Editor PicksCan An Autistic Person Join The Military

Can An Autistic Person Join The Military


Can You Join The Marines If You Have Autism

Can You Join The Army With ADHD or ASTHMA?

The United States Marine Corps is one of the most selective branches of the military as far as recruitment is concerned.

In addition, the fact that the Marines is the second smallest branch of the military branch after the Coast Guard further makes it harder for aspiring recruits to join.

Therefore, you might face an uphill task trying to join the Marines if you have autism or any other medical condition.

What is more discouraging is that waivers are hard to come by in the Marines.

This is because recruiters in the Marines normally regard applying for waivers as a professional risk, especially if it involves handling a case of autism or any other medical disorder.

For this reason, they might not process or approve your request unless there is a shortfall that the Corps is trying to overcome. In the unlikely event that you get a waiver, you may have to serve in a special reserve unit rather than active units.

Personality Conduct And Behavior Disorders

The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:

a. Personality, conduct or behavior disorders as evidenced by frequent encounters with law enforcement agencies, antisocial attitudes or behavior, which, while not sufficient cause for administrative rejection, are tangible evidence of impaired capacity to adapt to military service.

b. Personality, conduct or behavior disorders where it is evident by history, interview or psychological testing that the degree of immaturity, instability, personality inadequacy, impulsiveness or dependency will seriously interfere with adjustment in the Army as demonstrated by repeated inability to maintain reasonable adjustment in school, with employers and fellow workers, and with other social groups.

c. Other behavior disorders including but not limited to conditions such as authenticated evidence of functional enuresis or encopresis, sleepwalking or eating disorders that are habitual or persistent occurring beyond age 12, or stammering of such a degree that the individual is normally unable to express themselves clearly or to repeat commands.

d. Specific academic skills defects, chronic history of academic skills or perceptual defects, secondary to organic or functional mental disorders that interfere with work or school after age 12. Current use of medication to improve or maintain academic skills.

e. Suicide, history of attempted or suicidal behavior.

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The Israeli military has a secret weapon a highly trained squad of elite soldiers thats entirely made up of autistic teens.

Young adults who have autism spectrum disorder and are normally excluded from Israels conscription are now getting a shot at serving their country as part of the Roim Rachok program, according to a new Esquire report.

Roim Rachok which means seeing far into the future in Hebrew is mutually beneficial. The Israel Defense Forces gets to tap into an underutilized subset of savants with razor-sharp focus, while the autistic service members gain a highly sought-after skill set thatll grant them future workplace opportunities.

These are the best soldiers in the unit, a Roim Rachok commander named Eitan told the magazine. Its a win-win for the country. Its a win-win for the soldiers. And its a win-win for me. This is the right thing to do at the right time.

The program, founded in 2012, also provides a new way of looking at autism, which affects 1 percent of the worlds population.

In Israel, conscription two years and eight months for men and two years for women is seen as a rite of passage into adulthood. Those over the age of 18 are required to enlist in the IDF, though the autistic population is exempt and falls in a category known as Profile 21.

I wanted him to be part of society, Sali said. I wanted him to learn to have a profession, to be able to work and support himself in the future.

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Autism In The Military

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?

Skin And Cellular Tissues


The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:

a. Acne, severe or when extensive involvement of the neck, shoulders, chest, or back would be aggravated by or interfere with the wearing of military equipment, and would not be amenable to treatment. Patients under treatment with isotretinoin are medically unacceptable until eight weeks after completion of course of therapy.

b. Atopic dermatitis or eczema, with active or residual lesions in characteristic areas , or documented history thereof after the age of 8.

c. Contact dermatitis, especially involving rubber or other materials used in any type of required protective equipment.

d. Cysts.

Cysts, other than pilonidal, of such a size or location as to interfere with the normal wearing of military equipment.

Pilonidal cysts, if evidenced by the presence of a tumor mass or a discharging sinus. History of pilonidal cystectomy within six months before examination is disqualifying.

e. Dermatitis factitia.

f. Bullous dermatoses, such as Dermatitis Herpetiformis, pemphigus and epidermolysis bullosa.

g. Chronic Lymphedema.

h. Fungus infections, systemic or superficial types, if extensive and not amenable to treatment.

i. Furunculosis, extensive recurrent or chronic.

j. Hyperhidrosis of hands or feet, chronic or severe.

k. Ichthyosis, or other congenital or acquired anomalies of the skin such as nevi or vascular tumors that interfere with function or are exposed to constant irritation.

m. Leprosy, any type.

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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.

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.

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What Does The Exceptional Family Member Program Do For My Family

EFMP, a Service run program, serves service members within DoD who have children with special needs, including autism. EFMP is mandatory for all active duty service members who have family members with special needs, and enrollment is required immediately upon identification of a family members qualifying special need.

There are two primary functions of EFMP: a personnel function for administrative and management purposes and one that provides a range of family support.

Each military branch implements EFMP differently, and even some of the programs goals vary from branch to branch. However, the main goal is to ensure that family members with special medical or mental health needs are not sent to assignments where the MTF or facilities in the surrounding area cannot meet their medical needs. This is not to say that the service member will not be sent to such assignments, but the families should always be in a location that can meet their exceptional family members needs.

EFMP is not required to take into account area schools or the special education needs of families. This issue has continually been brought up by advocates across branches, as families are sent to areas where the schools that cannot support their childrens educational needs or behavioral issues resulting from their autism. Refer to the Education section for information on how to manage school transitions during PCS moves.

Medical Conditions That Can Keep You From Joining The Military

IDF is Harnessing Skills of Autistic Soldiets for Army Service

Below, you will find details from the Army‘s “Standards of Medical Fitness.” These standards generally apply to all other branches as well. Remember that most of these conditions are not necessarily permanently disqualifying, but they are red flags.

If you have had a medical complication at any time in your life that is mentioned here, then you need to tell your recruiter. They will tell you whether your condition can be waived, or if it is permanently disqualifying. Remember that if you do not get an official waiver and your condition later is discovered, you most likely will be dishonorably discharged for fraudulent enlistment. The choice is yours.

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Can You Join The Navy If You Have Autism

The Navy is another branch of the military that has moderate policies as far as accepting autistics is concerned.

In order to join the Navy with autism, you first need to visit a specialist to determine the spectrum of the condition. The medical examiner will be able to discern whether your condition can affect your productivity at work or not.

Consulting a specialist before going through the recruitment process is important in view of the fact that various autism spectrums are disqualifying factors in the Navy.

Much like the Army, people with Aspergers syndrome have the upper hand when it comes to joining the Navy.

As it is the norm with most recruitment processes, all potential recruits must undergo testing at the Military Entrance Processing Station .

Here, you have to disclose to the recruiter about your condition and submit relevant documents to prove that you meet high mental, moral and medical standards despite your condition.

However, your diagnosis might first go through re-evaluation to determine your eligibility.

In addition, the re-evaluation report must indicate sufficient proof that your condition does not affect or interfere with your daily functioning.

You may also need to apply for a waiver, which might be determined on a case-by-case basis if the recruiter realizes that you have something to offer the nation.

Meps Mental Health Screening

The military uses a mental health screening to see if there are any potential red flags that will prevent you from carrying out your role fully with the military.

Furthermore, the military wants to verify that you arent a danger to yourself or others.

Both a military recruiter and an evaluator at MEPS will ask you questions about your mental health through a one-on-one interview.

The interview isnt too detailed if there are no concerns or red flags within the your medical record.

Prepare yourself to answer questions honestly and truthfully, but most agree that you dont need to bring up any preexisting conditions unless it has greatly impacted your life in the past.

Everyone deals with some type of anxiety and has days where they feel down.

However, those symptoms are different from someone that is diagnosed with and suffers from mood disorders or other mental illnesses.

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What Happens If You Lie To The Military About Adhd

Many hopeful military candidates with ADHD grapple with whether to disclose their ADHD history at all in the recruiting process, and wonder if the benefits outweigh the potential consequences of hiding a past diagnosis.

DOD guidelines explicitly state that applicants for enlistment must fully disclose all medical history. Applicants who lie about their medical history can be disqualified from enlisting. If an individual is selected for enlistment based on false information, he or she may be subject to military prosecution or a dishonorable discharge, among other actions.

The fact is, however, that many candidates have enlisted into the armed forces after hiding or outright lying about their ADHD history. Some individuals, driven by an unyielding desire to serve their country, may be inclined not to reveal their ADHD history for fear of outright disqualification. Sometimes, the notion is proposed, in not so many words and with unspoken understandings, by recruiters themselves. This advice also appears across online forums and groups.

Others may be reluctant to submit to a lengthy waiver process with no promise of success. Those who have been off medication for quite some time and have not needed interventions to succeed at school or at work may feel even more justified in hiding their ADHD history during the enlistment process.

Today, Jonathan is in college and taking medication to treat ADHD.

Is It Worth Pursuing A Military Career If I Have Adhd

Can Autistic People Join The Army

It is easy for applicants with ADHD who want to serve in the military to feel discouraged by these guidelines. Its important to remember, though, that recruiters do take an interest in helping applicants, especially those who advocate for themselves.

Recruiters want to, and will, work with applicants to determine their best fit in a specific branch. Recruiters can spend hours interviewing and taking questions from a single applicant. Many engage in non-binding dialogue to gauge an applicants eligibility before asking them commit to any processes or formally submit documentation.

Some recruiters, for example, are known to have applicants fill out a slightly modified version of the medical pre-screening report one that will stay between the recruiter and candidate prior to filling out the official version of the report. The recruiter may explain to an applicant that reviewing the modified questionnaire lets them to gauge whether a candidates medical history requires more documentation, and allows applicants to decide if they have the time and willingness to proceed should any red flags appear.

Hopeful service members must conduct their own research prior to joining, which means speaking to a doctor about the plan for and ramifications of getting off medication, and finding a branch and career that accommodates and accentuates strengths while minimizing weaknesses.

Dont ever stop fighting to get in if thats what you want to do, he said.

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Autism Challenges For Teens

Children with autism may be nonverbal or chatty. They may do well in school or find it challenging. They may have extreme behaviors or none at all. But all children with autism have these challenges in common:

  • Difficulty understanding and expressing themselves with spoken and body language
  • Challenges with executive functioning
  • Difficulty with “reading” and responding appropriately to social situations
  • Lack of flexibility and preference for routine

Most children with autism also struggle with:

  • Sensory challenges
  • Delays in physical coordination and low muscle tone
  • Learning disabilities
  • Anxiety
  • Continued fascination with childish interests

Add to all of these issues the onset of puberty and physical changes, new academic and social challenges, and higher intellectual and social expectations, and it’s not surprising that the teenage years can be especially tough for kids on the autism spectrum.

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:

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General And Miscellaneous Conditions And Defects

The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:

a. Allergic manifestations. A reliable history of anaphylaxis to stinging insects. Reliable history of a moderate to severe reaction to common foods, spices or food additives.

b. Any acute pathological condition, including acute communicable diseases, until recovery has occurred without sequelae.

c. Chronic metallic poisoning with lead, arsenic or silver, or beryllium or manganese.

d. Cold injury, residuals of, such as: frostbite, chilblain, immersion foot, trench foot, deep-seated ache, paresthesia, hyperhidrosis, easily traumatized skin, cyanosis, amputation of any digit or ankylosis.

e. Cold urticaria and angioedema, hereditary angioedema.

f. Filariasis, trypanosomiasis, schistosomiasis, uncinariasis or other parasitic conditions, if symptomatic or carrier states.

g. Heat pyrexia, heatstroke or sunstroke. Documented evidence of a predisposition , recurrent episodes requiring medical attention or residual injury malignant hyperthermia.

h. Industrial solvent and other chemical intoxication.

i. Motion sickness. An authenticated history of frequent incapacitating motion sickness after the 12th birthday.

j. Mycotic infection of internal organs.

k. Organ transplant recipient.

l. Presence of human immunodeficiency virus or antibody. Presence is confirmed by repeatedly reactive enzyme-linked immunoassay serological test and positive immunoelectrophoresis test, or other DOD-approved confirmatory test.

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