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Creating an Inclusive Military Community

Source: Military Community & Family Policy

Military families are acutely aware of how it feels to be the "new" family in the command, on the installation, or in town. This is also true for military families with special needs.  For a family of a child with more serious special needs, feeling truly integrated into a new community can be very challenging. While boxes are being unpacked and kids are getting acquainted with the neighborhood, a family with special needs may be going over an Individualized Education Program (IEP) with their child's new school, speaking with medical specialists or therapists, or arranging for special accommodations in their new quarters.

While a typical morning for some may involve asking kids to get dressed for school, giving them a bowl of cereal, and kissing them goodbye before they walk to the bus stop, a typical morning for a family with special needs may start at sunrise tending to a child's medical or feeding needs, dressing him or her, assisting him or her onto a school bus or driving the child to occupational or speech therapy. These extra hurdles may stretch into the late evening hours as well, while other children are independently doing their homework or playing with friends.

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