Military life with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can present unique challenges when dealing with relocation, deployment or separation. Awareness of these experiences can help families prepare for the many changes to come.
Adjusting to change can be hard for everyone, but especially for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. People with ASD generally like to keep things the same - any changes to their schedule or routine can cause difficulties. Knowing about common changes can help families prepare for these events. A good plan and the right resources can help families with challenges and supports a successful transition.
Understanding what happens during deployment can help families and active duty members prepare for the changes ahead.
Pre-deployment starts when service members get their deployment orders and goes until the day of deployment. And pre-deployment can change with little notice. Several things happen before deployment. Active Duty Service Members (ADSM) generally spend long hours getting ready and going through training. Plus, they must complete pre-deployment tasks, get paperwork together, set up childcare, move family members among other things. Learn more about pre-deployment preparations
During deployment, military families can have things come up at home that make it hard to get used to the new way of living. For example, friends and family may live far away and the family may be worried about the ADSM’s safety. The spouse or caregiver at home may find it hard to deal with new tasks or chores they must handle.
Homecoming may be an exciting time. But, like other life changes, homecoming can upset the family’s routine. The ADSM’s return can change any new bonds the family formed during the deployment. And homecoming doesn’t mean life will be the same as before. Families normally must make a number of changes when their loved ones return from deployment.
For Active Duty Family Members (ADFM), relocations happen frequently. Each permanent change of station comes with challenges, especially for families impacted by ASD. Learn more
ASD affects how people grow and develop. Because it is a lifelong condition, families face different challenges as their loved one gets older. Like other transitions, planning and preparation can help support the process. Continue reading to learn about some of the common developmental transitions.
Caregivers can learn a lot by how their loved ones react to change. Because people with ASD may not know how to say how they feel, they may act out their feelings instead. These behaviors may indicate that your loved one does not know or understand what is happening and they need help. Caregivers can use this information to adjust their approach and also to plan ahead ones for changes. Knowing what situations cause people with ASD the most stress and taking steps to avoid or prepare for them helps both individuals and their families.
Families should try to be proactive and plan ahead for transitions. Planning and preparing can help decrease uncertainty and stress. Also, families should practice caution when sharing the news about transitions. Below are tips that can help