People ask many questions when they want to serve in the military, including, can you join the military with Autism? Joining the military was somehow easier back in the day than today.
The policies and requirements for joining the military have become tougher these days. The military wants to have strong individuals capable of playing their roles efficiently.
This article will take you through everything you need to know about Autism and how it can limit you from joining the military.
But first, can you join the military with Autism? Let’s find out.
Yes, you can. However, it will depend on the military branch you want to join. It will also depend on the type of autism spectrum disorder a medical specialist has diagnosed you with.
Moreover, the type of symptoms you will display might also affect your chances of joining the military. Mild symptoms can increase your chances of getting into the military.
What Is Autism?
To better understand how Autism can limit your chances of joining the military, you must know what it is.
Autism is a developmental disorder resulting from disruptions of normal brain growth in the first stages of development.
Autism will impair one’s communication and social interaction with others effectively. One with this developmental disability is likely to have repetitive behaviors and interests that affect social interaction.
Since people with Autism cannot communicate effectively, it becomes difficult for them to perform their work in the military.
Other symptoms, including delayed language, might limit their chances of getting into the military.
What Are The Types Of Autism?
Different types of Autism have different symptoms. Therefore, one can get into the military depending on the severity of their symptoms. Typically, there exist three types of autism spectrum disorder which include:
- Autistic disorder (Classic Autism) affects one’s communication ability and is associated with unusual behaviors and interests. People with this type of Autism will also experience a significant language delay.
- Asperger Syndrome (high functioning autism) – People with this Autism will pose milder symptoms of autistic disorder, but they will not be disadvantaged intellectually or with language.
- Pervasive developmental disorder (atypical Autism) – People with this type of Autism might experience problems communicating and socializing with others. However, they will not experience milder symptoms compared to those with autistic disorder.
Diagnosis of Pervasive developmental syndrome and autistic disorder normally occur in childhood. However, for Asperger Syndrome, one might be diagnosed in their teenage years or even as an adult.
In an analysis of the three types of autistic disorders, people with Asperger syndrome are more likely to get enlistment.
It is because those suffering from it are likely to experience fewer symptoms and often display a high level of cognitive ability.
Nonetheless, they will still have to disclose their condition to the military recruiter and get an application for an Asperger military waiver.
How Does Autism Affect Your Chances Of Getting In The Military?
Now that you know a little about Autism, it is easier to understand how it can limit your chances of getting into the military. There are five branches of the military.
Every military branch will have different policies and requirements for people with Autism. Let’s take a deep look at joining these military branches with Autism.
1. Joining The Army With Autism
Enlisting in the Army with Autism is much easier than in other military branches. It is because the military is always under pressure to meet the demand for soldiers in their various bases across the globe.
The Army might be somehow lenient when it comes to picking individuals with various health difficulties.
Furthermore, Autism might not be a direct disqualifier to applicants joining the Army compared to other medical disorders.
However, your chances of qualifying to join the Army with Autism depend on your symptoms. Symptoms of autistic disorder might greatly limit your chances of joining the military.
It is because this type of autism spectrum disorder has so many symptoms that might affect the efficiency of your work in the Army.
However, if you have Asperger Syndrome, your application might easily go through successfully. It is because those with Asperger’s tend to display mild to no symptoms.
Moreover, most people with Asperger’s tend to have a high IQ which is desirable in the Army. The Good news is that there is a higher probability of getting a waiver to join the Army than in other military branches.
2. Joining The Navy With Autism
The Navy also has moderate requirements as far as getting in with Autism is concerned. If you want to join the Navy with Autism, you will have to see a specialist who will determine the spectrum of your condition.
The specialist is the one who will determine whether your symptoms will have an impact on your productivity or not.
Since Autism is a disqualifying factor in the Navy, seeing a medical examiner before applying is important.
All potential recruits must go through testing when at the Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS)
Here, you’ll have to submit to the recruiter the documents revealing that you can still meet high moral and mental standards despite your condition.
However, your document will have to re-evaluate before they consider you. Furthermore, the re-evaluation report must prove that your condition cannot affect your work.
Nonetheless, if you have Asperger, you will have the upper hand in joining the Navy, just like in the Army.
3. Joining The Air Force With Autism
Joining the Air Force with Autism might also be a big challenge. The Air Force requires its applicants to have a higher test score before they consider them.
Moreover, you must have excellent social and communication skills to be part of the Air Force. Individuals diagnosed with autism lack these skills; hence it is very hard for the Air Force to consider them in the first place.
Nonetheless, you may still join the Air Force if you prove to them that Autism cannot hinder how you work.
Furthermore, you shouldn’t have been under medication for over a year for them to consider your application.
That’s not it; some special skill sets are vital for everyone who joins the Air Force. You may get a waiver if it is true that Autism cannot hinder your ability to work.
4. Joining The Marines With Autism
The United States Marines Corp is very selective when it comes to recruitment. It is the second smallest military branch, implying that they take its recruitment seriously.
Therefore, you will have a huge task ahead of you if you want to join the Marines with Autism or any other health condition.
It is even harder to get a waiver in the Marines compared to the Navy and the Army. It is because the marines regard waiver applications as a professional risk, especially when dealing with medical disorders such as Autism.
That is why it is very hard to join the marine with Autism. You may only get a chance to join the marines if there is a shortfall that they are trying to overcome.
Even if you get such a chance, you must prove to them that Autism cannot hinder you from working efficiently.
In the rare event, you get a waiver to join the Marines; they will direct you to the special reserve unit. They will not allow you to work in the active Marine units.
5. Joining The Coast Guard With Autism
Since the Coast Guard is the smallest branch of the United States Military, it has the most competitive recruitment. There should be a deficit of applicants without medical disorders for them to consider your application.
Nonetheless, you will have to go through a very vigorous and hectic exercise before they can even take the time to consider you.
Normal applicants get it very strenuous to secure a spot in the Coast Guard. And this process gets harder if you are an applicant with Autism.
However, on the bright side, your chances of joining the Coast Guard with Autism depend on your severity.
You must be able to go for at least a year without any autism medication. Your Autism must also be mild in that it can interfere with how you work in the Coast guard.
It would be best to see a medical examiner to ascertain that you can work efficiently despite your condition. The note from the medical examiner can increase your chances of getting into the Coast Guard.
Once Coast Guard does its re-evaluation, you might get a medical clearance increasing your chances of getting a Waiver.
Now you know the answer to: “can you join the military with autism?” Even if you have Autism, it doesn’t mean you can’t serve in the military. It will all depend on the severity of your autism disorder.
If you can work without showing any symptoms of Autism, then your chances of joining the military will increase. Once you have decided to join the military with Autism, make sure you can handle the pressure that comes with it without breaking down.