As she has done on so many occasions, my friend Jess has once again introduced me to someone new who has enlightened me, taught me about something I didn't know about.
You see, aside from knowing several people who have served in the military, I don't personally know the military world. I can extend Facebook hugs to friends whose relatives are gone too soon, I can (and do) thank those who have served on the appropriate holidays, but that doesn't make me any more knowledgeable of their specific challenges and struggles, just as they aren't 100% knowledgeable of mine.
So it would be easy for me to be dismissive and to say that supporting the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act (H.R. 2288) is not my battle.
But that's where this blogging thing of ours becomes real. Because it leads us to other connections, other people whose stories mirror our own in some way or another. Ours may not be a military family like Rachel's, but ours is a family with a child with autism, and that's all the connection I need to her and to those other families.
And I can use my blog to help, in some small way, Rachel's efforts to garner the needed support from our elected officials to gain passage of the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act (H.R. 2288).
From StimCity, Rachel's blog:
1 in 88 active duty military children in the United States live with autism.
That is more than 13,000 children of soldiers who live each day protecting this great nation and preserving our freedoms.
When you factor in the dependent children of Reservists and Retirees, that number explodes to 1 in 67.
1 in 67.
On June 22, 2011, Congressmen John Larson (CT-01) and Walter Jones (NC-03) introduced the Caring for Military Kids With Autism Act – H.R. 2288, legislation to improve the lives of military dependents with autism.
The bill would clarify that military dependents with autism have access to medically necessary behavioral health treatments such as applied behavior analysis through TRICARE. ABA is a behavioral health treatment that has shown to be effective in improving outcomes for children with autism. Under current rules and regulations, dependents receive limited access to this effective health treatment due to the cap on the amount TRICARE may pay for these services on a yearly basis.
Additionally, the legislation would ensure coverage for these services is available for dependents of retirees.
Why this is important:
“For the 1 in 88 military kids struggling with autism, the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act is critical. Whether their soldier is active duty or retired – after twenty-four years of service, it is unfair to look my battle-weary soldier in the eyes and tell him he cannot retire because of our daughter’s autism,” said Rachel Kenyon of Manchester. “For all that our brave men and women do to keep us tucked safely asleep at night, we surely cannot deny our military families access to the care our warrior kids with autism deserve. This Act will allow my husband to someday retire from service with pride, secure in the knowledge that his dedication to our country has earned the care our daughter with autism needs and is entitled to.”
What we can do to help:
Click HERE to contact your CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATORS – Tell them you support H.R. 2288 - Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act - for the effective treatments of autism our soldiers have earned and our military kids are entitled to receive!
Jess has a wonderful example of what to say (she gives permission to cut and paste this):
Dear (Name of Addressee):
I am writing to implore you to lend your support to the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act – H.R. 2288: To amend title 10, United States Code, to provide for certain treatment of autism to the children of both active and retired servicemen and women because it is simply unconscionable to me to fail to provide vital support to the children of our nation’s heroes.
Access to appropriate treatment and services for autism is not an entitlement; it is a basic right. While this should be true for ALL of our nation’s children, it simply MUST be true for our military. An America that forces her soldiers’ families to fight on two fronts is not the America I know and love.
Please, on behalf of those who sacrifice so much to keep us safe, lend your support so that H.R. 2288 can become a reality.
Thank you for all that you do on behalf of our families.
This is more than thanking our military for their service.
This is the right thing to do.