National Council on Disability

Often times when engaged in the battle of autism treatment, recovery, and promoting social awareness, we find more hurdles than triumphs. It is with great pleasure that a recent national triumph was brought to light. On November 28, 2011, the National Council on Disability (NCD) issued a comprehensive report outlining the intricate facets of what we have been championing for with our military families battling autism.

The report highlights the central areas that Exceptional Family Members (EFM) face to include transitioning difficulties, consistencies in care, state services, gaps in insurance coverage, and other pertinent areas of need. The NCD conducted a series of interviews of EFM family members between January and March of 2010 on three key Marine Corps bases, Quantico, Camp Pendleton, and Camp Lejeune. Although the findings are based on the USMC family member and staff testimony, the findings are relevant to all branches of service, particularly families coping with autism. NCD’s recommendations to bring TRICARE coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis in line with current standard of care and the importance of addressing Medicaid portability is extremely relevant to our autism community.

As an Autism Mom, Marine Wife, and invested advocate for our families engaged in the battle against autism, I have participated in Medicaid, DoD, and university studies geared towards raising awareness and garnering action for our families. I heave a sigh of relief at this earmark of progress and applaud the time, energy, and efforts of our family members, researchers, and personnel who strive to make a difference. Our voices are being heard, let’s continue to champion the fact that autism is treatable and continue to educate others on what ACT Today! for Military Families (ATMF) is all about. With your continued support we can reduce the needs outlined in the report. I encourage you all to read (at least the executive summary) and take action where you can. Thanks for all you do!

Blessings and Chocolate,

Andrekka Lanier, LMSW, MPA

Autism Mom, Marine Wife, Campaign Director ATMF

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