Being part of a military family can be filled with many surprises, challenges, and opportunities. Part of the military life is moving to new locations every few years or even more frequently. This can be a bit more challenging when there’s a child in the family who has a disability. Lots of questions naturally arise:
- Will special education services be available in the new location?
- What about the types of therapists or expertise your child needs?
- What do you need to do to get ready?
Fortunately, there is help available to make the family’s transition from one location to another a bit more smoothly. Below you will find organizations and resources that will be of help.
Specialized Training of Military Parents (STOMP)
STOMP provides information and help to military families (both in the U.S. and overseas) who have children with special needs. The STOMP staff is made up of parents of children with special needs who are trained to work with other parents of children with special needs. As spouses of members of the military, the staff understands the unique needs of military families. To contact STOMP, call or write:
6316 So. 12th Street
Tacoma, WA 98465
Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)
The office of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) issues extensive guidance for military families with children who have special needs and who are receiving, or are eligible to receive, a free appropriate public education either domestically or overseas. Take a look online at:
DoDEA can be reached at:
Department of Defense Education Activity
4040 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203
Other Helpful Resources
Offers help with parenting and child care, education, relocation, financial and legal concerns, and everyday issues.
DOD’s website for official Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) program information, policy and guidance designed to help troops and their families, leaders, and service providers.
National Military Family Association
Provides education and information regarding rights, benefits, and services for military families.
Courage To Care For Me
Provides fact sheets on timely health topics relevant to military life developed by military health experts at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Military Child Education Coalition
Helps military children cope with being transferred from school to school around the world.
Child care resource and referral agencies help parents find quality child care.
Readings and Activities
Little Listeners in an Uncertain World.
This 8-page book’s subtitle is: Coping strategies for you and your child during deployment or when a crisis occurs. It outlines what parents may see in their babies and toddlers during stressful times and offers concrete guidance and activities to support their young children throughout these challenging events.
Moving to a New Location.
From NICHCY itself, offering lots of practical suggestions for planning that move.
A book you and your child create together.When mom or dad are deployed, children worry. ZERO TO THREE developed these two books to help parents find the words to reassure their child that mommy or daddy is out there, thinking about and loving him or her from far away. Download the book that fits your circumstance:
When it’s Dad that’s deployed and “out there.”
Helping children handle deployments.
Your child’s moodiness and behavior during the deployment may be a sign of stress or anxiety. Here’s what you can do to help your children handle deployment.
More on helping children with deployment: 12 tips for parents and families.
From the American Psychiatric Association.
The “So Far” Guide.
This 17-page guide focuses on helping children and youth cope with the deployment of a parent in the military reserves.