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Terri Mauro

Happy Birthday, Girl Scouts. Can Our Kids Join the Party?

By March 12, 2012

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Girl ScoutsThe Girl Scouts are celebrating their 100th anniversary today, and if your daughter with special needs has found a good, inclusive experience in scouting, you're probably cheering. For families who've been able to find an accommodating troop, Girl Scouts can be a welcome bit of normalcy in a life otherwise lacking in childhood touchstones. For others, it's just another opportunity for rejection, or a struggle to find a right place, or a reminder that everyone in the world gets to eat (and relentlessly sell) something that's poison to you.

What has your daughter's Girl Scout experience been like? Mine had a few good years in a troop led by her aunt, but it was never really her thing, and that pretty much echoes my own non-special-needs experience as a child. When thinking about the Girl Scouts' anniversary today, I remembered a couple of blog posts I read a while back that Julia Roberts -- whose blog Kidneys and Eyes is a Readers' Choice Awards finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog -- wrote for Support for Special Needs, a Favorite Online Community finalist, on the trouble our kids sometimes have with finding a good fit in the Scouts: "Scouting Inclusion Policies & Special Needs" and "Scouting & Special Needs." If you're feeling left out of the Girl Scouts' party today, those would be good and thought-provoking articles to read.

I've created a Readers Respond page on which you can do your own sharing of your child's scouting stories, and give your advice for finding the right troop or avoiding the wrong one. (There's a page for Boy Scouts, too.) For some thoughts on why groups need to include our kids and what that means, read "Eight Reasons to Be Inclusive" and "Being Inclusive Is Worthwhile, But Takes Work." The Boy Scouts are known for their motto of "Be Prepared," but that's a pretty good strategy for parents of kids with special needs, too.

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