April, in addition to being the first full month of spring, is also Autism Awareness Month.
Autism, a behavioral disorder characterized by difficulties with communication and social interaction, affects nearly 1.5% of children in developed countries. It is estimated that nearly 20,000 military dependents, most of them children, have some form of autism.
While awareness around autism and support for those with it has certainly increased in recent years, there is still a lot of work to be done to help inform and support the families — especially those Military Families — facing daily challenges and uncertainty. Sesame Street is doing its part by putting the spotlight on Julia, the show’s first autistic puppet, all month long.
Here are 4 other organizations that are doing their part this month, and every month, to help children affected by autism, and their families.
Operation Autism (OA) is a self-described resource guide for Military Families. And they certainly live up to that name. Entirely web-based (so unfortunately no locations on base), OA helps point parents and families in the right direction for everything they may need.
They have a rich library of evidence-based research and information that can help you and your MilFam fully understand what autism is. Plus, their long lists of resources throughout the country for everything from education to healthcare will help you find all the hands-on help you may need.
What’s most impressive about OA, though, is their comprehensive guide for Military Families. “Life Journey through Autism: A Guide for Military Families” is a thorough guide that explains everything military parents and families need to know when dealing with autism. Download it now, and follow OA on Facebook and Twitter.
Autism Care Today
Autism Care Today was founded in 2005 with just one mission: Take action immediately to treat autism.
Since then, they have done just that, helping more than 1,500 families pay for otherwise unattainable healthcare. Many of the effective and necessary autism treatments are not covered by insurance. That’s where Autism Care Today steps in.
While Autism Care Today helps all families and children affected by autism, they have a specific nationwide campaign that addresses the unique needs of MilFams. Named the The Autism Care Today for Military Families, this campaign helps MilFams “fight a war on two fronts, one overseas and one for their loved one with autism.”
For all your MilFam needs, you really can’t go wrong with Military OneSource. Like most things, they have an exhaustive list of resources available to MilFams with children affected by autism. While they may not be a direct aide provider, like Autism Care Today, they certainly can point you in the right direction.
Additionally, the Special Needs section of their website is full of great content that can help you as a parent or guardian. They know about the “whole set of special considerations” and the “extra roster of must-dos” that come along with being the parent or guardian of a special needs child.
From education, to financial planning, to child care and more, Military OneSource has an answer for all of your questions.
Of course, there’s always Tricare. And to its credit, Tricare does cover a lot of expenses associated with autism care. Services covered under most MilFam Tricare benefits include: occupational, physical, and speech therapy; physician and psychological services; psychological testing; and prescription drugs. Certain plans also also cover applied behavior analysis services for all qualifying dependents.
Of course, there are certain stipulations. In order to have autism related expenses covered by Tricare, an individual must be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by a Tricare authorised provider. Also, if the beneficiary’s sponsor ins on active duty, he or she must enroll in the Exceptional Family Member Program and register in the Extended Care Health Option.
More on Austism for Your MilFam:
Solutions for Your Military Family:
Life Insurance, Wealth Management, Home Mortgages, Survivor Services, and more.