Dear Military Families affected by Autism;
Please know that you are not alone. Throughout the military branches there are tons of mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers also affected by autism. Because of this, I decided to create a special page of resources just for you. This will be an ongoing page that I add resources to as I stumble across them. For now, I will include some of the basic, but most important, resources you will absolutely need.
First and foremost, there is a ton of misinformation out there. I was given the following booklet by my son’s military pediatrician, and it was the first piece of autism related information that wasn’t so overwhelming I couldn’t breathe. I would certainly download this pdf and start here, first:
Life Journey Through Autism: A Guide for Military Families, by the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center. To download the guide, click here: militaryguide.
Secondly, you are going to become very familiar, very quickly, with the military’s Exceptional Family Member Program. This program ensures that a service member is not deployed in an area where certain services are not provided. For example, if your child had severe epilepsy, you would not want your family to be relocated to a remote location that would not have access to a neurologist. While this process sounds simple enough, it can be overwhelming and frustrating, so each command should have an EFMP liason. This is a military member within the command that can help expedite this process. For more indepth information, and to download the current EFMP paperwork to initiate the process, click here: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/efmp.
Here is a great PowerPoint presentation on the EFMP process. This power point was created for the navy, but the information is fairly similar across all branches (to the best of my knowledge). Unfortunately EFMP is a program that will be a major role in your future, so it wouldn’t hurt for everyone to flip through the following powerpoint: EFMP Overview – DoD FY 10 EFMP CONF.
As I stumble across more resources I will compile a list of resources for those military families affected by Autism. Thank you all so much for your service.