Last night was a big night for M as it was at last time for him to join Cubs.
Both of the boys have been on the waiting list to join Beavers for months, but the waiting list is so long, M’s name never reached the top. Since turning 8 though a couple of weeks ago, he was finally eligible to join Cubs – the next age group up in the Scouting organisation.
Ever since M had seen something on the telly about the Scouts, he had been desperate to be a part of it. He liked the idea that they learnt a lot of stuff about nature and the world around him. When he asked, I investigated if there was a scouting pack in our town, and put their names down. The man who runs it phoned me, as I had declared the boys problems, as he wanted to know what they were capable of! I explained that 90% of the time, you would not know either boy had additional educational needs, but I think its only fair to forewarn anyone who will be responsible for my children of possible reactions to things. It is not just a case of protecting the boys interests, although that of course is my greatest concern, but it helps those in authority to know to look for signs. To my dismay, I was told, the number of people who don’t declare problems is a lot higher than those that do and that is something I just don’t understand.
M’s oldest friend – they knew each other when they were both tummy bumps as she is a day older than him, has been at Beavers for a while, and last night was her first day moving up to Cubs. He was reassured that he would know someone there. I don’t think he had really thought it through and realised that there would probably be several other kids there that he would know, and there were! This really helped him feel part of it. It is also reassuring that many of these kids know about his problems, and know how to react to it – M’s autism is something we have never kept quiet and we have encouraged it to be spoken about at school, as I believe it can only help M if those about him know he has some odd behaviour for a reason!
My one main concern though is one of the kids there is the boy who M attacked in school last year after months of being bullied by him. M doesn’t see this child as a tormentor which doesn’t help, but after last years goings on when M was threatened with exclusion and eventually moved class, I am worried that encountering him out of school may be a problem. I am not trying to make situations before they happen, but after this childs parents wanted M’s blood I am naturally concerned. I have said to M to just try to join in with other children as he knows he is meant to be not interacting with this boy. Time will tell.
The Scout leaders all seemed really nice, and I stayed last night just to see what goes on, and to see how M would react in such a random environment. One of the helpers is the father of the girl I mentioned earlier, and M knows and trusts him, so there will be one adult there he feels comfortable with until he learns to trust the others.
The evening was chaotic to say the least. There was a very loud game of corners. The kids then did a kind of introducing themselves/memory game. It was a little like I went to market and I bought, listing all the items, but instead it was I am M and my friends are….. and naming everyone around the circle! Hard work, but really impressed at how well they did it! As someone who is shocking with names I am in awe!
They then sat down to look at some information about Scouts in Canada. It is part of one of their badges to learn about Scouting in another country. I must say I was horrified by the lack of respect given to the leader, as the chatter and playing about that was going on rather than listening was constant. I know it’s not school, but I did expect better discipline as I thought respecting others was one of the Scouts things.
At the end some badges were given out that had been earned last term. By this time, M looked tired. It had been a long evening of new things, and a late night for him, as he is usually to his bed at the time the meeting is finishing.
He came out though buzzing. His biggest concern is that he wants a neckerchief and woggle, and I don’t think he will be satisfied until he gets one. I will however have to find out about that and jumpers before I get anything. He says he is looking forward to next week, so that’s a good thing. I think it will be good for him to be involved in something out of school and as the more social occasions he is involved in the better it is for helping him learn how to conduct himself in them.
I also spoke to the man who runs the Beavers, as he knows D is still waiting. He said there are a few kids moving up to Cubs between now and Christmas, so the list is constantly fluid. Fingers crossed D gets to the top of it sooner rather than later, as he is feeling quite put out that M has found something so exciting to do.