2019-02-08 / Front Page

STOMP brings resources to families with special needs

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

Fort Gordon’s Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) will host a two-day workshop on Feb. 14 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Darling Hall, Room 188.

The workshop, Specialized Training of Military Parents (STOMP), is a federally funded program dedicated to helping military families with special needs. It serves all branches of the military by providing information and resources through workshops and webinars throughout the United States.

Topics to be covered on day one of the workshop include: parents’ rights and responsibilities in achieving special education services for military children (whether stationed in the U.S. or overseas), Individual Family Service Plans (IFSP), Individualized Education Programs, transitioning, TRICARE Extended Care Health Option (ECHO), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, and Medicaid. Day two will center on planning for the future, wills and guardianships, letters of intent, advocacy, conflict resolution, and student-led IEPs.

The workshop will also be an opportunity to network with parents and professionals while learning about valuable resources in the community.

Individuals may choose to attend one or both days of the workshop, morning and/or afternoon sessions.

Dr. Barbara Brown, Fort Gordon EFMP manager, said there will be helpful information for everyone regardless of where they are on their journey.

“I wish that this training was there for me from day one, because it would’ve helped me transition very well,” Brown said.

Participants will learn everything from how to enroll in TRICARE ECHO and the benefits of doing so, to the importance of receiving a proper diagnosis and how it affects a child’s IEP.

One of the biggest challenges Brown sees families face is that they are unaware of what is available to them. There are benefits to be had – some worth thousands of dollars – exclusively for military families at zero to little cost. The first step to receiving them is learning about them.

“A lot of families don’t know that TRICARE will not give them a referral for ABA therapy,” Brown said. “But if you’re in EFMP, and by signing up with TRICARE ECHO, you become eligible for ABA therapy.”

For this reason and many more, Brown encourages people to attend. All are welcome.

“We encourage leaders to attend as well,” Brown said. “Be an advocate for your Soldiers when it comes to getting an assignment …. Find out what’s available for your Soldiers.”

It is preferred that children not attend the workshop, however, Brown said lack of care should not hinder anyone from attending.

“Bring your children if you are unable to obtain childcare for all or part of each day that you attend,” Brown said.

To register online, go to https:// gordon-stomp.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Brown at 706-791-3579/1918.

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