• EFMP families meet at special playground

  • Since 1985, Army Community Service has been providing the services of the Exceptional Family Member Program to the families of Fort Leavenworth. Several of those families gathered for a meet and greet and play session Aug. 27 at the EFMP barrier-free playground west of the Post Theater.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Since 1985, Army Community Service has been providing the services of the Exceptional Family Member Program to the families of Fort Leavenworth. Several of those families gathered for a meet and greet and play session Aug. 27 at the EFMP barrier-free playground west of the Post Theater.
    “We were just wanting to come out and meet some of our family members and kind of get to know what their needs are and get to know what their interests are so that we can better support them in the future,” said Jessica Brushwood, EFMP program manager.
    The barrier-free playground, which was completed in April 2012, is specially designed to accommodate children with special needs by having accessible ramps and equipment. It also includes a fence around its perimeter so that children cannot run off.
    The playground is just one of the many ways EFMP serves Fort Leavenworth families.
    “The Exceptional Family Member Program is a mandatory enrollment program that works with other military and civilian agencies to provide a comprehensive, coordinated, multi-agency approach for community support, housing, medical, educational and personnel services to families with special needs,” said Erica Lee, EFMP systems navigator. “Fort Leavenworth is a unique installation. Every year the population changes and the needs and requirements change as well … We want to remain flexible and meet the needs of the community the best we can.”
    EFMP has three pillars of services: medical, which is handled by Munson Army Health Center; ACS; and human resources, Brushwood said.
    “The ACS side, we really provide information for families, resources, and referrals to local resources, programs and providers,” Brushwood said. “We also do nonclinical case management, so we can work with families to reach their goals for either the family member or the whole family on the different resources and therapies in the area.”
    EFMP serves a variety of different special needs.
    Four-year-old Bryce Waddy has a speech delay, which in turn has caused some developmental delays, but his mother, Tamika Waddy, said EFMP has been helpful.
    “We came in with the (Individualized Education Program) and I met with (EFMP) before I met anybody from the schools, so they let me know the steps I needed to take and what I needed to do so there wasn’t a disruption in his services,” Waddy said. “(The meet and greet) gives you the opportunity to meet other people so you can help each other out… and get input from other families. We’re going to be here another year while my husband is deployed, so we need even more support.”
    Waddy said she wants people to understand that EFMP isn’t just for extreme cases.
    Page 2 of 2 - “A lot of people think it has got to be the extreme to be in a program like this,” she said. “I think a lot of people miss out on the support they could have gotten because they think their kid has to be physically or mentally incapacitated, and they don’t.”
    EFMP serves physically disabled individuals, too.
    Thirteen-year-old Madalyn Granow, Patton Junior High School seventh-grader, has a genetic disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta or brittle bone disease, which leaves her bones weak.
    “It is manifested in her legs. Her legs are very weak,” said Madalyn’s mother, Jessica Granow. “She has had a lot of surgeries, and she has rods in her legs to strengthen them. She is a wheelchair user to help her get around.”
    Granow said they are always automatically enrolled in EFMP when they arrive at a new duty station, and even though they don’t actively need services all the time, she likes knowing they have that resource.
    “We’ve worked a lot with Munson and it is very comforting,” she said. “It is nice to have an advocate to help you navigate the confusing mess that is TRICARE.”
    For more information about EFMP, call 684-6250/2800 or e-mail usarmy.leavenworth.medcom-mahc.mbx.efmp@mail.mil.
    The next EFMP meet and greets are 10-11 a.m. Sept. 17 and Oct. 1 at the barrier-free playground.
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