SOURCE: ACT Today!

ACT Today!

June 15, 2010 17:47 ET

First Lady Michelle Obama Joined Parents at Camp Pendleton to Discuss Healthcare Services for Military Children With Disabilities

ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today) Responds to First Lady's Challenge With First Ever National Campaign to Benefit Military Families With Autistic Children

CAMP PENDLETON, CA--(Marketwire - June 15, 2010) -  In response to First Lady Michelle Obama's challenge to America stating on Sunday "One percent of America may be fighting our wars but 100 percent of America needs to be supporting parents in that fight," ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide grant money for families that cannot afford or access the treatments their autistic children need, is set to launch the first ever national campaign to support military families with children with autism, announced ACT Today!'s executive director, Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson.

The statistics are staggering. 1 in 88 military children have autism and less than 10 percent are receiving recommended care and treatments. This is why Mrs. Obama met with military families with special needs to discuss policy reform. Prior to her speech to Marines at Camp Pendleton, Mrs. Obama listened to parents who highlighted the challenges military families face in accessing appropriate care and treatment services through the military healthcare system, TRICARE, and existing community programs. 

"My goal is to help the rest of our country better understand and appreciate the incredible service of you and your families, and to make sure your voices are heard back in Washington and that your needs are met," said Mrs. Obama. "I am launching a national challenge to Americans to find ways to rally support of the military family."

The goal of the campaign, called ACT Today! for Military Families (www.acttodayformilitaryfamilies.org), is to raise $1 million to fund treatment and care until policy change can be addressed.

According to Alspaugh-Jackson, mother of an 8-year-old son with autism, "Until Washington can come up with answers, ACT Today! intends to battle for these families who are sacrificing their lives for us by helping their most precious resource, their children with autism, get the care and treatment they need. This is a case where every individual can make a difference."

The ACT Today! for Military Families campaign director Karen Driscoll, military wife and mother of a child with autism, was part of the special "closed door" meeting with the First Lady. 

"As a Marine Corps wife and mother of a young son with autism, I have been working with military families, senior military leadership, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of the unique needs of the military child with autism and improve access to treatment services and family support programs," she said. "I'm very grateful for the First Lady's efforts to champion the needs of the military child and family."

Details of the national campaign will be released this summer.

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