COLUMBIA, Md.–In an effort to focus on strategic issues impacting military families dealing with autism, American Military Families Autism Support announces the formation of a steering committee aimed at ensuring top-level support.
Over the last few months the AMFAS Council has looked at a number of areas to ensure representation and teamwork focused on all possible areas of autism support.
One of the results was creation of an AMFAS Advisory Panel to provide a rudder of sorts to the organization’s programs and ensure AMFAS continues to improve its mission of providing news, information, community and support to military families dealing with autism spectrum disorder.
The panel does not participate in the day-to-day operations of AMFAS.
“This is not a symbolic move, but an effort to bring the greatest advocates and experts in the military autism community together to affect real change and support for our families,” said Nicholas Sabula, AMFAS founder.
The following people have joined the panel:
Scott Campbell: Scott, father of two, one with autism, is known military-wide as THE preeminent autism expert. In fact, the AMFAS concept was modeled on his approach to helping families. Without regard to notoriety, he has continually focused on helping individuals understand the best options for their families. He has served as a board member of Parents Of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA) and of the Autism Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV).
Karen Driscoll: Karen, mother of three, one with autism, is a longtime champion of fighting for appropriate access to care for our families, to include the TRICARE limitations of Applied Behavior Analysis coverage. Karen was instrumental in the creation of ACT Today! For Military Families in 2010, serving as the first campaign director. She now serves as associate director for Federal Government Affairs & Military Relations for Autism Speaks.
Jeremy Hilton: Jeremy, father of two, one with autism, is best known as the 2012 Military Spouse of the Year. However, many might not be aware of his long standing support connection with behind the scenes support efforts for all military families with special needs. He has contributed significantly to AMFAS over the years through a number of means and provides candid, needed insight in the realms of legislation and policy issues, increasing support and direction.
American Military Families Autism Support was founded in December 2008 as the first national grassroots effort to support all military families dealing with autism. Learn more about AMFAS at amfas.org or facebook.com/militaryautism.
A lot has happened in the last month with the fight to change policy affecting military families and coverage of Applied Behavioral Analysis.
The July 26 court decision forcing TRICARE to issue interim policy covering ABA under standard coverage, to include retirees, has led to a literal frenzy of confusion among parents, advocates and even TRICARE representative themselves. What is the true answer? How does it apply to you? A lot of speculation ensued.
Consider that before this occurred, the objective was a straight-forward, legislation-based solution: Congress passes the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act and includes it in the National Defense Authorization Act.
by Jeremy Hilton
Next Wednesday, June 20, at 1430 (in Room 232-A Senate Russell Bldg), the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel will be holding a hearing on the issues impacting our military families affected by disabilities. I will be testifying along with four or five other witnesses. Here is the specific info on the hearing: http://
I suspect a large portion of the testimony and discussion will be referencing a potential Senator Gillibrand amendment regarding ABA and the recent OPM decision to include ABA as a medically necessary therapy for the dependents of federal workers. I intend to address that issue in my written testimony, along with other issues relevant to our community including special education, Tricare, Medicaid waivers, and the EFMP programs.
Deanie Dempsey, wife of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presents Jeremy Hilton, husband of Air Force Lt. Col. Renae Hilton, with a medal recognizing him as the 2012 Military Spouse of the Year during the 2012 Military Spouse of the Year ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, May 10, 2012. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Austin Hazard
By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2012 – A husband who championed the progression of disability policy and the exceptional family member program received the 2012 Military Spouse of the Year Award here today.
Upon receipt of the award, Hilton, who has a daughter with special needs, lauded fellow finalists from the other services, and shared what also inspired his efforts to advocate for military families impacted by illness or disability.
On Jan.31, I will be taking the day off work to support other military families dealing with autism, as they pay a visit to Capitol Hill to tell their stories.
The event is a briefing hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and U.S. Rep. John Larson of Connecticut on the challenges faced by military families raising children with autism spectrum disorder.