Tag Archives: EFMP

Marine Corps program aids Parris Island family

Story and photos by Cpl. MaryAnn Hill
Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island


PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. – Over 32 million children across the globe suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder, and approximately 23,000 of those children are part of Marine Corps families who have special needs to make their lives as normal as possible.

Cpl. Preston Fouch, a marksmanship coach on Parris Island, and his wife, Brooke Fouch, found out their son, Emmett, was autistic in July 2013. Shortly after this diagnosis, they sought help from the Exceptional Family Member Program.

The program was designed circa 1987 to support active-duty family members with special medical, emotional or educational needs, and it provides special toys, household items and services, including therapists and doctors.

If it wasn’t for the program’s Early Development Intervention Services, “I wouldn’t have half the sensory things I need for Emmett,” said Brooke Fouch.

A child with autism can have difficulties with his or her senses, such as hearing or touch. Sometimes, the child can have overactive or not enough hearing, causing them to scream more than normal. They can also have a hard time expressing what they need to satisfy their senses.

Brooke borrowed and bought toys for her son that have different textures or cards that have different pictures on them to help Emmett become comfortable with words and textures.

The Fouch family has been enrolled in the program for almost a year and uses many of the program’s offerings to help meet the sensory needs of their son, including therapists who help their son with speech and behavior. The family has also borrowed toys from the Lending Locker, a collection of items families in the program can use to help their children develop.

The program has a full staff of case workers to help families at every major Marine Corps installation who are trained to handle hundreds of cases at a time, like the 155 enrolled Parris Island families.

“I really like [the employees of the program],” said Preston Fouch, a 23-year-old native of Belfry, Ky. “They have so many resources and classes. They are always on top of what they need to know. I have never gone in to talk to them and left with questions.”

John Abney, the program manager for Parris Island, Eastern Recruiting Region and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, said the fact that the Fouch family has done so much to ensure the needs of their son are met exemplifies the impact these programs have on families.


Emmett Fouch plays with a sensory toy in his playroom May 29, 2014. Cpl. Preston Fouch, a Marine on Parris Island, S.C., and his wife, Brooke, learned Emmett has Autism Spectrum Disorder in July 2013, shortly before his second birthday. The Fouches use services provided by the Exceptional Family Member Program to help Emmett develop as much like a regular child as possible. (Photo by Cpl. MaryAnn Hill)

From left, Emmett, Brooke, Emma Lynn and Cpl. Preston Fouch play with toys in Emmett’s sensory room May 8, 2014. Emmett was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in July 2013, shortly before his second birthday. The Fouches use services provided by the Exceptional Family Member Program to help Emmett develop as much like a regular child as possible. (Photo by Cpl. MaryAnn Hill)

Data, Data Everywhere…There’s More to the EFMP Story Than You Think, Part 2

Editor’s Note: This is second of a two-part blog on the author’s experience assessing survey data on EFMP and special needs issues for military families. You can view Part 1 here.
by Leslie K. Drinkwine, Ph.D
Guest Blogger


The Data

For weeks, I culled through the data, reading through it over and over and, when the time came, commencing the gritty task of actually analyzing the data.

The task consumed me.  Sleep eluded me.  I forgot to eat.  All I could think about was the data.  The words of the families came to life, I could hear their voices, see their images and, all too often, felt their pain and struggles. Continue reading

Data, Data Everywhere…There’s More to the EFMP Story Than You Think, Part 1

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part blog on the author’s experience assessing survey data on EFMP and special needs issues for military families.
by Leslie K. Drinkwine, Ph.D
Guest Blogger

My dog recently got out of the fight, but over the course of the last year, a number of issues and pieces of information have come to light and maybe it is just time to share them with other EFMP families.

Last fall, I had the good fortune to work with a good deal of really rich qualitative data focused on DoD families and their exceptional family members.

The Research

A little info about research and data analysis. . . .bear with me as my professor self emerges for a few seconds. . . . Continue reading

Rights and Responsibilities of Parents of Children with Disabilities

The following information is courtesy of the Fort Meade, Md., Exceptional Family Member Program office. It’s  about the Rights and Responsibilities of Parents of Children with Disabilities.  Take a look at the public laws and make sure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities. Continue reading

Join military families for DoD Military Family Readiness Council at the Pentagon

The Defense Department’s Military Family Readiness Council will meet Sept. 20, 2-4 p.m., in the Pentagon Conference Center B6.A Facebook event page is available here.

The purpose of the Council meeting is to review the military family programs which will be the focus for the Council for next year, and address selected concerns of military family organizations. Continue reading

URGENT SUNDAY DEADLINE: Tell your military autism story to Congress

by Jeremy Hilton

Next Wednesday, June 20, at 1430 (in Room 232-A Senate Russell Bldg), the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel will be holding a hearing on the issues impacting our military families affected by disabilities. I will be testifying along with four or five other witnesses. Here is the specific info on the hearing: http://armed-services.senate.gov/e_witnesslist.cfm?id=5303

I suspect a large portion of the testimony and discussion will be referencing a potential Senator Gillibrand amendment regarding ABA and the recent OPM decision to include ABA as a medically necessary therapy for the dependents of federal workers. I intend to address that issue in my written testimony, along with other issues relevant to our community including special education, Tricare, Medicaid waivers, and the EFMP programs. Continue reading

Tour of AMFAS Part 5: Worldwide Installation Resource

When it comes to helping our military families, you are critical. You know what is available around installations you are at or installations you have been to. You know where to find qualified doctors, labs, autism treatment specialists, grocers with organic or specialty foods for special diets, etc.

Did you know you that only you can make a difference for other military families by sharing this information? Read on.

The AMFAS Worlwide Installation Resource is our easy to use, full-featured way to provide any military family at any installation worldwide a way to add, search, rate and review support and services both on military installations and in the local area surrounding them. Any registered member can contribute. Continue reading

Initiative encourages autism awareness; 1:88 educate, advocate, elevate

By Sarah Harrell
III Marine Expeditionary Force / Marine Corps Installations Pacific

CAMP FOSTER, Japan – According to the TRICARE operations manual, Chapter 20, Section 10, “Among the more than 1.2 million children of active-duty military personnel, approximately 8,500 carry one of the ASD diagnoses.”

Within the military community, it is estimated that there are at least 13,243 children and young adults diagnosed with ASD, or an average of 1 in every 88 people. With numbers like that, it is likely you will meet a military family affected by autism at some point in your lifetime.

Continue reading

Panel Aims to Boost Support to Special-needs Families

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2012 – Military families with special-needs members would benefit from better communication and education, members of an exceptional family member panel concluded yesterday.

“We’re working some great programs up at the [office of the secretary of defense] level,” Charles E. Milam, principal director for military community and family policy, said in an interview following the panel here. “I think the key is how do we take that information and deliver down to the very lowest level.” Continue reading

State of AMFAS: 2011 Review

visit our facebook page at facebook.com/militaryautismI hope everyone had a safe and prosperous new year. Here at American Military Families Autism Support it’s time to reflect on where we’ve gone and where we plan to go in 2012.

Twenty-eleven was a a successful year for AMFAS families in bringing awareness, support and information to our community.

We expanded in a multitude of avenues that no other autism support organization anywhere did, simply because we are 100-percent focused on support of our military families. That’s it. Continue reading