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Year-round grant available for military families with children with special needs

Year-round grant available for military families with children with special needs

The Special Needs Grant enhances access to support for military families

Due to the unique nature of their lifestyle, Canadian military families face realities that some Canadian families may not. Relocations throughout Canada and the world, absences from home for training exercises and/or deployments, and transitions from civilian to military life and vice versa are all hallmarks of military life. These circumstances can further complicate life for military families when raising a child with special needs.
Beyond significant wait times, military families caring for a child with special needs often lose access to critical services such as occupational therapy, speech language pathology, or physiotherapy when relocating. As a result, a child can go without specialized care for extended periods.

“Our family experiences frequent military postings and as we sought out provincial services, we realized we would be on to the next posting before our daughter, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, would move off the waiting list. Paying for private services was outside of our family’s budget. We were concerned our daughter would fall through the cracks as we moved province to province. The Support Our Troops Special Needs Grant paid for her to access a social communication program and speech language pathology services. This allowed her to work on emotional regulation, pragmatic language, and positive interactions with her peers. We have since moved on to our next posting and our daughter is thriving in school, using the skills she developed in this program. This grant is so valuable to military dependents with special needs as they have the added unique challenges of frequent moves, temporary separation from a parent as well as distance from extended family support.”

One in 10 military families care for a child with special needs. Support Our Troops works to help these families receive the specialized care they need to ease some of the associated stressors with military life. Through the Special Needs Grant, military families with children with special needs, who have often exhausted their savings and access to publicly-provided healthcare, can receive the financial support they need and reduce some of the associated stresses.

Our son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2018 while I was deployed overseas. This was certainly devastating for my family and me. What was even more challenging was trying to figure out what comes next: what therapy supports he needed; what funding we could receive; what services existed; and what we should be doing as parents. Since then, we enrolled our son in ABA therapy on a part-time basis. The costs of this ranged from $20,000 to $30,000 a year. As a result, the support we receive from the military community and particularly through the Support Our Troops Special Needs Grant goes a long way. It reduces the financial burden on our family and allows us to continue to provide our son with the support he needs. We are truly grateful for this assistance and pleased to be part of a community that takes care of one another.”

Click here to learn more about the Special Needs Grant and eligibility.

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