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Happy African American soldier talking to his son at home.The military lifestyle can be hard on families. There is a demand for their time, energy and commitment that can lead to stress on the family unit.6 In military families who have a child with special needs, the stress for the family is increased even further.

It is important that families are taught how to cope with the stress concerning events of their lives, and to understand and expect the family environment to be adjusted due to not only the military lifestyle but also having a child with a disability.3,4 Researchers suggest that medical and mental health services alone are not enough to alleviate stress for military families who have a young child with disabilities.1,2

It is suggested that military families find family-centered services, community partnerships, and support groups with similar areas of interest, to aid in lowering stress for the family.5

Below are links to support groups, resources, and services for military families who have a child with special needs.

Military Special Needs Network: This Facebook page is a great place for families to reach out to other families with similar needs. Ask questions, contribute advice and build relationships.

Autism: the Military: This Pinterest page is a collection of articles, news events, videos, and stories to help military families who have a child with Autism.

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP): Addresses the unique needs of military families with special needs children, and provides resources, tools and articles to further inform parents about EFMP and the families is serves.

Military Families with Complex Kids: In this Facebook group, ask questions and find the support of other military families raising children with special needs or medical complications.

Military One Source Special Needs: provides information and support for families with special needs family members.

The DoD Special Needs Parent Tool Kit: provides information for parents that is downloadable and covers birth through 18 years old. Whether you need to learn about early intervention services or want to learn how to be a more effective advocate for your child, this resources has the information you are searching for.

Do you have any resources to add to our list? Post your go to resources in the comment section below.

  1. Dyson, L.L. (1993). Response to the presence of a child with disabilities: Parental stress and family functioning over time. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 98, 207-218.
  2. Dyson, L.L. (1996). The experiences of families of children with learning disabilities: Parental stress, family functioning, and sibling self-concept. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29, 280-286.
  3. Murphy, D.L., Behr, S.K., & Summers, J.A. (1990). Do something about it-think! Cognitive coping strategies and stress and well-being in parents of children with disabilities. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association: Boston.
  4. Paulus, P.B., Nagar, D., Larey, T.S., & Camacho, L.M. (1996). Environmental, lifestyle, and psychological factors in the health and well-being of military families. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26, 1053-2075.
  5. Russo, T.J., & Fallon, M.A. (2001). Helping military families who have a child with a disability cope with stress. Early Childhood Education Journal. 29(1). 3-8.
  6. Segal, M.W. (1989). The nature of work and family linkages: A theoretical perspective. In G.L. Bowen & D.K. Orthner (Eds.), The organizational family: Work and family linkages in the U.S. military (pp.3-36). New York: Praeger.

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This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on February 26, 2016.