Monday, November 5, 2012

Radio Broadcasts for week of 11/5/12

Welcome back to the Autism and Scouting Blog.

It is one day past the Cascade Pacific Council’s Program and Training Conference in Beaverton, OR  and I am still on a natural high from the amazing day of training where Autism Empowerment for the second year was able to do training for our local council which includes districts in both WA and OR.

We will be doing a blog and radio show talking about the Conference but today we are going to give a review of the upcoming radio shows for this week. It will be an amazing week at Autism and Scouting Radio.

We have four shows on tap for this coming week and you will want to tune into them. 


Accept - Enrich - Inspire - Empower - On Tuesday, November 6th (Election Day here in US) Karen Krejcha, the Executive Director of Autism Empowerment and I will be on the air talking about the amazing things that happened during the Autism Training and exhibition that Autism Empowerment provided during the Cascade Pacific Council’s Program and Training Conference. We will be airing that show at 9:30 am PST (12:30 pm EST), we will be also be posting a blog about the Conference as well. It was an amazing day.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autismandscoutingradio/2012/11/06/training-report-from-cascade-pacific-council

On a side note, we’re happy to say that units are asking to borrow our training slides (you are more than welcome to do so). Training will be presented this coming week at the Training Academy Three Fires Council at East Aurora HS in Aurora, IL.   

Accept - Enrich - Inspire - Empower - On Wednesday, November 9th I will be joined with Tony Mei, the BSA National Chair for Special Needs at 10:00 am PST (1:00 pm EST). Tony will be coming back on to promote the 2013 National Jamboree and the disAbilities Awareness Challenge. This year for the first time, the DAC will be offering a section that has a station for Autism Awareness. Tony is an amazing scouter and we look forward to having him on yet again.
Inspire  - On Thursday, November 10th we will have our next show in our Inspiration from the Spectrum series. We will be having Girl Scout Cadette Mary Grace from the great state of Texas talking Girl Scouting and why she loves scouting and some of her special interests. Mary Grace has Aspergers and will be joined on air with her mom.


Inspire -  On Friday, November 11th we will be staying with the Inspire theme. This will be a slight deviation from the Inspiration from the Spectrum series but is closely related. We will be joined by Webelo Scout Teddy and his mom. Teddy is not on the Autism Spectrum but has a sister who is in Girl Scouts that has Asperger’s and a older brother who is in Boy Scouts that has Asperger’s as well. We will be getting a sibling’s point of view and will talk to Teddy about all of the great reasons why he loves scouting as well.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autismandscoutingradio/2012/11/09/a-siblings-point-a-view

If you have a story to tell, have a scout that would love to just have fun and talk about whatever they would like, please contact me at john@autismempowerment.org or on facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/autismandscouting

Accept - The scout for who they are and if they are not ready for advancement that is okay. Scouting is not all about advancement. It is about learning life skills, gaining life experience and having fun along the way.

Enrich - The scout may be challenged to step outside of their comfort zone and expand their world.

Inspire - Make sure to inspire the scout with positive encouragement. A kind tone and positive words go a long way to increasing self-confidence. You will likely find yourself inspired by the scout as well.

Empower - By giving the scout the tools in advance to be successful, you are giving them the tools to do their best and to be empowered.

I also wanted to share our new Autism and Scouting graphic which incorporates the colors of Autism Empowerment’s four foundational pillars. Thank you so much to Danny Ayers for volunteering to help us out!


We would love to hear your feedback!

Autism Empowerment Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismempowerment
Autism and Scouting Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismandscouting




Sunday, October 28, 2012

Boards of Review - Tips for Scouting Success

Welcome to the Autism and Scouting Blog, which is part of Autism Empowerment’s Autism and Scouting Program. 

We have had a lot of exciting things going on in the past two months and the Autism and Scouting Radio show is really starting to take off. We have had some outstanding guests as well as some great Autism and Scouting original content. We hope you like what we are doing. We are always open to suggestions and ideas on what to do.

On the Facebook side, we are getting more people asking questions and interacting. This is wonderful and it is great to see. We are now nearing the 1000 mark on the Facebook page and the group is still growing as well. We want this to be not just “our” group but OUR group collectively. You are part of our mission and part of our group so please let us know how we can improve.

I started this particular blog posting in early spring and then so many other things came up, I never went back and completed it. Recently, there were a second round of posts on Facebook regarding how to support scouts when going into Boards of Review so I thought this would be a great chance to do both a Blog and a Radio Show on the topic.

The first round of questions came from parents who were moving from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and wanted to know more about the Board of Review Process. The second round of comments came from a mom who had a son doing a Board of Review in the next couple of days.

At the time of the first post, Autism and Scouting had given some suggestions with others giving suggestions as well. This is an important part of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) advancement process in the Boy Scouts program and can produce anxiety for any scouts. For scouts on the autism spectrum, the fear of the unknown can be a major stressor and want to help your scout be prepared and confident.

As such, I’m including information about the Board of Review process. Knowledge is power! 

Be sure to also listen to our Autism and Scouting Radio show on Boards of Review. Karen and I co-hosted this together and covered quite a bit of content.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autismandscoutingradio/2012/10/24/boards-of-review--tips-on-helping-scouts

To understand how we can help the scouts, we first need to know the Why and How of a Board of Review, then we can explore how a unit can be more sensitive to a scouts needs.  

How to Advance to a Board of Review

After the scout has completed all of the requirements of the particular rank they are trying to obtain with the exception of “Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life”, the scout should request a Scoutmaster Conference. At the Scoutmaster Conference the scout will sit down with the Scoutmaster and they will talk about a variety of subjects in the scout’s life.

A Scoutmaster may ask about how he likes his patrol and what is going well in the patrol and unit. The Scoutmaster may also ask what the scout would like to change or if there is something that the unit could do better. Having the scout be prepared for this conference can help the scout be more comfortable with the process. The conferences often get longer and longer as the scout progresses up the ladder toward Eagle. I personally did some of the lower level ones at Summer Camp a few years ago and in my experience and in talking with other leaders, these conferences really help the Assistant Scoutmaster and Scoutmaster get to know the scouts.

During this time the Scoutmaster will determine if the scout has lived by the Scout Oath and Law and has demonstrated Scout spirit. With a positive outcome, the next step is generally for the scout to call the person who has been designated to set up the unit’s Board of Review. The scout is usually the one who makes the contact and sets up the Board of Review (BOR) however the specifics of this process is up to each unit and the process can vary.  Once contact is made, this person will tell the scout when and where the Board of Review will be. 

A Board of Review

After a Scout has completed the requirement for any rank or Eagle Palm, he appears before a board of Review. Its Purpose is to determine the quality of his experience, decide whether he is qualified to advance and, if so, encourage him to continue the quest for Eagle or the next palm (Guide to Advancement 2011 - Section 8.0.0.1)

What a Board of Review is and what it is Not

What happens at a Board of Review for Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle Palms is different that what happens at a Board of Review for the scout rank of Eagle.

A Board of Review is :

An evaluation of the scout and his progress.

An attempt to determine the Scout's attitude.

A look to see how the scout is living by the Oath and Law.

A communication tool where it is reviewed that the candidate recognizes and understands the value of Scouting in his home, unit, school, and community.

A judge regarding  how well the Scout being reviewed is benefiting from the program

It should also be a celebration of accomplishment. Remember, scouting should be more about the journey than just “rank advancement”. A badge recognizes what a young man is able to do and how he has grown. It is not so much, a reward for what he has done.” (Guide to Advancement 2011 - Section 8.0.1.1)

A Board of Review is NOT:

“Though one reason for a board of review is to ensure the Scout did what he was supposed to do to meet the requirements, it shall become neither a retest or ‘examination’, nor a challenge of his knowledge.” (Guide to Advancement 2011 - Section 8.0.1.1)

How Long is a Board of Review

When the Scout is first starting out, the first Board of Review for Tenderfoot or Second Class should take about 10 - 15 minutes (again this depends on your unit). As the scout advances, the Boards of Review should get longer and longer which will allow the board to really to get to know the scout and what they are taking away from the scouting experience.  Once they get to an Eagle Board of Review the process could take between 30 - 45 minutes (the Eagle Board of Review is a special Board of Review and has different parts to it).

What Typically happens at a Board of Review

As each unit can run boards of review differently, each unit will have a typical way in which the board is run. In my experience, typically the scout will enter the room and there will be between three and six members. Unit leaders, Assistant Scoutmasters and any person related to the scout or guardian may not be part of the Board of Review or in the room to assist the scout. As such, this can be a very stress-filled time for any scout (not to mention one that is on the Autism Spectrum) so the board should make the meeting room a sensory friendly, accommodating and relaxed atmosphere to help put the scout at ease.

The scout will be asked questions about the scouting program, his patrol and the unit. The Board should have the scout’s handbook to review and will likely ask questions about camping, service and how the learning process of the requirements could be done better or how well they worked.  Through these questions, the board will make a determination if the scout really is ready to advance. The Troop Committee Guidebook will have example questions that might be asked.

After the questioning, the scout will be asked to step outside the room or area and then the Board of Review members will discuss among themselves if the scout is ready in their estimation to advance. The board will vote and they have to come to an unanimous decision.

Approval or Denial by the Board of Review

It the board approves the rank advancement, then the scout is called back in and given the news and is congratulated. At that point the scout has advanced to the next rank.

Denial of advancement is possible as well. If the board decides that the Scout is not ready to advance, the candidate should be informed and told what he has not yet done satisfactorily. Most Scouts accept responsibility for not completing the requirements properly. The members of the board of review should specify what must be done to rework the candidate's weaknesses and schedule another board of review for him. A follow-up letter must be sent to a Scout who is turned down for rank advancement, confirming the agreements made and the actions necessary for advancement. Should the Scout disagree with the decision, the appeal procedures should be explained to him.

How can you help your Scout Prepare?

As already mentioned, it can be stressful for any scout to participate in this process, especially the first time, but for those on the Autism Spectrum, if they don’t know what to expect, it can be very hard to deal with and can cause extra unnecessary anxiety. So we have some suggestions regarding how to deal with stress and sensory issues associated with a Board of Review. As the Scouting program is to empower the scout to reach for new highs, most leaders will do their best to help the scouts be successful in the Board of Review process as well.

* Try to ask for a small Board of Review made up with only three members. At least in the beginning, this can be less intimidating.

* Try to ask for a friendly face on the Board of Review. The scout may know another parent that is not in a leadership role that might be willing to be that friendly face in the room. You are not stacking the deck, but you are trying to give some balance and a place the scout can focus if needed.

* Try to get the sample questions from the Committee handbook and practice the questions in advance one on one.

* Set up a “mock” Board of Review with three family friends. Start off with easy questions, them move on to more complex questions. Role playing is very helpful but it important to make sure the scout understands that actual questions may be different. Role playing on a couple different occasions is suggested.

* If the scout has sensory issues that might come into play, ask for a sensory friendly atmosphere. Know your scouts sensory triggers and ask for accommodations in advance. For example, lower lights or have one row of lights turned off if light-sensitive. Have a fan on to circulate the air to avoid any strong or perceived strong smells. Ask in advance for the board to speak softer to allow for scouts that have auditory issues.

* If you can, have the scout meet the people in advance that will be sitting on the board so he has seen their faces.

* Have the scout see the room or place of the Board of Review in advance. If this scout is comfortable with the room they may feel more comfortable.

* Prepare a social story or picture schedule in advance regarding what will happen during the review. Have this with the scout during the mock board of review and if useful, during the actual review process.

* If the scout has a small special interest item that brings him extra security and comfort, have him keep it in a pocket with him during the review.


Advantages of a Board of Review

A Board of Review can have benefits for those scouts on the autism spectrum in following ways:

The scout can practice interactions with adults.

The scout has a chance to review the progress being made in Scouting.

The scout has a chance to bring up any issues that they might be having and practice self-advocacy.

The scout can practice the management of anxiety in a controlled environment.

The scout can practice eye contact.

The Board of Review process is an important part of the Boy Scouting process in the USA and this potentially stressful situation can be turned into a positive.

Accept - The scout for who they are and if they are not ready for advancement that is okay. Scouting is not all about advancement. It is about learning life skills, gaining life experience and having fun along the way.

Enrich - The scout may be challenged to step outside of their comfort zone and expand their world.

Inspire - Make sure to inspire the scout with positive encouragement. A kind tone and positive words go a long way to increasing self-confidence. You will likely find yourself inspired by the scout as well.

Empower - By giving the scout the tools in advance to be successful, you are giving them the tools to do their best and to be empowered.

We would love to hear your feedback!

Autism Empowerment Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismempowerment
Autism and Scouting Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismandscouting


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Multi Media events for week of 9/16/12

Hello All!

We hope that you are all having a wonderful scouting season wherever you are.

In today’s blog we are going to give you a look at what is coming up on Autism and Scouting Radio shows for this coming week. Also, we wanted to give a preview of some of the upcoming blogs that are being planned.

First the Upcoming Radio Shows:

This is really going to be wonderful week of shows full of lots of content.


On Tuesday, September 18th at 10:00am,  I will be joined with Karen Krejcha and we will be giving tips on how to work with your scouts when they are trying to fundraise. Most units depend on fundraising either by selling cookies, popcorn, holiday wreaths, coupon books, candy bars or a variety of items. There are many issues that arise, both sensory and non-sensory when scouts who are on the Autism Spectrum are asked to take part in support of their unit by fundraising. 


On Wednesday, the 19th at 12 Noon, I will be joined by Karen Mansfield of Troop 5280 in Denver, Colorado. Karen is the founder and was the Troopmaster for the first five years of a very unique Troop that is designated as Special Needs. Troop 5280 helps prepare scouts to make the transition from Cub Scouts to a traditional Boy Scout Troop. It also welcomes new scouts coming into scouting and prepares them for what lays ahead. This is a very unique and inspirational Troop. They recently had one of their first scouts in the program earn the rank of Eagle. 

On Friday, the 21st at 10:00, Autism and Scouting Radio has a first. It is our first radio panel discussion. We will be joined on air by three members of Boy Scout Troop 2. This Troop has been around a long time and serves a great number of scouts in the show me state of Missouri.  Boy Scout Troop 2 has a long history of helping scouts with different disabilities and look forward to hearing about what they did to develop a successful and supportive program.

If you would like to call in during the live show and ask a question you can do so by calling (347) 855-8132.

If you miss the initial broadcast, it will still be available on demand at the below link. We have expanded the Autism and Scouting page where we list all our broadcasts future and past.

Here are direct links to both stations of Autism Empowerment:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autismandscoutingradio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autismempowerment

Or you can find both stations on iTunes as well. Search for “Autism and Scouting” or “Autism Empowerment” in order to find us. Subscribe for Free and have access to downloading all of our broadcasts for free as well.

One of the neat things about Autism and Scouting Radio is we bring you unique shows and attempt to showcase units around the nation. We hope to showcase units worldwide as well.

Upcoming Blogs

Time permitting, we are looking forward to getting back on track as far as blogging goes. In addition to this blog, we will be doing a blog about fundraising and this will be posted after the radio show. We will also be posting our August Review. We typically try to do a monthly review blog after the end of each month, however we are running a bit behind. We look forward to providing lots of additional content in the future.  

If you are interested in guest blogging for Autism and Scouting and/or have a story you’d like to share with our readers in print or on air, please contact john@autismempowerment.org.

So we are still very active for the month of September and the rest of the year looks bright.

Thanks for stopping by. We appreciate your support and enjoy supporting you!
Accept, Enrich, Inspire, Empower!

To learn more about Autism Empowerment, a 501(c)(3) public charity and to help financially support our Autism and Scouting Program, please visit:

Autism and Scouting Program, please visit:Autism Empowerment - http://www.autismempowerment.org

Autism Empowerment Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismempowerment

Autism and Scouting Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismandscouting

Autism and Scouting Blog - http://autismandscouting.blogspot.com/

Autism and Scouting Radio Blog -  http://www.autismandscoutingradio.blogspot.com/

email  - john@autismempowerment.org  



Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jennifer O"Toole and the Theory of Mind

I wanted to thank Tony Mei so much for coming on the show on Friday, August 10th to talk about the 2013 National disAbilities Awareness Challenge. We are looking forward to Tony coming back on the 29th of August to talk about the Working with Scouts with disAbilities website www.wwswd.org and then on September 12th to talk about his work on the National Special Needs Committee for the Boy Scouts of America.

Today, we wanted to give you a preview of our next installment of Autism and Scouting Radio which will be on Wednesday, August 22nd from 10:00 to 10:30 am PST . Our special guest interview will be with award-winning author and Asperkids creator Jennifer Cook-O’Toole. She will be sharing the concepts behind her books which can be translated directly into strategies to use with scouts worldwide.

Jennifer is a teacher and Author of Asperkids - An Insider's Guide to Loving, Understanding and Teaching Children with Asperger Syndrome which is on shelves now and The Asperkid’s Secret Book of Social Rules which will be coming out this September. Both books are published by Jessica Kingsley publishers.

When I was reading Asperkids, my youngest who is on the Autism Spectrum (not technically an Asperkid) came up to me and asked me, “Are you an Asperkid?”  I said, “No, I am not an Asperkid.” Still standing in front of me, he pipes up “Why are you reading Asperkids?” (Yes, he kept on saying Asperkid in each question. I told him I was trying to learn. Then the next question was “ Are you trying to learn on how to be an Asperkid?” I put the book down, thought a moment and said “Yes”.  Out of my six year old, he got to the root of everything, how does one learn how to teach and work with an Asperkid or any scout who is on the Autism Spectrum, you need to learn their language and get into their world. This is one of the central themes of Jennifer’s book, about getting into their world and learning Aspiespeak.

When learning Spanish, French, German, Russian or Italian it would be natural to assume one would pick up a book or manual to learn.  Asperkids is a place to start to learn to speak Aspie.

Asperkids is an exciting book full of effective and fun ways of engaging with children with Asperger's Syndrome. With originality and insight, Jennifer explains how theory of mind difficulties in autism create the need for concrete forms of communication, and she provides a treasure trove of ways to inspire imagination through sensory experience. In particular, she reveals the untapped power of special interests, showing how to harness them to ensure
academic, social and emotional growth.

It’s geared to parents, teachers and caregivers that work with children on the Autism Spectrum, specifically kids with Asperger’s, although in my reading I found that the strategies and insight she shared were applicable to both my older son (12 with Aspergers) and with my younger son (6 with Autism) and I am sure would work with many scouts who are on the Autism Spectrum.
Jennifer Cook O'Toole is the winner of the 2012 Temple Grandin Award, GRASP's 2012 Distinguished Spectrumite Medal, is an Expert Columnist for Modern Parent Magazine and was nominated for Disney's American Teacher of the Year.

Author. Advocate. Aspie. Mom.

http://www.asperkids.com
http://www.facebook.com/asperkids

Find Asperkids Here!

  

Show day will be Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 from 10:00 - 10:30 p.m. PST / 1:00 - 1:30 p.m. EST.

There are a couple of ways to tune in:

1) You can call in live at (347) 855-8132.
2) You can go to the following link:  
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autismandscoutingradio/2012/08/22/jennifer-otoole-and-the-theory-of-mind

If you miss the initial broadcast, it will still be available on demand at the above link. We are also developing an expanded Autism and Scouting page where we will list all our broadcasts future and past.

Here are direct links to both stations of Autism Empowerment:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autismandscoutingradio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autismempowerment

We invite you to come follow our shows and share the word about our new stations with your family, friends and social networks. The more we can spread the word, the better of a collaborative community we can develop!

Here is a link directly to our Welcome to Autism Scouting Radio broadcast.

We also wanted to provide a link to our Welcome to Autism Empowerment Radio broadcast because this is a really great show that explains who Autism Empowerment is (we’re a 501(c) non-profit public charity), what our mission is and what our four foundational pillars of Accept, Enrich, Inspire and Empower mean in terms of the programs and services we offer and develop. It’s a 30 minute show that gives a great overall at look at where we’ve been in the past year, what we’re doing and where we’re going.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autismempowerment/2012/06/14/welcome-to-autism-empowerment-radio

If you know of anybody that you would like to see interviewed or you have a topic idea for a future broadcast, please let us know by emailing john@autismempowerment.org
Accept, Enrich, Inspire, Empower!

To learn more about Autism Empowerment, a 501(c)(3) public charity and to help financially support our Autism and Scouting Program, please visit:

Autism and Scouting Program, please visit:Autism Empowerment - http://www.autismempowerment.org

Autism Empowerment Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismempowerment

Autism and Scouting Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismandscouting

Autism and Scouting Blog - http://autismandscouting.blogspot.com/

Autism and Scouting Radio Blog -  http://www.autismandscoutingradio.blogspot.com/


email  - john@autismempowerment.org