Parents of boy with autism were told to ‘try Scouting,’ and this happened

If you had to pick just one point of the Scout Law to describe Isaiah V., it would be “brave.” That same word applies to his mom and dad, too.

Isaiah was diagnosed with high-functioning autism at age 3.

“At first I thought, ‘what are we going to do?'” says Isaiah’s dad, Rolando. “Our world was turned upside down.”

As Isaiah got older, more symptoms began to show. He was shy and rarely spoke. He didn’t like playing with other kids and had a short temper. He never made eye contact.

Rolando and his wife, Lisa, talked to health professionals. They considered team sports.

Then a good friend shared what turned out to be a life-changing idea: “Try Scouting,” the friend said. “It is a fail-safe environment.”

They did. In November 2014, the family joined Pack 217 of the Central Florida Council, based in Orlando.

Rolando still remembers that first den meeting. It was a Thursday. The Scouts were making American flags for Veterans Day. Isaiah seemed to be having fun, but Rolando and Lisa weren’t sure.

The following Wednesday, Isaiah turned to his parents.

“Scouts tomorrow?” Isaiah said.

“And our jaws dropped!” Rolando says. “Ever since, Isaiah has been speaking more and more, making new friends and continues to strive in Scouting. He even earned his Supernova Award with his den.”

They’re a Scouting family now, the three of them. Lisa is a committee member, and Rolando is the committee chairman.

Whenever Isaiah’s behavior needs a little correcting, Mom or Dad will say, “Is this good Scout behavior?” Works every time.

Rolando’s favorite Scouting moment — so far — comes from a Webelos weekend at Camp La-No-Che.

“In the high-adventure part of the camp, they have this wall where the Scout learns how to rappel for the very first time,” Rolando says. “At first, we were skeptical because several Scouts refused to rappel due to their fear of heights. No, sir! Isaiah took that wall without hesitation and made it to the ground safely. Then he turns and said, ‘Can we do it again?’ As a tear fell from my face, I replied, ‘As many times as you want.'”

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.