For three years, Tech. Sgt. Deven Gates had tried to find out why her 5-year-old son wasn’t talking.
She took him to military doctors at age 2. One told her that Connor, whom Gates and her husband had just adopted, was reacting to their inexperience as parents. Another was sure his silence was in response to Gates leaving for work every day. The only choice, he said, was to pray for their little boy.
Then, Gates saw an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” devoted to autism, a behavioral disorder. She decided to have a civilian doctor check Connor. Her hunch ultimately proved right: Connor, by this time 5, was diagnosed with autism and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Gates was a perfect candidate for the Air Force’s Exceptional Family Member Program, which identifies families with special needs and considers those needs during the duty-station assignment process. But she had never heard of the program at the time of Connor’s diagnosis — not in briefings, not during visits to doctors.
via Special needs program gets mixed reviews – Air Force News, news from Iraq – Air Force Times.
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