Military Families and Autism – A Request

Autism is a special challenge for anybody – for both the child who has it and the parents caring for them. But what if you live in a transitory existence, such as the military? Transferring from location to location. Mom or Dad deployed. Talk about changes! And most autistic children aren’t very good with transition. It’s a scary thing for them that they sometimes can’t process. It gives them tremendous amounts of anxiety.

I’d like to put an article together highlighting military families’ specific hints and tips. Please send us your stories and your knowledge! You can either comment here, or you can send me an email – I look forward to hearing from you!

7 years ago by 4

4 thoughts on “Military Families and Autism – A Request

  1. Hello,
    my daughter has not been diagnosed yet, but we’re not surprised when it comes with a diagnosis of aspergers. she is 4 years old now. my husband works 6 days a week and has random hours right now on recruiting duty. he’s in the marines. we move frequently which isn’t easy. she is already stuck on the fact we have to move after christmas. i tend to prepare her ahead of time, i mean really ahead of time. we go online and look at houses in the area we are going to move to. if it’s base housing then it makes it easier. i can go on the marine corps website and show her the layout and show her the pictures of the house. and she gets excited. she handled our last move okay, it was only one street over. we had to do an emergency move due to water pipes bursting during our freezing winter! she left for pre-k that morning at the disaster house and came home at the new one. i also try to get to the house before our stuff, she gets to explore an empty house that way. which tends to help. the hardest part is getting her to retrust her therapists. it seems when we break through with one we end up moving. she still talks about “the old old house with the basement” and that was 2 houses ago. so in reality there’s not much that can be done, she gets fixated on a topic and won’t let it go.

  2. My husband was medically retired from the Air Force in 2009, our son (then undiagnosed, now 5 with Aspergers) had a difficult time moving from a home we’d been in for a year. He seemed to behaviorally get worse which is how the diagnosis was made. I feel for the family who go through deployments and frequent moves. It’s incredibly hard to up and move a child with autism’s entire world without seriously front loading and preparing them before hand. Lori above me has the right idea, always be too prepared and think a million steps ahead. Wish we had known… We had no idea it would change things so much. Also wanted to comment on health care in the military, it’s amazing how many changes to services they’ve made since we got out. It’s unfortunate though that retired military family members are excluded and can’t get the same services, wishing that would change.

  3. My youngest son has classic austim and my husband is in the airforce. We have moved alot over the years but have now been Q-coded and cannot be move unless the schools and medical care are available for Jacob. There are alot of little ins and outs to dealing with being a sevice family and having a child with a disablity of any sort. There are also some programs that are not well advertived for our families even your on base pcm might not know about.
    First there is the eco program. This is an extra insurce that covers your childs needs if they qualify were you are charged on a sliding scale a small fee based on the sevice memebrs rank ( ours is $35s a month for a Staff STG). This covers repite care, equitment you may need, therapy, it even covers if you need a fence to keep your child from wandering.
    Then there is the suport group call S.T.O.M.P.. STOMP helps you learn the ins and outs tricare, how to read an IEP and provites suport form people who have been in your shoes.
    Don’t be afraid to ask for help and if the first people you speak to don’t ethier know or won’t help keep asking. Call the schools before you get to your next duty station if they don’t have the programs your child needs go see if your orders can’t be changed. It’s alwful to get sent to a new bases and have to turn around and leave because they do not have the basics of what your child needs. This doesn’t just happen with overseas bases ethier some US bases are an hour or more away from even a normal school with out a speical edutaction class. Sometimes we have to put our kids frist no matter who gets their pants in a wad over it.

  4. A year and a half ago, we were relocated from Virginia to California, as my husband is in the Navy. My daughter at the time was not diagnosed, but we already knew that she had autism as well as sensory processing disorder. As we prepared to move across country, driving nonetheless, I had to go completely prepared with a complete schedule. We were only able to drive for about 6 hours a day, so it took us 10 days, instead of the usual 3 to 3 1/2 days. What we did was drive for 2 days and then stop one day and do something exciting. We would also, always tell her we were going to a hotel, and she could go swimming; which she loves to do. Then when we eventually got to base, and lived in a transitional home on base, we still advised her that we were at a hotel house, and not home yet. When we finally got our permanent place 6 months later, we told her we were home, but even then she asked for another 6 months if we were home. I think the only thing with moving all the time, is keeping their days you travel as consistent as you can, giving them a schedule if they are old enough, but also telling them that you are on an adventure. We would also, tell our daughter when we get to a certain place we were going to see this or that, so she had something to look forward to. Now that we are in California and will be moving next year, we are at least close enough now, where we can drive to our possible next duty station to get her prepared with the new area we will be living. I would definitely recommend going a few times to the new duty station if it is withing driving distance, to help your child get acquainted with the new area.

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