Special Needs

Members with a permanent behavioral, cognitive, or physical disability are welcome in the Boy Scouts of America.  Leaders should recognize the demands that will be placed on their patience, understanding, and skill in working on advancement with members having special needs.

The outcome of the scouting experience should be fun and educational.  “Has the scout done his best?” is the one standard all are expected to meet.  Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, or Venture Scouts who have disabilities may qualify for limited flexibility in advancement when they can answer this question in the affirmative yet are not able to meet specific advance requirements. 

Advancement flexibility starts with an Individual Scout Advancement Plan, No. 512-936. This file can be downloaded and saved by your browser, then filled in using Adobe Reader, and forwarded for evaluation to the GSC Advancement Committee at


Each scout with special needs is unique.  The committee’s review and recommendation will be based on input forwarded from medical and educational professionals about an individual’s abilities.

Registering qualified members beyond the age of eligibility is just one option that allows individuals to achieve goals at a rate significantly slower than normal.  Options available to a scout vary based on his recognized disabilities.  Section 10 of the Guide To Advancement presents other options with details.