Researchers aim to improve lives of military families with special needs
Raising a child with a mental or a physical disability is tough work for any parent. But just imagine the added stresses for a parent on active duty in the U.S. armed forces: Possible deployments to war zones, base reassignments and recurrent training pose even more challenges to securing quality care and therapy for a special-needs child.
Now, researchers at the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas are analyzing military policy and developing recommendations to be enacted across all branches of the U.S. military, with the goal of strengthening military families facing these exceptional circumstances.
"Our work focuses first on analysis of policy within the Department of Defense and the four branches of the military the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy," said Rud Turnbull, the Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professor of Special Education, who leads the research team. "Secondly, our work involves conducting a literature review and interviews with service members to determine what constitutes best practices in supporting families. We'll bring this research together to make recommendations to the Department of Defense."
The work by the KU group, funded by a $260,000 grant from the DOD's Office of Community Support, will benefit special-needs families of armed services personnel around the world, across all branches of the military and up and down the chain of command.
"The rank of the military person is irrelevant," said Turnbull, who is a veteran of the active and reserve Army. "We've been dealing with a retired four-star general in the Army, and we've been dealing with shaved-head recruits. Likewise, the duty station is irrelevant. While we've conducted our interviews exclusively within the continental United States, our work also applies to personnel outside the U.S. For example, a military base in Korea or Germany would benefit from our work because those installations abroad have responsibility to the families of their military personnel."
Each military branch has a program called the Exceptional Family Member Program that supports special-needs families by providing information, referral to services, advocacy training and outreach. The KU research will enhance the EFMP's delivery of these services and promote its consistency across Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force installations worldwide.
"If you don't have policy informed by the literature and research, you are apt to be floating around, without sufficient direction," Turnbull said. "There most likely will be standardization of policy and practice as a result of our work, and that result becomes very important given the amount of intra-service and intra-base work in the military. Military personnel need some certainty in their lives. But there's a tremendous amount of uncertainty in their lives because they deploy often and they're frequently in harm's way. When we can provide certain standardized policies and services that are available at every branch and at every installation, then we can assist the military family support programs to address the special-needs issues that military families have."
Turnbull said that standardization and improvement of policies designed to help families with special-needs members would likely boost the overall effectiveness of the armed services, while improving the lives of those who serve their country. To this end, research at KU's Beach Center aims to achieve four goals: enhance mission readiness, ease the burdens of redeployment, advance retention in the services and aid recruitment efforts.
"Part of the motivation here is our sense of responsibility to armed forces personnel," said Turnbull. "We recognized the great need that they have. This is more a matter of patriotism than practically any other work we've done, because it deals with the armed forces when they are involved in combat in the Middle East or in stressful duties elsewhere. I've respected the military ever since I served, and, personally, this is my payback to the military for what it did for me while I served on active duty for nearly two years."
Provided by University of Kansas
- Community provides essential support to military families Apr 08, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Improved behavioral health needed to respond to rising number of suicides among US Armed Forces Feb 17, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Retired military critical of ins. increase Jan 28, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Pentagon shutting down TroopTube Jul 26, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Colonial heritage metaphors used in US military conflicts Jul 25, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
New mothers throughout Australia are needed to help QUT sleep researchers investigate whether the disrupted sleep experienced by mothers when caring for their new baby raises the risk of injury while driving.
Health 30 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—The mayor of Portland, Ore., has conceded defeat in an effort to add fluoride to the city's drinking water.
Health 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
The gap between life expectancy in patients with a mental illness and the general population has widened since 1985 and efforts to reduce this gap should focus on improving physical health, suggest researchers in a paper ...
Health 13 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Failure to use linked electronic health records may lead to biased estimates of heart attack incidence and outcome, warn researchers in a paper published in BMJ today.
Health 13 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Dietary advice on added sugar is damaging our health, warns a cardiologist in BMJ today. Dr. Aseem Malhotra believes that "not only has this advice been manipulated by the food industry for profit but it is actually a risk ...
Health 13 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 0
Medical researchers discover new ways to target, develop and design drugs to prevent and treat viral infection
Researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered a new drug target, developed a new drug and identified a new way to design drugs—all of which could be a winning combination in the battle against viruses.
12 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Italian lawmakers on Wednesday gave their final approval to a law that allows limited use of a controversial type of stem cell therapy which has been condemned by many scientists but has given hope to families of terminally-ill ...
52 minutes ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Beta-blockers, normally used for high blood pressure, could enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapies in treating neuroblastoma, a type of children's cancer, according to a new study published in the British Jo ...
22 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Cancer survivors are no more likely to stop smoking, cut down on alcohol, or exercise more often than the general population, according to new research published in the British Journal of Cancer today (Wednesday)
12 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Do ethicists engage in better moral behavior than other professors? The answer is no. Nor are they more likely than nonethicists to act according to values they espouse, according to researchers from the ...
11 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
A Japanese cancer specialist said Wednesday she has started the world's first clinical trial of a powerful, non-surgical, short-term radiation therapy for breast cancer.
32 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0