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Double D

Q's for Firearm safety insturctors

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This subject is a little touchy for me to bring up, but since we are for the most part anonymous on this board, I thought this the best place.

My son will be 12 this November, and of course it's Firearm Safety time.

While he gets average to above average grades in school, he does have a learning disability and gets some special help in school with reading. We do feel he is ready to go this year, he would have been old enough last year but we just didn't think he was quite there yet, so he just walked and sat with me in the field last fall. Even with his LD we are confident in his gun handling and safety (and I keep a very close eye).

My question is, how much of a written test is there in the class these days, and is there any type of help available if he would need it with the written test?

I thank all in advance for your help with this.

DD

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On the parental release form that you fill out, there will be an area to check if the child has any conditions the FAS Instructor should be aware of. I don't recall the specific wording. Sorry.

The individual instructor for the course should be able to assist you from there once they are aware of your concern.

I am an ATV Inst., not a FAS Inst. but I believe the PR form you fill out is the same.

I don't believe the written tests are that difficult. Knowing some of the different terms used in the sport would be beneficial. Things like shell/cartridge or gauge/caliber are a couple I heard from one instructor. The guy teaching the course was a little brash and had a habit of intimidating the kids by his demeanor.

Keep in mind this is only one instructor and doesn't represent the majority. Most FAS guys I work with in Adv. Hunter Ed courses are stand up individuals and will help your son to the best of their ability.

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The whole test is multiple choice. I would think that if you had a SOLID instructor teaching the class, they would be OK with help reading the questions. The objective of the test is not on their reading ability but on how they answer the questions and their understanding of hunters safety.

Talk with your instructor and bring this up. Does he have a IEP or 504 Plan at school? If so, use this LEGAL document to bring to their attention what his needs are. This are legal binding documents that are put in place to give your son the tools and help he needs to succeed in life. Not just the school setting.

My son has a 504 plan but reading was not his weak area. He has difficulty with Math and the skills needed to move forward so I know the routine. This should not be a touchy issue for you. We are not created equal. Some of us have to work harder and need extra help. He will get through it.

In my son's class this summer, a few kids really did poor on the test. The instructor pulled them out and they all took the test again, TOGETHER! He read it to them and they did it again. I knew most who did poorly and I knew that their reading was what held them up. Once he worked with them and read it to them they all passed.

Good luck...

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I am not a firearms safety instructor but I am a ATV instructor. I have had kids come in with learning disabilities. It is really not a big deal. We are all there to help out and if it takes one on one we will do it. My son has a 504 as well and did not have a problem with the firearms test but that was my son. I was very pleased with the guys from Redwood that do the firearms class. Top notch instructors that is for sure. Good luck and I am glad you have a hunting buddy!

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I have been a FAS instructor for 15 years and this is not an uncommon situation. On the very first session we ask the parents or guardians to stay for the first part of the evening. I explain the purpose of the program and our expectations of the students. I also make it clear to the parents what the consequences are for unacceptable behavior so that everyone is clear on those items. I also ask that my instructor teams are made aware of any learning disabilities the first night. I put my phone number on the board and tell them to call me at home if they are uncomfortable to talk about it at the time. It is not the intent of the program to fail the student. We are there to teach safe firearm handling, hunter etiquette and other topics in the curriculum.

Every year during the final written exam, we have a student fail the test and a parent approach us to talk about the students "special needs". At that point we determine if special provisions will be made for a re-test. The state has given the instructors quite a bit of latitude but I feel my duty is to determine if the student is able to safely handle a firearm. In very few cases have I made exceptions on the last day. My advice is talk to your instructor team, explain your child’s strengths & weaknesses and determine a program that will help your child complete the course successfully.

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I am also an Instructor for gun safety. in our class we have to groups take the test. The kids get to decide which group they want to be in. One group gets the test questions & the multiple choice answers read to them, and the other group takes it on their own. As stated it is our job to teach safe gun handling, ethics, etc. and we don't use the final test as the only judge of that.

Ike

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Thanks for all the good replies and understanding, guys. I feel a lot better about sending him now, I didn't want him to get discouraged at class. Like I said, I know he could pass the test, it would just be easier for him to have it read.

Slayer, I live in a town that sounds similar to yours directly to the south of you, and we have good instructors here also. I know they require parental attendance at least at the first class or two. I will mention something ahead of time.

Thanks again for the reassurance, I knew this would be the place to get an answer.

DD

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More often than not, the parents can learn more than the kids at the courses.

I've had parents come back to attend the ATV course because they were shocked at what they "didn't knowI should also note that one of the FAS Instructors that I have worked with is from the Redwood/Marshall area. Super nice guy.

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I have been instructing FAS for 5 years. We read the test to the students and let them work ahead if they wish. We also offer to take students to a seperate room and read the test to them. Like the others stated, just talk to one of the instructors prior to the test and explain the situation.

Good luck, be safe.

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DD and ALL parents,

I have been a FAS instructer for about 10 years and I would like to suggest that you attend ALL classes with your kids. This will give you the opportunity to discuss what was taught in class and give additional context with hou you personally hunt. I cannot stress this enough, BE IN ATTENDANCE AT ALL THE CLASSES.

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I just finished my Firearms safety class on Thursday night (I'm 22, just a little late in getting certified). I took the class in Eden Prairie at the Outdoor Center, and my teacher was great for taking the test. He reminded people multiple times that if they had any sort of learning disability, whether officially documented or not, he wanted to know because he said his goal was not fail anyone, but to help them pass. For the test the multiple choice questions are for the most part very easy about 40 out of the 50 are things most outdoorsmen just know from being around firearms and being in the field (so if your son has been out with you that will help lots). The next 10 out of 50 are a touch harder, more specidfic questions regarding DNR rules, or specific questions to parts of a firearm, but they are still not hard, expecially if you have finished the manual they give you in the class. My instructor also read every single question aloud to the whole class and we took the test together which helped a lot of kids because it meant we went a little slower and it made everyone think about their answers. My instructor also said that even if you score wasn't the best, the first thing he would do would be to look at you handbook and if you had filled it all out, he would ask you many of the question again by rewording them to see if you just had trouble understanding the question. All in All I thought my instructor (and I imagine most of them) are very willing to help you pass, all outdoorsmen want to see youth getting involved and helping to spread the work about the great outdoors and hunting, so they are there to help you pass, not prevent you from doing so. Hope this helps! If you PM me I could even give you the name of the instructor I had, and I know he would be more than willing to answer any questions you had over the phone about the class and the test.

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I'm 37 and just took it last year. Wanted to start hunting and wanted the safety training to be with me. Anyhow, there were a lot of parents that took the course with their child. I would recommend this as stated above. It gives you an understanding of what they are learning and you can help them maintain what they learn. With the instructor we had, he was very good and read through the test. There were several kids that failed. He called them up at the end of the test and one at a time they went over their test. I don't believe he failed anyone. He just wanted to make sure you understood the questions and if you could answer them while talking to him, you were good.

Take the course with him and help him all you can. Let the instructor know about the disability and you won't have a problem. Then, enjoy hunting with your son.

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