Military families don’t have it easy. From coping with frequent relocation to experiencing separation from the primary caregiver for long stretches, the frequent disruption in the routine of military families can lead to a range of mental and emotional problems for its members.

These challenges become even more troublesome for military families with children with autism. Research shows that military families that have a child with ASD experience challenges associated with both the military lifestyle and having a child with special needs.

By belonging to two groups that are already prone to support limitations and accessibility issues when it comes to therapeutic service, military families with a child with ASD are at an additional risk of higher levels of stress and difficulty obtaining ASD-related services.

Let’s delve deeper into how children with autism in military families cope with the challenges of military life.

How Do The Conditions Of Military Life Affect Autistic Children?

According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 68 children is autistic. Additionally, military sources indicate that more than 20,000 military dependents have some form of autism.

Challenges of a Military Family

Military families are prone to temporary relocations or permanent change of station (PCS) approximately three times more than non-military families.

The frequency of these relocations affects the military family unit and children. Children may experience the stress of the potential loss of their loved one and the absence of a support system.

The frequent relocations are also linked with lower marital happiness and lower physical and psychological health. In addition to that, the extended separation from a family member may lead to a change in the family dynamic, which can be challenging for children to adjust to.

However, the impact of military separation and relocation on children with special needs is much more significant.

Military Families and ASD

According to the Department of Defense (DOD), there are various challenges for military families with a child with ASD. These unique challenges are different from the stressors experienced by a typical military family.

These challenges include:

  • Greater emotional reactions
  • Reduced continuity of care
  • Changes in therapeutic service eligibility, mainly if relocations occur across state boundaries
  • And a lack of access to appropriate therapeutic programming.

Research shows that parents also notice increased negative emotional and behavioral characteristics in their children with ASD after moving to a new location. These reactions are the result of a child’s difficulties with location change and transition. Similarly, the child also experiences stress, anxiety, and other challenging behaviors due to separations.

The constant disruption in the child’s routine means that the caregiver has to put in double the effort to ensure that the child’s mental and physical wellbeing isn’t compromised due to the challenges of military life.

a service member hugging her child

If you want to donate to military families and children with ASD that are undergoing circumstances, get in touch with We Are One Inc.

Our charitable organization has various military assistance programs to financial help to veterans and emergency assistance for military families in San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties in Southern California.

You can make individual donations and corporate donations to our organization to help improve the lives of countless service members and their struggling families.

Find out more about their military support organization in Los Angeles and donate to military families by getting in touch with We Are One Inc. at 949.988.0077.