Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

May 30, 2012: Honoring Jenny Blanchette – Military Spouse of the Day!

Jenny is a proud Navy wife, married to her husband for two years. They are currently stationed in Groton, Connecticut and are expecting their first baby.

Jenny’s favorite part of being a military spouse is the cherished time she gets to spend with her husband when he is home. “I think that being in the military has …forced my husband and me to look at our relationship in a different way. We take advantage of every moment together.”

Is she could go back and give herself one piece of advice before becoming a military spouse, Jenny said that to remember to be flexible! As military spouses, you have to be ready for anything.

Jenny is an Adult with disabilities, diagnosed when she was a young child. Jenny graduated college with a degree in Elementary education, but had some difficulty teaching her final semester of her practicum. She realized that teaching full-time quickly sapped every ounce of her physical and mental energy. The experience revealed her strength and weaknesses, and enabled Jenny to focus her job search more specifically. She began part-time teaching to a small group of students, where she could utilize her strengths in planning and teaching, yet remain energized. She says, “I could have easily landed a full-time job in a public school and ran myself ragged. But, I refused to sacrifice quality of my life just to prove I was a “real” teacher. I am a teacher, just not the one I thought I would be when I was 18. But, who among us is doing exactly what they had planned when they were 18 anyway?”

Jenny is a remarkable self-advocate for herself and for others with disabilities. She says the important step is to connect with others who truly understand the disability world. “The individuals, parents and professionals who have walked in your shoes can help you learn how best to navigate life, work, and community. Learn as much as you can from advocacy organizations, centers for independent living, rehab services, and other agencies. The ‘facts’ are a powerful tool in self-advocacy.”

She gives this piece of advice for all families that have a dependent with special needs: “You are going to hear the word ‘no’ over and over and over. But don’t ever give up! Keep searching, calling, writing, until you find your YES! YOU DESERVE IT! Remember, every person DESERVES a full life – a family, a job, a home- that they are excited about. It’s true that disability can seemingly hold us back from our dreams. But it is up us whether it continues or we do something about it.”

The Military Special Needs Network honors and salutes Jenny Blanchette as the Military Spouse of the Day! We thank you for being such a wonderful military spouse and an amazing advocate for special needs!

Comments, discussion and insight always welcome!

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