Autistic schoolboy, 11, receives £42k payout from Scouts after they ‘left him out of camps and activities’

AN 11-YEAR-OLD schoolboy has received £42,000 in compensation from the Scouts after his family said he was discriminated against because he has autism.

Ben Gleeson’s parents said the youngster, from Hertfordshire, was left out of activities and told he couldn’t go to camp without supervision.

 Ben Gleeson, 11, won a payout from the Scouts after his parents complained he had been unfairly treated

BBC

Ben Gleeson, 11, won a payout from the Scouts after his parents complained he had been unfairly treated

They claimed it was similar to a ban, after the restrictions were brought in at the 10th Harpenden Scout Group.

Following his parent’s complaints the Scout Association has apologised and started an inquiry.

He joined in January 2015, after being a member of the Beavers first, and Ben’s parents claimed they had explained his autism to the leaders and suggested ways to calm him down if he got upset.

Ben struggles with change and can become anxious if plans are not shared in advance.

 His mum Beverly criticised the Scout group's decision

BBC

His mum Beverly criticised the Scout group’s decision

After becoming distressed at camp when he couldn’t find a pair of shoes to change into, and refusing to join an egg-and-spoon race due to a phobia of spoons, pack leaders made the changes.

They told his parents Ben couldn’t travel with the rest of the group or join in with athletics, and it was also decided he needed one-to-one supervision at events.

His mum, Beverly, told the BBC: “Pretty much every event had to be supervised on a one-to-one basis, which I felt wasn’t inclusive.

“I felt he didn’t need it. He didn’t have this level of supervision at school. He’d made one mistake and then that was it, they wanted to make the rules and regulations. It was supposed to be a dialogue.”

Ben added: “It was quite upsetting, my friends were there and I quite enjoyed it. I don’t like the idea of someone following me all the time.”

While the Scout group disputed some of the claims, the association said in a statement: “The handling of Ben’s case was completely unacceptable.

“We are very sorry that Ben and his family were not supported as they should have been by their Cub Scout pack, and we have made a personal apology to them.

“While cases like this are very unusual, we know that action must be taken. We have established an inquiry to investigate what went wrong in this case.

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“Our Trustees are also looking at plans for mandatory training for all adult volunteers on how to make reasonable adjustments for young people with developmental disabilities; and changing national policy to allow the national leadership of The Scout Association to intervene in cases like this.”

The association said it was also looking at plans for mandatory training for all adult volunteers on “how to make reasonable adjustments for young people with developmental disabilities”.

The case was settled out of court. The Gleesons have donated some of the money to a local autism charity, while Ben’s portion is being held in a trust.

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