Military sources indicate that more than 13,000 military dependents, the majority of them children, have some form of autism. Their families face all the emotions and challenges that accompany having a child diagnosed with autism, compounded by the realities of military service: war, extended family separation, frequent moves, varying access to specialized healthcare, and other stressors that complicate and often work against effective treatment for children with autism. These families need help navigating these uncharted and difficult waters.
A Guide for Military Families
To address this need, we created A Guide for Military Families and its companion website Operation Autism. The purpose of these resources is to give each family the tools and access to information that it needs on its unique life journey through autism. A Guide for Military Families provides:
- An understanding of autism and related intervention and treatment
- Strategies for addressing the challenges of autism from the time of diagnosis through adulthood
- An overview of the Department of Defense (DoD) and service policies related to having a child with autism
- Information on autism treatment options and coverage within the military healthcare system
- Practical information and tools to guide your child’s education
- Tips and advice relative to transitions such as permanent change of station (PCS) moves, new schools and more
- Links to additional resources relative to autism and military families
Operation Autism is a web-based resource specifically designed and created to support military families that have children with autism. It is the shared product of the vision and energy of the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) and the funding support of the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation.
Our intent in developing this resource is to:
- Provide military families touched by autism with access to quality, evidence-based information about the disorder
- Identify sources of treatment and support on and off base
- Offer tips for dealing with some of the unique challenges military life poses for military dependent children with autism and their families
- Inform parents about their child’s educational rights and offer some practical strategies for success in the classroom.