A Story of Compassion, or How Scouts Create a Better World
We live in a world where having a health problem impedes communication with other people, social interactions are limited, and withdrawal is more often than not, the only option a person with a delicate medical condition can choose. The situation is even sadder when we are referring to young people because they are our future and the ones that need support the most. Therefore, we should act and create an appropriate environment for all youth to thrive and grow in a creative and healthy atmosphere. Equality of chances should not be an option, but a rule.
Today we will discover together the heart-warming story of how the Swedish Scouts managed to create a friendly and inclusive environment for their young Scouts with disabilities, namely autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Everything started in the summer of 2017, with a collaboration between The Guides and Scouts of Sweden and The Swedish Outdoor Association. Their aim? They wished to create a leadership training with the intention to help leaders who worked with children and young people to better adapt their activities and their leadership practises to those with ADHD and autism. The result? An accessible training web course programme called “Adapted leadership” was created for leaders.
And for those wishing to deepen their skills they have designed an advanced course where leaders meet and exchange experiences as well as learn more about neurodevelopmental disorders and how to make activities more inclusive and predict certain behavioural patterns of the children.
In the web course leaders learn about ADHD and autism, how leaders’ expectations about how young people function can cause misunderstandings and the three leadership strategies:
· Get to know
· Be clear
· Keep calm
These strategies allow the leader to get to know the group in front of them, the individuals and their specific needs. Working with children with autism and ADHD requires an ability to keep calm and control over the situation, thus the Swedish leaders learn how to control their emotions and prevent the escalation of a situation while working with the young group.
Over 1000 leaders benefited so far from the programme and regular trainings are provided by The Guides and Scouts of Sweden, as well as The Swedish Outdoor Association.
The making of the Adapted leadership programme was in collaboration with the Swedish association, “Attention”, they represent people with different neurodevelopmental disorders and gave valuable input upon the subject. All the work done was examined throughout ,so that it was in accordance with the latest discoveries in the field of autism and ADHD.
The exciting news is that The Guides and Scouts of Sweden have received project funds to keep on with the work of including children and young people with ADHD and autism in their outdoor activities, which means that the leadership training will continue and the new resources will allow personnel to visit the local Scout groups and offer training for more leaders.
The new project will also focus on programme activities that teach children about diversity and that each individual has different abilities that can be put into practise. A patrol always consists of various people, the programme helping youth in discovering how to work together as a unit being at the same time unique. The activities will be tested at the National Jamboree in the summer of 2021, where 10 000 Scouts will be present.
We are proud to see Scouts creating a positive impact on their communities and improving the lives of young people with disabilities. Today the Swedish Scouts demonstrated that with hard work and time we can do it!