Special Needs


Facilities exist within the Service to assist personnel, and their dependants, who have special needs including disabilities. However, there is often a lack of knowledge of both current policy and the range and type of assistance that is available. The aim of this section is to highlight the principles under which the RAF deals with special needs and explain the importance of making the Service aware of such situations. AP 3392 Volume 2 Leaflet 2411 gives full details of the help and facilities that are currently available to assist RAF personnel and their dependants in this category.


The term 'special needs' is used within the Armed Forces to include all Service personnel and dependants who have special requirements in the educational, medical and or social support fields, or as defined in legislation.

General Policy

Whilst resident in the UK, all Service personnel and their dependants are entitled to the same provision of services by local authorities (LA) as any UK citizen. The MOD is not, therefore, in a position to justify the duplication of facilities in the UK, even for those with special needs, where they should be provided by the LA. MOD does, however, accept that where difficulties are caused for personnel as a result of their service in the Armed Forces there is need for sympathetic consideration of the problems incurred, and that assistance is given wherever possible. Overseas, the position is more difficult as the MOD is not able to replicate all facilities normally provided by the LA for individuals with special needs.

Therefore, Service personnel and their dependants who have special needs must accept that there may be problems that are beyond the power and responsibility of the MOD to solve; consequently, there will be certain decisions concerning career and location that they themselves may have to make. That said, there are several areas in which the MOD is able to help, provided that personnel with special needs, or having dependants with special needs, use the proforma at Annex B to AP 3392 Volume 2 Leaflet 2411 to notify Desk Officers/SNCOs at the RAF PMA as appropriate of their circumstances, and any changes thereto, in addition to informing the relevant housing, welfare and personnel staffs.


Ability Net

AbilityNet is a charity that brings the benefits of computer technology to adults and children with disabilities.
Tel: 0800 269545 (Freephone)


Therapy for Children with Developmental Delay whether caused by Cerebral Palsy, Genetic Disorder or Brain Injury

The Role of BLESMA

BLESMA is a National Charity for Limbless Ex-Service Men and Women. The Association also accepts responsibility for the dependants of it's Members and, in particular their Widows. It also accepts responsibilities for those who have suffered the loss of use of a limb in Service.

Children in Scotland

Children in Scotland seeks to work with and through its members, to promote policies that improve the quality of life for Scotland's children and their families.

The Children's Society: A Force for Change

Children and young people are shaped by the communities they live in, and by the people who surround them. Their prospects can become bleak when these influences let them down.
The Children's Society concentrates its resources on tackling the root causes of the problems these children and young people face.

Children with Special Needs

CEAS provides a dedicated service exclusively for Service and MOD families providing professional advice about all aspect of children's education both in the UK and Overseas.

Contact a Family

Contact a Family is a national registered charity, founded in 1979, dedicated to helping families who care for children with any disability or special need.

Daycare Trust

Daycare Trust is a national childcare charity which has been working since November 1986 to promote high quality affordable childcare for all.

Family Fund

The Family Fund champion an inclusive society where families with severely disabled or seriously ill children have choices and the opportunity to enjoy ordinary life.

Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum

SSAFA's Additional Needs & Disabilities support group was set up for service families with a member who has Additional Needs or a disability.

The forum explores the issue of support for those with Additional Needs in the Service community. The forum will provide families and service providers with an opportunity to discuss ways of ensuring that both children and adults with Additional Needs have access to the best support available


Kidscape is the registered charity committed to keeping children safe from harm or abuse.


Mencap works with children and adults with a learning disability and their families and carers to improve their lives and opportunities.

National Autistic Society (NAS)

The aim of The National Autistic Society (NAS) is to encourage a better understanding of autism and to pioneer specialist services for people with autism and those who care for them.

Action on Hearing Loss

Action on Hearing Loss is the new name for RNID.Action on Hearing Loss is the new name for RNID. The Charity is working for a world where hearing loss doesn’t limit or label people, where tinnitus is silenced and where people value and look after their hearing. Specifically, they want:

people to acknowledge their hearing loss and take action
more support for people with hearing loss
no one to be isolated through their hearing loss
people to protect themselves against hearing loss and tinnitus
to cure hearing loss and tinnitus.

Action on Hearing Loss Website


From 20 October 2011, Spina bifida • Hydrocephalus • Information • Networking • Equality - Shine, became the new name for the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (ASBAH).

Shine is a registered charity, which was formed in 1966, initially to help families and individuals affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

Today, Shine is a community of 75,000 individuals, families, friends, and professionals, sharing achievements, challenges and information on living with hydrocephalus, or spina bifida, and related issues.

Working together throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland, they strive to overcome challenges and achieve the best for you and your family.

Shine Website