I just don’t understand! Military family stressors and the role of providers

Military Dad and Child
Flickr [No title by Minnesota National Guard, April 1, 2015, CC BY-ND 2.0]
Home visitors often see how stress impacts a family’s life. Sometimes they understand the circumstances that are causing the stress especially as it relates to parenting a child with a disability. Sometimes providers have personal experience with the stress a family is experiencing such as divorce, loss of a loved one, financial stress, juggling work and parenting. However, when families are in a context less familiar to the home visitor, such as the context of a military family, it can be difficult for providers to understand what the family might be experiencing. This can create a great deal of stress on the provider as they try to figure out how to best serve a family in a circumstance of which they themselves have little understanding.

One way a provider can understand an unfamiliar circumstance is to learn more about it. Military families face unique challenges such as family separation due to deployment, frequent relocations leading to isolation from extended family and support systems, and coping with the effects of combat. The Family Development Early Intervention (FDEI) concentration area of OneOp (MFLN) recommends the following articles to help providers become more familiar with the challenges that military families face:

Additionally, the FDEI team will present their final webinar of 2016 on Dec. 8, entitled “Strategies to Support Families Experiencing Difficult Circumstances.” This webinar will help providers understand the stresses military families face and how these might impact young children with disabilities. Also, resources that are available to families will be shared. Providers will hear from Robyn DiPietro-Wells, a member of the FDEI team, and her husband, a retired military officer, to understand more about some of the services that are available and why it is important for providers to learn all they can about the challenges military families face. Join us on Dec. 8 at 11:00 a.m. EST!

This post was edited by Robyn DiPietro-Wells & Michaelene Ostrosky, PhD, members of the OneOp FD Early Intervention team, which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about OneOp FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and YouTube.

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