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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