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Practical tips for leaders

Practical tips for leaders

  • Talk to parents about their child’s communication skills – starting with knowledge can help you adjust activities to support all young people

  • Get the young person's attention before communicating e.g. using their name first

  • Use clear and simple instructions – listen to the kind of words the children use and use vocabulary at the young person's level

  • Use visual cues to support your speech especially complex words e.g. demonstrations, gestures, pictures

  • Limit background noise when possible

  • Be patient - allow time for young people to process what have been said and to communicate themselves e.g. wait for a count of at least 6 after asking a question or giving an instruction

  • If you need to repeat a question, do it in the same way, rather than changing the words round

  • Check for understanding as needed e.g. ask 'so, what are you doing next?'

  • A visual task list can help children to work through activities and know what is coming next

  • Explain to everyone the importance of making sure instructions are clear and understood, to avoid any potential problems

  • Do not speak for the young person, but help them to develop their communication e.g. a closed choice can be easier to make than an open question

  • If a young person mis says a sentence, you could repeat it after them in the correct form - this will help them learn for next time and is much more useful than saying what they said is wrong or ‘correcting’ them

  • Let the young person know when you don't understand something, and work together to help each other understand

  • If the young person has any behaviours that challenge, try to figure out where these come from and what extra support you can provide. Are misunderstandings occurring? Does the young person need support in their interactions with other young people? Is the young person frustrated or embarrassed at not being able to understand or to be understood? Are they anxious or stressed?

Don't forget...

The parent/carer framework is a great tool to use when exploring how to best support a young person with additional support needs.