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Going the distance: One military family’s story of relocation and caring for a child with special needs

Going the distance: One military family’s story of relocation and caring for a child with special needs

As a result of his service, Corey and his family have moved many times across provinces and overseas.

Corey has proudly served in the Royal Canadian Air Force for 23 years. As a result of his service, Corey and his family have moved many times across provinces and overseas. They’ve willingly done so, time and time again, in service to their country.

Corey and his wife Carolann are parents of two children, Charissa and Caleb. Caleb, their six-year-old son, lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder and needs certain healthcare services that are often expensive, depending on where they live.

Repeatedly, military families find it difficult to secure specialized care practitioners as they move from province to province due to their loved ones’ postings for operational requirements.

When relocating, military families with children with special needs that have had access to critical specialized healthcare services, such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy or mental health counselling in one province find themselves on the wait lists in their new province. As a result, if the family is not able to pay for private services a child can go without specialized care for extended periods.

For Corey and Carolann, in the province they were previously living, the therapy and behavioural assessment services Caleb needed were covered up until a certain age. A recent move means that the same is not true in their new province. The financial burden of moving this time became incredibly challenging for the family.

“It’s overwhelming when you move and have to find new doctors and specialists. In our case, we had to set up all the regular move logistics, in addition to all of the specialized care and services that come with having a child with special needs,” says Carolann.

Fortunately, the family learned about the special needs grants between $500 and $2,000 offered by Support Our Troops that supplement the additional costs affiliated with caring for their son. These additional costs are directly associated to Corey’s military service that require frequent relocations.

Seeing an occupational therapist has improved Caleb’s balance significantly. “It makes a difference. Our son is more confident now.  We can do the things we enjoy as a family, like going camping, without worrying if we have the money, and he’s a happy guy.”

“Support Our Troops has removed the burden and strain on our family so we can enjoy being a family together. Thank you for the opportunity to access those necessary resources.”

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