As those of you know who are regular readers of this blog, I have been supporting the effort of military families to have the treatment of their autistic children covered by the military health care program TRICARE.
I got permission to share the following letter with you from Army Major Shannon Beckett, currently stationed in Tikrit, Iraq.
Please read this letter and then read the email below to learn how you can help:
I am a military officer currently stationed in Iraq. I am currently serving my
4th tour of duty. Autism nearly took our youngest son Jacob from us, with a
diagnosis of moderate to severe autism in July of 2005. I was serving as a
MEDEVAC (Air Ambulance) squadron commander at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, at that time.
As a family, we were able to pull together to see our son recover from this
simply horrific disorder. But, to be sure, there have been costs. If I may
speak plainly, TRICARE has been of very little help.
The required intensive behavioral therapy (ABA)proved very costly. To date, we have expended $385,000.00 in personal funds, which of course we did not have.
Please, ladies and gentlemen, our military families need help. Any family
dealing with a son or daughter battling autism is in peril and needs responsive support, and a military family faced with extended separation and
recurring deployments is no exception.
It would be difficult to convey just how hard the task of bringing our son
through to recovery was. What I can tell you is that it made four tours of combat look easy.
My wife held down the toughest job I have ever witnessed through
this ordeal: patiently working all day, every day, and most of the night,
every night, working to break through to our son again.
Sadly, without support through military insurance, many military families do
not have the resources, support, and training to handle the severity of this
disorder. Many families (80%: CNN data) simply disintegrate.
Our son has since fully recovered. He attends elementary school with his older
brother, reads at two grades above his level, loves to surf and skateboard, and
is a joy to be around.
I ask for your help in providing this hope to my brothers and sisters in
service to our country. I ask that you support the Sestak Ammendment and
provide the funding required for autism treatment right away.
Major, United States Army
Now a report from Karen Driscoll, the Marine Corps wife and mother of three children -- one with autism -- telling you how you can help now:
Dear Family, Friends, & Military Supporters:
As you are aware, a group of military spouses from across the country has been
working tirelessly to improve the lives of military families with autism and
With the help of many key leaders on Capitol Hill, we have a unique opportunity comprehensive legislative reforms for military children living with autism. We need your help!
Please take action to voice your support for legislation in the National Defense Authorization Act to recognize the medical necessity of effective autism treatments. There is still time to help our special kids!
Thanks to Autism Speaks, we have the below link to email your support directly
to the conferees on the Armed Services Committee. Please take a minute to
complete the form and email the conferees directly:
Karen Driscoll - Marine Corps wife, mother of 3 (one with autism)
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. She is also an Internet business consultant and the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio show YourMilitaryLife.com.
Phyllis' company provides Internet marketing training as well as social media marketing to promote your business more effectively.