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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Ask VMW: We are moving & our child is EFMP

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ask VMW: We are moving & our child is EFMP

I get this question or a variant of it about every few months.  I know it weighs heavily, especially on moms.  I don't know if I can help but here goes.

The question:

"My husband got orders for Germany.  They are for 36 months which I understand includes dependents. We are very happy because we wanted to go to Germany. On the other hand, once I started reading about the command sponsorship I became very concerned with the idea of us not being able to go. Our oldest son is enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). My first concern was if they have the special need resources at the school over there.  My question is, do you have a self-contained room for special ed? Do you know what happens if you don't have the services my son requires? Do they just cancel the orders, change them or they just send my husband alone for those 36 months?"

My response:

Please take a deep breath....and step back a bit.  I applaud you for taking the time to research your new duty station! I wish more wives would take the time to do this.

Now....the EFMP screening which you and your family will do, will determine if there are services for your son available at your husband's projected new duty station.  Right now, your husband only has assignment instructions....orders for his actual duty station will be cut (made) locally, once he and his family meets all the requirements, the most important being EFMP screening.

I can obviously not tell you what the doctors and administrators at this screening will'll be in a room with a few doctors and administrators with your health records...they will also ask you questions.  I personally do not know if your projected duty station in Germany is equipped to handle your son's disability, and the American Disabilities Act requires that disabled students be integrated into the classroom as much as possible...this is not just military-wide but US wide.  There are some students with dedicated para-educators who are with them at EVERY moment of the school day.  They may take some small group or individualized instruction in the special education room/facilities and as their disability allows, be integrated throughout the day in the mainstream classrooms with a para-educator by their side, if needed.

If for some reason, the staff at the EFMP screening determines there will not be sufficient services for your son in this duty location (I have no way of knowing), then your husband's assignment instructions will be rescinded and others will be issued for another location.  I don't know if he'll be given the opportunity for an unaccompanied tour (2 years) either.  This will in no way hurt his career.  That is one of the reasons why the EFMP system was developed.

Please don't worry too much about this, as right now, there is really nothing you can do about this process that all overseas bound families must go through.  You can try to see if there are other wives on the Army Wives Forum and ask if anyone is in EFMP in your projected area.  There are many wives on that forum who are overseas. 

Unfortunately, many of the Army hospitals and posts have closed in Germany. The only REAL hospital is up in Landstuhl...the closest Army base or collection of bases would be in Kaiserslautern, still a very big military community. Ramstein Air Base is also nearby. The rest of the bases and posts, both AF and Army rely on US military health clinics and off-post care on the economy.  German healthcare is very comparable to ours and in many ways more advanced, so no worries there.  Yes, sometimes there are language barriers, but for the most part, many doctors and some staff do speak some English.

Good luck to you!

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Blogger beautifullytreacherous said...

I can speak from personal experience on this issue - most EFMPs (especially special needs) come to the KMC area because Landstuhl is nearby and is fully equipped to handle EFMP cases.

The school on Vogelweh (in Kaiserslautern) has a wonderful teacher for children that need special education. My son's first grade class last year was blessed to have her. There were two special needs children who spent half the day in the regular classroom with my son and his other classmates and in the afternoon they went to a different classroom with this same teacher to continue special needs education.

Most of the off base doctors in this area do speak English, and my recommendation would be to start looking for one (if you choose a doctor that is not at Landstuhl) in the Find It Guide.

If you have any questions specific to the area schools or about care at Landstuhl I should be able to answer them for you, you can send me an email if you wish at I have been here for two years, and have a wonderful amount of knowledge gained from searching on the net before we came, and of course I have learned a LOT more since we arrived.

February 2, 2011 at 12:12 PM  

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