If your son has a unique way of learning or different abilities than his peers, you may wonder what activities are available to help him form friendships and encourage social development.

As Christine Rasure from the Greater St. Louis Area Council shares in the story below, Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts may be just the activity you’re seeking.

Scouting is for everyone, of all abilities 

Sean B., of Pack 369 of the Iveland Elementary School PTO, was first diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome right before starting kindergarten. 

Asperger syndrome is on the autism spectrum. It affects how a person interprets language and communicates.

Like many on the autism spectrum, Sean struggled with his social skills.

“From kindergarten to first grade, we tried tee ball, we tried soccer. He just didn’t fit in. It just wasn’t his niche,” explained Sean’s mom, Nicole Sutton. “Then, when he was in second grade, I decided, ‘Well, we tried everything else. Let’s try Cub Scouts.’”

That’s when something amazing happened.

Sean liked the idea of earning awards for his work. Nicole purchased their first Cub Scout handbook and Sean immediately started completing requirement after requirement. Approximately six months later, Nicole wasn’t the only one who saw changes in Sean.

“I get his [school reports] in the middle of the year and the teacher said, ‘His social skills are through the charts. I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it.’”

Three years later and Sean is now a first-year Webelos. His favorite activities involve all things STEM. In fact, he’s only three requirements away from earning the Supernova Award.

“He’s more independent,” Nicole said of the changes she’s seen in Sean since joining Cub Scouts. “He wants to be on his own. Before Scouts, he was always holding onto mom. Now, he’s wanting to be more independent.”

The Boy Scouts of America has resources available for Scouts with special needs. Additionally, councils like the the Greater St. Louis Area Council have their own advisory committees to oversee and provide support for Scouts with different needs.

For more information on resources like this, visit stlbsa.org/special-needs-scouts, or head to https://beascout.scouting.org/ to sign up for Scouts in your area.

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