Military Families Professional Development Webinar Slated For July 28

Military Families Professional Development Webinar Slated For July 28
Child with special needs sitting at school desk
The Military Families Learning Network will present a July 28 webinar on education laws and policies for military children with special needs. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo).

The Military Families Learning Network, MFLN, will present the professional development webinar “Navigating Education Laws and Policies for Military Families with Special Needs” from 10-11 a.m. on July 28.

The free webinar is designed to help answer questions about education laws military parents who have children with special needs face when interacting with a school system.      

To participate, go to and RSVP, then check your email for instructions and a link to the event. If you cannot open the link, you can view the event on YouTube Live at

For questions or if additional technical support is needed, email,

Military children with special needs

Rachel Brauner, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist – military programs, Bryan-College Station, said AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M University are proud to participate in the MFLN as part of a long history supporting military personnel and their families.

Brauner said although many Americans think the 1.3 million active-duty military families work, live and attend school on a military installation, this is only partly true.

“There are 1.5 million military children who live and attend school in local communities,” she said. “More than 140,000 of those families have one or more family members or children with a physical, mental, emotional, medical or educa­tional special need.”

Brauner said while dealing with special needs generally presents a certain number of challenges, these challenges can be exacerbated, especially if a child with special needs has to be moved to several new locations during a military parent’s career.

Webinar content and presenter             

The webinar is intended to answer some of the core legal questions that parents face when interacting with a school system and highlight some of the differences in the rules from state to state. It will be presented by Col. Elizabeth Schuchs-Gopaul, a retired U.S. Air Force officer and attorney. 

Schuchs-Gopaul, a mother of two children with special needs, earned her law degree at the University of Georgia School of Law before embarking on a 22-year career as a Judge Advocate in the Air Force. As a parent, a spouse, attorney and military member, she has over 12 years of experience navigating the issues related to being a career military mother making multiple moves with special needs children.

The webinar will address:

  • Requirements for getting children tested for special education or related services.
  • Legal rights when moving states or schools with a child with special educational needs.
  • The difference between Individualized Education Programs and 504 plans offering formal help for K–12 students who are struggling in school.
  • Discipline in school for children with special needs.

Continuing education                                                                                     

Continuing education credits from the webinar will be offered in the areas of:

  • Social Work, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. The MFLN Military Caregiving concentration will apply for continuing education credit from the University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work for credentialed and licensed professionals.
  • Case Manager. This program has been submitted to the Commission for Case Manager Certification for approval to provide board-certified case managers with one hour of credit.
  • Board Certified Patient Advocates. This program has been pre-approved by the Patient Advocate Certification Board to provide a total of one continuing education contact hour.
    Paul is a communications and media relations specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. Based in San Antonio, Paul is responsible for writing advances, news releases and feature stories for Texas A&M AgriLife agencies, as well as providing any media relations support needed.