Life in an active duty military family is not always easy…
There is a lot of moving, making new friends, adapting to a variety of environments, changing schools and finding new medical providers. Here at Trumpet, we strive to provide services to our military families with high efficacy that help target and address some of these barriers that can arise when a family member is deployed. Here are some common programs and treatment outcomes we target to support our military families who have children with autism.
When a caregiver is gone for an extended period
When one or both of the caregivers actively serve, there can be times when one is away for an extended period of time. Even with hypothetical timelines, deployments sometimes get extended. Trumpet Behavioral Health works with children with autism on building communication and flexibility skills during these extended times away from their caregiver.
One example is the use of social stories to explain deployments. Social stories are a learning tool created to explain and provide meaningful information to individuals about a certain behavior or topic. In this case, we have social stories pertaining to deployments.
These stories are individualized per client because every child with autism’s experience with deployment will be different. While social stories are great to provide a base for communicating these changes, we then write programs specifically targeting skills to use while deployments are happening. One important skill for children with autism to learn is different types of communication. While face-to-face communication may be easiest, we look at generalizing communication with their loved ones to facetiming, phone calls, emails, and letters.
When your family needs to relocate
Moving frequently is another common aspect of military life. This means a new school, a new home, a new environment altogether. When we do our intakes, we strive to understand any barriers that may arise due to these changes. Generalization is a child with autism’s ability to perform a skill in different places, with different people, and across long periods of time without regression. At Trumpet Behavioral Health, we always look to generalize skills. With our military clients, we look to strengthen generalization across environments, caregivers and staff. With moving to different states, schools and providers we want to build a strong ability to use the skills taught across a variety of places and across a variety of people. Some proactive ways we do this are providing services within community settings, collaborating with other providers (SLP, OT, School) and caregiver training.
When you need to make new friends
One of the core deficits with autism is within the realm of social communication. Trumpet Behavioral Health use a core curriculum of social skills training to target skills to help across a variety of people and environments. We do this not only using in-person skills training, but we practice with peers over telehealth as well! Our social skills goals usually involve a form of behavior skills training where we teach, model (show), practice, give feedback, and apply!
When parents need training
Trumpet Behavioral Health cannot express enough the importance we put into parent training. While clinicians are experts in Applied Behavior Analysis, the caregivers are the experts in their children! We want to spend whatever time we have with you showing how we use our interventions, involving you in the planning process, and working on goals that will serve as smaller building blocks to a larger outcome for you and your child. We strive to make the caregiver the best-informed advocate possible and create a positive learning environment for both them and their child. Goals we target are: introducing ABA principles, learning how to modify consequences, running ABA goals, and working on adaptive living skills.
These are just a few of the ways we work to support our military families! We look forward to continuing our partnership with those families who serve our country!
About the Author
Brigitta is originally from Philadelphia and is a Coast Guard Spouse. She completed her Master’s Degree and coursework while in three different states! She has lived in Connecticut, Virginia and now San Diego. She stated “I am extremely honored and proud to work at a company that supports Tricare families. As a Tricare client as well it is great to work with a company that shows knowledge.