FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Did you know that military families with special needs face a higher likelihood of being in crisis situations with fewer supporters to help alleviate stressors?

Not only do we know our military families face unique challenges, but our special needs families experience difficulty navigating complex educational and medical systems.

The Specialized Training of Military Parents is an organization dedicated solely to address the needs of military families who have family members with special medical or educational needs.

STOMP will be at Fort Rucker for a two-day workshop in the areas of parent rights and responsibilities with regard to the Individuals with Disabilities Act, Individual Education Programs, 504, TRICARE, record keeping and home files, effective communication, networking, wills and guardianships, supplemental security income and advocacy.

Special emphasis is placed on creating effective partnerships between families and the professionals who support them.

"We have a special understanding of the challenges families face when they have a family member with disabilities or special needs and they have to PCS from place to place or face deployments," stated Heather Hebdon, the director for STOMP. "Our staff members have family members with disabilities and we have all dealt with the challenges and joys that come with military life."

STOMP is a parent-directed program that exists to empower military parents, individuals with disabilities and service providers with knowledge, skills and resources so that they might access services to create a collaborative environment for family and professional partnerships without regard to geographic location.

Established in 1985, STOMP has been recognized as the premier resource for families within the military who have children, youth, and adult family members who have disabilities and other special education/medical issues. For more information about STOMP or to talk with one of their staff members call 1-800-5-PARENT or visit their website at www.wapave.org/stomp

STOMP will be at Fort Rucker on 25-26 August for a two day workshop. The workshop will take place at The Commons from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you are a member of a military family with a child with special needs, an educator of children with special needs, or a professional that works with families and children with special needs, then this training is for you.

People can register online for the STOMP workshop at http://stompfortrucker.eventbrite.com.

For more information, call the Army Community Service Exceptional Family Member Program 255-9277 or 255-3643.