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My Command News

•EFMP: THEN & NOW •DoD Develops Plan for Expanded Military Family Support •STOMP

My Resources

• National Down Syndrome Society Offers Scholarship Assistance • Easter Seals releases Living with Disabilities Study

My Healthy Family

• TRICARE Online Improves Health Data Access • New Children of Military Service Members Resource Guide Released by the Defense Centers of Excellence • You Care, We Care: Self-Care tips for Caregivers

Family Fun

• Accessible/Inclusive Playgrounds • Sensory-Free Movies • Challenger Baseball


New Education Directory For Children with Special Needs “The Directory is published by DoD’s Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs.” For more information visit: QOL-Library/MHF/260593.html

My Command News




The Navy’s Exceptional Family Member community support to families and more. Program was originally established in 1987 in response to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). At its core, the program focuses on detailing: enrolling sailors who have family members with special medical or educational needs to ensure that the receiving duty station has the facilities and services to meet the exceptional family member’s special needs. In 2010, landmark legislation was passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act FY 2010, which expanded the EFMP through establishment of a new Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs. This new office is tasked with identifying & addressing gaps in services to families with special needs, overseeing EFMP enrollment & assignment coordination process, expansion of case management and assignment coordination to include CONUS & OCONUS. The NDAA FY10 also requires that the Navy 1) Expand assignment coordination so that family members’ needs will be considered when they are moving from state-tostate and not just overseas; 2) require military services to stabilize service members at a location for a minimum of four years, and 3) expand

One of the first phases of this expanded program was the hiring of EFMP Liaison positions to staff Fleet & Family Support Centers. FFSC Mid Atlantic region FFSCs have added a total of ten (10) new full-time EFMP Liaisons as well as a full time Liaison Lead. These additional staff will be a valuable new resource for service members and referral to help service members enroll in the program & access information and resources.

Meet your new EFMP Liaisons!

Pictured (from left): Wendy Cunningham, Saratoga Springs; Robin Conley, Oceana; Jennifer Pierce, Regional Office; Christi Jones, Portsmouth Naval Hospital; Deanne Noel, Yorktown/NNSY; Todd McGehee, JEBLCFS, Loris Velez-Acevedo, Norfolk; Lisa Dain, New London, CT; Lee Hardgrove, Newport, RI; Robertson Thomas, Oceana



My Command News

STOMP Training

On March 23 & 24, 2011, Mid Atlantic region FFSC EFMP Liaisons partnered with Marine Corps Community Services/Camp Allen EFMP to host a workshop presented by Heather Hebdon of STOMP (Specialized Training of Military Parents). Twenty-five individuals participated in this training event including military families, EFMP representatives from all five branches of service, and Navy School Liaison Officers. STOMP is a federally funded Parent Training and Information (PTI) Center established to assist military families who have children with special education or health needs. This is a parent-directed project that exists to empower military parents, individuals with disabilities, and service providers with knowledge, skills, and resources so that they might access services to create a collaborative environment for family and professional partnerships without regard to geographic location. STOMP assists families by providing information and training about laws, regulations and resources for military families of children with disabilities; connecting families to other families; assisting parents and professionals in developing their own community parent education/support group; and providing a voice to raise awareness of issues faced by military families of children with disabilities. The STOMP Project hosts a ListServ for military families and professionals to stay informed, connect and learn from each other, providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills and resources to access services and feel confident in their role as their child’s best advocate. Recent listserv topics have included TRICARE funding ABA, assistive technology questions, PCSing, and other topics related to military life when there is a family member with a disability or other special need.

To find out more about STOMP or subscribe to the Listserv, visit their website at: http://www.


DoD Develops Plan for Expanded Military Family Support In January 2011, the White House released a report titled STRENGTHENING OUR MILITARY FAMILIES: Meeting America’s Commitment, a report detailing a comprehensive government initiative to increase supportive services for military families. The effort was initiated in May 2010 by President Barack Obama as a directive to the National Security Staff to develop a coordinated, all-encompassing approach to supporting military families. Goals of the program include improving the quality of military family life and helping

communities more effectively support military families, and thereby improve the long-term effectiveness of all active U.S. military forces. This effort plans to focus on four core areas: Enhancing military families’ well-being and psychological health; Developing military spouse career and education opportunities; Increasing child care availability and quality; and Ensuring excellence in military children’s education and development.

Key efforts to benefit military families include: Expanded counseling services. The report cited a 2010 study that reports an 11 percent increase in outpatient visits for behavioral health issues among a group of 3- to 8-year-old children of military parents and an increase in behavioral and stress disorders when a parent was deployed.

New and improved programs to increase military families.

behavioral health care services for

A program review of

educational services for autism spectrum disorder available to military dependent children conducted by the Ohio State University’s College of Education & Human Ecology.

Focus on the need for

more abundant child care. There are 200,000 military children in the child care system with a shortage of about 37,000 child care spaces.

Improvements in education and development for military children. The Education Department, for example, will, for the first time, favor grant applications to meet the needs of military-connected students, and DoD is committed to making its schools a leader in the use of advanced learning technologies, including software, online courses and student-written and sharable simulations.

Pursue the complete development of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, which addresses mobilityrelated challenges military children face, such as records transfer and course placement.


To read or download the full report visit: Strengthening_our_Military_January_2011.pdf


Meeting America’s Commitment

JA N UA RY 2 011

My Resources National Down Syndrome Society Offers Scholarship Assistance The Joshua O’Neill and Zeshan Tabani Enrichment Fund seeks to offer

financial assistance to young adults with Down syndrome who are 18 years old or older, who wish to continue to participate in postsecondary education programs or enrichment courses to gain employment and other important life skills contributing to their independence. Grants of up to $2,000 are available by completing an extensive application process. The fund was established in January 2005 by Zeshan Tabani to honor his friend Joshua O’Neill. Joshua is a young man with Down syndrome and was able to benefit from participating in a postsecondary education experience. He now lives independently, with supports, works part-time, and leads a productive and happy life. Zeshan was inspired by Joshua and wanted to help others who might not have the same opportunity.

Visit the National Down Syndrome Society website at to learn more.

New Children of Military Service Members Resource Guide Released by the Defense Centers of Excellence Military children and youth of all ages are faced with many challenges throughout the deployment cycle. From work-ups to homecoming, the constant change and separation from loved ones can significantly affect the mental and emotional health needs of military these children and youth. The mission of the Defense Centers of Excellence is to identify and promote effective instructional material for wounded warriors, families, and health care providers. In accordance with this mission, the DCoE has developed an online resource to assist families and health care providers address the mental and emotional health needs of military children. The Children

of Military Service Members Resource Guide identifies age appropriate resources addressing such topics as: Deployment, Homecoming, Loss of a Parent, Mental/Emotional Wellbeing, and Moving.

The guide is now available for download at:

Easter Seals releases Living with Disabilities Study The Living With Disability Study illustrates the life-long challenges surrounding everyday life and future concerns for parents of adult children with disabilities and adults with disabilities. Many parents worry their adult children’s basic needs for employment, housing, transportation, social interactions, recreation, healthcare and financial security will not be met: • Only 11% of parents employed full time.

of adult children with disabilities report their child is

• Just 6 in 10 parents of life as excellent or good

adult children with a disability rate their child’s quality of (61%), compared to 8 in 10 parents of adults without a

disability (82%).

• Huge gaps exist in parents of adults with disabilities’ assessment of their child’s ability to manage their own finances (34% vs. 82% parents of adults without disabilities) and have the life skills necessary to live independently (30% vs. 83% parents of adults without

disabilities). • Nearly 7 in 10 adults with disabilities (69%) live with their parent(s) or guardian; only 17% live independently compared to more than half of adult children without disabilities (51%). Download the full study or the 16 page summary here: http:// disabilities_study_home&s_src=LWDstudy&s_subsrc=bannerad



My Healthy Family Self-Care for Caregivers Family

caregivers are sometimes

less likely than non-caregivers to practice preventive healthcare and self-care behavior and many report problems such as sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, failure to exercise, failure to stay in bed when ill, and postponement of or failure to make medical appointments. Family caregivers are also at increased risk for excessive use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and for depression. Studies show that an estimated 46 percent to 59 percent of caregivers are clinically depressed.

Recognize warning signs early

Seek Solutions

Identify sources of stress

Ask For and Accept Help

These might include irritability, sleep problems, and forgetfulness. Know your own warning signs, and act to make changes. Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed. Ask yourself, “What is causing stress for me?” Sources of stress might be too much to do, family disagreements, feelings of inadequacy, inability to say no.

Once you’ve identified a problem, taking action to solve it can change the situation and also change your attitude to a more positive one, giving you more confidence in your abilities. Many caregivers are reluctant to ask for help and wait until they are overwhelmed or exhausted Reaching out for help when you need it is a sign of personal strength.

Identify what you can and cannot change Talk to Your Physician Remember, we can only change ourselves; we cannot change another person. When you try to change things over which you have no control, you will only increase your sense of frustration.

Take action

Caregivers sometimes neglect their own health in the face of the demands of caring for others. It is important to build a partnership with your physician to address your health needs.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise promotes better sleep, reduces tension Taking some action to reduce stress gives us back and depression, and increases energy and alertness. a sense of control. Stress reducers can be simple Exercise can be incorporated it into your daily activities like walking or having coffee with a routine and activities you enjoy. friend.

Set Goals

Once you’ve set a goal, ask yourself, “What steps do I take to reach my goal?” Make an action plan by deciding which step you will take first, and when. Then get started!

Communicate Constructively

Learn from Your Emotions

It is a strength to recognize when your emotions are controlling you (instead of you controlling your emotions). Our emotions are messages we need to listen to. Learn from them, then take appropriate action.

Adapted from the Taking Care of YOU: SelfWhen you communicate in ways that are clear, Care for Family Caregivers Fact Sheet Follow these self-care tips to avoid assertive and constructive, you will be heard and ©Family Caregiver Alliance National Center on caregiver burnout and health problems: get the help and support you need. Caregiving

TRICARE Online Improves Health Data Access From a TRICARE Management Activity News Release FALLS CHURCH, Va., April 22, 2011 - New TRICARE Online features give users access to expanded personal health data, including lab results, patient history and diagnoses, and provider visits. The military health plan’s new online features expand the website’s “Blue Button” capability, which already allowed beneficiaries to safely and securely access and print or save their demographic information, allergy and medication profiles, officials said. The level of data available depends on where treatment occurs, officials said, with the most data


available to those who regularly get care at military hospitals and clinics. “These new capabilities are a major step forward in engaging military health system patients as partners in their own health care,” said Navy Rear Adm. (Dr.) Christine Hunter, TRICARE Management Activity deputy director. “Personal electronic health records can also improve care by conveying accurate patient information between providers, avoiding duplication of tests and reducing delays in treatment.” The Blue Button was fielded by TRICARE and was made generally available by other federal health care providers last year. With more than 250,000 users, officials said, it is the result of a close interagency partnership among the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “The Blue Button efforts are just another example of how DOD and VA are working together to shape the future of health care [information technology] collaboration, interoperability and transparency for the


patients and families we serve,” said Dr. George Peach Taylor Jr., acting principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. “We could not have accomplished this without the continuing strong collaboration between DOD and the VA.” TRICARE Online is the Military Health System’s Internet point of entry, giving the health plan’s 9.6 million beneficiaries access to available health care services and information through a secure portal. Users who receive their care at a military treatment facility can schedule appointments, order prescription refills and view their personal health data. Other users with active prescriptions at a military pharmacy also can request a refill for those prescriptions.

Reprinted from news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63664

Family Fun

Accessible/Inclusive Playgrounds Accessible playgrounds are designed to make it possible for everyone to play regardless of ability or disability. Community demand and ADA regulations have created an increase in the building of new playgrounds geared toward accessibility and usability.


T ercentennial Legacy Playground, Poquonnock Plains Park, Groton

 London Rotary Centennial New Playground,

 Toby May Field, Ocean Avenue, New London

Boundless® Playground at Deer Park,

11532 Jefferson Avenue, Newport News

My Place Playground,

 Williamsburg-James City County Community Center, 5301 Longhill Road, Williamsburg JT’s

Grommet Island Beach Park and Playground for EveryBody, Oceanfront between 1st and 2nd St., VA Beach

New Hampshire

Casey White Playground, Stevens Park, 376 Mammoth, Manchester

Challenger B aseball


Boundless® Playground

New York

Freedom Park Boundless® Playground, 71 Glenwood Avenue, Queensbury

Three Angels Dream Central Park, Central Parkway, Schenectady

CVS Caremark Boundless Playground, The Marshall Family Park, 1000 Eddy Street, Providence

575 Centerville Road, Warwick

Kids’ Kove Playground, Barrington Town Hall Park,

Matty’s Place, Hazard School on Columbia Street, Wakefield

283 County Road, Barrington

Hasbro Boundless™ Playground, Roger Williams Park, Providence

The Sarah Jane McCullough Handicapped Play Area

190 Kingstown Road, Wyoming

Sensory-Free Movies Sensory-free movies allow children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other special needs and their families to go out to the movies without worrying about being too loud, too wiggly, too sensitive, too noisy, or even too scared of the dark. Since these families are the only ones in the theater, they don’t have to worry about bothering anyone else. During sensory-friendly showings, theaters skip previews, adjust lighting and volume, supply popcorn without butter, allow guests to bring their own GCFC snacks, and relax the “rules” about viewer noise and movement to create a more welcoming environment for individuals with ASDs and other sensory disorders.

Visit the Autism Society of America at to find a list of participating theaters.







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Rhode Island

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To From



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................................................... (757) 444-2102

NMC Portsmouth

................ (757) 953-7805

JEB Little Creek-Ft Story ... (757) 462-8922


..................................... (757) 433-2174/3635

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New London

................................... (860) 694-2233

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Portsmouth, NH ............................ (207) 438-1441

New York

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Rhode Island

Newport ............................................ (401) 841-4562 6


EFMP Newsletter  

EFMP Newsletter