Special Education Programs and Resources for Military Families

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A wide range of programs and services are available for military 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.

Your OSEP point of contact for special education programs

Connect directly with your state’s OSEP point of contact for questions related to special education services. This list can also be useful for families planning an upcoming move to a new state. Be sure to start by contacting the customer service point of contact, who will connect you with the person who can answer your specific questions.

If you’re still not sure who to contact, you can start by contacting your local EFMP Family Support staff or reaching out to an EFMP Resources, Options and Consultations, or EFMP ROC, consultant who can point you in the right direction.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act website offers a lot of information to help students, parents, educators and service providers gain a better understanding of the act and how it applies to early intervention and school-age services in Parts C and B, respectively.

On the IDEA site, you can gather information and resources to help further guide you through special education programs, especially grant-funded free public education for students through age 21, as well as early intervention services for toddlers and infants through age 2.

Plus, you can search for specific toolkits or explore an IDEA-based resource library stored within an easily accessible online database at the IDEAs That Work website.

Blogs and webinars speak to families like yours

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Blog has stories and insights from other families with special needs who have perhaps experienced struggles and successes similar to yours. The blog also features interviews by industry specialists and policymakers and is a must-read for any caregiver of individuals with special needs.

The Military Families Learning Network also hosts regular live webinars discussing everything from finances to federal employment opportunities for the military community. For military families with special needs, they also have resources concerning early intervention strategies. Head over to the MFLN website to watch prerecorded webinars and listen to podcasts made specifically to help families like yours.

Guide helps students with disabilities transition after high school

In May 2017, OSEP updated A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth With Disabilities, which helps children with special needs and their families prepare for life after high school. In this guide, you can find transition-specific planning and services, as well as potential education and employment options for your child.

These resources are just the start of what OSEP can offer you and your child with special needs, so you can make sure they start off with every advantage and succeed in school and in life. Remember, too, that if you need help figuring out the IDEA resources or recommendations on which program is right for your child, your local EFMP Family Support staff and Military OneSource education consultants are happy to help however we can.

Exceptional Family Members

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The National Military Families Association strives to educate military families about their rights and about benefits and services available to them. The association also provides military families with information on a wide range of issues affecting their lives. The website has information on children and deployment and has a section on family life, with information on child care, spouse employment and adoption. Operation Purple Camp Experience, which the association sponsors, is a free, week-long summer camp program offered at over 60 locations to support military children who have a deployed parent.

Child Care Aware  Child Care Aware has partnered with the military services to assist military families with children with special needs by providing respite care, so that the spouse or service member can leave the house, go to an appointment or just rest. The website provides parent and provider applications and more information about the program, including eligibility requirements.

The Center for Parent Information and Resources serves as the central source of information on disabilities in infants, toddlers, children and youth; laws authorizing special education; and research-based information on effective educational practices related to children with disabilities. The website provides information on a number of topics through an easy-to-navigate A-Z topic listing and also provides links to publications and resources.