Find a Troop Other

What If I Couldn't (Council Own) (Girl Scout Troop)

Life can be extra-challenging for a kid with special needs. Meeting people and making friends can be tough. But kids who use a wheelchair or have lots of health problems want friends just like you do. Some friendly things you might do are to carry the person’s books, open a door, or ask her or him to join you and your friends at lunch. Be sure to tell a teacher if you see them being bullied or teased. But don’t be “overly helpful” when no help is needed! Why? Because just like you, kids with special needs like to be as independent as they can be. As you get to know them, they may help you understand what it’s like to be in their shoes. And you’ll be helping fill a very special need, one that everybody has — the need for good friends.

To earn this Try-It, choose and complete 4 activities, including #1, which is required*

  • 1 If I…Could I Still? To play this game, you’ll need to: ? Put the phrases below on individual cards or strips of paper. ? Put the “If I…” cards into one paper bag and the “Could I Still” cards into another paper bag. (Or put them in two piles, face down.) ? Take turns picking one card from each bag and answering the question the best you can. For example: “If I…couldn’t see/Could I still…celebrate my birthday?” (Yes!) If you answer “No” to a question, talk it over with your friends or family and see if you can think of a way to change your answer to “yes.” You may find a way, or you may decide that nothing can be done and the answer will still be “No.” ? At the end of the game, decide, “If a girl has a disability, could she still be a Girl Scout? (Yes!) Could she be a good friend?” (Yes!) IF I… couldn’t hear used a wheelchair couldn’t see used crutches had only one leg had only one arm couldn’t speak clearly couldn’t use my legs had seizures sometimes couldn’t use my hands had trouble reading stuttered couldn’t see or hear had trouble making friends used an asthma inhaler had trouble sitting still used a feeding tube learned new things very slowly COULD I STILL…? watch TV celebrate my birthday talk to my friends be in a school play fly a kite play games with my friends go to school cry when my feelings are hurt day dream fly in an airplane go to parties play a musical instrument ride a bike spend the night at a friend’s play with my pet eat my favorite ice cream feel sad hate doing a lot of homework go swimming help bake cookies write a letter read a book
  • 2 How Does She Do That? Do you wonder how people with disabilities do certain things? For example, how does a girl who is blind match her clothes? How does a girl who uses a wheelchair go on a hike in the woods? How does a girl who cannot read or write do her school work? Find the answers to these questions by talking to people with disabilities, by going online (with an adult’s permission) or by looking in books. Then experience for yourself how person with a disability handles things by doing these activities where you simulate (pretend to have) a disability: ? color a picture or write your name without using your hands. ? eat a meal or play a game while blindfolded ? communicate with a friend without using spoken or written words ? write the Girl Scout Motto, “Be Prepared” using your left hand if your are right-handed, or your right hand if you are left-handed. Talk it over! How did it feel to face this challenge? Did you find a creative way to do your activity?
  • 3 -Where’s My Chair? People who use a wheelchair to move around don’t stay in their chair all the time! They may transfer, or move, from their wheelchair to their bed, the toilet, a regular chair, the floor, or a car, etc. Try this transfer activity for yourself: you’ll need 2 chairs, one lower than the other, placed side by side. Move from 3 one chair to the other and back without standing on your feet. Talk about: What would happen if someone moved the first chair before you could transfer back? Why should you never move a wheelchair when a person isn’t using it? Why shouldn’t you lean on a wheelchair when a person is using it? Why shouldn’t you push a wheelchair with asking permission first? (Not sure? Ask a person who uses a wheelchair, or look up “wheelchair etiquette” online or in a book.)
  • 4 Just Like Anyone Else Some children have a disability that affects the way their brain works. It may make it hard for them to learn, to pay attention, or to make friends. Play this game to help you understand how they might feel sometimes. Your leader will help you set up the game: ? Ask about 1 out of every 6 girls in the group to leave the room with another leader. ? While she (or they) are out of the room, the other leader teaches the rest of the girls a new activity or game. ? When that group is sure they know how to do the new activity, the other girls come back into the room. ? The leader asks all the girls do the new activity without any explanation for the girls who were out of the room. No one may help them with the activity. ? Afterward, talk about how it feels to join in an activity without understanding the rules; how it feels when no one tries to help you. ? What could you do to help the next time you see someone who is confused or unsure about a game or activity?
  • 5 Be a Disabilities Detectiv Invite a person with a disability to your troop meeting (or go to their school or place of work.) Prepare a list of questions to ask her that will help you better understand having a disability. For example: ? How did your disability come about? ? Is there anything you can’t do because of your disability? ? What can you do that most people think you can’t do? ? What are some ways are you treated that you don’t like? ? What can people do to help you? Or meet with a person who works with children or adults with disabilities. Ask her about “people first” language and for friendly ways to meet and talk to people who have a disability.
  • 6 Girl Scouts Is For All Girls! Did you know that Juliette (Daisy) Gordon Low, the woman who started the Girl Scouts in America was deaf? Daisy didn’t let deafness keep her from being a Girl Scout leader! Find ways to let girls with disabilities know they can be Girl Scouts, too. You might invite a girl your age who has a disability or special needs to visit one of your troop meetings or go on a field trip with your troop. Help her see that she can be a Girl Scout too.