Exceptional Family Member Program (Accessible)

♪ Music Playing ♪ I’ve been a Marine
twenty-eight years. I have served in the
aviation combat element and I have three combat tours. My mother is seventy-five
years old, she’s been diagnosed with Alzheimers for
the last few years. She’s been an Exceptional Family
for about three years now. My son has Aspergers ADHD, ODD, which is oppositional defiant
disorder, ticks and Tourette’s and he’s also red
green color blind. My daughter she’s six now, she
was born, well not born disabled but had brain injury
at birth during labor. It’s a little hard. It was a lot to take
in being a young father and my son being
my second child, I really didn’t know
what Autism was. We heard that there
was a program out there that can help you with needs
for your child, special needs, what they can do for you while
he’s in school, out of school. It was a huge wonderful awakening, it was like wow, there’s this
program here that is able to help us and guide us, give
us the strength that we need. An Exceptional Family
member is somebody that has either special needs
or intricate health issues. My worker that I work with,
when I see her I hug her. It’s more than a job
to her and I appreciate that cause sometimes having
an EFMP child sometimes I feel alone. Before he was diagnosed we had
a lot of trouble with the doctors in seeing him and treating
him and even trying to get his diagnosis but then
once he got his diagnosis and we enrolled in the
EFMP, the EFMP kind of follows you from
place to place. I have direct contact
with my EFMP case worker. We talk regularly, if I have questions
I can call her or email her. It’s really nice. Our military families that travel globally
do have unique needs that they have to address as they go from
installation to installation. What EFMP does is they can
troubleshoot for the family; they can serve almost as kind
of an advanced team if you will and they can assist the family
in finding a good network of support, even
before they arrive to their next duty station. If you send a service member somewhere
that there are no services located for his or her family members,
they’re not going to be focused on the mission, they’re
going to be worrying about driving three hours to the
nearest hospital, or making all of these appointments but
if you put in the component that says hey, we’re going to assure
that when you get cut orders that there are services
available or we’re going to screen to see if
there’s services available that makes a big difference,
they’re focused on their mission and not just getting this
special needs family member to doctors appointments. That’s a barrier that
has been broken down. Within the EFMP they provide
you with a case manager and with that case manager they
give you all the resources, they can help you get
a doctor’s appointment. The team here they
keep your abreast of everything that’s
actually going on. They make sure that
you’re involved. For me personally it’s helped my family
you know, stay closer together. They also provide a lot
of things to educate you on what you can do to help
your family member. Family care, adult
care resources. It was really important for the
Department of Aging to come in and sit down with my mother,
let her know what she qualifies for later on in life,
the level of need, some of the mitigations
for home safely. The walkthrough, it was
very very informative. They have online
websites that you can go to like Military OneSource that
has a variety of different links that you can click on depending
on what your different needs are, the age of the person,
different providers. They have consultants,
advocacies, they have groups, they gave functions,
picnics, pretty much anything that you could think of from
one spectrum to the other. A lot of these tools that are
in place to help you really do work and I’ve seen a huge
impact of how this program works for me and military, especially
supporting military families like mine. Too many people forget the EFMP
is about the family member, it doesn’t hinder you in any
way, it doesn’t label you, the program is out there
to help you and your family with the resources that’ll make
you not only a better person but be able to use
something to better your lives as a family as a whole. It means a great deal, I don’t
know where or how we would be if we didn’t have that program. The one word I would
use is loving. Amazing. Committed. Oh there’s so many words
going through your head. Empowering. A life saver. Helpful. Relief. Relief of knowing that you
have somebody out there, you’re not alone, you have the
resources available to you, and you can get the extra
assistance when you need it. I would say resourceful. I would stick with that
first word, exceptional. The program can do anything
for any service member out there. Just stay the course
and know that it’s going to be ok and there’s
people that can help you. ♪ Music Fades ♪

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