Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
Changes, moving, training schedules, different schools, different teachers, new houses, new service providers, deployments – these are all things that we all deal with as we live through military life. Each of these things also describes the complete opposite of what we know our kiddos who are on the spectrum need. Instead of moving and changes, our kiddos on the spectrum need consistency, structure and routine. So, when you are faced with having to mesh these opposite life-styles into one, cohesive functioning family there are a few things you can do to.
When your family is faced with yet another PCS deal with it the best you can. Although a move can take away the current structure and routines you have in place, help your child on the spectrum through the move by putting structure to it. Create a visual schedule which gives your child structure for the move. Some ideas to include on this visual schedule are their new school, new teachers, new address/phone number, pictures of the new house and details about how long it will take you to get there and when you will arrive. Discuss with your child about why you have to move again but remind them that it will all be OK.
Additionally, before you move touch base with the school/school district you will be relocating to. Try to get in touch with the professionals that work in the school who can help your child have a smooth transition into their new school. Begin to research the service providers in your area so that you have an idea about service options for your child. Even though you may have to be without services/therapies during the transition process, ask your current service providers to give you ideas and activities you can do with your children during this time. Make a visual schedule that outlines when you will be doing what activities so that your kiddo knows what to expect in their daily schedule.
Use a visual schedule to follow throughout the day that lists bed times, chores, etc. Use the same list when you move so that you have consistency in your new location. This should also help with the transition from the old location into the new location.
Also, the DOD has developed an amazing resource for families who have children with special needs. It is called the Special Care Organizational Record (SCOR) for Children with Special Health Care Needs and SCOR for Adults with Special Health Care Needs. It is absolutely worth checking out this phenomenal resource that helps to keep all of your child’s information organized.
Although dealing with raising a child on the spectrum while living military live can pose some major issues, there are definitely things you can do to help ease the difficulties you may face.
Keep up the good work, you are doing well!
Happy Autism Awareness Month!
Olivia Newbold is a special education teacher in Carlsbad, California. Olivia has been a special education teacher for nine years for students who have mild, moderate and severe disabilities including students who are on the Autism Spectrum. Olivia has dedicated her life to helping individuals with disabilities. She has been involved in many activities throughout her life to help the special needs community including coaching Special Olympics, various volunteer activities, developing and maintaining peer programs within the schools she has worked in and more. Olivia has most recently become involved in serving on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of San Diego, serving as the Military Outreach Chairperson. Within this role she has created a resources blog and develops materials to help families who are dealing with military life and having a child with disabilities. Olivia is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of these families. Olivia was raised in central Illinois. She attended Illinois State University for her undergraduate and part of her graduate studies and credits them for the amazing training they provided her with to excel in her role as Special Educator. Olivia relocated to the San Diego area in 2012 when her fiancé was stationed at Camp Pendleton with the United States Marine Corps. Together they live with their two beloved Boston Terriers – Winton & Frankie. Olivia continues to strive diligently in making a positive impact in the lives of children and families who have disabilities. You can view the resources blog at: autismresources4you.blogspot.com and/or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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