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Abby shares her experience in honor of Month of the Military Child

picture of Abby and her husband looking up at their son.
Abby shares her experience in honor of Month of the Military Child
Published: April 5, 2021

We are a military family with a beautiful special need’s child. Our son is 10 and has severe
autism, sensory processing disorder and severe receptive/language disorder. Military life, with
a special need’s child, can be truly challenging. When we first discovered that our son was
unique and different we were stationed in Hawaii, many miles away from family and friends. It
was a very hard time to walk into this new chapter of our lives without the support of loved

The journey of finding the right therapists started and about 6 months after the diagnoses we
got orders to North Carolina. Uprooting from Hawaii and travelling all the way to North
Carolina, right after getting established with therapy was frustrating because I knew I had to
start all over, do the search and get reestablished with therapy again once we arrived in North
Carolina. The waiting lists for Speech, OT and ABA were incredibly long. ABA was the longest.
We didn’t start ABA therapy for over 6 months after we arrived in North Carolina. So many
steps to just get started and reestablished with therapy. Researching, Primary Care Doctor’s
Appt, Pediatric Development Doctor’s appt, referral, evaluations and waiting until a spot opens
up. Along with all of that, trying to just get reestablished to a new place, new home, new
environment, new people, finding the right home with the best school for a special need’s child
and all of this with no household goods for many weeks since our items were coming from
Hawaii. Thank goodness my husband and I have a strong foundation in our faith or we might
have just lost it. It can be a lot to endure.

Deployments come with many challenges as well. My husband is frequently gone with either
deployments or some sort of training. The weight of so many responsibilities fall on my
shoulders when daddy is gone. Our son is pretty resilient and I am so grateful for that. The
greatest challenge came when COVID hit and our son went to strictly virtual school along with
daddy being gone a lot. I just needed help, especially with running errands and just needing
time to be by myself to recharge. Our son does not do well in public places. Just going to the
grocery store can be incredibly difficult for him. Of course, when daddy is home our son stays
with him and I am able to get errands done and just step away from the house when I need to
recharge. When daddy is gone the weight of it all seems heavy. I don’t just trust anyone to
watch our son either. He needs someone he knows, that has experience, patience, compassion
and a willingness to get into his world. I find that even my friends are intimidated to watch our
son because he is primarily nonverbal, and leaving him with a total stranger that doesn’t know
anything about our son is difficult. This has been one of the biggest challenges thus far for me
with military life and a special need’s child. But we are a strong family, with a strong foundation
in our faith and we always make it through all the challenges we face and we come out