Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum
Welcome to the Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum (FANDF). This is a support group for those in the military who have a family member with an additional need or disability.
Sign up for our email newsletter to get our latest news in your inbox
The FANDF Committee explores the issues surrounding the support provided for those with additional needs in the Service community. The FANDF will raise any issues with the appropriate people and organisations.
The FANDF provide families and individuals with an opportunity to discuss ways of ensuring that both children and adults with additional needs and disabilities have access to the best support available. A biennial Conference is held together with local events and the FANDF have produced the Additional Needs & Disabilities Guide for families.
Membership is free and open to:
- Parents of children with additional needs and disabilities from Service families.
- Partners/spouses of Service personnel with a disability
- Service personnel with a disability
A brief introduction from the FANDF Chair and Vice Chair
My name is Iza Gill and I took over as Chair of the FANDF at the 2014 Conference. I became a member after coming to the Conference in 2012, and joined the Committee about a year later.
I first heard about the FANDF after our son, who has a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome, attended an Additional Needs & Disability Short Break at the Calvert Trust. His younger sister subsequently attended the Siblings' Break. Both children thoroughly enjoyed their holidays and gained great benefit from them. My husband is serving with the Army Medical Services and we currently live on Salisbury Plain.
I strongly feel that the lives of Forces Families are difficult enough without the extra problems of an Additional Need or Disability. The special circumstances which Forces Families endure - the constant upheaval of postings and uncertainty about the future, as well as being away from the support of friends and family - can lead to isolation. Sharing experiences with others who have been in similar situations can make a positive difference and make them feel less alone. I also feel that having a “voice” to communicate with those who can influence policy may help others who have to face such issues in the future. I hope that, through FANDF, we can make some changes for the better, as well as putting people in touch with each other or signposting them to people and information which may help them.
Hello my name is Michelle Earnshaw and I am married to Mark, a serving Army officer who works in the field of Mental Health; we have 2 children Matthew (13) and Alexander (11). Alexander was diagnosed as being Dyslexic and Dysgraphic in 2013 and was subsequently diagnosed as also being High Functioning Autistic in August 2014. As with many Service families we have found some schools and teaching staff to be more helpful and supportive than others in meeting Alexander’s additional needs. The level and range of both health service and local authority support has also varied greatly in different locations.
I became a member of the SSAFA FANDF after the boys attended the SSAFA short breaks, from which we have benefited enormously. Subsequently I applied to become a member of the FANDF committee after attending the FANDF conference at the MOD. One extremely rewarding aspect of my involvement on the committee was contributing to the organisation of the Spring Event at RAF Leaming in 2015. There is significant opportunity to develop further events such as these, in order to reach out to those families whose location or additional needs prevent them from closer involvement with, or access to support from the FANDF.
I am delighted to have been selected as Vice Chair for the FANDF committee. I welcome the opportunity to work with the Chair, the team at SSAFA and the FANDF members, as the committee continues to work on raising the profile of the FANDF and addressing the issues facing Service families with additional needs.