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Military Families: How You Can Advocate for Your Child With Special Needs

All parents advocate — speak on behalf of their child — for their child’s needs to teachers, doctors and others so their child can grow up happy and successful. Advocacy can include learning laws, finding resources and even representing your child to special program administrators, school boards and others.

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Parent Centers: Connecting Military Families to Resources

Do you need help advocating for your child’s next Individualized Education Program meeting? Are you confused about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act? Perhaps you would like to become a better champion for a child with special needs. Parent Centers may be the resource you have been looking for.

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Special Education Programs and Resources for Military Families

Families with special needs have a wide range of programs and services available for both family members with special needs and their caregivers. Here is a sampling of the various resources and tools available to you through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, or OSEP.

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An Overview of Special Education

Special education is designed to meet unique needs of children with special needs, ages 3 through 21.

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Liaison Connects Families with TRICARE Services

To help families with special needs get the most benefit out of their healthcare coverage, the Department of Defense Office of Special Needs has added a TRICARE liaison to their growing team. The liaison helps families navigate TRICARE to find the information and services they need.

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Moving With an Individualized Education Program

If you have a child with an individualized education program, don’t be nervous about moving schools. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, ensures that all children with special needs have access to a free, appropriate public education and the tools needed to meet their educational goals — no matter where or how often your family moves.

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Family-to-Family Health Information Centers

Family-to-Family Health Information Centers are nonprofit organizations familiar with the issues facing families with special needs. They can connect you to resources that can provide and finance health care for your children, help locate assistance, and explain legislation.

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An Overview of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

Every child deserves a quality education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ensures that all children with special needs have access to a “free appropriate public education” and they have the necessary tools to meet their educational goals.

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504 Plan Versus IEP Overview

Both individualized education programs and 504 plans document how children with special needs will reach their education goals. Learn about the differences between IEPs and 504 plans.

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Spring Clean Your EFMP SCOR

Keeping your Special Care Organizational Record organized and up to date makes it easy for you to use and ready if someone needs to step into your role as a caregiver.

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What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program administered by the Social Security Administration that provides supplemental income to people whose disability prevents them from procuring employment or staying employed.

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Person-Centered Planning

Person-center planning is a military-supported initiative to help individuals with disabilities direct their own lives — with options to plan housing, work, finances and more.

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Exceptional Family Member Program Family Support

Exceptional Family Member Program family support teaches military families with special needs the skills they need to make the best decisions for the person they’re supporting and gives them the confidence and strength to improve their quality of life.