Focus on additional needs and disability

AFF recently organised a study day for professionals, charities and policymakers to discuss the unique needs of Army family members with an additional need and/or disability, and the support available to them.  

The event was held in Tidworth, with Karen Ross, AFF’s Health and Additional Needs Specialist, leading the discussion about the issues and barriers that Army families who have a family member with additional needs and/or disability can face – with particular focus on the challenges that a highly mobile Army lifestyle can present in both accessing and providing the support they need.

AFF’s Education & Childcare Specialist, Anna Hutchinson, and Education & Health Assistant, Alison McLeish, were on hand to offer their expertise and Manager England, Carole Rudd, also spoke to organisations about the ways AFF can support Army families.

During the presentations, speakers, which included Lt Col Tony Frank, SO1 Personal Services and Nick Sheppard from Defence Children Services, discussed the latest Defence and government policy in this area – and the associated areas of housing and service children’s education –  as well as hearing first-hand experiences from families.

Colonel Tim Symonds, Army Headquarters, Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum (FANDF) committee member, said: “The study day has been key to ensuring that we get the right people together and provide the right information to our soldiers and their families so they know where to go to for support. It was also really useful to hear about the latest developments across education and housing and to discuss the work of the fantastic supporting organisations like AFF, SSAFA, CanDiD and FANDF.”

Pippa Lehrle, of Hampshire Parent Carer Network, said: “As a military spouse, I wasn’t aware of so many organisations, so this event has been fantastic. It has also been really informative for me personally because I have a special needs child … there definitely need to be more events like this.”


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