FactsCan You Join The Military If You Have Autism

Can You Join The Military If You Have Autism


Personality And Behavioral Disorders

Can You Join The Army With ADHD or ASTHMA?

Disturbances of conduct, impulse control disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or other personality or behavior disorders characterized by frequent encounters with law enforcement agencies, and antisocial attitudes or behavior also warrant disqualification from service. Likewise, a person may be disqualified from enlisting if their personality, conduct, or behavior disorder is believed to be a serious interference in adjusting to the military.

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

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.

What About Alcohol Or Drug Abuse

A history of alcohol or drug dependence may disqualify you from military service.

The military carefully scrutinizes alcohol abuse or drug abuse that requires inpatient or outpatient care.

Problems with alcohol or drugs can become problematic during military service for several reasons.

It can also enhance or worsen symptoms of other, undiagnosed mental health conditions.

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Behavior Therapy For Autism In Military Families

With 1 in 88 military children having a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, it is important these families, with so many other pressures and sacrifices taking place from military life, get the help their children need.

Your donation provides Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy treatment for military children on the spectrum.

Can You Serve In The Us Military With Mental Illness

Can You Join the Military with Autism? It Depends

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Verywell / Evan Polenghi

If you wish to join the U.S. military, be aware that people with current mood disorders or a history of certain mental illnesses cannot serve. The U.S. Department of Defense has a directive which provides a detailed list of the mental health conditions that prevent a person from being in the armed services.

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Florida Woman Accused Of Keeping Autistic Child Inside Homemade Cage

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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You Need To Take Care Of Your Teeth

Your dental health is very important when joining the military you cant have too many cavities. According to the International Classification of Disease code, any dental issue that interferes with a normal diet, or includes complex dental implant systems with complications will disqualify you from service. Having braces can also temporarily disqualify you, also.

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The Military Is Seeking Out People With Autismheres Why

Regardless of age, a person on the autism spectrum is often the subject of unfair discrimination. Various unfavorable associations are frequently attached to those with autism, despite the fact that many individuals on the spectrum possess high intelligence and a great eye for details others may miss. The Israeli Defense Forces recognizes these strengths and has made strides to recruit people with autism.

Formed in a partnership with Ono Academic College, the IDFs program is known as Watching the Horizon. Initially started by a former veteran who had a close friend with two sons on the autism spectrum, the program has taken off and achieved international acclaim. The success has been so overwhelming, in fact, that the program is looking to expand.

Because individuals with autism frequently demonstrate an above-average ability to notice small details, the work involved provides recruits on the spectrum with an excellent chance to succeed. Members of the program are responsible for studying satellite images in search of specific information that may prove invaluable to those planning a mission in the area. Working closely with officers and a variety of advanced decoding tools, these soldiers discover critical data that can help make a military operation successful.

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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Torys Passion For Service

Torys journey has been long and arduous. Because of his disability, Tory has endured teasing, bullying, isolation and was even assaulted on a school bus. Through it all, Tory managed to excel and not allow those experiences to harden him.

Torys love for aviation was born out of shadowing his dad, an aviation structural mechanic and quality assurance Senior Chief. His dad would pick him from daycare every day and introduced Tory to an array of aircraft. Their bonding built the foundation of Torys love for aviation and established his dream to want to follow in his fathers footsteps and serve his country in the United States Navy.

Tory followed up this passion for aviation by serving the military community where he could, through the Exceptional Family Members Program . He gives presentations and staff workshops there every year for Autism Awareness Month.

Tory also served the civilian community, earning the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 14. For his Eagle project, Tory hosted a presentation and shared his journey as a child with Autism. He also built Buddy Benches to help children like himself make friends on the playground. His brave efforts and ability to reach different audiences earned him numerous public speaking opportunities. His work educated all walks of life throughout the Washington DC area.

You Cant Have Flat Feet

Though this is one of the most widely argued-about conditions that can bar you from the military, the answer is yes it is real. While someone who has flat feet can serve in the military, it depends on the severity. If someone has symptomatic flat feet, which indicates that the condition causes the person chronic physical pain, then he or she cannot serve.

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Autistic People & The Military

In general, people with autism who apply to the military are automatically disqualified from serving due to their diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder . Medical waivers are granted, however, on a case-by-case basis. A behavioral health consultant from the Department of Defense must grant a medical waiver and allow someone with autism to serve in the military.

If you have autism, your likelihood of being able to serve in the military varies on multiple factors including:

  • Your specific diagnosis of autism
  • Which autism symptoms you exhibit
  • Which branch of the military you are interested in joining

The tendency to enlist individuals with autism varies by military branch as follows:

Can You Take Antidepressants In The Military

Can You Join the Military with Autism? It Depends

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 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.

Your Testicles Have To Be Normal

You have to have normal genitalia to be in the military. According to the Tucson recruiting office, one man who was trying to join couldnt because his testicles were too big. As a result, he was permanently disqualified. However, thats not the only concern. The absence of one or both testicles, whether congenital, acquired, or unexplained absence of a testicle is also unacceptable according to military standards.

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Can A Person With A Medical Condition Join The Army

You can still apply to join the army even if your medical history includes one or more of these conditions. Your application will be assessed on its own merits against medical standards for entry. Chronic abdominal diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Significant history of dyspepsia. Loss of spleen .

Military Missing Out On ‘brilliant’ Applicants With Autism

How to join the U.S. Army: Everything you need to know

An MP wants more to be done to deal with a “fundamental failure” in the application system.

Britain’s military is losing the opportunity to hire “brilliant minds” due to moves to stop people with autism from applying to join, ministers have been warned.

Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, whose 19-year-old university student son has Asperger’s syndrome, appealed to the Ministry of Defence to work with her to deal with the “fundamental failure” in the application system.

‘Your Army Needs You’: Army Unveils Latest Recruitment Campaign

3rd January 2019

Speaking during a Commons debate, she added the talents of those people on the autistic spectrum should be employed for the “nation’s good”.

Ms Trevelyan began her speech by saying it was “simply wrong” for autism to be classified as a “mental health disorder”, telling MPs: “I do feel the Government needs to be taking on the global network of conversation that says this is an acceptable way to do it.”

Ms Trevelyan said everyone has mental health, and mental ill health is something specific which requires medical treatment.

She added: “I’m trying really hard to let the MOD let me do some work with them to look at why it is that autistic spectrum disorder is an automatic disbarment at the moment from participating in application to the military in the United Kingdom.

“We have now, because many more, thank goodness, young people are diagnosed, listed it as an automatic disbarment and that shouldn’t be the case.

3rd January 2019

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Is It Worth Pursuing A Military Career If I Have Adhd

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.

Can Someone With Autism Join The Navy

But the uniformed service does have its medical standards policy online. That policy has a rule that automatically disqualifies anyone with autism. A rule that the Ridgeway family says they knew about. But that policy goes on to say that applicants who don’t meet the criteria can be considered for a medical waiver.

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Can Autistic People Be Doctors

Some autistic doctors find academic or laboratory work preferable to clinical posts, but they can be excellent clinicians in all specialties with appropriate adjustments and empathetic colleagues. Greater understanding and support are required to enable doctors with autism to continue to be assets to medicine.

Army Launches Inquiry Into How Teen With Autism And Arm Disorders Was Recruited

Can You Join the Military with Autism? It Depends

The Army has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that led a 19-year-old on anxiety medication who was diagnosed with autism and congenital arm disorders to report for basic combat training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, this August.

The young mans father told Army Times that he has been trying to help return his son to their hometown in Idaho by reaching out to service officials and congressional representatives. After his son reported for basic training on Aug. 20, he began having anxiety attacks and was quickly separated from his basic training unit to be out-processed for not disclosing his myriad of diagnosed disorders.

Both the father and son say that his Army recruiter encouraged him to hide potentially disqualifying factors in order to enlist as a human resources specialist.

U.S. Army Recruiting Command has initiated an inquiry into this situation, and appropriate action will be taken when all facts are known, Lisa Ferguson, the chief spokeswoman for the services recruiting command, told Army Times.

Army applicants with autism spectrum disorders are automatically disqualified, per Defense Department accession policy, though sometimes medical enlistment waivers are granted after a visit to a DoD behavioral health consultant, according to Ferguson.

All waivers are considered on a case-by-case basis, but generally speaking, autism isnt something normally waived if the diagnosis was appropriately given, Ferguson said.

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