By Anna Maria Vestal
With the end of the school year fastly approaching and the promise of lazy summer days in the air, many Military Familes know that the Permanent Change of Station cycle is quickly approaching. Moving to a new duty station can be filled with excitement and anticipation but it can also bring a lot of confusion and chaos.
Everything and everyone is somewhere, but where? You have to pack, unpack and organize and reorganize your home and your daily routine. You have to leave old friends and make new friends, meet new neighbors and establish new systems of support and help.
As a Military Family, you may change duty stations quite frequently. For a Military Family with an Exceptional Family Member who has special needs, the confusion can be particularly stressful. To lessen some of the stress of moving, it helps to have a plan before you move. This is especially important regarding school and your EFM special education needs.
The most important step is to start early. As soon as you know or are seriously considering moving to a new state, you can start to get ready. You may not know which town or school district you will live in, but as long as you know the state, you can begin:
First to get organize with the documents you will need to bring with you, get a notebook to keep track of everything you’ve done or will need to do. Then get a large sturdy folder which closes securely in which to transport the EFM’s records. Keep your moving plan with your notebook and folder for easy reference.
Next review your educational home record ﬁle to make sure you have the following documents for the EFM: birth certiﬁcate, immunization records, relevant medical records, complete school records and Individualized Education Plan. Don’t forget to get in touch with the School Liaison Officer who can assist with transitioning to a new school. In this community the School Liaison Officer is located in the Child, Youth and School Services Parent Central office.
Next, insure that your child has a current physical and is up to date on vaccinations. If not, make an appointment to get this done. Also make sure to get and hand carry copies of all medical and dental records as well as 30 days worth of medications with you to your new duty station.
Additionally, when you know the name of your new duty station, call or write the State Department of Education, Special Education Division, and request a policies and procedures guide. Pay special attention to eligibility requirements to be prepared when you arrive.
Also visit www.militaryhomefront.com to get information on the new community to which you will be moving and start making contact with agencies that can help you.
Finally, keep the lines of communication open with your EFMP manager. The EFMP manager will assist you in finding resources and will inform the EFMP manger at your new duty station of your special needs. For additional information contact Anna Maria Vestal, EFMP manager at email@example.com.