Boy Scouts can learn to understand and appreciate each individual’s strengths and challenges while working on the Disabilities Awareness merit badge.
Look around at the Scouts in your unit, the members of your sports teams, and the kids in your class – you will see that each person has their own personalities, distinct interests and ideas, different physical features, and different strengths and needs.
Requirements for the Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge
- Discuss with your counselor proper disability etiquette and person-first language. Explain why these are important.
- Visit an agency that works with people with physical, mental, emotional, or educational disabilities. Collect and read information about the agency's activities. Learn about opportunities its members have for training, employment, and education.
- Do TWO of the following:
- Talk to a Scout who has a disability and learn about his experiences taking part in Scouting activities and earning different merit badges.
- Talk to an individual who has a disability and learn about this person's experiences and the activities in which this person likes to participate.
- Learn how people with disabilities take part in a particular adaptive sport or recreational activity. Discuss what you have learned with your counselor.
- Learn about independent living aids such as service animals, canes, and teletypewriters (TTYs). Discuss with your counselor how people use such aids.
- Visit TWO of the following locations and take notes about the accessibility to people with disabilities. In your notes, give examples of five things that could be done to improve upon the site and five things about the site that make it friendly to people with disabilities. Discuss your observations with your counselor.
- Your school
- Your place of worship
- Your Scout camping site
- A public exhibit or attraction (such as a theater, museum, or park)
- Explain what advocacy is. Do ONE of the following advocacy activities:
- Present a counselor-approved disabilities awareness program to a Cub Scout pack or other group. During your presentation, explain and use person-first language.
- Find out about disability awareness education programs in your school or school system, or contact a disability advocacy agency. Volunteer with a program or agency for eight hours.
- Using resources such as disability advocacy agencies, government agencies, the Internet (with your parent's permission), and news magazines, learn about myths and misconceptions that influence the general public's understanding of people with disabilities. List 10 myths and misconceptions about people with disabilities and learn the facts about each myth. Share your list with your counselor, then use it to make a presentation to a Cub Scout pack or other group.
- Make a commitment to your merit badge counselor describing what you will do to show a positive attitude about people with disabilities and to encourage positive attitudes among others. Discuss how your awareness has changed as a result of what you have learned.
- Name five professions that provide services to people with disabilities. Pick one that interests you and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss what you learn with your counselor, and tell why this profession interests you.