An update from Shirley Sinclair, ACC Inclusivity
Many of you will have read the article in this week’s press regarding a young Scout who has autism. Unfortunately the outcome has not shown Scouting in a very positive light so I thought that this would be an opportunity to remind Leaders and supporters of our aim for inclusivity.
Scouting is an inclusive, values based movement and membership is open to all those who share our fundamental values. The policy of The Scout Association is to include adults and young people with additional needs and disabilities in Scouting wherever possible.
Reasonable adjustments should respond to the needs of the individual and aim to remove any barriers or support access to the physical environment, the way things are done or the way a programme is delivered, the support provided such as adaptions to equipment or the way we communicate.
Any reasonable adjustments necessary to ensure that young people can participate to the best of their ability should be made in partnership with the young person’s parents or carers, the leadership team and where appropriate, the young person themselves. I have found in the past that what works best is to sit down and discuss the situation together, and I often find that it is the simplest approaches to removing the barriers to the young person’s participation that have the biggest impact.
What is ‘reasonable’ is dependent upon the effectiveness of the adjustment, whether it can actually be done; and the cost and resources available to the Group at that time.
‘Reasonable adjustment’ is a legal term which recognises that each Group will have different practical resources to meet the needs of an individual young person.
By removing any real or perceived barriers to participation, we can ensure that even more young people can enjoy the adventure of Scouting and that Scouting will be as diverse as the communities in which we live.
We understand that meeting the needs of every individual can be challenging, Leaders are not expected to be experts in making reasonable adjustments and inclusion. That is why we provide either direct support, offer advice and guidance or signpost you to specialist advisors who can help leaders work within the law and deliver inclusive Scouting.
Additional support and advice can be obtained from me, Shirley Sinclair, ACC Inclusion (inclusion@ norfolkscouts.org.uk) as well as the vast amount of information available via Members Resources or by contacting the Specialist Advisors for Inclusion and Diversity at Headquarters.
As well as Module 7: Scouting for All and Module 15: Promoting Positive Behaviour, we have workshops planned this year for any Leaders working with young people with additional needs and disabilities, please keep an eye on the Norfolk Scouts website for details.
Shirley Sinclair, Assistant County Commissioner Inclusion