
Cub Scout Leader Book, No. 33221B
Any of the
above resources are available through your local Scout Retail Shop.
Recordings of Cub Scout Leader, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos Books are available
through the free library service provided by the National Library for the Blind
and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress. Families should also ask their
cooperating libraries. For more information, including eligibility requirements
and the nearest cooperating library, call 1-800-424-9100 or contact the
printings of Bobcat, Wolf Cub Scout Book, and Bear Cub Scout Book are available
from The Lighthouse of Houston, Houston, TX. 713/527-9561
printings of Bear Cub Scout Book, Webelos Scout Book and Parent's Guide.
National Braille Association, Rochester, NY, 716/427-8260
Magazine in Braille. Library of Congress for the Blind and Physically
Handicapped, Washington, DC, 202/707-5104 (There is a leader in my
district who receives this every month. She has been to my Roundtables and Pack
Meetings to show it and talk about blindness CD)
of the Boy Scout Handbook and various merit badge pamphlets. Recordings for
the Blind and Dyslexic, Princeton, NJ, 800/221-4792
Handbook in Braille. the Lighthouse of Houston, Houston, TX 713/527-9561
badge pamphlets. National Braille Association, Rochester, NY. 716/427-8260
Other available resources -
a fact sheet on National's web site
Jersey Shore Council has a pdf with available references
and other info -
The St. Louis Area Council has a great page with lots of
practical examples -
This site has games for disabled boys -
Thanks to Warren in Bloomington, IN whose question prompted my research on this