I have been reading Age of Autism since it’s inception as Rescue Post. I am proud of Age of Autism. I’ve witnessed incredible growth of the world’s only autism daily web newspaper both in the information put forth, and in the readership and the ensuing dialogue in comments. I am especially proud of Age of Autism for embracing and opening the door, for the mutual support of both the military and civilian communities with regard to all things autism.
It is an honor to share that Age of Autism will have a new category; the Military Category. As a military spouse who has been contributing to Age of Autism since she was Rescue Post, I am especially thrilled. We’ve seen growth here at Age of Autism, but we’ve also seen growth of the autism epidemic both in the military and civilian community. We’ve also seen a rise in the challenges, or problems, that come along with this heartbreaking rise.
In the military community the most recent FOIA shows that as of 2007, one in every eighty-eight military dependent child of an active duty member has autism. This figure most likely doesn’t include my own boys because of how and when the stats for the FOIA were tracked. Currently we’re waiting on new statistics.
From what I see current legislation being passed (and yet to be introduced), by states; the limit is being set by what we military parents were able to accomplish this past year through Congress. We have to do more, as it was only $36,000 for ABA. This is something I am proud to have been part of, but we must do more. I also want to thank our ENTIRE community for rallying around and behind us as we worked to get this pushed through late last year! THANK YOU!!!!
What is happening in the military is an important piece to the entire community, just as what the civilian community is doing is important to the entire community. We must all work together, and we are.
We have all endured our own hell, but regardless, there is much work to be done to help our children now. And there is much work to be done for the future. Everything I do for children and adults with autism is a continuation of the pact I made with myself; that I would do everything I could within my power to prevent another family from having to endure the hell that ours endured.
All of our national autism organizations are wonderful and we do such terrific work for our children (I work with almost all of them on a regular basis on all faucets of autism), but Age of Autism is special. Hey, what can I say? Besides Age of Autism supporting our communities, we have the same birthday, November 10th!
In closing I would like to say, besides the usual “suspects” (meaning the "collaboration" websites), I always recommend to both “old” and “new” parents who ask me about autism and anything related, “you must read Age of Autism. You must check AoA everyday for the latest”. I am not a “told you so” kind of person, but I have laughingly said this to people over the years, because… well… it’s obvious. AoA puts it out there!
I had the opportunity to meet so many people at Autism One in Chicago last month, and among them were Kim Stagliano, Dan Olmstead, David Kirby, and Mark Blaxill. Over the course of Autism One, we all had several discussions about autism in the military community. I have to tell you, they are a dynamic and incredibly educated group folks. They were already family in my eyes, but after meeting face to face, something changed. I already knew that WE are ALL family, but something changed there too. The pact I made with myself has been strengthened to say the least.
There will be much more to come. We are all working together to push the autism tsunami back, and I say we’re doing a pretty damn good job.