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Needs of military children the focus of Army association breakfast

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Moving frequently. Adjusting to new schools. Enduring the anxiety when a parent is half a world away.

Many military children face unusual challenges as they follow their parents’ career moves.

“They’re normal kids, but they have this extra thing in their life of having family in the military,” said Monica, a child and youth behavioral counselor with the post’s Military & Family Life Counseling Program. Monica, who was ordered not to give her last name, said learning to adapt requires time and effort for these children.

Resources for military children were the focus of a business breakfast briefing Tuesday for the Northern New York-Fort Drum chapter of the Association of the United States Army, held at the Bruce M. Wright Memorial Conference Center, 1291 Faichney Drive.

Monica said a child’s feelings can change dramatically over the course of a parent’s deployment. Changes occurring during the deployment can make an impact even after the soldier’s return.

Many children react to these challenges in various ways, such as becoming distant or clingy to parents, or regressing in skills such as potty training. One family was surprised when a young child called the returning father by his first name, Monica said.

The counseling program helps military children in schools and the post’s child development centers, Monica said.

Stephanie A. Graf, youth and family development program leader with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, said the group has put on several events to support military children, including camping and other outdoor activities.

The group also distributes activity packs for military children and their families to help them through the deployment process.

The AUSA chapter presented an award honoring Jasmine M. Canady, a sophomore at Jefferson Community College whose father, Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Canady Sr., is deployed in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division’s headquarters battalion.

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