Oh, except for that time Sharron Angle, a Senate candidate from Nevada, railed against insurance for both maternity care and autism, putting "air quotes" around autism in a speech, as if we're making this stuff up. That pissed me off. Happily, the good people of Nevada remembered her douchiness when she was looking for "votes."
|Rachel Kenyon and her 5-year-old daughter,|
who has PDD-NOS and 4q-Deletion Syndrome.
So. Much. Cuteness.
So, yeah, I like to keep politics out of this blog. But I'm making an exception after being contacted by Army wife Rachel Kenyon (of the blog Stim City) and asked to support Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act (CMKAA) - H.R. 2288.
Pretty much if you can use the words military, kids, and autism in the same sentence, I'm going to be on board. I served in the U.S. Army. In my experience, no matter what your symptoms were, the Army's approach to medical care was to issue two prescription-strength ibuprofen and orders to get back to work. The process of getting the two ibuprofen tablets usually involved a minimum of 18 military acronyms. I can't imagine what it takes to access autism services for your child in that setting.
Rachel wasn't asking for me to support her efforts with CMKAA financially. That's a good thing because our money situation is always wicked tight. I can't give to every charity I would like to give to. But I can send an email to support a really good cause. Emails are free. (Unlike autism services.) All Rachel was asking me to do was send one email, with one click.
I sent the email, but I'm going to do one better, and ask you to consider supporting CMKAA, too. I read up on it, and here's what I learned:
- There are 22,000 children of military families affected by autism.
- Less than 10 percent of those children are getting the services they need.
- CMKAA would streamline the acronym-filled process for military families to access services for their autistic children through TRICARE, the military's healthcare system.
- It would also remove the extremely stringent cap on services that can be received.
- H.R. 2288 was introduced last June by Reps. John Larson (D) of Connecticut and Walter Jones (R) of North Carolina. See? It's delightfully bi-partisan.
And there it sits.
|Rachel's husband, a U.S. Army Sergeant Major,|
came home on leave a day after their daughter was born.
He returned to Afghanistan 14 days later.
Dude. Being a military parent (spouse or servicemember) is really hard. Being the parent of an autistic child is really hard. Put those two things together and you have a recipe for an olive drab suckfest that will stretch your marriage and your bank accounts to the freaking brink.
If you've ever seen the Schoolhouse Rock episode "I'm Just a Bill," you know what happens to bills that sit in committee: they die. You know what keeps them alive? Nagging your elected representative. Come on -- you're a mom. You probably nag people in your sleep. How hard can it be?
I've already emailed my Congressman, and let him know that as a veteran of the United States Army, as a mother, and as a voter in his district, I support Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act (CMKAA) - H.R. 2288.
|The Sergeant Major and his|
It's so easy.
Unlike being a serviceperson struggling to help his or her autistic child.
All photos used with permission, courtesy of Rachel Kenyon and StimCity.org. You can read more about Rachel, her family, and their military life here.
If you a military family with an autistic child, or just want to follow the news on CMKAA, you can follow American Military Families Autism Support online, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
* * * * * * *
What's that? You didn't click yet? Here's a little video of a 5-year old, high-functioning autistic boy seeing his dad for the first time in eight months, after his dad returned home from Iraq.
Normally when you see these videos on the news, the dad (or mom) surprises their child in the middle of class, or in the middle of the gym at an assembly, or whatever. Crowds like that don't usually work for autistic kids. This reunion is all the more awesome for its simplicity.
::hands you tissue::
So, um, yeah, that was shameless of me to add this on. But still ... could you click now? Thanks. You're awesome.
Thank you to Amy at Pregnant Chicken for sending me the video; and especially to Nikki, the mom in Virginia whose son and husband are in the video. xoxo.