EFMP, Above and beyond for children

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Whether it's medical or education needs, Spangdahlem is supporting base families by holding its first Exceptional Family Member Program camp.

"The program is designed to meet needs for individuals who have a vast array of different diagnoses," said April Lucas, 52nd Force Support Squadron EFMP coordinator. "It can be anything from something medical, an educational need, and that could be anything from a speech delay to Asperger's or autism. Basically anybody who sees a specialist outside their normal primary care provider."

The purpose of EFMP is to identify family members with special needs and ensure they are considered during the assignment coordination process to determine availability of proper care at projected assignment locations.

"The EFMP camp was designed to give the kids something special to them," Lucas said. "Many times these kids go to specialized classes in school like speech therapy, it takes them out of the class room setting for say 20-30 minutes twice a week and so they miss some opportunities that other children have that aren't taking speech."

Before being stationed overseas, families go through a medical screening to see if the base will have the appropriate resources to care for a variety of diagnoses.

"If anyone in the family is seeing a specialist of any kind, it can be an educational or medical specialist; it can be anything from asthma to allergies, or other medical conditions," said Helena Palmer, 52nd Force Support Squadron Airman & Family Readiness supervisory lead. "If they see a specialist, it's most likely they will be enrolled in EFMP. It's not anything bad, it just means that families can only do a change of station to locations where they can be serviced."

"Over here we don't have as many options as the states, we don't have as many specialists," Lucas said. "We're limited as a small base, and we don't have many providers on the base as we would have access to in the states. This program is important and people need to realize that it's here because adults and children do get diagnoses while overseas."

More than 23 children signed up for the camp, which included horseback riding, gymnastics, summer sledding, bowling and swimming.

"This is definitely a great opportunity for the kids," said Amy Cappiello, wife of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Mark Cappiello, 606th Air Control Squadron. "I think a lot of time people might get the wrong idea what EFMP is, they categorize it a certain way. Just having a special little camp for the children is nice; my daughter has been looking forward to it all summer; I am definitely satisfied and I hope they put it on next year."

Spangdahlem' s A&FRC holds multiple functions each year to educate families and entertain the children. The next event is the Specialized Training of Military Parents for military parents and professionals who work with special needs children, Sept. 3 - 4.

"I feel a lot of time people have a negative opinion of EFMP," Lucas said. "There is a lot of anxiety about being Q-coded. They're afraid about what that means for their career or where they can be assigned. It's really not to hinder anybody, it's really for their benefit to make sure wherever they go from that point on that their needs will be met and we are really here to support the families."

To find out more information on EFMP, call the A&FRC at DSN 452-6422 or 06565-61-6422.