'Developmental Disabilities'

I think this story raises an important point for the RAFAC.

We’ve had cadets with similar disabilities in the past and whilst on the whole we’ve had no problems there has been one or two we’ve just not felt able to cope with as a staff team. Naturally we spoke to the parents about our concerns and they decided to voluntarily withdraw their child, not something anybody wanted.

Does the RAFAC provide sufficient/any training to help staff manage cadets with issues like this?

Not really. If you’re lucky you’ll have a staff member with a background in working with people with disabilities, it’s the only thing that’s helped me.

I know of some appalling attitudes amongst some staff in my wing (we can’t take them on camp, they’ll cause us too much work).

On squadron level the few occasions it has cropped up the parents have been brilliant, one has recently provided an “aspergers for dummies” info sheet that they’ve written (ending with the amazing line “just think Chris Packham and you won’t go far wrong”) and the other occasion I liaised with the cadet’s carers and got a copy of his care plan for us to use so we were on the same page.

At the end of the day all you need is a positive attitude and you can get over most obstacles.


There are some materials, such as ACP 29 -General Information and Guidance to support those with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities, that gives some details about the issues, and a few coping methods.


But again, it does come down to what time and resources we as volunteers are likely to have access to. We are not trained in dealing with problem cases, and while I have not excluded anyone based on learning problems, and have incorporated them as much as possible, it does stretch what limited resources I had.

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I was not too surprised with the Scouts story, although I empathise with them to a degree. I am disgusted by the parents going after money, £42K that’ll do nicely and for what? It’s not like there has been an injury.

With any child with BESD or LD has to be treated as they come and as long as parents/carers are forthcoming it’s fine. ACP 29 is fine as far as it goes, but we don’t have sharing agreements with schools to know what level of support they get, parents will know what their child’s IEP contains, not that we would be funded or have the staff experienced in supporting to even the most basic level. One of friends has a son with Asperger’s and gets someone with them in nearly every class and gets extra time for tests and exams. I know that this will be expensive for the school.

I have experienced a number of cadets over the year’s pre and post medication era and it can make things difficult as you have to concentrate on them as they go off task quite quickly and concentration levels are all over the place, which is saying something when dealing with teenagers. The one thing however is give them something to do and it gets done as many are task focussed and however a number require a set routine so anything off plan or changes is in many instances too much for them. So being in the ATC isn’t probably the best place as things change almost instantly.

The most problems I have seen when dealing with cadets like this, are with staff who have similar/same conditions and have been through the same experience. Their tolerance is generally low, but even lower with these cadets.

I was CC on camp and had a cadet who was on the maximum dose of whatever it was for behaviour. She was fine in the morning but you could tell when it was wearing off in the afternoon. I appointed a member of staff (thankfully there was a female one from the squadron) to ensure she was kept on task with her meds.

What I find ironic is the experience with AEF and gliding which has largely been no problem as long as they take their meds, which when you consider the hoops needed for asthma, has never failed to amaze me.

i am not saying it is valid in this case, but an injury doesn’t need to be physical.

the child has mental health issues and this scenario and drama will not have helped that.

(otherwise i agree with everything else you said!)

No he doesn’t. He has autism.

Interesting that the parents sued because apparently the Scouts discriminated against him by putting extra safeguards in place (1-1 supervision)…so that they DIDN’T discriminate against a child who required extra help in order to not be banned from events?!

Just think what the Scouts could have done with £42k plus costs…maybe some training or awareness for their volunteers to ensure this never happens again.

Well he could have mental health issues as well, it’s not explicitly mentioned as far as I recall. But I don’t think Steve was suggesting Autism is a mental health condition (well not deliberately anyway).

Also, I don’t think they were putting safeguards in place. They were putting barriers in place that probably wouldn’t ever be overcome. They used the excuse of health and safety of everyone else, But actually there isn’t anything there that makes anyone else unsafe. As an organisation they need to make reasonable adjustments and clearly they didn’t. Part of this is down to the organisation not training staff to know how to be inclusive of people with disabilities, and part of it will be down to attitude of those staff not wanting to make adjustments I suspect.

Generally, parents and families of children with disabilities are reasonable and sane human beings. They aren’t expecting the earth and they realise there might be limitations to what their child can achieve, but that doesn’t mean they don’t expect to be given the chance to try.

Whilst I have sympathy with the way the lad was treated, I hope this doesn’t open the gates for flood gates coming our way too… or a knee jerk reaction which will see 1 member of squadron staff from every squadron doing an e-learning course in SEND to “prove” we are “compliant”!!!

I note this was settled out of cohort. Also that part of the financial pay out was for privacy and breach of data protection - I would have thought this would’ve made up the bulk of the £42k.

Curious that the family ran with breach of privacy and data protection claims - but after the settlement ran to the press with the results!!!

This is a nightmare in school. I’ve supported kids with LD and behaviour problems and it’s no joke. Kids with autism can be extremely demanding as anything outside of the norm, such as a cover teacher or room change and you never know what’s going to happen. They seem to have TA support them and many times they are employed just for that child.

This came up in the staffroom today and everyone felt sorry for the Scouts as they had tried to do their best to ensure this lad got the best experience and got taken to the cleaners by parents who everyone seemed to think had lost the plot. We just hoped that now his school is ensuring they are covering themselves as and educational complaint can have wide ranging consequences.

no…i was trying to imply that the condition is closer to mental health than physical health.
Not all injuries need to be physical.

the boy in question could suffer mental “trauma” from this - depression for example having been excluded.

Steve, I apologise for my overreaction to your comment.

The trouble is, we will only ever truly hear one side to this story. The Scouts have issued their official statement & the leaders who made the decisions (right or wrong) will be told they cannot talk to the press (or if they do they have to stick to the organisation’s press release). Meanwhile the parents can tell all and sundry their version of events, and won’t be forced to stick to a party line. Cos as sure as Hell the parents’ story ain’t going to be the same as the Scout leaders’. Meanwhile the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

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