Scouts with Disabilities & Special Needs

Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Varsity Scouts, and Venturers

with disabilities and special needs to participate in the same program as do their peers.


The BSA’s policy has always been to treat members with disabilities and special needs as much like other members as possible, but a local council may make some accommodations in advancement requirements if necessary.


The Cradle of Liberty Council Special Needs Committee is charged with providing guidance and training to families and volunteers as they provide the Scouting program to Scouts with disabilities and special needs.  Click here to contact the staff adviser to the Special Needs Committee, should you wish to work with the committee or request assistance.


Scouts BSA


A Scouts BSA with a permanent physical or mental disability may request changes in the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks. Any desired changes must be submitted to the council advancement committee for approval, using the Alternate Rank Requirements Form.


A Scouts BSA with a permanent physical or mental disability may select an alternate merit badge in lieu of a required merit badge if his disabling condition prohibits the Scout from completing the necessary requirements of a particular required merit badge. This substitute should provide a similar learning experience. Full guidelines and explanations for alternate merit badges are available on the National Council website and on the Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges, No. 58-730. The local council advancement committee must approve the application.

Cub Scouts


The Cub Scout advancement program is so flexible that, with guidance, most boys can do the skills. It might take longer for a disabled boy to earn his awards, but he will appreciate them more by knowing he has made the effort. The standard for every boy is “Has he done his best?”


A Cub Scout who is physically disabled may be given permission by the Cubmaster and pack committee to substitute electives for achievement requirements that are beyond his abilities. It is best to include parents in this process of determining substitutions since they are most familiar with their son’s abilities.