Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Can People With Autism Join The Military

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Are Medical Appeals For Really Minor Autism Successful

Can You Join The Army With ADHD or ASTHMA?

Hugh Mungus said:My application can not be taken further due to me having really minor Aspergers and I know the military doesn’t take to kindly to people with autism and it’s bar entry. However I am going to appeal. I highly doubt it will be successful but Iv’e got my doctor to agree to help me as he see’s me fit for the lifestyle I can not describe how much I really want this but I want to know has anyone actually managed to get in the military with minor autism? Thanks.

Hugh Mungus said:My application can not be taken further due to me having really minor Aspergers and I know the military doesn’t take to kindly to people with autism and it’s bar entry. However I am going to appeal. I highly doubt it will be successful but Iv’e got my doctor to agree to help me as he see’s me fit for the lifestyle I can not describe how much I really want this but I want to know has anyone actually managed to get in the military with minor autism? Thanks.

Emotional Challenges And Differences

The teenage years can be an emotional rollercoaster. Some teens with autism are overwhelmed with emotions during this period, but others slide through with less angst than their typical peers.

It is often the brightest and most capable autistic teens who are most impacted by the emotional challenges of puberty; that’s because they are most likely to actively want social acceptance and to be keenly aware of rejection.

In addition to the usual teenage ups and downs, teens with autism may experience some of these additional challenges:

  • Emotional immaturity that manifests itself in childish interests or emotional responses that would be expected in a much younger child
  • High levels of anxiety, especially when faced with unexpected demands or changes in routine
  • Difficulty reading social signals which can result in accusations of inappropriate blurting, interrupting, touching, or stalking
  • Bullying, teasing, and/or social exclusion based on “weird” behavior, speech patterns, and/or interests
  • Extreme emotional responses to stress that can manifest in aggression, tantrums , and/or “bolting”
  • Depression which can lead to suicidal intentions or actions

Many of these issues can be mitigated or even resolved if they are addressed early and creatively. Some options include:

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Armed Forces Cruel Rule Sees 37 Troops With Autism And Aspergers Kicked Out In 4 Years

EXCLUSIVE: Former army captain Dave Williams was ‘fighting back the tears’ after he was one of 37 troops to be told they were no longer fit to carry out their duties after being diagnosed with autism or Aspergers

Campaigners want an end to the armed forces axe for people with autism and Aspergers after 37 troops were kicked out in four years.

All were ordered to leave the military within months of being diagnosed with the condition and were told they were no longer fit to carry out their duties.

One of those who lost his job was an Army captain, who was forced to work night shifts at an Amazon warehouse on a minimum wage to make ends meet.

The Afghan war veteran said he had to fight back the tears after being told his Army career was over.

Dave Williams, a former captain in the Adjutant Generals Corps, said: I knew something wasnt quite right so I asked for help and was effectively fired. I was devastated.

Autism In The Military

Autism and the IDF: How a unique unit is ending exclusion ...

Managing Editor’s Note: We reprinted this with permission from Angela Warner, who runs the “Autism Salutes” blog about autism in the US military.By Angela Warner

The time has come for everyone to stop referencing the Center for Disease Control statistic which states that 1 in every 150 children has an autism spectrum disorder. Did we really ever believe the numbers the CDC presented to the world? Do we rarely believe anything that comes out of the collective mouth of the CDC? If the CDC wanted to tell the truth, they wouldnt have had to look far to get to that truth.

For far too long it has been we the parents and our national autism organizations who have uncovered and spoken the truth. We are speaking the truth again, and the CDC needs to be confronted.

A few days ago a fellow military advocate mom sent me a document that was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act . The information in the FOIA document confirms Dr. Yazbak and Rays report.

The document obtained explains that there are a total of 22,356 people with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder service wide ; the vast majority are children of active duty or retired active duty dependents with ASD. The vast majority comprise a total of 22,027 military dependent children with autism. Of the 22,027 military dependent children with autism, 13,243 are children of active duty members.

1,177,190 /13243 dependent children with autism service wide) = 1 in 88

So lets play with some numbers, shall we?

Also Check: Life Expectancy Of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Can You Take Antidepressants In The Military

In the past, the military has disqualified just about any medication related to mental health.

However, the current policy is a little different.

It generally disqualifies anyone that is or has taken medication for mental illness in the last year.

If its been more than a year you may receive a waiver but the military will need to examine your medical records and speak to your physician.

The rules apply to medications like Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, and Wellbutrin.

However, that doesnt stop the military from reportedly prescribing antidepressants to a surprisingly high number of active-duty soldiers.

Its worth pointing out that some people advise not mentioning any previous mental health diagnoses or medications to a recruiter, as well as MEPS.

The decision is up to you, but some strongly believe that what isnt known doesnt hurt anyone.

However, the military has ways of finding out if the mental health condition is on your medical records.

The Airmen We Need: Americans With Disabilities In The Air Force

He raises his prosthetic hand, thumb and fingers extended, to touch the tip of his brow, forming a straight line with his wrist and elbow. Shoulders back and eyes forward, she balances on ultralight carbon fiber forearm crutches; her lone foot makes a 45-degree angle with its missing twin.

Thats whats different about them. Whats not different is that they come to attention and salute just like their fellow servicemembers.

When imagining an airman in the Air Force today, you might picture someone short or tall, male or female, from Mexico or the Philippines or Des Moines. You probably dont envision an airman with a physical disability. But Americans with physical disabilities represent an untapped resource that can contribute to the Air Forces 21st-century mission.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright has said that the critical skills for an airman in todays Air Force are wisdom, courage, and resilience all attributes that describe an airmans mind, not their body. Expertise and experience, grit and perseverance, leadership and followership, creativity and innovation, commitment and patriotism Americans with disabilities can demonstrate all these qualities, just like Air Force airmen.

Digging into the Requirements

Addressing the Objections

The Way Forward

Recommended Reading: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism

Can Those With Autism Join The Military Army Or Police

The answer to this question is more than a simple yes or no. It really depends on what type of autism we are dealing with, so the answer is very situation bound.

There are some types of autism that are so physically debilitating that joining the military or army or police would absolutely be out of the question. People confined to wheelchairs who are highly functioning may qualify for desk jobs, however they would not be fit for combat. Those with Augmented and Alternative Communication devices in use because of their inability to communicate verbally may not be eligible for even these jobs.

One gray area is the question of whether or not those with aspergers, a milder form of autism, are eligible to join the military. It depends on the extent of their autism and how highly functioning they are. If a person with aspergers is very highly functioning, they may even be fit for combat. If a person with aspergers, however, is so severely debilitated that their daily lives are taken over by the illness, they may not be eligible. For example, a person with aspergers who also has an obsessive compulsive disorder.

Generally, those with autism do not opt to join the military, and are generally not accepted if they do. However, there are these few exceptions.

Some more bizarre questions:

I’m Autistic And I Want To Serve In The Military

SAPR (Military) Autism speaks

Serving in the military is both an honor and a service to those who volunteer in this great country of the the United States of America. Many potential volunteers are disqualified for various reasons. Thus the reason for my letter.

I am a 25-year-old man with a four year college degree in history from Stony Brook University, and I have autism. I have been rejected by the U.S. Army three times outright just from disclosing my diagnosis. I was also rejected by the U.S. Marine Corps twice after disclosing my medical records. I was never given the opportunity to take the ASVAB, nor was I given an opportunity to appeal the decision.

This is a personal fight for me but this is also a fight for other people with autism. For far too long our right to serve and fight has been denied on the grounds of our disorder, but we are so much more than that. We have served before and we continue to serve beneath the radar. I was even told by one of my recruiters to hide my diagnosis by not mentioning it. This is wrong. Just like ethnic minority and LGBT service members before us, we shouldnt have to hide who we are when serving.

That is why Im asking the U.S. government and military to make autism a potentially waiverable condition for military service. This waiver wont cover all people on the autism spectrum, nor should it because autism is a spectrum disorder. But those of us who can serve and want to serve should be able to do so.

Getty image by Niyazz.

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The Autism Education Trust And The National Autistic Society

The Autism Education Trust is a business owned and hosted by The National Autistic Society and is not an official legal entity in its own right.

At the AET and the NAS, we are committed to protecting your privacy. This policy has been written in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018. If you have any questions regarding our management of your personal data, or wish to lodge a complaint about how we use your personal data, please contact:

Data Protection OfficerPlease reference the Autism Education Trust in your communication.

I Used To Take Drugs Can I Still Join

If you have a history of drug dependence, you will need to provide evidence that you have abstained from the use of these drugs for at least the last 3 years prior to joining the Army.A history of occasional use of recreational drugs won’t stop you from joining, but you must stop using any such drugs before you join.

After joining the Army, you must not use recreational drugs. The Army carries out random, compulsory drugs testing, and you can expect to be tested while you’re in training. If you fail any of the tests, you’re very likely be discharged.

Also Check: What Causes Autism Exploring The Environmental Contribution

Miscellaneous Conditions Of The Extremities

The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:

a. Arthritis.

Active, subacute or chronic arthritis.

Chronic osteoarthritis or traumatic arthritis of isolated joints of more than a minimal degree, which has interfered with the following of a physically active vocation in civilian life or that prevents the satisfactory performance of military duty.

b. Chronic Retropatellar Knee Pain Syndrome with or without confirmatory arthroscopic evaluation.

c. Dislocation if unreduced, or recurrent dislocations of any major joint such as shoulder, hip, elbow or knee; or instability of any major joint such as shoulder, elbow or hip.

d. Fractures.

Malunion or non-union of any fracture, except ulnar styloid process.

Orthopedic hardware, including plates, pins, rods, wires or screws used for fixation and left in place; except that a pin, wire or screw not subject to easy trauma is not disqualifying.

e. Injury of a bone or joint of more than a minor nature, with or without fracture or dislocation, that occurred within the preceding six weeks: upper extremity, lower extremity, ribs and clavicle.

f. Joint replacement.

g. Muscular paralysis, contracture or atrophy, if progressive or of sufficient degree to interfere with military service and muscular dystrophies.

h. Osteochondritis dissecans.

i. Osteochondromatosis or multiple cartilaginous exostoses.

j. Osteoporosis.

k. Osteomyelitis, active or recurrent.

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Can You Join the Military with Autism? It Depends

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Recommended Reading: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism

Poor Performance On Entrance Exams

Though each branch has different cutoffs, low scores on the ASVAB and a poor academic or work record can also raise red flags for recruitment and MEPS personnel. Even the applicants preferred career in the desired branch can impact waiver decisions. Its important to note that there are no accommodations for the ASVAB.

Endocrine And Metabolic Disorders

The following conditions may disqualify you from military service:

a. Adrenal dysfunction of any degree.

b. Diabetes mellitus of any type.

c. Glycosuria. Persistent, when associated with impaired glucose tolerance or renal tubular defects.

d. Acromegaly. Gigantism or other disorder of pituitary function.

e. Gout.

Goiter, persistent or untreated.

Hypothyroidism, uncontrolled by medication.



i. Nutritional deficiency diseases. Such diseases include beriberi, pellagra and scurvy.

j. Other endocrine or metabolic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, porphyria and amyloidosis that obviously prevent satisfactory performance of duty or require frequent or prolonged treatment.

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Can You Join The Army With A History Of Depression

Depression is a difficult mental health condition for anyone to figure out, much less the military.

The military currently has a broad definition of depression that doesnt cover its many facets.

Its still struggling to find out how to deal with the rising problem in the United States.

While in the past it was a disqualifier, most military branches are changing their stance on diagnosed examples.

Therefore, you may receive a waiver after the military examines your personal circumstances.

The military will study things like when you were diagnosed, current symptoms, if you take medication for your depression, and if youve received inpatient/outpatient care in the last year.

How Do You Get A Medical Waiver


Applicants typically learn about the medical waiver process when they meet with a recruiter the first enlistment step for any branch.

Most applicants disclose their ADHD history in conversation with the recruiter, but they also must indicate their ADHD history in the medical documents they must fill out as part of the enlistment process.

One of these documents is the Accessions Medical Prescreen Report, or the DD 2807-2, which requires applicants to check yes or no if they were evaluated or treated for ADHD, and if they are taking or have taken medication to improve attention. Applicants must also explain all yes answers in a separate section. Consequences for failing to answer truthfully or making false statements are noted in the form.

This prescreen form is completed with the help of the recruiter, and is reviewed by a medical professional at a Military Entrance Processing Station typically the second step in the recruitment process, during which potential enlistees take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test and undergo a medical examination.

Each branch has its own waiver authority board, which will make the waiver determination based on all available information regarding the issue or condition, as well as the specific needs of the military service, according to DOD guidelines.

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Physical Intellectual And Emotional Challenges

The teen years can be challenging for everyone; they can be far more challenging, however, for young people with autismand their parents. As with most aspects of autism, the level of difficulty will vary radically depending on the individual on the spectrum, their family situation, their support system, and their school.

Fortunately, there are many ways parents can prepare for and ease the transition to teenagerhood. The teen years are also a great time to start preparing for adulthood.

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