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EDIS provides helping-hand to families, special needs children

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - Master Sgt. Adam Joyner, wife Maria and daughter Melissa are beneficiaries of the 48th Medical Operations Squadron's Educational and Developmental Intervention Services (EDIS). The EDIS program is geared towards supporting servicemembers who have children with special needs. (Courtesy photo)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - Master Sgt. Adam Joyner, wife Maria and daughter Melissa are beneficiaries of the 48th Medical Operations Squadron's Educational and Developmental Intervention Services. The EDIS program is geared towards supporting servicemembers who have children with special needs. (Courtesy photo)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The 48th Medical Operations Squadron provides evaluations and intervention to children with special needs and their families through Educational and Developmental Intervention Services, also known as EDIS.

"The EDIS team has experience working in the home with both the child and the parents in order to train them in techniques to help forward the child's development," said Lt. Col. Lee Williames, EDIS flight commander. EDIS also works in the schools providing services to children and faculty.

One local family has had the opportunity to take advantage of the services the EDIS team provides, after learning that their newborn daughter, Melissa, was diagnosed with auditory neuropathy.

"We learned about EDIS through the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)," said Master Sgt. Adam Joyner, command and control superintendent at RAF Mildenhall. "Through the program we found out that Melissa qualified for the Early Intervention Services (EIS)." EIS is a family based, individualized program that provides services for children with developmental needs from birth until their third birthday.

EDIS is designed to provide congressionally mandated services to children with developmental delays or who have special needs and are enrolled in special education. It supports RAF Lakenheath, Mildenhall, Feltwell, 15 Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) and 10 additional bases across three countries.

The EDIS team consists of an audiologist, child psychologists, clinical social worker, developmental pediatrician, early childhood special educators, speech and language pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, and administrative staff.

EDIS not only has EIS, it also provides services for children three to 21 years old, who have met the DoDDS criteria and have been deemed eligible for special education through Related Services (RS).

According to the 48th MDOS, health-care providers and parents can refer children under 36 months to EDIS. DoDDS personnel or health-care providers refer children over 36 months.

"Parents of school-aged children are encouraged to talk to their child's teacher and guidance counselor about any concerns," Williames said. "The school counselors can initiate the paperwork and necessary evaluation form for formal evaluation, if warranted."

"It is encouraging to have someone there prompting us to schedule the necessary appointments," said Joyner. "The structure of EDIS was very helpful and the team taught us useful exercises that helped us with Melissa."