The Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge aims to educate Scouts BSA about the challenges faced by people with disabilities. The badge seeks to promote understanding, acceptance, and inclusion. Scouts working on this merit badge will learn about different types of disabilities, legislation, and ways to foster a more inclusive environment.
For the badge, Scouts are required to fulfill specific criteria. They have to visit organizations that provide services to people with disabilities or speak with individuals who live with these conditions. This real-world interaction is designed to provide a concrete understanding of the subject. Scouts are often surprised by how much they didn’t know before.
Scouts also study the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Learning about this key legislation helps them understand the rights and protections afforded to people with disabilities. They also gain insight into how public spaces are adapted for accessibility, such as ramps, larger restroom stalls, and Braille signs.
Beyond education, Scouts must take active steps to share what they’ve learned. This can be done through presentations, creating awareness material, or participating in community events. The objective is to apply the knowledge in a meaningful way to make a difference in the community.
In summary, the Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge offers Scouts BSA a structured way to learn about a vital social issue. It mixes educational criteria with practical experiences, ensuring that Scouts don’t just know the facts but can apply them in real life. It’s a good step toward fostering a more inclusive society.
Answers and Helps for the Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirements
Help with Answers for the Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge
Find specific helps for the Disabilities Awareness merit badge requirements listed on this page. Some of these resources will just give the answers. Others will provide engaging ways for older Scouts to introduce these concepts to new Scouts.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 1: Terms
Do the following:
(a) Define and discuss with your counselor the following disabilities awareness terms: disability, accessibility, adaptation, accommodation, invisible disability, person-first language, and inclusion.
(b) Explain why proper disability etiquette is important, and how it may differ depending on the specific disability. Give three examples.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 1 Helps and Answers
Disabilities Awareness Terms
For Requirement 1 of the Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge, Scouts must understand key terms. Let’s go through them:
- Disability: A condition that significantly hinders one’s ability to perform one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, or hearing. It can be physical, sensory, or cognitive.
- Accessibility: The design of products, devices, services, or environments to be usable by people with disabilities. This often involves removing barriers that may prevent individuals from fully participating in society.
- Adaptation: A change made to an environment or tool to make it more accessible for people with disabilities. For example, installing a ramp for wheelchair access.
- Accommodation: An adjustment to a system or method of doing something to make it more accessible. Unlike adaptations, accommodations don’t necessarily change the object or environment but make it easier for a person with a disability to use. Examples include extended test time or large-print books.
- Invisible Disability: A disability that is not immediately apparent to others, like mental illness, chronic pain, or learning disabilities. They can be just as debilitating as visible disabilities but often go unrecognized.
- Person-First Language: A way of speaking that puts the person before their disability. Instead of saying “disabled person,” one would say “person with a disability.” This emphasizes that the individual is not solely defined by their disability.
- Inclusion: The act of ensuring that people with disabilities have equal access to opportunities and are integrated into all aspects of life. Inclusion goes beyond mere physical access to also address social acceptance and involvement.
Understanding these terms is crucial for Scouts as they navigate the rest of the requirements for the Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge. These definitions form the basis for a more nuanced understanding of how society can be made more equitable for everyone.
Proper disability etiquette is important because it promotes respect and inclusion. Missteps in etiquette can inadvertently perpetuate stereotypes or create barriers. Good etiquette shows an understanding and respect for individual differences. How you practice this etiquette can vary depending on the specific disability in question. Here are some examples to illustrate this:
- Visual Impairments: For someone who is visually impaired, it’s important not to grab their arm or guide dog without asking. Instead, offer your elbow as a guide. Verbally communicate who you are and provide specific directions like “the door is five steps to your left,” rather than vague ones like “over there.”
- Hearing Impairments: For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, make sure you’re facing them when you speak and that your mouth is visible for lip-reading. If they use a sign language interpreter, speak directly to the person, not the interpreter. Avoid shouting, as this distorts lip movements and facial expressions, making it harder to understand you.
- Cognitive or Developmental Disabilities: Patience is key here. Avoid using complicated words or phrases and give the individual time to process and respond. Don’t infantilize them by talking down or using baby talk. Treat them as you would any other adult, with dignity and respect.
- Wheelchair Users: Don’t lean on or touch someone’s wheelchair unless given permission, as the wheelchair is considered part of their personal space. Always ask before offering assistance and wait for a response. Speak directly to the person, not over them, to maintain eye contact and dignity.
- Non-Verbal Disabilities: For those who can’t speak or have difficulty speaking, offer alternative methods of communication like writing or using a speech device. Don’t assume that they can’t understand you; they may fully comprehend what’s happening but have difficulty expressing themselves.
- Chronic Illness: This falls under invisible disabilities, and the key here is not to make assumptions. If someone says they are not feeling well or can’t participate in an activity, don’t push them or belittle their experience. Chronic conditions like fibromyalgia or lupus may not be visible but can be debilitating.
- Psychiatric Disabilities: Avoid making unsolicited comments or asking prying questions about someone’s mental health. Give them space if they need it and be mindful not to trivialize their experiences. Phrases like “we all get sad sometimes” can be dismissive of conditions like clinical depression.
- Autism Spectrum: Avoid touching or hugging without explicit permission, as sensory sensitivities vary. Use clear and literal language, avoiding idioms or slang that might be confusing. Keep in mind that eye contact may be uncomfortable for some individuals with autism.
Understanding the specific needs and preferences of individuals with different disabilities helps in fostering an inclusive environment. It shows a level of thoughtfulness and empathy that goes beyond mere politeness, encouraging a more accessible society for all.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 2: Visit
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. Discuss what you have learned with your counselor.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 2 Helps and Answers
Tips for an Agency Visit
For Requirement 2 of the Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge, you’re tasked with a hands-on exploration of an agency that serves people with disabilities. This experience aims to provide you with a deeper understanding of the resources and opportunities available. Here are some tips to make the most of this requirement:
- Select the Right Agency: Choose an agency that covers a range of disabilities if possible. This will give you a more comprehensive view. Hospitals, special education centers, or non-profits like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) are good places to start.
- Schedule a Visit: Don’t just walk in unannounced. Contact the agency to schedule a visit, making it clear that you’re working on a merit badge and what you hope to learn. Some agencies might have specific visitor programs you can join.
- Prepare Questions: Before your visit, jot down some questions you have. Ask about the agency’s mission, the types of disabilities they focus on, and what kinds of training, employment, and education opportunities they offer.
- Take Notes: During your visit, take notes on what you’re observing and learning. Collect any pamphlets or reading materials they offer. Pay attention not just to the services but also to the accessibility features of the facility itself.
- Speak to Staff and Members: If permitted, interact with both the staff and the people who use the agency’s services. Firsthand accounts offer valuable insights that you won’t get from just reading materials.
- Follow Up: After your visit, review your notes and the materials you collected. Reflect on how this new knowledge affects your understanding of disabilities and accessibility. This will help you in discussing your findings with your counselor.
Following these tips will help you gain a thorough understanding of how agencies serve those with disabilities, fulfilling both the spirit and the letter of the requirement.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 3: Experiences
Do TWO of the following:
(a) Talk with a Scout who has a disability and learn about the Scout’s experiences taking part in Scouting activities and earning different merit badges. Discuss what you have learned with your counselor.
(b) 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. Discuss what you have learned with your counselor.
(c) Learn how people with disabilities take part in a particular adaptive sport or recreational activity. Discuss what you have learned with your counselor.
(d) Learn about independent living aids such as service animals, canes, and augmentative communication devices such as captioned telephones and videophones. Discuss with your counselor how people use such aids.
(e) Plan or participate in an activity that helps others understand what a person with a visible or invisible disability experiences. Discuss what you have learned with your counselor.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 3 Helps and Answers
Tips for Talking with a Scout with a Disability
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 3a focuses on direct interaction with a Scout who has a disability. This offers a valuable perspective that reading or lectures can’t fully provide. Here are some tips to approach this requirement effectively:
- Identify a Scout: Start by identifying a fellow Scout with a disability who’s willing to talk about their experiences. Your troop leader or counselor might be able to assist with this.
- Set a Comfortable Setting: Choose a comfortable setting for the discussion. Make sure it’s a space that’s accessible and where both of you can focus without distractions.
- Prepare Open-Ended Questions: Frame your questions to invite discussion, not just yes-or-no answers. For example, “Can you tell me about any challenges you’ve faced while earning merit badges?” or “What adaptations have helped you participate in activities?”
- Be Respectful: Always maintain a respectful tone. Be mindful of sensitive topics and don’t press if the other Scout seems uncomfortable discussing certain issues.
- Listen Actively: This is as much about listening as it is about asking. Give the other Scout your full attention, and don’t interrupt. Your aim is to understand their experience, not to interject with your own thoughts or solutions unless asked.
- Take Notes: If the other Scout is comfortable with it, take notes during or immediately after your conversation. These will help you when you discuss what you’ve learned with your counselor.
- Share Insights: When you talk to your counselor, focus on what you’ve learned about the challenges and triumphs that Scouts with disabilities might experience. Relate these insights back to what you’ve learned in earlier requirements.
Approaching this requirement with an open mind and a respectful attitude will not only help you fulfill the criteria but also enrich your understanding of what inclusivity in Scouting truly means.
Talking to a Person with a Disability
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 3b asks you to engage in a conversation with an individual who has a disability to learn about their experiences and interests. This can broaden your understanding of how disabilities can impact life in various ways. Here’s how to approach this requirement:
- Identify the Individual: The first step is to find someone who’s willing to share their experiences. This could be a family member, friend, or someone from a local organization.
- Secure Permission: Always make sure to ask for permission before initiating the conversation, explaining why you wish to speak with them and what you hope to learn.
- Set the Scene: Choose a setting where both of you are comfortable and can talk freely. Ensure the space is accessible for them and devoid of distractions.
- Be Prepared but Flexible: While it’s good to have questions prepared, also let the conversation flow naturally. Your objective is to understand their experiences, so be ready to adapt your questions based on what they’re sharing.
- Listen More, Speak Less: The purpose is to learn from their experiences. Listen attentively and ask clarifying questions if needed, but avoid dominating the conversation or making it about your own thoughts.
- Be Respectful and Mindful: Always respect their comfort level. If it seems like they don’t want to discuss certain topics, don’t push it. Remember that the conversation is about understanding their experiences, not satisfying your own curiosity.
- Reflect and Discuss: After the conversation, spend some time reflecting on what you’ve learned. Think about how these insights relate to what you’ve learned from other merit badge requirements. Share these reflections with your counselor.
By thoughtfully engaging in this conversation and following these tips, you’ll not only meet the requirement but also gain valuable insights that can enrich your understanding of living with a disability.
Adaptive Sports and Activities
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 3c delves into adaptive sports and recreational activities that are accessible to people with disabilities. Here are some examples:
- Wheelchair Basketball: This sport adapts traditional basketball rules to accommodate wheelchair users. It’s fast-paced and offers the same team dynamics as standard basketball.
- Adaptive Skiing: Modifications like sit-skis allow individuals with limited mobility to enjoy skiing. There are also adaptive programs for visually impaired skiers that use guides.
- Goalball: Designed for visually impaired players, goalball uses a bell-filled ball and blindfolds for sighted participants. Teams try to roll the ball into the opposing net while using their bodies to block incoming shots.
- Boccia: Similar to bocce, this sport is particularly accessible to individuals with severe physical disabilities. Athletes throw, kick, or use assistive devices to propel leather balls as close as possible to a white target ball.
- Handcycling: These specially designed bikes are powered by the arms rather than the legs, making them accessible to individuals with limited lower-body mobility.
- Adaptive Yoga: With the help of props and modified poses, yoga becomes accessible to people with various physical limitations or balance issues.
- Sledge Hockey: Also known as sled hockey in the U.S., this is the Paralympic version of ice hockey. Players use double-blade sledges instead of skates and have two short hockey sticks to propel themselves and handle the puck.
- Adaptive Rock Climbing: Harnesses and other specialized equipment make rock climbing accessible for people with limited mobility or upper-body strength.
- Adaptive Golf: With specialized carts and clubs, individuals with various disabilities can enjoy golf. Some programs also accommodate blind golfers with audio cues.
- Power Soccer: Played in power wheelchairs, this is a team sport that allows individuals with severe physical disabilities to compete.
Understanding these activities not only fulfills Requirement 3c but also broadens your view of how sports can be adapted for inclusivity.
Independent Living Aids
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 3d focuses on independent living aids that facilitate day-to-day life for people with disabilities. Below are some examples:
- Service Animals: Trained to perform specific tasks, service animals like guide dogs assist people with various disabilities, including visual impairment and PTSD.
- Canes: Different types of canes, like white canes for the visually impaired or quad canes for stability, help individuals navigate their environment safely.
- Augmentative Communication Devices: These include speech-generating devices that help individuals with speech impairments communicate more easily.
- Screen Readers: Software that reads the text displayed on a computer screen, useful for people with visual impairments or learning disabilities.
- Captioned Telephones: For the hearing-impaired, captioned phones display a real-time transcript of the ongoing conversation, making it easier to follow along.
- Videophones: These allow for sign language communication over video, which is essential for those who rely on visual or signed languages.
- Mobility Scooters: These electric scooters help people with mobility challenges move around both indoor and outdoor environments.
- Adaptive Eating Utensils: Designed with larger, ergonomic grips, these assist people with limited hand or arm function.
- Hearing Aids: These electronic devices amplify sound for individuals with hearing loss, helping them engage in conversations and be aware of their surroundings.
- Braille Notetakers: These are electronic devices that allow users to read, write, and save documents in Braille.
- Shower Chairs: For individuals with mobility issues, shower chairs provide a safe way to bathe without the risk of falling.
- Grab Bars: Installed in bathrooms or other areas around the home, these provide extra support for people with balance or mobility issues.
- Stair Lifts: These are devices that help people with mobility limitations ascend and descend stairs in their homes.
Understanding these aids not only fulfills the merit badge requirement but also offers you practical knowledge of how technology and equipment can support independent living for people with disabilities.
Disability Simulation Activities
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 3e aims to encourage empathy and understanding through activities that simulate or explain the experiences of people with disabilities. Here are some suggestions:
- Wheelchair Obstacle Course: Set up an obstacle course that must be navigated in a wheelchair. This can help participants understand the challenges of wheelchair mobility, such as ramps, narrow doors, and uneven surfaces.
- Blindfolded Meal: Have participants eat a meal blindfolded to experience the challenges visually impaired individuals may face during mealtime.
- Sensory Overload Simulation: Create an environment with overwhelming visual and auditory stimuli to simulate what individuals with sensory processing disorders might experience.
- Silent Communication Game: Restrict verbal communication and have participants use only written notes or sign language. This can provide insights into the challenges faced by individuals with speech or hearing impairments.
- Empathy Belly: An empathy belly simulates the physical experience of being pregnant. This can help participants understand how pregnancy can affect mobility and daily activities.
- Invisible Illness Discussion: Invite someone with an invisible illness like chronic pain or mental health conditions to speak. This can help shed light on conditions that are not immediately apparent but can be severely debilitating.
- Memory Game with Distractions: While participants try to remember a list of items or tasks, introduce various distractions. This can simulate the challenges faced by people with attention deficit disorders.
- Accessibility Audit: Walk around your school or meeting place identifying areas that are not accessible. Discuss potential improvements and why they’re necessary.
- Captioning Exercise: Show a video without sound and ask participants to understand its content. Then discuss the importance of captioning for the hearing impaired.
- Gloved Writing Task: Have participants wear gloves while attempting to write or tie shoelaces, to simulate reduced dexterity which could be due to various conditions like arthritis.
These activities can be eye-opening for participants and can serve as a strong educational tool for understanding the diverse experiences of people with disabilities.
The “I Can Do That With One Hand Behind My Back” game is a practical and engaging way to meet Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 3e. The activity pushes Scouts to think creatively and adapt to a limitation, mimicking the daily challenges faced by individuals with disabilities affecting one hand or arm. Besides developing empathy, it promotes teamwork, as the two Scouts in each pair must communicate effectively to complete their task.
Upon completion, a discussion about the challenges faced and strategies employed can segue into a broader conversation about disability awareness. This can include talking about the types of aids or techniques people with similar physical restrictions might use in their daily lives. This activity thus offers a tactile and direct way to help Scouts better understand the complexities and challenges of living with a physical disability.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 4: Accommodations
Do EITHER option A or option B:
Option A. 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.
(a) Your school
(b) Your place of worship
(c) A Scouting event or campsite
(d) A public exhibit or attraction (such as a theater, museum, or park)
Option B. Visit TWO of the following locations and take notes while observing features and methods that are used to accommodate people with invisible disabilities. While there, ask staff members to explain any accommodation features that may not be obvious. Note anything you think could be done to better accommodate people who have invisible disabilities. Discuss your observations with your counselor.
(a) Your school
(b) Your place of worship
(c) A Scouting event or campsite
(d) A public exhibit or attraction (such as a theater, museum, or park)
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 4 Helps and Answers
Disability Friendly Locations
For Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 4 Option A, improving accessibility and inclusivity in various locations involves both physical modifications and changes in procedures or attitudes. Here are some suggestions:
- Install ramps and elevators for wheelchair access.
- Provide visual and auditory aids for lessons to assist students with hearing or visual impairments.
- Provide assistive listening devices or sign language interpreters during public activities.
- Ensure there are designated spaces for wheelchair users.
- Create accessible outdoor paths that are stable and flat, suitable for wheelchairs or walkers.
- Have accessible restroom facilities with proper railings and space.
- Make sure all exhibits are accessible, with lowered viewing areas where necessary.
- Offer sensory-friendly hours for people with sensory sensitivities.
- Clear signage: Use large, easy-to-read fonts and Braille.
- Staff Training: Train staff in disability etiquette and how to assist guests with special needs.
- Offer mobility scooters or wheelchairs for use.
- Ensure tables are at a height accessible for wheelchair users.
- Offer computers with screen reading software for the visually impaired.
- Provide adaptive exercise or playground equipment.
- Install rubberized surfaces for easier mobility.
- Make sure websites are navigable via screen reading software.
- Provide closed captioning for video content.
- Install proper lighting to assist those with visual or sensory sensitivities.
- Clearly marked and well-maintained pedestrian pathways.
- Adequate accessible parking spots, close to entrances.
By incorporating these additions into various locations, you can make them more accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities.
Accommodating Invisible Disabilities
For Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 4 Option B, which focuses on invisible disabilities, the approach is often more about policy and awareness than physical alterations. Here are some suggestions:
- Flexible Scheduling: Allow flexible hours or extended test-taking periods to accommodate individuals with conditions like ADHD or chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Quiet Spaces: Establish quiet rooms or zones where people can retreat if they’re dealing with sensory overload, anxiety, or need to manage symptoms.
- Clear Signage: In public spaces, include signage for restrooms and elevators that mention their accessibility features. This helps those with conditions like Crohn’s disease or PTSD.
- Training for Staff: Educate staff members on how to recognize and assist people with invisible disabilities, including understanding that not all disabilities are visible.
- Sensory-friendly Events: Offer sensory-friendly hours or events that minimize triggers for sensory sensitivities.
- Accessible Information: Provide written or electronic copies of spoken presentations or meetings for those with auditory processing issues.
- Rest Areas: Create designated areas where people can sit and rest, beneficial for conditions like fibromyalgia or heart issues.
- Mental Health Resources: Make information about available mental health resources easily accessible. This is vital for people dealing with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety.
- Feedback Loop: Have a system in place for collecting feedback about accessibility and accommodations. This helps identify areas that may need further attention.
By implementing these accommodations, you can make various environments more inclusive for people with invisible disabilities. This aligns well with the objectives of Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 4 Option B.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 5: Advocacy
Explain what advocacy is. Do ONE of the following advocacy activities:
(a) Present a counselor-approved disabilities awareness program to a Cub Scout pack or other group. During your presentation, explain and use person-first language.
(b) Find out about disabilities awareness education programs in your school or school system, or contact a disability advocacy agency. Volunteer with a program or agency for eight hours.
(c) 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.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 5 Helps and Answers
Person First Language
Person-first language is an approach to communication that places the individual before their disability in descriptions or conversations. The idea is to emphasize the person over the condition, to promote dignity and focus on their humanity rather than defining them by their disability. For example, instead of saying “a disabled person,” you’d say “a person with a disability.” This slight shift in wording can make a big difference in perception.
This concept aligns with the goals of Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 5a, which emphasizes the importance of respectful and appropriate communication. Using person-first language helps in reducing stigma and fosters an environment of inclusivity and respect.
For Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 5b, the goal is to actively engage with educational or advocacy settings. Here are some tips to make the most out of this experience:
- Research Programs: Start by identifying schools, organizations, or agencies in your area that focus on disabilities awareness. Contact them to learn what volunteer opportunities they offer.
- Set Objectives: Before starting your volunteer work, know what you want to learn or achieve. This will guide your interactions and the tasks you choose to take on.
- Be Proactive: Don’t just wait for tasks to be given to you. Ask questions, suggest how you can be of help, and show enthusiasm for the work.
- Listen and Observe: Pay close attention to the professionals and the people with disabilities you interact with. This is a learning experience, and there’s a lot to gain from active listening.
- Take Notes: Keep a small notebook to jot down observations, things you’ve learned, or questions you might have. This will be useful when you discuss your experience with your counselor.
- Reflect and Share: After your volunteer hours, take some time to reflect on what you’ve learned and how it has impacted your understanding of disabilities. Sharing these insights with your counselor is an essential part of the requirement.
- Follow Up: After completing your hours, send a thank-you note to the organization and ask if there are future opportunities to stay involved. This maintains a positive relationship and could be beneficial down the line.
By following these tips, you’ll likely have a richer, more educational experience, fulfilling the intent of Requirement 5b.
Myths and Misconceptions
For Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 5c, understanding myths and misconceptions about people with disabilities is crucial for spreading awareness. Here’s a list for you to investigate further:
- Myth: All Disabilities Are Visible: Many disabilities, such as mental health conditions, learning disabilities, or chronic illnesses, are not immediately apparent.
- Myth: People with Disabilities Can’t Work: With appropriate accommodations, many people with disabilities are fully capable of working in various sectors.
- Myth: Accessibility Benefits Only People with Disabilities: Accessibility features like ramps or subtitles benefit everyone, including parents with strollers or people who are temporarily injured.
- Myth: People with Disabilities Are Always in Need of Help: Many people with disabilities are independent and may find unsolicited help patronizing.
- Myth: Disabilities Make People Unhappy or Bitter: Like anyone else, people with disabilities experience a range of emotions and can lead fulfilling lives.
- Myth: Intellectual Disability Means Lack of Intelligence: Intellectual disabilities often affect adaptive behaviors and learning pace, not necessarily intelligence.
- Myth: It’s OK to Park in an Accessible Spot for Just a Minute: Even a short period can inconvenience someone who genuinely needs that spot.
- Myth: Talking Louder Will Help Someone with Hearing Impairment: Raising your voice is not generally helpful and can distort words for people who read lips.
- Myth: All People with the Same Disability Experience It the Same Way: Disabilities affect people differently. Two people with the same condition can have vastly different experiences.
- Myth: People with Disabilities Are Inspirational for Doing Everyday Tasks: Labeling everyday activities as “inspirational” can unintentionally objectify people with disabilities and set a low bar for expectations.
- Myth: Blind People Have Heightened Senses: While some people who are blind may train themselves to use their other senses more effectively, it doesn’t mean their other senses are inherently sharper.
- Myth: Children with Disabilities Should Be Educated Separately: Inclusive education often benefits all students, not just those with disabilities.
- Myth: You Can “Catch” a Disability: This myth is often associated with ignorance about conditions like chronic physical or mental health disorders.
- Myth: Wheelchair Users Are Confined to Their Wheelchairs: Many people who use wheelchairs can stand or walk for short periods but use wheelchairs to conserve energy or move more quickly.
- Myth: People with Mental Health Conditions Are Dangerous: The vast majority of people with mental health conditions are not violent. Stigmatizing beliefs like this contribute to discrimination.
- Myth: Assistive Devices Solve All Accessibility Issues: While assistive devices like wheelchairs or hearing aids are helpful, they don’t eliminate the need for accessible spaces and inclusive policies.
Understanding these myths and the facts that dispel them is an important step toward fostering a more inclusive and aware society, fulfilling the intent of Requirement 5c.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 6: Commitment
Make a commitment to your merit badge counselor describing what you will do to show a positive attitude about and toward people with disabilities and to encourage positive attitudes among others. Discuss how your awareness has changed as a result of what you have learned.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 6 Helps and Answers
Make a Positive Change
For Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 6, the aim is to commit to positive change based on what you’ve learned. Here are some tips:
- Define Your Commitment: Be specific about what you plan to do. Saying “I’ll be more aware” is less effective than stating, “I’ll use person-first language from now on.”
- Small Actions Count: Even minor changes, like holding doors open for people with mobility issues or being more patient in conversations, can make a difference.
- Educate Others: Share what you’ve learned with family and friends. You could hold a small informational session, share resources, or simply correct misconceptions when you hear them.
- Be Open to Feedback: Don’t assume you know everything after earning this badge. Be willing to listen and learn from those with lived experiences.
- Track Your Progress: Keep a journal or notes on your interactions and experiences. This will help you reflect on any changes in your awareness and attitudes.
- Discuss with Counselor: Be prepared to have an open dialogue about your experiences and learnings. Reflect on how your perceptions have changed and what steps you’ve taken to foster a positive environment.
Following these steps can give you a clear path for your commitment and offer you ways to meaningfully engage with the issue, fulfilling the goal of Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 6.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 7: Professions
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.
Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 7 Helps and Answers
Professions which Provide Services to People with Disabilities
For Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Requirement 7, here’s a list of professions that work directly with individuals with disabilities. This will give you some ideas for further research:
- Occupational Therapist: Helps people gain skills needed for daily living and working.
- Speech-Language Pathologist: Works on communication challenges, both speaking and understanding.
- Special Education Teacher: Educates children who have various disabilities, tailoring approaches to each student’s needs.
- Rehabilitation Counselor: Assists people in coping with the personal, social, and vocational impacts of disabilities.
- Physical Therapist: Focuses on physical mobility and motor skills.
- Audiologist: Deals with hearing impairments and helps to manage hearing aids or other devices.
- Psychologist/Psychiatrist: Provides mental health services tailored for individuals with disabilities.
- Social Worker: Assists with a variety of needs, including housing, job placement, and social services.
- Job Coach: Provides specialized on-site training and support for people with disabilities in a new job.
- Recreational Therapist: Uses leisure activities as forms of treatment and physical activity for better mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
- Assistive Technology Specialist: Helps identify and manage devices that assist people with disabilities in daily activities.
- Medical Professionals: Doctors and nurses specializing in disabilities, including neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and developmental pediatricians.
Each of these professions offers a unique set of services aimed at either improving quality of life, providing education, or assisting with day-to-day tasks and challenges for people with disabilities.
Related Resources for the Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge
The BSA’s Special Needs Awareness program feature is a useful supplement for Scouts working on the Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge. The program offers structured activities sorted by difficulty, covering topics like understanding disabilities, adaptive sports, and accessibility. These activities align well with multiple badge requirements, such as understanding various types of disabilities and advocating for more inclusive spaces. The feature even includes community involvement opportunities like volunteering, which could satisfy the volunteer requirement of the badge. Overall, it’s a practical resource for a more thorough understanding of disabilities awareness.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge