From Adversity to Advocacy to Change

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 View Comments

This post appears in this month's issue of Exceptional Parent Magazine and highlights the work of military spouses Karen Driscoll (Marines), Rachel Kenyon (pictured below, Connecticut Army National Guard), Jeremy Hilton (USAF) and others to improve TRICARE coverage for milutary kids. The result was action by Congress to create a one-year pilot program that is now being closely monitored by Autism Speaks.

When facing tremendous adversity, how do you bring about positive change?

Ask a group of military parents from around the nation who convinced Congress to pass legislation last year that brings hope to the 23,000 military families raising kids with autism. Tucked within the 1,590-page defense bill signed by President Obama in early January is an amendment directing TRICARE to expand access to a therapy critical to the development of children with autism through a one-year pilot program.

The legislation culminated years of frustration, lonely advocacy and determination by these military parents to fight for a brighter future for their children. But their job is not finished. These parents are now closely monitoring TRICARE’s implementation of the one-year pilot program to insure it delivers the level of benefits Congress intended and that, upon conclusion, it evolves into a permanent TRICARE benefit.

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