DoD Advisory Panel on Special Needs Approaches

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DoD Advisory Panel on Special Needs Meets March 6, 2012. Feedback is important  – your input is needed.

Do you have specific issues, concerns, challenges, suggestions you would like to be discussed?  Here’s how to ensure your voice is being heard. Contact AMFAS – American Military Families Autism Support.

Updates on Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act (HR 2288)

Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act (HR 2288) is a federal bill concerning TRICARE coverage of autism therapies for active duty and retiree dependents.

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.

CMKAA removes ABA from ECHO, placing it under TRICARE Standard as medically necessary – removing the dollar cap on care, as well as becoming accessible to all eligible retiree dependents.

CMKAA needs support to move forward!

Has your Rep signed on to co-sponsor the bill?  Not sure?  Not sure who your Rep is?   Find the list of co-sponsors.  Learn where to write your House Representative and ask them to sign on as a Cosponsor today, or thank them if they already have!

Visit Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act website at for more background on current legislation and how to support.

One Family’s Battle

As a Marine Corps wife, Karen Driscoll is well versed in the concept of waging battle.  For more than five years, at times while her husband was deployed to war, she has fought to insure her autistic son Paul has access to therapy through military healthcare.

For Paul, and thousands of other military children with autism, the battle over semantics – or whether autism therapy is a medical treatment — is keeping them from receiving the very treatments already largely afforded to civilians through insurance coverage.  The result is that military special needs families are shouldering the burden of providing therapy themselves, and stitching together what they can from state and school services.

Out of the estimated 1.2 million children considered military dependents, fewer than 3,000 are receiving treatment for autism through TRICARE’s extended care special education program, according to the benefit provider.

Driscoll says that while TRICARE’s ECHO program is an attempt to expand autism therapy, it falls woefully short of addressing the needs of the tens of thousands of military families thought to be affected by ASD.

As campaign director for Autism Care and Treatment Today (ACT Today) Military Families Fund, Karen Driscoll has a direct line of sight into the need.  Since its launch in July 2010, ACT Today has dispersed $70,000 in treatment grants to military families.

Military Families Advance Lawsuit To Force DOD to Provide Autism Care

Parent Led Efforts

From the Blue Star Families Blog – read how parent led efforts are leading to changes for military families.

Parent led efforts have led to significant legislation being included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to both study and improve the program.

1. This includes the recent establishment of the DoD Office of Special Needs (OSN) and the Military Exceptional Family Member Panel .

2. A recent study by the National Council on Disability (NCD) highlighted the areas in which improvements can still be made (the study was based on the Marine Corps program but has implications across DoD).

3. One example from the NCD report already being considered is H.R. 2288, the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act.

More Resource Links

Military & Department of Defense (DOD) Special Education

Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Pathways in Autism

  1. I am a parent of a child with autism it seems for an issue that is growing so quickly we should have coverage to help family’s get health care for our children. They are our future we should do all we can to ensure they are well taken care of because some day they will care for us.

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