Military families with autistic family members only want the best for their children. They want the best place to live, the best schools, and the best communities. Here are some of the best places to be stationed if you are a family with someone on the autism spectrum.
There are five military bases in Colorado Springs: Fort Carson, Cheyenne Mountian, Schreiber AFB, Peterson AFB, and the USAF Academy. Needless to say, you are going to find a significant military presence with a lot of support for the military community in Colorado Springs.
There are also a lot of resources for those with autism. There aover 20 ABA companies and therapists to choose from. Having so many means that you will not have to wait as long to start with ABA therapy and have a better chance of finding the perfect fit.
Colorado also has quite a few camps for those with autism. There are day camps and overnight camps to choose from such as Adam’s Camp. You will also find social skills classes, speech therapy services, local support groups, and after school programs.
Just be forewarned: You might run into wait times because a lot of EFMP families are sent to Colorado Springs for the services that the area offers.
San Antonio is the home to Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston and Lackland AFB. Here you will find a lot of resources for your children with autism. San Antonio is also a family friendly city and has a lot to offer families in general.
You can find the Arc of San Antonio whose mission it is to enhance the quality of life for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. They offer a pool, after school and full day summer care, outreach and support services, and more.
You will also be able to find plenty of ABA providers as well as other services that your special needs child might need to use. There are support groups as there are many autism families in the area, both on the military bases and in the local community. One example is Any Baby Can which offers a weekly autism support group.
Joint Base Lewis–McChord
At JBLM, there are plenty of resources for those on the autism spectrum. One of them will be opening later on this summer: A partnership between Madigan Army Medical Center and the JBLM Armed Forces Community Service has created the JBLM Center for Autism Resources. This clinic will be a one-stop shop for pediatric special needs services to include occupational, physical and speech therapy, ABA, BCBA therapy, EFMP Systems Navigation, CYSS respite care, and more.
This will be called CARES and will provide value to families with autistic family members. CARES will help with the backlog with the TRICARE network in the Puget Sound region. This will allow more families to get the access they need without having to wait for a long time. The center will be open in August of 2017.
There is also the Autism Center at UW Tacoma. This center offers diagnostic treatment services to children and adolescents from birth through adulthood.
While some families will have good experiences and others bad experiences even being stationed at the same place, here are a few other locations that would be good to be stationed at if you have a family member on the autism spectrum: Camp Lejeune, Fort Gordon, Ft. Belvoir, Ft. Riley, San Diego, and Scott AFB.
No matter where you get stationed, seek out autism resourses. Learn where you can go and what clinics and organizations there are in the local area to help. Connect with local support groups and find out what you can do to make your experience there a good one, for everyone in your family.
By Julie Provost
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at [email protected]