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davecrawfoot
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29 Jul 2013, 7:44 am

I am a Boy Scouts leader and have recently had a young man join our troop that has Asperger's. I am totally clueless how to work with this boy. I took him to summer camp and he drove me NUTS, primarily because I didn't know he had this issue. If I had previous knowledge of his issue I would have been much more different with him. Here is what I experienced with him over the course of six days.

1: I had to repeat my self all the time
2: He seemed VERY lazy and unwilling to help out
3: He wanted to do his own thing.

Like I said not knowing he has Asperger's, these traits drove me crazy, I'm retired Navy so I usually demand a certain level of discipline out of my scouts. I'm not hard core "military" on my scouts but I do push them to get them out of their comfort zone to show them they can do more than their mind thinks they can. So the skinny is I need educated so I can one help this boy enjoying scouting, and two keep my self from going insane. Please feel free to email me with educational tips and just help training my mind to handle this. I believe all our youth deserve a chance to excel in life and My deep love for Boy Scouts helps me give our youth this opportunity.

Thanks
Dave



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29 Jul 2013, 8:20 am

I can't comment too much, because I don't have kids or much experience with them in general, but I can relate some things about myself that might help you understand.

1) Lazy and unwilling to help out - Sometimes even into adulthood when there is group activities, say pitching a tent. I often "look" standoffish when in fact I do want to join in and be more useful. It's hard to gauge the flurry of activity that goes on when something like this is happening and a bunch of people are quickly moving, and thinking fast, and reacting fast to what needs to be done next. I need more time than what the situation is allowing for to process WHAT people are currently doing, WHY they are doing it, HOW they are doing it, WHEN is a good time to jump in and help, WHAT is the next step I can anticipate to jump in. Plus if there are personality conflicts like some people seem flustered and judgmental, sometimes unduly and extremely, when I haven't jumped in like everyone else...I have to gauge that BS too. It can put me off and make me not want to bother.

2) Wants to do his own thing - With being around a lot of people....it's draining. I seek alone time to recharge and gather my thoughts. I need activities I'm allowed to do on my own or it becomes too much sometimes. Also, when I'm not interested in a particular activity, I really have a hard time engaging in it. Especially if I don't have an aptitude for it.

3) Having to repeat yourself - Sometimes I get lost in my thoughts and what people say just goes right past me. Sometimes when I'm given direction I hear what is said, but sometimes I fail to give indication that I heard and I'm about to respond, so the person ends up repeating themselves. Sometimes I plainly forget if it's a direction I need to complete sometime later and actually do need the reminding.

Lastly, I sometimes have problems with authority. If someone comes across too abrasive or too commanding I dislike it and sometimes dislike them for being that way, and I simply just don't really respond to them. It's my way of rebelling when I don't like how I'm being treated by an authority figure or there is some kind of personality conflict. Sometimes just someone's tone of voice will engender the same feelings and behavior.

I hope that helps in some way. He's ultimately a different person than me but you might find some similarities. As for things to do about it, I'm sure others will chime in that have more experience, but I hope what I've relayed helps in understanding,



Last edited by Jasper1 on 29 Jul 2013, 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

jamieevren1210
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29 Jul 2013, 8:29 am

davecrawfoot wrote:
I am a Boy Scouts leader and have recently had a young man join our troop that has Asperger's. I am totally clueless how to work with this boy. I took him to summer camp and he drove me NUTS, primarily because I didn't know he had this issue. If I had previous knowledge of his issue I would have been much more different with him. Here is what I experienced with him over the course of six days.

1: I had to repeat my self all the time
2: He seemed VERY lazy and unwilling to help out
3: He wanted to do his own thing.

Like I said not knowing he has Asperger's, these traits drove me crazy, I'm retired Navy so I usually demand a certain level of discipline out of my scouts. I'm not hard core "military" on my scouts but I do push them to get them out of their comfort zone to show them they can do more than their mind thinks they can. So the skinny is I need educated so I can one help this boy enjoying scouting, and two keep my self from going insane. Please feel free to email me with educational tips and just help training my mind to handle this. I believe all our youth deserve a chance to excel in life and My deep love for Boy Scouts helps me give our youth this opportunity.

Thanks
Dave


Hello Dave
I am a female scout with Asperger's from Taiwan, where (Boy) Scouting is coed. I also just came back from a camping trip. I think the reason behind the boy's reluctance/laziness is the he isn't interested in Scouting. Try befriending him and combining his special interest, if there is one, with Scouting. I think that would help.
Yours in Scouting,
Jamie


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jamieevren1210
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29 Jul 2013, 8:55 am

I have a few points that may help. Offer him breaks when the patrol work is nearly done.
Educate the troop about Asperger's oif they are accepting and friendly towards special kids. If they are not, simply don't mention the A word. When he becomes more active and enthusiastic, try giving him a minor leadership position within the patrol and teach him how to coordinate a group of a people, therefore reinforcing his sense of belonging within the troop and deepening his understanding of his duties as a Scout and patrol member. Aspies need rules, need guidelines. Once he understands and accepts them, he'll be the best scout ever.

There is, of course, the possibility of him being totally uninterested in scouting no matter what methods you employ. You should try to talk to his parents on this case, as scouts have to participate in the movement willingly. I think BP said that himself.

Maybe my experience in the Scouts would help? Here goes.

I joined the scouts in 7th grade because our teacher showed us a video. For some reason it just...boiled up my insides. Had to join, scouting was way too awesome.

Then I transferred. Two years w/o scouts.

Then came high school . I joined the school troop again. I'm co-captain and troop instructor, as of right now.

I went to training camp for senior scouts with troop positions a week ago. There I was made patrol leader which...literally scared me. I thought I can't manage that many people, getting them to work together as a team. The first day was terrible for all of us. We stayed up till 2AM to set up the campsite, making tables and stuff. Everyone was miserable. The next morning someone gave me some tips and I thought about them long and hard. Did my absolute best the next day and wow was there improvement. We won best patrol on the third day. I think you need to give the Scout responsibility once he starts to responds to you. Force him to learn and take up responsibility. There is no better way IMHO.
You still have to befriend him, understand his issues and special interests in order for him to follow your directions. Jasper1 gave awesome advice, exactly what I would do.


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b9
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29 Jul 2013, 10:58 am

davecrawfoot wrote:
I am a Boy Scouts leader and have recently had a young man join our troop that has Asperger's. I am totally clueless how to work with this boy. I took him to summer camp and he drove me NUTS, primarily because I didn't know he had this issue. If I had previous knowledge of his issue I would have been much more different with him. Here is what I experienced with him over the course of six days.

1: I had to repeat my self all the time
2: He seemed VERY lazy and unwilling to help out
3: He wanted to do his own thing.

Like I said not knowing he has Asperger's, these traits drove me crazy, I'm retired Navy so I usually demand a certain level of discipline out of my scouts. I'm not hard core "military" on my scouts but I do push them to get them out of their comfort zone to show them they can do more than their mind thinks they can. So the skinny is I need educated so I can one help this boy enjoying scouting, and two keep my self from going insane. Please feel free to email me with educational tips and just help training my mind to handle this. I believe all our youth deserve a chance to excel in life and My deep love for Boy Scouts helps me give our youth this opportunity.

Thanks
Dave


my parents enrolled me in the cub scouts when i was eight, but i lasted only 2 weeks before i was considered incompatible with the organization.

i could not see the reasons why i had to do what the akela (female leader) wanted me to do, so i declined to follow her directions. for example, i had to learn how to tie various knots, and i could not envision any circumstance that would ever happen to me where i would be required to employ the knowledge of how to tie those knots, so i refused to pay attention.

i had more to say, but i just finished a 2 hour phone call, so i will rethink it tomorrow.

do not expect automatic obedience due to your forced agendas that you consider important because i would not have satisfied your requirements to fall into line with your expectations.

you just have to realize that your way is not the highway of importance for many people.
i do not care if you were in the navy. you would have had no more influence on me than if you were a derelict sleeping in a box.

authority is something i do not pay respect to.



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29 Jul 2013, 11:20 am

b9 wrote:
davecrawfoot wrote:
I am a Boy Scouts leader and have recently had a young man join our troop that has Asperger's. I am totally clueless how to work with this boy. I took him to summer camp and he drove me NUTS, primarily because I didn't know he had this issue. If I had previous knowledge of his issue I would have been much more different with him. Here is what I experienced with him over the course of six days.

1: I had to repeat my self all the time
2: He seemed VERY lazy and unwilling to help out
3: He wanted to do his own thing.

Like I said not knowing he has Asperger's, these traits drove me crazy, I'm retired Navy so I usually demand a certain level of discipline out of my scouts. I'm not hard core "military" on my scouts but I do push them to get them out of their comfort zone to show them they can do more than their mind thinks they can. So the skinny is I need educated so I can one help this boy enjoying scouting, and two keep my self from going insane. Please feel free to email me with educational tips and just help training my mind to handle this. I believe all our youth deserve a chance to excel in life and My deep love for Boy Scouts helps me give our youth this opportunity.

Thanks
Dave


my parents enrolled me in the cub scouts when i was eight, but i lasted only 2 weeks before i was considered incompatible with the organization.

i could not see the reasons why i had to do what the akela (female leader) wanted me to do, so i declined to follow her directions. for example, i had to learn how to tie various knots, and i could not envision any circumstance that would ever happen to me where i would be required to employ the knowledge of how to tie those knots, so i refused to pay attention.

i had more to say, but i just finished a 2 hour phone call, so i will rethink it tomorrow.

do not expect automatic obedience due to your forced agendas that you consider important because i would not have satisfied your requirements to fall into line with your expectations.

you just have to realize that your way is not the highway of importance for many people.
i do not care if you were in the navy. you would have had no more influence on me than if you were a derelict sleeping in a box.

authority is something i do not pay respect to.


I actually use one of the knots a taught line hitch to tie a car cover down so that it does not blow away in the wind.



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29 Jul 2013, 11:51 am

If the boy was new to scouting, I think there maybe was too much to of him new, that needed to be organized. So I tend to get everything into routines, so that I can start doing it quick and efficient. If I have a new task, I dont have an routine, so either I develop an routine, which takes me a lot of time and constant "deep thinking" (means that I must be able to focus on that, and not always listen to someone every 30 seconds to 120 seconds) or I do it without plan, which endures lots of time, because of me doing it without concept. Additional worse for you, I am absolutly learning by doing. Learning by showing doesnt work in no way, because I need to get the concept. I am proven highly intelligently, but if you show me to built up a tent, without doing it on my own, I could as well have watched some butterflies meanwhile. While if you let me do that one or two times completely from the beginning, I will become pretty fast. The first one, I understand the concept. The second one I already work on how efficient I can do the concept, I understood.

If you say that you are in the Navy, when my partner was forced to go in earlier times to our national army (european country), he got pretty fast into "whatever you call it when leading about 10 people". Because of that he became a book with rules how to behaviour in about a hundred situations. No variation to how people inform each other about stuff, now variation about when to talk to whome about what ... What has to be in backpack type 1 and where it has to and how it shall be packed. What has to be in backpack type 2 ...

So try to get him into routines, and accept that the first times, he will need the double - triple amount of time. But there is a good chance, that the moment he is allowed to do something so often, that he can do an routine out of it, that he will become pretty fast. If he needs as examples the first days hours to pack his rucksack for the day, then do what you do in military. Give an explanation how you suggest it would be done best, and explain it as well by logic. I dont remember lots of talk. But logic I remember until death. Water and little snack? - Above, so you reach it in pauses and dont need to unpack the whole rucksack to reach for water. Book he has with him, that he wants to read in the evening, when the tent is built up? Down into the rucksack, so it stabilizes the weight, and doesnt put pressure on softer thing.

So the thing I liked about a logic, was not only, that there was a rule for everything, but as well a rule that was born on absolute logic, tested about a thousend times.

I dont mean you to shout at him, as if he was an recrute, but simply to apply that logic thinking of efficiency. And to accept, that whatever is new, needs lots of time to focus on it and normally no disturbance. So be there for asking him something, or if you mention something being wrong dont disturb him immediatly, but better say, that if you can spare a minute, you want to show him something. Disturbance right into focusing a thought, messes me totally up, and so doesnt help either you or me.

And yop, explaining means everything. About the knots, the knot I mostly used is the one to apply two loose endings again with each other, without knotting them permanently. (Shortening or enlarging cloth cords, ruined tents cords, ruined car carrier cord...) So there will not be use of all of them, but its definitly not bad to remember at least some basic knots. At climbing you use as well some of them again. :)



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30 Jul 2013, 11:14 am

I have been in scouts since I was 7 and I have my Eagle scout now and that is exactly how I was brought up, if someone needed help they had to ask and if someone needed something repeated they had to ask. People would go around asking if they are ok with what they are doing so if he is having trouble he can ask when people are coming around also. If you had to repeat yourself refer to the first thing (have him come up to you rather then automatically doing it). If he is not willing to participate or help out then you should ask him why he isn't participating. If he is wanting to do his own thing then put him in a job so he will have to do be with the rest of the troop (if he wants to stay respected). One thing is don't bring up Aspergers or let him slide because of it. In scouting everyone needs to be challenged for something. There are currently boys with mental disabilities and physical disabilities in my troop and they can function there because people haven't constantly jumped in and taught them that people aren't always there to help them.



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30 Jul 2013, 2:55 pm

davecrawfoot wrote:
I am a Boy Scouts leader and have recently had a young man join our troop that has Asperger's. I am totally clueless how to work with this boy. I took him to summer camp and he drove me NUTS, primarily because I didn't know he had this issue. If I had previous knowledge of his issue I would have been much more different with him. Here is what I experienced with him over the course of six days.

Yeah, I bet it was rather frustrating for you. I was put in the scouts about the time I turned 10. I wasn't crazy about it but on the other hand I didn't mind it too much, either. It wasn't until we camped the following summer that I really enjoyed it. I was reluctant to go at first but my parents horn-swoggled me into it, one of the few actual wise things they did back then. I did love the outdoors and camping, though, so I didn't fret over it too much and started to look forward to it. We camped in tents for 5 days/nights and I loved every day of it more than I could have imagined. I did not want that time to end.
I enjoyed the scouting experience more as a whole more after that.

Quote:
1: I had to repeat my self all the time

We tend to have several things on our minds at once and are easily distracted. We also dwell on details, so while you’re talking he might be hung up on something or some word you said fifteen seconds ago and go off on a mental tangent over that and miss all of what you said after that. I still have that issue to this day and probably always will.

Quote:
2: He seemed VERY lazy and unwilling to help out

May or may not be actual laziness. It can be distraction, confusion, or just getting so lost in details and having so many unasked questions that a temporary shutdown occurs. It’s not so much not wanting to help but how to help, when to help, or other details. I know that sounds idiotic but people with Asperger’s tend to over-think things to the pint of inaction. If you have time, you might try just a little one on one to get him started in the right direction. With me, once I get to working with a group of people and get into the rhythm of things I usually do quite well or even exceedingly well even to the point of taking on a leader role. On the other hand it might just be laziness; it can be hard to tell and confusing.

Quote:
3: He wanted to do his own thing.

Yeah, that’s an aspie thing. It’s very common for aspies to have an obsessive interest in something that is hard to break them away from. One way to get his mind off of doing his own thing (maybe) is to somehow get him integrated with the group more. A sense of belonging might shift his interests at least temporarily to whatever group activities are going on. That tends work for me but not always.

Quote:
Like I said not knowing he has Asperger's, these traits drove me crazy,

Knowing would have helped and may have given you a frame of reference to work within, depending on how well you know Asperger’s. I’m guessing he or his folks might have been reluctant at first to tell you about his condition for fear that you might not have wanted to deal with him at all. That’s just a guess, though.

Quote:
I'm retired Navy so I usually demand a certain level of discipline out of my scouts. I'm not hard core "military" on my scouts but I do push them to get them out of their comfort zone to show them they can do more than their mind thinks they can.

That leadership training and experienced gained in your Navy career could actually help here.

Quote:
So the skinny is I need educated so I can one help this boy enjoying scouting, and two keep my self from going insane. Please feel free to email me with educational tips and just help training my mind to handle this. I believe all our youth deserve a chance to excel in life and My deep love for Boy Scouts helps me give our youth this opportunity.

It’s hard to educate you because no two aspies are the same. What works for one won’t necessarily work for another. There are common traits and you can find those in several sources including Wikipedia to name one. These traits will be more pronounced in some than in others and some aspies are more adaptable than others.


Quote:
Thanks
Dave

And thank you, Dave, for taking the time to be a scout leader and taking time to learn how to help one scout in particular. Also, thank you for dedicating a career to serving in the armed forces.


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30 Jul 2013, 5:39 pm

Dave,

I was in the Scouts for several years (sorry, I can't remember how many). My experience was relatively positive - I learned a little about camping/the outdoors. (Though I'm glad that I left before I realized some of my political and philosophical views. Libertarian anarchism doesn't exactly seem to mesh well with the Scouts, to me.) I can perfectly understand the issues this young man is having. First of all, does he want to be there? I know quite a few parents who put their sons in the Scouts, regardless of what their sons want. That might be a big indicator. The repeating yourself - I don't know if there's really a solution here. As others have pointed out, this is a common thing among those with Asperger's. It might just be the case that he's lost in his own thoughts.

I can't speak on the appearing lazy. Maybe he is lazy, but I think it could be something else. Some people think that I'm lazy at times (with the complete opposite being true), but it's often due to my standing by and watching others while they complete tasks and do things. Again, this isn't because I'm lazy, but because no one told me what to do. If there had some communication, in place of assumption, then I would be more than willing to help out. Perhaps this is the case with your Scout?

And, on how he wants to do his own thing, this is very typical of those with Asperger's. I'm this way too. Again, does he want to be in Scouts? I might venture to say not. Those of us with Asperger's have our "special interests," and we often prefer pursuing these alone. Perhaps it might be good to find out what these "special interests" for him are too.

Overall, I think the best strategies are to try engage him more with friendly communication and finding out why he's in Scouts. And, depending on the latter, possibly speaking with his folks about options that might be more beneficial to him (such as leaving Scouts).

Good luck! :D



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30 Jul 2013, 11:39 pm

jamieevren1210 wrote:
I have a few points that may help. Offer him breaks when the patrol work is nearly done.
Educate the troop about Asperger's oif they are accepting and friendly towards special kids. If they are not, simply don't mention the A word. When he becomes more active and enthusiastic, try giving him a minor leadership position within the patrol and teach him how to coordinate a group of a people, therefore reinforcing his sense of belonging within the troop and deepening his understanding of his duties as a Scout and patrol member. Aspies need rules, need guidelines. Once he understands and accepts them, he'll be the best scout ever.

There is, of course, the possibility of him being totally uninterested in scouting no matter what methods you employ. You should try to talk to his parents on this case, as scouts have to participate in the movement willingly. I think BP said that himself.

Maybe my experience in the Scouts would help? Here goes.

I joined the scouts in 7th grade because our teacher showed us a video. For some reason it just...boiled up my insides. Had to join, scouting was way too awesome.

Then I transferred. Two years w/o scouts.

Then came high school . I joined the school troop again. I'm co-captain and troop instructor, as of right now.

I went to training camp for senior scouts with troop positions a week ago. There I was made patrol leader which...literally scared me. I thought I can't manage that many people, getting them to work together as a team. The first day was terrible for all of us. We stayed up till 2AM to set up the campsite, making tables and stuff. Everyone was miserable. The next morning someone gave me some tips and I thought about them long and hard. Did my absolute best the next day and wow was there improvement. We won best patrol on the third day. I think you need to give the Scout responsibility once he starts to responds to you. Force him to learn and take up responsibility. There is no better way IMHO.
You still have to befriend him, understand his issues and special interests in order for him to follow your directions. Jasper1 gave awesome advice, exactly what I would do.

This rarely works. The problem with the first is everyone has to be treated the same. If you give him a break before the patrol work is done everyone will want a break before the work is done. Educating them about why someone has problems might be ok but it should be built into a meeting or something such as understanding disabilities and how to deal with them. Talking about someone's conditions isn't really a public thing. To have a leadership position he needs to be a certain rank as well as the fact that there are boys who work their hearts out to have a position in the troop. If someone like that gets a patrol leader job for a confidence booster rather then working for it he will be hated. I have a lot of remarks about him being the best scout ever but I wont use them here.
Your personal experience is the reason he shouldn't be a patrol leader. Training camp was probably the most intimidating camp for me too. One mistake and we were done. If our patrol leader kept us up past 2 am we would have kicked them off and put someone else in position. Being the senior patrol leader was the hardest job for me making plans for everything and keeping people together and at the same time I was working on my eagle rank but was the only one qualified for the position.



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31 Jul 2013, 1:34 am

If this :albino: had three ears, then it would look like the scout's honor sign.


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31 Jul 2013, 4:09 am

I'm surprised you didn't know. Over here all the medical conditions had to be listed on application forms, and scouts Canada usually accept everyone as long as the parents and leaders communicate well. Both of my sons have been in scouts for a couple years, actually I think there are 4 autistic kids in the local group (about 15 kids) last year. One of them came with an aide every time who took notes and took him away a bit if he got too disruptive. The other kids are mostly OK, some of them didn't go to each hike or camping trip if parents thought they might not behave. My husband always went with my younger son on camping trips because he requires extra attention.

I think the kid's parents should have talked to you and told you tips on how to deal with his behaviors. (Though that sounds completely normal for an aspie).


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