Military Families Confront Autism

Every family affected by autism experiences stress, but try to imagine the burdens of a military family coping with the disorder. Not only is the father or mother at risk in a foreign land, but military families have to move frequently as they are reassigned to new bases. These disruptions and uncertainties would be a struggle for any child, but for one with autism, can be overwhelming.

Recent statistics indicate that one in eighty-eight children of active duty service members are affected by autism and less than ten percent of these children are receiving the care and attention they so need and deserve. Military insurance or TRICARE, currently has an overabundance of red tape that takes months and even years to negotiate — precious time lost in the quest for early intervention. And existing ABA coverage is capped at half the number of recommended hours of treatment per week.

The Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act seeks to rectify this situation by eliminating this cap and streamlining access to services. It also extends autism services to dependents of military retirees. 

Congressmen John Larson (CT) and Walter Jones (NC) introduced the bill in June after a grassroots effort by wives of servicemen brought this crisis to the attention of Congress. These staunch advocates point out that challenges of autism, coupled with the lack of access and cost of treatment, can push their families to the edge. After years of active duty, no one wants to tell their spouse they can’t retire and must return to the war zone in order to pay for their child’s autism treatment.

To find out how you can support the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act go to


Susan Moffitt is the mother of high functioning twin sons with autism. When not advocating for them, she pursues her multiple creative passions of fine art,
piano composition and writing. She is the author of "Upstream," a compilation of poetry, fiction and anecdotal tales that deal with raising twins
with autism. For more information, visit