Special Education Programs and Resources for Military Families

Students surrounding teacher

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.

Draw Strength From Family Routines During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Family of three doing pushups

Current as of Nov. 12, 2020

Reliable routines can be important tools to help children learn to manage day-to-day life. But in uncertain times such as the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, having reliable routines is even more important to help both children and adults handle daily challenges and continue to thrive. Here are some tips to consider as you navigate your military family’s routine.

Maintain Aspects of Your Normal Routine

With many parents still working from home, some children being taught remotely, others attending school in person, and others participating in hybrid classes (mix of remote and in person), it may be hard to tell what normal life looks like these days. In the midst of all the change and uncertainty, maintaining basic routines can help life feel more normal.

  • Remind yourself that your child probably looks forward to certain routines and relies on them for a feeling of security. That may include evening baths, calling out-of-town loved ones and reading together at bedtime.
  • Let babies and toddlers nap at their normal times. If you are a parent unaccustomed to being home with your young children, try to organize your work around their sleeping schedules.
  • Keep school-age children on a normal weekday schedule as much as possible. Stick to regular times for waking up and going to bed and having meals, snacks and playtime.
  • Have children do any required homework during normal school hours, and save screen and playtime for after they’ve finished assignments.
  • Maintain normal family routines such as eating together and sharing other evening activities.
  • Keep your routines simple. The more complex the routine, the harder it is to maintain.
  • Make time for your relationship. The current situation can be incredibly challenging. Here are ideas for keeping your relationship strong and communicating as a couple.
  • Make time for yourself. Self-care is more important now than ever, especially if you are questioning the safety of your relationship, or currently experiencing domestic abuse. Here are resources for support and next steps.

Create New Routines

Although it is important to keep basic routines in place, this can also be a time to come up with creative ideas to help everyone handle being at home more often. Here are some ideas:

  • Create a daily schedule for each child if they are stuck at home. Plan hourly activities, and post the schedule somewhere visible such as the refrigerator. Make sure to include scheduled family activities.
  • Engage children in household chores. Toddlers can clean up their toys. Older children can set and clear the table for meals. Teens can be responsible for taking care of younger siblings. Everyone can help fold laundry and plan and prepare meals.
  • Encourage tweens and teens to reach out to their friends. Challenge them to learn about the virus, or research positive things that have resulted around the world from people staying inside. They could also suggest creative ideas for socializing from a safe distance.
  • Work together as a team. Include the whole family in brainstorming ideas for managing chores and planning activities, and try to keep things as positive as possible. Make a list of fun things to do, post it where everyone can add to it, and decide what to add to your daily schedules. For more ideas, check out resources from the morale, welfare and recreation Digital Library.
  • Be flexible. It might be helpful to let go of some of your normal expectations for family life. For instance, if you don’t usually allow screen time on school nights, you might allow exceptions as long as everyone understands that the rules return once life returns to normal.

These are challenging times, but having a plan and working together can help you manage. Understanding of COVID-19 is rapidly changing. For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Strengthen Your Coping Skills With Building Healthy Relationships Specialty Consultations

Couple stand in airplane hanger

Current as of Nov. 6, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has upended lives everywhere. Staying home and away from usual support systems can challenge even the strongest relationships.

If your family is feeling the strain, Military OneSource can help. Our Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultations offer coaching sessions, practical tools, resources and problem-solving techniques.

Individual tracks are available by phone and video to improve connections with your children, your partner and others during these uncertain times.

Cope With Stress as a Couple

The COVID-19 pandemic can strain even the strongest relationship. Review our guide for ways to cope.

Specialty consultations for all of your important relationships

The Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultations offer a variety of tracks that are customized to different relationships. When you call Military OneSource to arrange a specialty consultation, your consultant will help you identify the track — or tracks — that are right for you.

  • Building Healthy Relationships with Your Significant Other. This track includes personalized coaching sessions, educational resources, guidance and tools to support a stronger partnership during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
  • Healthy Parent-Child Connections. You will work with a consultant to identify goals for your relationship with your child. Your consultant will also give you education and resources to enhance your bond. If appropriate, your child may attend sessions with you.
  • Communication Refreshers. Good communication is at the heart of healthy relationships. This track focuses on improving the way you communicate with others and is helpful for couples, as well. It offers educational webinars, inventories and services.
  • Staying Connected While Away. If you’re away from your partner or family during the pandemic, this track might be right for you. A consultant can help you identify goals and resources to help you cope emotionally and stay connected with your loved ones.
  • Blended Family. This track focuses on co-parenting when you and your partner have children from previous relationships. It may be especially helpful for those who are learning new family roles at the same time their children are feeling isolated due to school closures and other precautions.
  • MilSpouse Toolkit. If you are a new military spouse away from your family and support system, this track may help. It can help you adjust to the military lifestyle, develop coping skills and identify resources in your new community.
  • Reconnecting After Deployment. A major shift can occur for the entire family when a service member returns from deployment. Coming home amid the changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic may cause additional strain. This track can help you identify goals for this reintegration period. It also includes materials that can ease stress and boost your family’s resilience.

Healthy Relationships resources

Find information and tools to keep your relationship strong.

Call 800-342-9647 or start a live chat to schedule an appointment with a Building Healthy Relationships consultant. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.

Our understanding of COVID-19 is changing rapidly. Stay up to date by checking the Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community page for updates.

It is natural for all relationships to feel tested during an emergency or crisis. If your spouse or partner has made you feel unsafe or afraid, help is available through the Family Advocacy Program. Speak to a victim advocate to explore next steps, or call or chat with the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7, at 800-799-7233 or thehotline.org.

Try These Home-Schooling Tips, Resources

mother painting with kids at home

Current as of September 25, 2020

Many schools across the continental United States and the globe have temporarily switched to online learning to help keep students, their families, administrators and teachers safe and slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019. Here are some tips and resources you can use to help your child learn at home.

Need More Parenting Resources During COVID-19?

You may be looking for new ideas for managing children at home during the pandemic. Try this updated list of extensive parenting resources.

Talk with your child about the pandemic

Children may know more about the virus than you realize, even if they are young and are not talking about it. Here are ways to address the topic:

  • Speak with your child, in an age-appropriate manner, about COVID-19 and its impact on their normal routine and the routines of those around them. Start the conversation by determining what, if anything, they already know.
  • Reassure your child that you are doing everything you can to protect their well-being and that of the family.
  • Encourage your child to come to you with any questions or concerns. You might start a journal together to document your experiences and emotions during this time.

Establish a routine for learning at home

  • Consider your child’s age. The home-based learning experience will be very different for a preschool student than a middle or high school student. Discuss your expectations for learning at home and go over any concerns so you are on the same page.
  • Set and follow a weekday schedule for starting and ending the school day and going to bed. All children benefit from structure, even if they try to resist it.
  • Build in flexibility to accommodate your own work and other responsibilities. You may be teleworking, for example. See if you and your spouse, partner or another adult in your household can share some of the teaching. It might also help to set aside time in the evenings to check over assignments or work together on reading and other skills.
  • Take breaks. Schedule time during the school day for lunch, snacks and age-appropriate breaks. Think physical education, recess, etc.
  • Build in time for creativity. Make time for music, art and other creative subjects. This may include time for your child to practice an instrument, draw, paint, try their hand at drama or develop other skills. Have younger children practice counting by stacking blocks, or build a fort from sheets.
  • Help your child safely connect with friends and relatives. Connecting with friends and family members outside your household is important. Work with your child’s school, their friends’ parents and others to help them stay in touch. Consider taking turns leading virtual lessons or hosting virtual play dates. Have your child write letters to people they care about while practicing handwriting and grammar.
  • Create a designated learning space. Set up a designated learning space that is comfortable and in an area with minimal distractions. Allow children to personalize their space and ensure it contains the equipment and materials they need and can access independently.

Tap resources through your child’s school

  • Embrace online assignments and virtual lessons. Many schools are offering online assignments and/or virtual lessons in place of traditional in-person learning. Monitor your child’s assignments and make sure they complete all work and log in on time for online sessions. Provide any help they need, such as reading instructions and using laptops and other devices.
  • Ask for teaching advice. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teachers, guidance counselors and administrators for advice as you support your child at home.
  • Seek assistance. Contact your child’s teachers or school to resolve issues that may come up with technology, connectivity, assignments and more.

Tap installation and community resources

  • Explore home-schooling resources on your installation. These can include installation school liaisons, Department of Defense Education Activity school activities, and programs for children, youth and teens.
  • Check out Head Start and Sure Start programs. Head Start teaches reading, math and other developmental skills to children 5 and younger before they start school. Sure Start is a Department of Defense Education Activity program open to command-sponsored military children at overseas installations who meet age requirements and other criteria.
  • Reach out to Military OneSource education consultants. They can assist you with questions about your child’s education. These one-on-one sessions are free and confidential and can provide you with referrals to resources in your area. Call 800-342-9647 at any time to schedule an appointment. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.
  • Turn to the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library. This is your source for free online resources for children, teens and adults — including eBooks and audiobooks on virtually every topic. Use the library to help your children learn and stay engaged and entertained.
  • Connect with other parents. Stay in touch with parents in your existing network and work together to widen your circle. Share resources, try teaching virtual group lessons and more.
  • Celebrate reading. The Department of Defense Education Activity joins the National Education Association and schools across the nation in celebrating Read Across America year-round. Check out the campaign’s tools and resources to help your child read, experience its joy and feel valued and welcome.
  • Take advantage of remote learning opportunities. Nonprofit and other educational organizations are offering free resources, such as instructional videos, live streams and webinars, that parents and students can use.

Tap resources in the arts, sciences and more

  • Have a blast with Kennedy Space Center. Inspire a love of science and space by joining Kennedy Space Center’s Facebook Live sessions for young children and young adults.
  • Explore the Smithsonian Institution. Places like the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are reopening as pandemic conditions allow, but can always come to families virtually. Meet the animals, watch them on live cams, check out the Smithsonian Learning Lab, discover museum treasures in 3D, play a wide variety of games and much more.
  • Serve up science lessons. Turn to the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library for resources including ScienceFlix, which offers more than 50 complete units of study with thousands of science-related assets. It uses hands-on projects, videos, interactive features and more to give children and teens a better understanding of science concepts and ideas.

Stay informed

Understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve. For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms.

For Department of Defense updates for the military community:

Staying Safe While Staying Healthy: Tips for Military Families

Two young girls cooking in a kitchen

Current as of September 25, 2020

The Department of Defense is committed to keeping you and your family safe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. The coronavirus pandemic is no exception.

During this uncertain and unpredictable time, there are ways to promote the safety, health, and well-being of yourself, your spouse or partner, and your children — even if your family unit is feeling tested or strained. Emergencies, unexpected events and disruptions to our workplace and home can increase stress and put added pressure on our family and personal relationships. You may have increased anxiety about the health and safety of family members who are deployed, or worried about older parents who live far away.

To reduce the threat of COVID-19, we have all been asked to modify our habits and activities. If self-quarantine and social distancing have made you or your children feel anxious, stressed or even depressed, know that you are not alone. There are practices you can take to reduce your stress, increase your safety, and still allow your connections with friends, loved ones and your community to thrive.

Need More Parenting Resources During COVID-19?

You may be looking for new ideas for managing children at home during the pandemic. Try this updated list of extensive parenting resources.

Maintain your daily routine.

For the mental wellness of both you and your children, it is a good idea to stick to your usual routine as much as possible while homebound.

Going to bed and getting up in the morning at your normal time, sharing meals as a family, and sticking to an exercise regime you can do indoors or outside on your own, or with your kids or partner, are all ways to stay resilient. Sticking to a routine is also especially nurturing for young children.

Learn about creating and maintaining routines »

Take steps to promote child safety in the home.

If you have made the decision to self-quarantine, your family may not be used to being home together at all times.

To reduce risk of accidents or injuries to your children, take care to make sure any dangerous or potentially deadly items are safely stored, locked, and inaccessible to children. These items may include certain medications, chemical detergents or bleaches used for cleaning (for especially young children) or firearms.

Get tips on safe firearm storage from the Defense Suicide Prevention Office »

This is a new and frightening time for all of us, kids and adults alike.

There are ways to communicate the seriousness of the pandemic to your children, while taking care not to alarm them. Child development experts have recommendations for how you approach this conversation with your children.

Get recommendations for conversations about COVID-19 with your children »

Remember the importance of self-care.

Taking time to create daily rituals for yourself is a vital strategy to preserve and strengthen your mental health during this challenging time.

Self-care is unique to you, whether that’s a quiet bath, a jog, or even video-chatting with friends and loved ones. By making your well-being a priority, you are building the resilience you need to guide your kids and your family through this period.

Read about the pillars of wellness »

Talk to someone.

It is normal to feel scared and lonely during this time, even while at home surrounded by your children. You can strengthen your coping skills by taking advantage of Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultations that can help with communication, relationships and so much more.
If you are feeling hopeless or disconnected, there are a number of options for you to speak with someone who can help. A great first step is Military OneSource, where you can speak with a confidential, non-medical counselor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Military OneSource counselors are available to talk with you about any concern, big or small, and can also connect you with other helping professionals, like the Family Advocacy Program.

Learn more about confidential, non-medical counseling »

Seek help.

If self-quarantine and social distancing have made you or your children feel less safe, know that you are not alone.

If you are quarantined with a spouse or partner who threatens, intimidates you, or makes you feel afraid, call your installation’s Family Advocacy Program. Family Advocacy Program staff can help you think through ways to stay safe while staying at home, or plan to stay with a friend or family member.

Learn more about the Family Advocacy Program »

You may wish to consult the tips from the National Domestic Violence Hotline regarding COVID-19, or call 800-799-7233 to speak with an advocate, or chat with someone at thehotline.org.

The coronavirus national emergency and global pandemic is causing difficulty and uncertainty for everyone. The military community will get through this challenge together, and the Department of Defense and Military OneSource are standing by to help.

For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19:

For PCS-related updates, check Move.mil »

How to Keep Family Stress Away While Everyone Is Home

Military family sitting and laughing together at home

Current as of March 26, 2020

You’ve got experience adapting to unexpected changes in your life from being a member of the military community. That “roll-with-it” attitude will guide you as you help your family learn ways to reduce stress and build resiliency while spending more time together during the coronavirus quarantine. Here are some ways to deal with the pressures of sheltering in place.

Keep calm with COVID Coach

This app can help you cope with pandemic-related stress. It’s free, secure and recommended by the Department of Defense.

Need More Parenting Resources During COVID-19?

You may be looking for new ideas for managing children at home during the pandemic. Try this updated list of extensive parenting resources.

Stay calm

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 can increase the stress on your family. Focus on what you can control by employing some of the following strategies:

  • Lead by example. Your kids are watching how you handle the quarantine and they will pick up on your stress. Do your best to model healthy ways to handle stress by using coping skills when you feel stress building up.
  • Limit exposure to news sources. Reduce your anxiety by setting daily limits on the time you watch or read the news. Start with 10 minutes a day, and adjust depending on what works for you. Follow these stress relief tips throughout the day and share them with your family.
  • Keep your children informed. Ask your children what they know about the coronavirus and what they are concerned about. Talk with your children about coronavirus and provide age-appropriate, reliable information to clear up any misunderstandings they may have. Help them focus on the positive.
  • Engage in relaxation techniques. Find a quiet place at home, get comfortable and try this Chill Drill designed specifically for service members and families.
  • Stick to a schedule. Structure can bring you a sense of calm and certainty during this uncertain time. If you are working from home, here are some Tips for Teleworking During the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019.

Stay connected

Family, friends and your military community can provide support and strength at times like this. Consider these ideas to stay connected while keeping your distance.

  • Remain in touch with family and friends. Schedule time to connect with family and friends through virtual coffee dates or dinner parties or casual catch-up sessions using video chat apps or phone calls. Bring back the art of handwritten letters and include the kids, perhaps showing off their artwork. You’ll brighten peoples’ day with mail from your family.
  • Flex your muscles together. Exercise is a huge stress reducer. Engage the family in a game of tag or by taking turns creating balance challenges and scoring it like the game of H-O-R-S-E in basketball. Create an obstacle course in the house or yard and time each other as you run, walk, crab walk, walk backward, or skip through the course. Be creative. Go on a “Simon Says” walk around the house or yard and take turns being the leader.
  • Use your military community resources. If finances are causing you stress, review your options on Military OneSource. There are different relief organizations that may be able to address your specific situation.
  • Read together. Couch cuddles while reading to your kids can build great memories. You can also use reading as quiet time. Something you all do from separate rooms to give you space to relax. Use your Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library for video books that read to kids, or eBooks for older kids and adults.
  • Make dinner a group effort. Connect with kids by having them help with planning and cooking dinner as well as setting and clearing the table and doing the dishes. Doing these activities together teaches them life skills and, more importantly, creates a space for them to talk about whatever is on their minds. They tend to talk more when doing tasks beside you versus talking face to face.

Military families tend to be resilient. Keep reaching toward your family and military community for support and know that Military OneSource is always here to serve and support you.

Stay current

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. Select legitimate sources that provide facts and not escalating drama. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

It is natural for all relationships to feel tested during an emergency or crisis. If your spouse or partner has made you feel unsafe or afraid, help is available through the Family Advocacy Program. Speak to a victim advocate to explore next steps, or call or chat with the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7, at 800-799-7233 or thehotline.org.

Top 10 Ways to Practice Resilience Skills During Challenging Times

Husband and wife with their two young children

Current as of May 12, 2020

Uncertain times like these can present incredible challenges. Normal life has turned upside down because of coronavirus disease 2019, and no one knows when things will be settled again. Military families are used to uncertainty and challenges and already have skills needed to remain resilient in challenging times. The current COVID-19 situation can be an opportunity to practice your resilience skills and share them with others.

Keep calm with COVID Coach

This app can help you cope with pandemic-related stress. It’s free, secure and recommended by the Department of Defense.

Need More Parenting Resources During COVID-19?

You may be looking for new ideas for managing children at home during the pandemic. Try this updated list of extensive parenting resources.

Change and uncertainty can increase stress and anxiety. A healthy dose of concern can help solve problems, but paying too much attention to things we can’t change can leave us feeling powerless and more stressed. Here are 10 things you can do to practice staying strong and build resilience skills to help yourself, your partner, your children and other loved ones:

  • Recognize the situation and validate your feelings. It is normal to feel stressed and worried right now. There is a saying in psychology that “what we resist, persists,” so the best way to begin to address an issue is to face it. Acknowledge that things are uncertain now and know that is OK. If you are not worried or anxious, that’s fine too. Everyone deals with stress in different ways, and the most important thing is to validate whatever you are feeling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers information on managing stress during the outbreak. If you want to talk to a professional, free, confidential non-medical counseling is available through Military OneSource.
  • Talk to your children. It’s especially important to talk to children now, because even if they aren’t saying anything, they may have questions and concerns they don’t know how to voice. Talk to them in an age-appropriate manner about COVID-19 and make sure to acknowledge their feelings.
  • Follow accurate information about the virus. Make sure you are doing the things you can to stay safe and healthy while staying at home and explain those things to your family. Continue to check the Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community page for updates.
  • Try to view the current social situation as a challenge rather than an insurmountable problem. Yes, times are difficult right now, but things will get better again. The situation in China has already improved, and with time, will improve in the rest of the world.
  • Maintain routines as much as possible. Paying attention to things you can control helps to decrease anxiety and increase a sense of personal effectiveness.
  • Limit media exposure. Stay updated on health and safety measures, but try not to tune in 24/7. Constant media viewing can increase stress and anxiety. Choose one or two reliable news sources and schedule regular times to check updates. Make time for positive input as well. Try searching online for good things that have come out of the current social situation. You might be surprised at what you find.
  • Stay connected. Talk to your spouse, your children and extended family. Military spouses usually have a strong, established virtual support network. This could be a time where you help others develop similar connections.
  • Practice positive thinking. When you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts or worrying excessively, stop and count 10 things that make you feel grateful. Starting a gratitude journal can be a powerful daily practice, and is also something that is easy to do with children to get them to practice positive thinking skills. For more ideas, check out these resilience resources from Military OneSource.
  • Help others. Research shows that helping others decreases anxiety and builds resiliency. Search online for things people are doing during COVID-19 to help others. Have your kids draw pictures and text them to grandparents. Bring groceries to an elderly neighbor who can’t get out. Have your teenager organize a video dance party or put together a playlist for family dance time. You can also search online for organizations that are helping deployed service members and veterans, and find some way to get involved.
  • Take care of yourself and seek help if you need it. Make sure you are practicing good self-care, and addressing all five pillars of wellness. Turn off the TV. Listen to music. Get outside and take a walk. Check out these other tips for managing stress. Everyone needs a hand now and then, and the Department of Defense offers a variety of programs and services to keep service members and their families healthy and strong.

This is an incredibly challenging time, but you have tools and resources to help you stay strong. Understanding of COVID-19 is rapidly changing. For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms. For Department of Defense updates for the military community, visit Defense.gov, follow Military OneSource’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms, and continue to check the Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community page for updates.

More Parenting Resources for Managing at Home During COVID-19

A woman sits with her children on a sofa.

Current as of May 19, 2020

Coronavirus disease 2019 restrictions are beginning to relax. However, many parents are still working and teaching their children at home. And that can be exhausting. The Department of Defense is committed to helping you manage. Add some new activities to your toolkit. Try some apps for self-care. And reach out for support if you need it. Here are resources to help you stay the course.

Activities resources

For preschool age children:

For youth and teens:

You may be schooling at home. Your children may be finishing the year online. But free online learning resources can help. The Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library, for example, has resources for all ages.

Another resource for military youth and teens is Military Kids Connect. It lets children connect to an online community of other military kids. It has teen-led tours, a message board and more. Try this link they suggest for some fun NASA activities to do at home.

Resilience resources

Military families know that life challenges can inspire us to be our best selves. This time at home lets us practice stress-management skills and try new tools. These resources can build resilience:

  • These recommended wellness apps are free. You can use them on your mobile device. So they can go with you anywhere. Some are designed for service members and parents. Others are designed for children, like Parenting2Go, and Sesame Street’s Breathe, Think, Do.
  • The Department of Defense provides free, confidential, non-medical counseling to service members and their families. Licensed counselors are available 24/7. Learn more or call 800-342-9647. Online chat and OCONUS call options are also available.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms. For Department of Defense updates for the military community, visit Defense.gov, follow Military OneSource’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms, and continue to check the Coronavirus Updates for Our Military Community page for updates.

Need more ideas for managing children at home during COVID-19? Try this updated list of parenting resources.

COVID-19 Resources for Parents With Children With Special Needs

Military family of four playing in front of their house

Current as of Sept 30, 2020


As a military parent with a child or children with special needs, you may now face additional challenges due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Your daily routines have changed. Your responsibilities have increased. This can be stressful and feel overwhelming.

If you are feeling isolated, stressed and anxious, even small things can help. Take advantage of resources for information, comfort and ideas on resiliency, self-care and more.

Resources

The Department of Defense is committed to supporting military parents of children with special needs. Here are a few resources, tools and articles for you and your child as you cope with COVID-19 changes.

One day this pandemic will be behind us. Until then, don’t forget that installation EFMP Family Support and EFMP Resources, Options and Consultations special needs consultants are ready to support you. Special needs consultations are available via phone or video session. Military families can make an appointment 24/7 with live chat or by calling 800-342-9647.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Department of Education Q&As on providing services to children with disabilities during the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak.

This Questions and Answers document outlines states’ responsibilities to infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities and their families, and to the staff serving these children. During an outbreak of COVID-19, local educational agencies (LEAs) and early intervention service (EIS) programs will need to collaborate with their state educational agency (SEA), Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), or local public health department, as appropriate, to address questions about how, what, and when services should be provided to children with disabilities. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person. This Q & A document does not impose any additional requirements beyond those included in applicable law and regulations. The responses presented in this document generally constitute informal guidance representing the interpretation of the department of the applicable statutory or regulatory requirements in the context of the specific facts presented here and are not legally binding. The Q & As in this document are not intended to be a replacement for careful study of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II), and their implementing regulations. The IDEA, its implementing regulations, and other important documents related to the IDEA can be found at http://sites.ed.gov/idea. For more information on the requirements of Section 504 and Title II, and their implementing regulations, consult https://www2.ed.gov/policy/rights/guid/ocr/disabilityoverview.html.

Section A: Implementing Part B of the IDEA and Section 504 during a COVID-19 outbreak

A.1: Is an LEA required to continue to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities during a school closure caused by a COVID-19 outbreak? add

A.2: Must an LEA provide special education and related services to a child with a disability who is absent for an extended period of time because the child is infected with COVID-19, while the schools remain open?add

A.3: What services must an LEA provide if a public school for children with disabilities is selectively closed due to the possibility of severe complications from a COVID-19 outbreak?add

A.4: If a child with a disability at high risk of severe medical complications is excluded from school during an outbreak of COVID-19 and the child’s school remains open, is the exclusion considered a change in educational placement subject to the protections of 34 CFR §§ 300.115 and 300.116 and 34 CFR §§ 104.35 and 104.36. add

A.5: May an IEP Team consider a distance-learning plan in a child’s IEP as a contingency plan in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak that requires the school’s closure? add

A.6: What activities other than special education and related services may and may not be provided with IDEA Part B funds both prior to and during a COVID-19 outbreak?add

IDEA Part C and COVID-19

B.1: Must a state lead agency continue to provide early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities during a COVID-19 outbreak if the offices are closed? add

B.2: What should a state lead agency or EIS program provider do to provide Part C services if its offices are open, but it cannot provide services in accordance with an infant’s or toddler’s IFSP during a COVID-19 outbreak? add

B.3. What activities other than service provision may and may not be provided with IDEA Part C funds both prior to and during a potential COVID-19 outbreak? add

MWR Digital Library Helps Keep Families Engaged

Man at home on his laptop

Current as of September 29, 2020

The risk of coronavirus disease 2019 is causing many of us to spend more time at home. You may get by for a while watching TV or playing board games, but to get ideas for other activities, you can tap into a whole other world of entertainment from the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library.

Free to service members and their families, the MWR Digital Library offers an array of resources to keep adults, teens and children busy and engaged. And if your kids’ classroom time is limited, there are plenty of learning resources to help them keep up. Here’s a small sample of what you’ll find:

Titles and resources for adults

  • Ancestry® Library allows you to unlock the story of your family with billions of U.S. and international records.
  • EBSCO Audiobook Collection offers more than 2,000 audiobooks in different subjects and categories available for download.
  • EBSCO eBook Collection contains more than 3,000 titles in the areas of fiction, history, health and medicine, self-help, business, economics, law and more.
  • EBSCO Learning Express provides eLearning tutorials, practice tests, e-books, flashcards and articles that help users build their skills in a wide array of core subjects for success in the classroom, on the job, and in life, including preparation for CLEP, DSST, ACT, SAT, GRE and more.
  • Fold3 Library Edition is a premier collection of historical U.S. military records and unique military content, bringing to life the details of America’s military veterans with stories, photos and personal documents, from the Revolutionary War through today.
  • Kanopy provides access to more than 30,000 award-winning films and documentaries anywhere, anytime with any device.
  • Mango Languages is a digital language learning program for learners of all levels, with courses in more than 70 different foreign languages, 21 English language courses and 44 specialty courses.
  • RBdigital Magazines allows you to read or download a large assortment of popular news and special interest digital magazines on your PC, smartphone or laptop.

COVID-19 may mean that your local library is closed or that access is limited, but the MWR Digital Library is always open. Just log in to your Military OneSource account or create a username and password and start browsing.