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Military Families

The issues facing students with disabilities whose parents are active in the military are complex.  The military child moves every 2.9 years and attends 6 to 9 schools by graduation. The military child often suffers from anxiety and depression due to parental deployments, financial and marital stress, and divorce. One-third of children with a deployed parent will experience academic problems during the deployment. Six hundred thousand children are separated from a
deployed parent every day.

Picture of Military FamilyDespite frequent moves, the military child is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  However, the right to a "comparable IEP” when transferring between school districts is not available to the military child who transfers to a DoDEA school, and, as a practical matter, may not be legally available when transferring to a civilian school. (See http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/militarychild.handout.pdf)

Some of the rights and protections under IDEA 2004 differ from the DoD Instructions (DoDI’s). For example, DoDI 1342 provides less rights to a military child who transfers into a DoDEA school than if the child transferred to an adjacent civilian school in the same jurisdiction.

Military Specific Resources

DoDEA (Department of Defense Education Activity) – includes links to special education resources and to DoDI 1342.12 and DoDEA Regulation 2500.13-G.

Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals
- adjudicates DoDEA due process hearings. DP decisions.

(Specialized Training of Military Parents) – "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.” Has a great listserv for military parents.

is the Department of Defense website for official Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) program information, policy and guidance. Insert "special needs” into their search engine.

Military Child Education Coalition
(MCEC) – MCEC’s work is focused on ensuring quality educational opportunities for all military-connected children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition.

National Military Family Association
(NMFA) – Advocate for military families on a variety of topics, including education.

Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission
- The compact addresses key educational transition issues encountered by military families including enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation.

American Bar Association
- connects active-duty military personnel and their families (E-6 and below) to free legal assistance for civil legal issues beyond the scope of services provided by a military legal assistance office.

Military OneSource
- provides Master’s level consultants available for free, by phone or online, for military service members and their families. The service is private and confidential.

Wrightslaw Department of Defense Page

Military K-12 Partners is a DoDEA Educational Partnership Program. On the front page of their website, they provide links to directories of the School Liaison Officers (SLO) for each branch of the Armed Forces.

Directory of School Liaison Officers

Air Force School Liaison Officers

Army School Liaison Officers

Marine School Liaison Officers 

Navy School Liaison Officers 



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Resources and Documents Relating to Military Families of Students with Disabilities
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
United States Marine Corps Exceptional Family Memb Link  more ] Administration 1/10/2013
Legal Issues Facing Military Families PDF (2.74 MB)  more ] Administration 1/10/2013
Senate Hearing Transcript -(June, 2012) PDF (88.13 KB)  more ] Administration 1/10/2013
GAO Study- Military Dep w/ Special Need (Aug,2012) PDF (1.23 MB)  more ] Administration 1/10/2013
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