Do special needs kids deserve special consideration?



Right now, in the My Autism Help Forums, we have a discussion going on about a child with Aspergers, trying to pass the swim test for the Boy Scouts of America.

This child is having a really rough time passing this test and his mother is afraid that he’s going to give up. 

It seems that the Boy Scouts are reluctant to make accommodations for him.  I don’t believe that it’s mean spirited.  I think it’s more a concern over setting a precedent.  I honestly can’t blame them because I could imagine the complaints from other parents about fairness.

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They are currently working together to try and come up with a solution.

This has got me wondering if this type of thing is preventable. I mean, should we have some type of IEP for outside of school?

I can imagine there would be both positives and negatives to that idea.  I’m not suggesting that we give a special needs child an advantage. Instead, I’m asking whether we should level the playing field?



Do you think that special needs kids deserve special consideration?

I would love to get your thoughts on  this and also your help in the My Autism Help Forums. 


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About Rob Gorski

Father to 3 with Autism and husband to my best friend. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)

  

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Lukesmama
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Lukesmama

I find it very interesting that you brought up the point of fairness. Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same thing. It means everyone gets what they need. Couldn’t the Boy Scouts have special swim badges in the same way the Olympics have special Olympics? Another relavent point is that the universe is not fair. Barriers have been put up for our SN kids that typical children just don’t have. I watch my typical daughter achieve milestones with such ease that it highlightes our sons struggles so much more….

lostandtired
Guest

@Lukesmama just so we’re clear, I’m 100% for leveling the playing field. I totally agree with what you are saying. I’m just pointing out where they might be coming from. I don’t agree with it but identifying what we’re up against is important

lukesmama
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lukesmama

lostandtired  
My argument is against the scouts concept of “fairness” not against you at all. I am glad you are bringing our kids struggles to light. I am so impressed that you have been sharing your families struggles for as long as you have and giving such depth to autism awareness.

lostandtired
Guest

lukesmama lostandtired you’re fine. I just wanted to make sure everyone knew where I was coming from. Someone else brought up a possible safety issue and I hadn’t thought about that.

billNH
Guest
billNH

I’d love to be a pro basketball player, but I’m 2 feet too short. Should the NBA lower all the hoops for me?
Life is inherently unfair. Some scouts can’t earn every single badge they’d like to. Hard work is part of the process, and it’s also serves as great life lesson.

lostandtired
Guest

@billNH I’m curious, do you have a special needs child? What you’re saying has nothing to do with what we are talking about. Everyone has limitations. Having said that, some situations require that we make accommodations due to a disability. No one is talking trying to make this kid an Olympic swimmer. He just needs help to make it through the swim test.
It’s not about hard work, because if it was, this kid would already have advanced.

billNH
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billNH

What I’m saying is that the boy scouts swim test is designed to test proficiency in swimming. If you can’t swim, you shouldn’t pass the test. No one is saying the child has to leave the scouts if he can’t pass the swim test. What I think you may be falling to see is the bigger social component. The boy scouts troops are a tightly knit group where the kids work collaboratively toward various goals. If you lower the standard for this child, you’re going to change the way his peers see him. I would think with the ” bigger… Read more »

GenisaNeal
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GenisaNeal

@billNH What is being asked is not for a “free pass” with the swimming test. What is being requested is for an alternative requirement in place of swimming for the rank. There is no alternative for the Swim merit badge, which is an Eagle requirement, BUT, there is alternative badges for a scout, with a disabling condition,  to do as an alternative  toward that rank. Would you expect a person that can’t see to read out of a “typical” book that isn’t braille in a test to show they can read?  Of course not.   That is because they can’t see it… Read more »

Chefaimee
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Chefaimee

Having been on Boy Scout outings with my sons, I can say that I see the swimming test as a safety issue. Even I had to pass it to be in a certain part of the pool. I think it’s more about safety than fairness. Where the safety of the scouts is concerned, no. I don’t think they should make accommodations. That’s not being mean or exclusionary ; it’s making certain everyone is as proficient as everyone else who has the badge, passes the test, etc.

lostandtired
Guest

@Chefaimee that’s actually a really good point. I hadn’t looked at it from that perspective. Very good point. If it is indeed a safety issue than I would have to agree with you.

MBee
Guest
MBee

Can you clarify if you are talking about the swim test to use the pool, the swim test for 1st Class Scout or the requirement for the swimming merit badge? 
Because, as a (former) Scout leader, I have a different answer for each.

lostandtired
Guest

MBee you can speak directly to the mother at this link
http://myautismhelp.com/showthread.php?t=130
Scouts
My understanding is that her son has been stuck at tenderfoot for a few years because he can’t handle the water for the swim test. This would likely be a direct result of Aspergers and sensory issues. This kids keeps trying and trying but can’t make it through. He’s become discouraged and she afraid that he’s going to give up.

GenisaNeal
Guest
GenisaNeal

lostandtired MBee THIS  is EXACTLY what I am going through also, right now. My son has been stuck just for 8 months and they don’t want to do anything till it has been one year, and that is not acceptable. He has done all of the other requirements for both Second Class and First Class rank, but the one thing keeping him from this is 8A.  There are different things they can request to do in place of the one 8b swimming requirement. Here is the requirements: Demonstrate how a compass works and how to orient a map. Explain what map symbols… Read more »

GenisaNeal
Guest
GenisaNeal

our kids put forth 500% just to do what other kids take for granted. If only others could see that. I’m currently in the same place. My son has tried and tried and has put forth a LOT MORE effort to trying to complete this than any “typical” kid without autism. He already had put forth the effort, and them some with this requirement. I don’t even see a need for requesting some alternate other than requesting what he has already been doing. The Cub Scouts Motto is “Do Your Best” . Boy Scouts seem to have this attitude of “just do… Read more »