(334) 844-3299
Detailed Record
Share this Article

Exploring the advocacy experiences of military families with children who have disabilities

APA Citation:

Aleman-Tovar, J., Schraml-Block, K., DiPietro-Wells, R., & Burke, M. (2022). Exploring the advocacy experiences of military families with children who have disabilities. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 31(3), 843 – 853. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-02161-5

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study explored experiences of military-connected parents who have children with disabilities as they advocated for access to services for their child or other children. 11 military-connected mothers completed semi-structured interviews about unique advocacy experiences in the military as well as factors that operate as barriers and facilitators to advocacy. Mothers appreciated available resources but expressed needing more advocacy resources during military transitions (e.g., relocation, deployment).



Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Spouse of service member or veteran


School age (6 - 12 yrs)
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Cross-Sectional Study
Qualitative Study


Aleman-Tovar, Janeth, Schraml-Block, Kristen, DiPietro-Wells, Robyn, Burke, Meghan


When children with disabilities receive appropriate services, they experience long-term developmental benefits. Yet, military families of children with disabilities in the United States report lacking access to needed services and having difficulty navigating service delivery systems. Unlike civilian families, military families face added stressors such as deployment and relocation. Parent advocacy may be critical for military families of children with disabilities to access needed services. However, little research has explored advocacy among military families. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the advocacy experiences of military families of children with disabilities. Using a snowballing sampling, we conducted individual interviews with 11 military parents of children with disabilities from five states. Participants reported unique military experiences (e.g., satisfaction with the coverage of their healthcare program but had difficulty navigating healthcare policies), barriers to advocacy (e.g., limited school resources), and facilitators to advocacy (e.g., perseverance and resilience). Based on the findings, implications for practice and research are discussed.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:


Publication Type:

REACH Publication
Featured Research

Author Affiliation:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, JAT
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
149 Children’s Research Center, RDW
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,


military children, parent advocacy, children with disabilities

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

This website uses cookies to improve the browsing experience of our users. Please review Auburn University’s Privacy Statement for more information. Accept & Close