Military Life 101

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    Military Spouse and Family Benefits 101
    The military can be a difficult lifestyle for a family, but it does come with some excellent benefits. Some of those are in th...
  • (Photo: U.S. Navy)
    Military Life 101
    Military life has a lot of nuts and bolts. You know, the little military-esque things that make up just an ordinary day in the ...
  • (Photo: U.S. Department of Education)
    Military Spouse Education Help 101
    Thinking about going back to school but worried military life might get in the way? Good news for you: Being a military spouse...
  • Military family
    Military Family Life 101
    When it comes to family, military spouses and significant others have what can seem like the most difficult, rewarding, terrib...
  • Movers at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, load up a truck with household goods. Jose Ramirez/Air Force
    Military Spouse and Family Moves 101
    Frequent moves are one of the best -- and worst -- parts of military family life. On the one hand, you have a chance to see co...
  • (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie)
    Military Family Deployment 101
    Preparing for military family deployment can seem like an uphill battle. For one, your Family Readiness team (be it an officer...
  • job fair
    Military Spouse Employment 101
     Holding down a job while your spouse is in the military is easier than you might think. While the military will always throw a...

DoD Special Needs Toolkit

The Department of Defense (DoD) Special Needs Parent Tool Kit contains 110 pages of comprehensive information and tools geared towards helping military families with special needs children navigate the maze of medical and special education services, community support and benefits and entitlements. Each module contains valuable resources and important facts; record keeping tools and sample letters have also been incorporated. The Tool Kit is divided into six colorful modules that can be easily downloaded and printed or saved on to a CD.

The Tool Kit content was developed and reviewed by the military Services Exceptional Family Member Program Managers, TRICARE, DoD Education Activity and Specialized Training of Military Parents (STOMP) Project. However, the most valuable contributions came directly from advocates and military families with special needs children.

Whether you need to learn about early intervention services or want to learn how to be a more effective advocate for your child, you will find the information in the DoD Special Needs Parent Tool Kit modules:

Module 1: Birth to Age Three - Learn about valuable resources, early intervention services and how to cope with the range of emotions that are common when you discover your child has a disability.

Module 2: Special Education - Navigating the special education system can be particularly challenging. This module explains special education referrals and evaluations, the Individualized Education Program (IEP), placement options, annual and triennial reviews, parent rights and more...

Module 3: Health Benefits - Learn about TRICARE options and the pharmacy benefit, the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO), case management, professionals who can help answer your TRICARE questions, and Federal and State programs with benefits for special needs families.

Module 4: Families in Transition - Do you have questions about relocating with a special needs child and traveling or housing concerns? Want to learn more about spouse employment, deployment support, disaster preparedness and transitioning into adulthood? The Families in Transition module is jam-packed with beneficial information designed to answer all your transitioning questions.

Module 5: Advocating for Your Child - Other parents will tell you that advocating for a child with a chronic disability is a lifelong responsibility. The Tool Kit provides guidance on how to communicate effectively with professionals, address disagreements at an IEP meeting, and how to obtain Supplemental Security and Medicaid benefits.

Module 6: Resources and Support - This module describes and links you to websites for Federal, State and local community and military resources, and resources for families with seriously ill or hospitalized children. This module helps you find internet-based methods to connect with other military families with special needs throughout the world.

Module 7: Records and Other Tools - Being the primary care provider for a child with special needs requires planning, lots of organizing expertise and strong letter writing skills! This module provides you with sample letters, and a phone log to track conversations with professionals.

Download the Department of Defense (DoD) Special Needs Parent Tool Kit.
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