My glasses were in need of repair so I went to the Optical Shop to see if they could be fixed. It was Sunday and the shop was closed. I was drawn to walk a few doors down from the Optical Shop to the Military recruiting location. Outside a white van with North Carolina plates was surrounded by about 30 people. The van idled while several young men boarded. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and grandparents huddled all in tears. I stood in silence with the families for a little while and asked a dad what branch of the service had these fine you men volunteered for? The dad replied, “The Marines!” Seconds later the van doors closed and the van drove off. I felt compelled to wave with the families and say, “Thank you to the families and God Bless.”
The day before I had the distinct honor to speak with Karen Driscoll, Director of a non-profit organization called ACT Today! for Military Families, military wife, and mother of a child with autism. http://www.acttodayformilitaryfamilies.org Karen described staggering statistics. 1 in 88 military children have autism and less than 10 percent are receiving recommended care and treatments. Our military health care system called TRICARE is in urgent need of reform to include military families that need access to appropriate care and treatment services.
How can this be America? Thousands of military families making incredible sacrifices are excluded from basic care and treatments for their children with autism. Military families are in or face financial ruin as their children with autism go without proven treatments to improve the quality of life.
Dear military families of children with autism, my family stands with yours and will help you spread the word to urge military TRICARE decision makers to come to their heartfelt senses and include children with autism. After all, why would potential recruits want to volunteer for the military knowing that TRICARE may not have their backs covered for their children?
With due respect to TRICARE decision makers; you can do better. Please include families with autism NOW!