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Special Needs Advancement

Advancement for Youth Members with Special Needs
In response to several questions regarding advancements for Scouts with disabilities, we provide the following information taken from the BSA Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures Manual No. 33088C, 1999 printing. If you have further questions, contact your districts advancement committee or the Special Needs district director or executive.

The Boy Scouts of America recognizes and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 in defining a disability or disabling condition.

Advancement for Cub Scouts with Disabilities
The advancement program is so flexible that, with guidance, most boys can do the skills. It might take longer for a disabled boy to earn his awards, but he will appreciate them more by knowing he has made the effort.  The standard for every boy is, Has he done his best? 

A Cub Scout who is physically disabled may be given permission by the Cubmaster and pack committee to substitute electives for achievement requirements that are beyond his abilities. It is best to include parents in this process of determining substitutions since they are most familiar with their son's abilities.

Immediate recognition of advancement is even more important for boys with disabilities. The Immediate Recognition Kit, the den doodle and the Den Advancement Chart all help provide immediate recognition in den meetings as achievements and electives are completed.

Advancement for Boy Scouts with Disabilities
All current requirements for an advancement award (ranks, merit badges, or Eagle Palms) must be met by the candidate. There are no substitutions or alternatives permitted except those that are specifically stated in the requirements as set forth in the current official literature of the Boy Scouts of America.  Requests can be made for alternate rank requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class using the information outlined in the BSA Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures Manual.

No council, district, unit or individual has the authority to add to, or to substitute from, any advancement requirements. The Scout is expected to meet the requirements as stated no more and no less. Furthermore, he is to do exactly what is stated. If it says "show or demonstrate," that is what he must do. Just telling about it isn't enough. The same thing holds true for such words as make, list, in the field, and collect, identify and label.​