special needs scouting

General Resources

Following are some general resources relating to Scouting and special needs. For information relating to specific needs and disabilities select the Resources by Disability menu option to the left.

Special Needs and Scouting


Guide to Advancement 2019

This guide specifies mandated and recommended procedures for advancement in all Scouting programs.   See in particular Section 10, “Advancement for Members with Special Needs.”

BSA Disabilities Awareness Page

This page lists BSA’s current official documents that address special needs.  Unfortunately, it is under reconstruction, and various resources previously listed are no longer referenced.  BSA continues to carry some of those documents online, which may still provide some useful if no longer official guidance,  e.g.,

Some BSA special needs publications are available in hard copy only:

  • A Scoutmaster’s Guide to Working with Scouts with Disabilities #33056A
  • Understanding Cub Scouts with Disabilities #33839
  • These are available through the GCC Scout Shop but call first (303.477.4830) to see what they have in stock.

They can also be ordered through:

BSA National Distribution Center
2109 Westinghouse Blvd.
PO Box 7143
Charlotte, NC 28241-7143


Additional Information about SN and Scouting from BSA

Handouts & Flyers Distributed by the  Special Needs Program

Disabilities Digest

BSA publishes a quarterly journal about special needs and Scouting. Check the archives here.

Videos About Special Needs at GCC

Special Needs Scouting Outreach

This video explores the many ways Greater Colorado Council reaches out to youths who have special needs.

Troop 5280 helps Scouts with Special Needs

Troop 5280 is the first transitional Boy Scout troop in the Denver metro area. It was formed in 2009 to provide special needs scouts between 10½ and 18-years-old with the basic foundation and knowledge of the traditional Boy Scout program.

Father and Son: Tim and Jack Ryan

Exposing Jack to Scouting was never part of a grand plan. Tim Ryan had very warm feelings for his time in the Scouts as a youth, but the years from the time he learned Jack was autistic (1994) until he started in Cub Scouts (2000) were a whirlwind of therapies and other efforts to address the autism that had become the central feature of their family’s lives.

Special Needs: Zeb’s Story

Learn how a special needs Boy Scout with Down syndrome was included in Troop 767, Gateway District, Greater Colorado Council.

Electricity: Working with Kids that have Special Needs

See how adults at Troop 5280 interact with their youths.


Colorado Agencies


  • THRIVE is a Community Parent Resource Center that serves all families in the Denver Metro area that have children with disabilities, particularly those with low income or who have linguistic challenges. It provides advice, outreach, training, events and other offerings. Thrive does not charge parents for its services.

Community Resources for Youth with Disabilities

  • This book is an extraordinary list of resources from Colorado listing a great number of resources for youth. The resources include areas such as Employment, Internships, Education, Learning Disabilities, Advocacy Support, Youth Development, and much more.

Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

  • DVR assists persons with disabilities to succeed at work and to live independently.

Colorado Fund for People with Disabilities

  • This trust allows parents to leave their children money without it negatively impacting their disability benefit qualifications. The Director, Ms. Germany, can inform families about how the trust works and how to financially plan/prepare with a child with disabilities.

Peak Parent

  • Centered here in Colorado, Peak Parent has the mission to assist families with disabilities.  You can reach their Denver office at 303-864-1900 or in person at 1212 Mariposa St, Denver, CO 80204.

Easter Seals of Colorado

  • Easter Seals of Colorado offers help to the disabled and their families.

National Agencies

Internet Resources for Special Children (IRSC)

  • The IRSC web site is dedicated to communicating information relating to the needs of children with disAbilities on a global basis.

ADA Home Page

  • U.S. Department of Justice Americans with Disabilities Act. View and download the entire ADA as well as a multitude of documents and publications regarding the ADA. There is a lot of useful information on this site. Note while the ADA does not legally apply to BSA which is a nonprofit volunteer organization, the BSA’s policies are similar to the ADA.

Department of Labor

  • A variety of useful resources from DOL.

National Organization on Disability (NOD)

  • The National Organization on Disability promotes the full and equal participation of America’s 54 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life.

Disability is Natural

  • This organization promotes a people first approach to disabilities and discussion of disabilities.

Other Resources

Wheelchair Accessible Trails

GCC territory offers many opportunities for the wheelchair-bound or physically disabled to enjoy the out-of-doors.

  • Overview. This article summaries many outdoor opportunities for those in Colorado who have special needs.
  • Wilderness on Wheels provides a mile-long accessible boardwalk along Kenosha Creek, with options for fishing and camping.
  • The Wild Animal Sanctuary provides an accessible boardwalk over a mile-and-a-half long that overlooks hundreds of lions, tigers, wolves, bears and other large predators.
  • Traillink provides a map which lists over a hundred accessible trails throughout Colorado.
  • The Disabled Traveler’s Companion provides a guide to Rocky Mountain National Park including its accessible trails.

Guide to Home Remodeling for Disability

  • Provides resources for selecting or remodeling an accessible home. Here also is additional information about remodeling for special needs include legal rights and sources of financing.

Legal Resources

  • Summarizes the law and rights relating to special needs.

For the college bound: