Adults with special needs are individuals over the age of 18 who have a medical condition or disability. People in this group may include:
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- A spouse with a chronic illness or an acquired disability
- A child with a developmental disorder transitioning to adulthood
- A family member with complex needs, who requires assistance to live on his or her own
Supporting adult family members with complex needs or sustaining your own health and well-being as a person with special needs may involve collaboration with a variety of support systems and community-based services. Assistance may include access to nonclinical case management, referrals to mental health services and public benefits, and provision of assistive technology and adaptive equipment to help with overcoming limitations.
The adult child with special needs
An adult child with special needs:
- May receive academic services through an individualized education program, or IEP
- May require transition support as he or she reaches the age of majority
- May remain under guardianship or incapacitated adult status’
- May require assistance to live on his or her own
Military resources and support
There are a number of military programs and resources available to support service members as they carry out their duties. These programs and resources include:
- Military and Family Support Centers
- Exceptional Family Member Program
- Plan My Move
- Deployment Support Program
- Special Care Organizational Record for Adults With Special Health Care Needs
- Personal Financial Management Program
- Family Advocacy Program
- Relief societies – Army Emergency Relief, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and Air Force Aid Society
- Service-sponsored websites – Army OneSource, Marine Corps Community Services, Fleet and Family Support Program, Air Force Personnel Center
- TRICARE Extended Care Health Option, or ECHO
Equal opportunity for individuals with special needs
Civilian and military advocates who worked to bring about legal, medical and social changes to address the needs of individuals with special needs, have paved the way for improved services and resources in many areas. These groups have encouraged the passage of three important laws:
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
For more information about how to receive assistance, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.
Support for managing daily life is available to military families. Service members can receive assistance in the following ways:
- Assistive technology as workplace accommodations – Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, also known as CAP
- Housing assistance programs – to Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Home-based services – TRICARE ECHO Home Health Care
- Home modifications and assistive technology – Social Security and Veteran Affairs
- Supported living arrangements
- Long-term living arrangements
- Military aid societies – Army Emergency Relief, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and Air Force Aid Society
To find more resources and information to support your family member with special needs:
- Download the Department of Defense Guide for Adults With Special Needs.
- Download the Support Services for Adults with Special Needs Fact Sheet.
- Visit Center for Parent Information and Resources.
Military OneSource special needs consultants can answer your questions and concerns about the care and education of your child or adult family member with special needs. Call us at 800-342-9647. OCONUS? Click here for calling options.