Military special needs parenting can be a complicated, stressful, and demanding lifestyle. However, reaching out to utilize the available resources, support, advice, and tips available can make the difference between a successful, resilient, happy family and an overwhelmed, exhausted and depressed household.
“We need to SNAP your daughter.” WHAT? I had no clue what that meant when the Child Development Center (CDC) mentioned it to me about Blondie. I had to find out and research the process on my own.
Special Needs Accommodation Process (SNAP)
The Special Needs Accommodation Process (SNAP) establishes guidelines and procedures to meet every child’s special needs by determining the safest, least-restrictive and most appropriate placement of children, youth or teens that require specialized child care programs, school-age or youth services, and recreational sports and fitness activities. When possible, your personal choices for childcare, school-age services or participation in sports and recreational activities will be honored.
- What is the SNAP? The SNAP is a sub-committee of the installation’s Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). It is a team of professionals that work together to evaluate any health, developmental, physical, social, emotional, learning, and behavioral issues that affect your child to determine how Child Youth & School Services SYSS can best meet his or her needs. The team consists of the installation EFMP Manager, CYSS Coordinator/designees, Army Public Health Nurse and other professionals as deemed appropriate to best evaluate your child’s placement in CYSS programs/services.
- Why are SNAPS Required? CYSS strives to provide a safe and enriching environment for children. Only when the staff are well informed regarding a child’s medical or other conditions can they properly tailor the program to meet the child’s needs.
- What is the Purpose of SNAP? The purpose of the SNAP is to ensure that your child, youth or teen’s environment and involvement in CYSS programs will promote positive interaction with peers and stimulate physical involvement in activities within their ability. As a parent, your participation in the SNAP process is a key element to your child’s growth and development. Your input to the SNAP team is highly valued and your attendance at the SNAP meeting is mandatory.
- Who May Be Referred to the SNAP? Any child who has been diagnosed with any physical or psychological condition must be referred to the SNAP (i.e., asthma, allergies, respiratory conditions, ADHD, ODD, ADD, Autism, etc.) Any child that has a restricted diet due to allergies or religious conviction must also be referred. During CYSS registration, you will be given a document entitled “Army Child and Youth Services Health Screening Tool #1”. This form must be completed and returned to CYSS. In some case, the Medical Action Plan (MAP) will be provided for completion by the child’s doctor; stating the diagnosis and modifications that will need to be made. These forms must be completed thoroughly and then are forwarded to the Army Public Health Nurse and EFMP Manager.
- What is the Parent/Guardian’s Role in SNAP? As mentioned previously, parent participation is extremely important. You will be informed of the date, time and location of the SNAP. To assist with this placement process you may be asked to provide specific information (E.g. medical documentation, statements of illnesses, allergies, reactions and treatment, etc.).
For more info on the SNAP contact your CYS Parent Central Services or Army Community Service EFMP Manager.
I’m looking forward to sharing more information on available resources and helping to explain the EFMP process, acronyms and other military specific programs.
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Live, Love & Learn,
Raven W. Green