With a population of 1.5 million active duty military members, each day around the globe, there are an estimated 540,000 active duty sponsors each caring for a family member with special medical or educational needs.
STOMP is the only National Parent Training and Information Center for military families providing support and advice to military parents without regard of the type of medical condition their child has.
Parents of children with special needs face many challenges:
Feelings of isolation and anxiety.
Difficulty navigating disjointed services.
Severe financial worries.
These challenges are compounded when the family concerned is military. While all military families face certain challenges such as frequent PCS moves/military member being placed in harm's way/deployments, our families with special needs family members face additional difficulties, for example:
Continuity in provision of IEP services from state to state or from state to DODDS/DDESS (no legal obligation to implement current IEP from another state)
Availability of military member during IEP meetings/ medical treatments/procedures
Finding specialists/physicians who will take TRICARE (military health entitlement program)
Re-establishing relationships with key medical and educational personnel
Re-establishing eligibility for community resources to assist child and facing waiting lists for services needed
Identifying within each state the array of services available and differences from state to state
Differences in implementation of Tricare services across the regions
Lack of proximate family support due to geographical separations/time differences.
Additional financial burdens due to certain allotments and aspects of military pay calculations when considering eligibility (i.e. clothing allowance, separate rations, housing).
Challenges with overseas assignments, i.e. denial of command sponsorship for family member with special needs (command sponsorship is necessary for eligibility for medical/educational systems) increasing family separations.
Difficulty implementing aspects of IDEA because of host country agreements i.e. transition services into vocational programming, community access, provision of related services.
Certain laws, regulations and services do not apply in overseas assignments, such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Dept of Ed Regulations for the implementation of IDEA, Medicaid.
Lack of local community support due to the self-containment/isolation/ military installations and existing relationship between installation and local community.
Isolation and lack of support due to learned self-reliance of military members
Our families strive to be strong, committed military members, the majority of whom will make a career of their military experience so that their child can continue to benefit from the entitlements of a military retiree. Contrary to popular belief, these families are often extra motivated to serve because of their special needs, overriding low expectations, the military members supporting these families are dedicated and strong, both in their duty to their country and in their family lives.
STOMP knows because each year thousands of families turn to us for reliable support, information and advice. Our commitment is to empower these families in their vital role as advocates, providing training, information and support.
"What I hope to see is a mainstreaming of the process, a vision of the Exceptional Family Member as just another kid who is involved in transition or education. Where it's not something that is an "also ran" or "oh by the way we need to look at that too..' it's part and parcel of the same problem, which is military families, their transition issues and education as a whole. We want to make sure the playing field is level so that we are comparable to or better than our civilian counterparts and that should be across the board. We shouldn't look at out exceptional population as something different or something we connect on to, they are the same family, we are all the same family."
-Fred Chavez STOMP PPTW Graduate 2002
Washington PAVE has a policy of nondiscrimination. In the event you, as an employee or recipient of services, feel that you have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, marital status, disabled or Vietnam era veteran status, sex, disability, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, or HIV/AIDS status, you have the right to file a complaint with the agency´s 504 Compliance Officer.
Please contact PAVE´s Compliance Officer: Heather M. Hebdon,
6316 South 12th. Street; Tacoma, WA 98465-1900 (253) 565-2266 (v/tty); 1-800-5-PARENT (v/tty); Fax: (253) 566-8052, E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Unauthorized Practice of Law Disclaimer:
PAVE is a nonprofit organization that provides information, training, individual assistance, and resources. PAVE is not a legal firm or legal service agency, and as such the information contained on this website is provided for the purpose of informing the reviewer, but should not be considered as a means of taking the place of legal advice that must be obtained through an attorney. PAVE may be able to assist you in identifying an attorney in your area, but cannot provide direct referrals.
Project of Washington PAVE
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