The Holidays can be a difficult time for children of military service members, especially if a parent is away for training or on a deployment. To add further to the hardship, military families who have children with special needs may not be able to go visit extended family during this time.
A few reasons for decreased family visits are:
* The unknown of when the military service member will be returning home or having to leave
* Family living outside of the US, or in a different state without the ability to travel due to service member’s occupation or time off
* Specialty medical appointments or therapy visits
* No assistance provided by another supporting adult in the home
* Lack of an additional adult in getting to where extended family resides
While many of these can be attributed to any family who have children with special needs, the military has additional barriers. Luckily these families may have possible items available to them to lessen the heartache.
Military children may have the opportunity to obtain a ‘Daddy Doll” to give them the sense of the service member’s presence while they are away. They take their “Daddy Dolls” with them to bed, to school and, for my son, to therapy. “Daddy” is able to be with them throughout their day, taking part in their lives. We cherish our dolls we received for free from our nearest military installation’s Armed Forces Community Services (AFCS).
While Parent Center staff are helping military families during this time of year (or any time a child faces periods without their service member), please share with them that they can pick up their free doll (or other similar item) through an installations community service program.
These programs include:
A&FRC (Air Force) – Airmen and Family Readiness Center
ACS (Army) – Army Community Services
CG MWR (Coast Guard) – Coast Guard Morale, Well-Being and Recreation
FFSC (Navy) – Fleet and Family Support Center
MCCS (Marine Corps) – Marine Corps Community Services
AFCS – Joint Bases (ex: Joint Base Anacostia Boling or Joint Base Lewis McChord) Armed Forces Community Services
Or locate through http://www.military.com/discounts/top-10-holiday-gifts-for-families-with-a-deployed-service-member.html?ESRC=family.nl (external link).