An amendment to the defense budget bill before Congress could help military families who have children with developmental disabilities including autism.
Earlier this month, the House passed an amendment written by Representative John Larson that would require military health insurer, Tricare, to cover behavioral health treatment. This requirement would help families like the Kenyons of Manchester. Rachel Kenyon is married to an Army National Guardsman. They have a daughter with autism who was diagnosed while her husband was on his second tour in Afghanistan.
Kenyon says without this amendment, their daughter wouldn't be able to receive applied behavior analysis or ABA in the future. "In our case, my husband has served for 27 years. He hesitates to retire because once he retires he would lose his eligibility for autism services. This legislation changes that and makes the benefit available to retiree families."
She says this especially impacts those families with a soldier who is forced to medically retire from the service after being injured. The amendment also increases the amount of behavioral health treatment Tricare covers so it is in line with what is medically prescribed.