New DOD site designed for special needs

New DOD site designed for special needs

By Dawn S. Onley

GCN Staff

JAN. 25—A relocating military family with a special-needs member often has trouble finding information on such things as schools and healthcare institutions.

A new Defense Department Web site changes that today. DOD's Special Needs Network provides a variety of information and listings. For instance, if a military family has a child with a physical disability and is being relocated to a new base in another state or abroad, they can log on to to find out if their new home has adequate accommodations.

The site also features a confidential members network through which families and service providers can exchange information, according to Rebecca Posante, a program analyst at DOD's Office of Educational Opportunity, who came up with the idea for the site.

'The members' network will allow people to raise issues with others'' who also might have a family member with the same special need, Posante said. 'For example, I'm moving to Ft. Lewis, Wash. or Ft. Hood and I need to find a dentist who works with autistic kids. Members can put this information out.''

The site will work in collaboration with the Exceptional Family Member Program, which is offered in each service branch. The program, which has a membership of over 100,000 service men and women, provides referrals to families with special needs.

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