Special Needs – Resources
If your military family has a family member or child with special needs, there are numerous resources, services and programs available to help you. But where do you start? Here are some top resources.
The Exceptional Family Member Program
Sometimes half the battle of managing your family member's care is knowing what resources and services are available and how to access them. The Exceptional Family Member Program, or EFMP, is a great place to begin. You can find the nearest EFMP installation office to get help with:
- Identifying and enrolling your family member.
- Learning what services are available at your present or new duty station.
- Getting family support with information, referrals and non-clinical case management to access services.
Check out EFMP 101 for the basics about this program and how it can help. Also, check these available directories and toolkits:
- Education Directory for Children With Special Needs
- EFMP Online Learning and Videos
- Guide for Adults with Special Needs
- EFMP Fact Sheets
- Special Care Organizational Records
- Special Needs Parent Toolkit
- The Exceptional Advocate eNewsletter
Military OneSource special needs consultants
Military OneSource provides you the resources you need in the form of special needs consultants. A specially trained consultant can assess your family's needs and answer your questions about education, finances, support groups and more. They can set you up with other resources, including:
- A needs assessment and local resources and services.
- Information about specialized doctors, medical equipment resources and medical benefits.
- Early intervention, special education and options after graduation.
- Support for adults, including information on insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare and Medicaid.
- Referrals to legal and financial resources for families with special needs.
- Respite care resources through TRICARE or community programs, and through each service branch.
Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to talk with someone. You also can go to Military OneSource to schedule an appointment online. Appointments are available seven days a week.
Resources for special education and early intervention plans
Getting your child with special needs off to a great start is important for everyone in your family — and your family's readiness.
The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education, offers the Parent Center Hub – also known as the Center for Parent Information and Resources – which has collections of links for infants, toddlers and school-age children:
- Resources for Early Intervention Services for infants and toddlers. Early intervention services can help children with disabilities or delays to learn many key skills and catch up in their development.
- Resources for school-age children with special needs, connecting you with services for many K-12 topics including individualized education plans, classroom accommodations, parent involvement, effective practices and much more.
- States also have Parent Training and Information Centers to help you with special needs, early intervention, school services, therapy, local policies and Community Parent Resource Centers. An interactive map links you with the centers near you.
Family-to-Family Health Information Centers
Get support in your community from other families with firsthand experience navigating the health care maze. Each state has Family-to-Family Health Information Centers that are staffed by health care professionals and family members of people with special health care needs. These nonprofit centers can help you:
- Learn about eligibility for programs.
- Write a health care plan for teachers and therapists.
- Locate resources to pay for medications.
- Find support groups and more.
This online brochure tells you the location of every state's Family-to-Family Health Information Centers.
Child care options for special needs families
Naturally, you want best care options for your child with special needs. The good news is the military offers quality, affordable child care options, both on the installation and off. MilitaryChildCare.com is a secure Department of Defense website that provides a single gateway for military-operated or military-approved child care programs worldwide. Create an account and maintain a family profile you can access at any time from any location.
Plan My Move
Plan My Move is a powerful tool from the Department of Defense that helps you take charge of your family's next move for a smooth relocation to your new duty assignment. Through Plan My Move, you can access information about your entitlements and benefits, points of contact, planning tools and information on education, including planning for your family member with special needs.
Call or visit Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 if you have questions about special needs resources. We are here for you 24/7.