­E-Learning Modules for Staff Development

These quick modules are perfect for individual staff self-directed learning, on-boarding new staff (see Easy Branch Orientation and Guide to Staff Training for suggested order), or as a webinar for a group. A script is included via the “Notes” page view, supplementing the slide text and images with additional information. We’ve included a link to a quick learning quiz at the end of the module, covering key points. Staff get instant feedback at the end of the quiz; they can review the module and take the quiz as many times as they wish to solidify their learning.

TRICARE-Healthcare for Military Families

By the end of this e-learning module, you’ll have found out why it’s important to know about this military healthcare program and learned how TRICARE benefits may affect or support special education services.


The ECHO Program and ABA for Military Families

screenshot of e-learning module slide for the TRICARE ECHO ABA module

This module is a basic introduction to two important military benefits for families you help. You will understand what benefits are available, who is eligible, and the distinction between these benefits and school services under IDEA.


Mental Health Resources for Military Families

screenshot of e-learning module slide for the Mental Health module

By the end of this e-learning module, you’ll be familiar with mental health resources available for active duty, reserve, and veteran military children and youth. You will earn about programs and apps military parents can use to reduce stressors for military kids and teens. At the end of the module are several slides with links to relevant articles, and military and national organizations that provide mental health services for military-connected families. There is also a link to a printable handout for all the resources.


New Tools and Updates Plus Essentials for Your Military Family Toolkit

We know you store, save and have useful tools available for your work with families.  Whether it’s bookmarks with folders labeled by topic or subject, saving resources in Word or Excel documents or printing some to easily share during your one-to-one support or at resource fairs, we’ve got you covered! In our back to school season it’s only logical we offer you new tools, essential resources and updates that you can look at today, save for another time and store for your work with military families. Continue reading “New Tools and Updates Plus Essentials for Your Military Family Toolkit”

Great New Addition to the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)

Military OneSource “EFMP Resources, Options and Consultations” (EFMP ROC) is a new program that provides military families who have members with special health or educational needs with enhanced services   Special needs consultants are available by appointment, via phone or video at no cost, and there is no limit to the number of appointments families can make.

Continue reading “Great New Addition to the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)”

Activity Grants for Military-Connected Kids

For children in National Guard or Reservist families, or whose parent was injured in military service.

When a family has a child with disabilities, it may be challenging to find activities and programs that are both affordable and benefit their child. This grant program helps fund activities for military-connected children, with and without disabilities, whose parents have financial challenges because of their service.

Continue reading “Activity Grants for Military-Connected Kids”


TRICARE, the healthcare entitlement program for military families, presents several quick videos on “What is TRICARE?”, “TRICARE Options for National Guard and Reserve Members”, TRICARE Extended Health Care Option (ECHO) – important for certain families who have children with disabilities- and TRICARE’s Autism Demonstration Project.

Continue reading “TRICARE Videos”

4 Ways Parent Centers Can Help National Guard Families

Most National Guard members are part-time military and receive civilian services when their child has a disability. They might not identify themselves as National Guard families to Parent Center staff.  Sometimes they don’t know about military benefits that could help their situation. These four tips will help you direct families to all the resources for which they are eligible.

  1. Ask parents if they and/or their spouse are a member of the military.
  1. Refer the family to the benefit guide for National Guard families at Military OneSource: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/national-guard/national-guard-family-program/benefits-guide

Benefit examples:

Example 1: A National Guard family has a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder who is receiving Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy. The family is paying out-of-pocket for ABA. If they were getting medical care through TRICARE, their child’s therapy would be covered under the TRICARE Autism Demonstration Project with minimal cost-shares.

When Guard members join, they and their families are encouraged to compare civilian health care benefits with TRICARE plans for National Guard members to make decisions about their coverage. Reserve plans carry a premium and some National Guard families decide to go with civilian employer-paid health coverage. They may not revisit that decision, even when family circumstances change (such as having a baby who later requires ABA therapy).

Example 2: Another family has been on a Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver waiting list for some time to receive respite care for their home bound child. They may not know that if their military family member is activated, they can enroll in the Exceptional Family Member Program, join a TRICARE plan and apply for TRICARE Extended Care Health Option (ECHO).  ECHO offers up to 40 hours per month of respite care through its Home Health Care program in addition to other benefits.  This can be a lifesaver for the non-deployed parent.

  1. Refer them to the Family Assistance Coordinator in their state for referrals to the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) and for assistance with eligibility for TRICARE benefits, such as ABA therapy. Contact and location information for the FACs are on the Interactive Maps.

Benefits differ depending on the service member’s status- whether or not they are on active federal duty. The changes in benefits can be challenging to negotiate. The National Guard provides trained Family Assistance Specialists in every state to help Guard families. The Coordinator at the Family Assistance Center can provide the name and phone numbers for the specialists best placed to help the family.  Contact information for your state’s Family Assistance Center is on our Interactive MAPs, by state.

  1. Connect with the Family Assistance Coordinator in your state so they can refer National Guard families to your parent center. They want to know what Parent Centers can offer and they will help you reach out to National Guard families. Contact and location information for the FACs are on the Interactive Maps.

Information on TRICARE options for National Guard Members and their families is available on our TRICARE videos page, or on the TRICARE National Guard and Reserves page.

Information on TRICARE’s Extended Care Health Option (ECHO)

Customizable handout on military families and Medicaid

In Conclusion:

Once you know a family is with the National Guard it’s easy to refer them to military benefits and assistance using these tips. If you need more information about National Guard family benefits, how benefits change when the service member goes on active duty, or connecting with a Family Assistance Coordinator, feel free to contact us at the Branch: thebranch@wapave.org

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