Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Fighting Power of Military Families needs to continue. Tricare vs Military Families.

Did Tricare think that Military Families wouldn't  notice the recent changes to our benefits? I am beginning to wonder if they thought we wouldn't notice somehow. How very sneaky. These past couple of days have proven to the Tricare Administration that we do pay attention. They can't just go around and change things without us noticing.

Tricare tried to change the coverage of ABA therapy. The Pilot program that they had initially proposed had so many restrictions and requirements on it that we wondered what the head hunchos were thinking. How could they sit there with a clear mind and tell service members that, "We'll provide services only for those that fit the stringent requirements and continue to jump through the hoops we've laid out." Well we fought back. They underestimated the power of pissed off Military Families(and Spouses). Tricare came back and revised its policy saying that active duty coverage, but with restrictions( If you are currently getting services, you are fine. If you are new to Tricare, you will have to deal with Tricare's guidelines)  would remind unchanged. That's great. So what happens to the Retirees?

The fight isn't over with Tricare. We have to continue this for our retirees. They have families. They have people that rely on the coverage Tricare provides. Everyday Active Duty member transfer to Fleet Reserves after successfully completing a full military career, or worse are transferred to Fleet Reserves after being wounded in combat and given an honorable discharge and medical retirement. Their family member don't suddenly not require the coverage any longer. As per Tricare all those requirements and restrictions will apply to them. This worries me. Why? Eventually everyone has to retire. What Tricare has basically done is slapped the faces of this Country's military retirees.

We, the Military Families, will continue to fight. Our service members have fought to protect the freedom of this Country. I think they are entitled to something for volunteering to serve. A decent Medical isn't too much to ask.

If you are reading this, I urge you to help us fight. Think it of this way, you have insurance, and if that Insurance Company starts changing your policy or your coverage, you would fight like hell to keep it the way it was.

Write to Tricare.

Write to your Congressmen and Women and your Senators.

And lets not forget your command itself. Write to the Ombudsman. They are your civilian representative to your command. Your word gets spread to the Commanding Officers this way. Commanding Officers can take these concerns up their chain of command lines. Let the Generals and Admirals know. They fight from the inside. 

I understand that there are some Insurance Companies that don't cover services for Autistic People. Its not like we aren't thankful, but there is a need. The need still continues.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Furloughs Threaten Military Mental Health...

When is the Government going to get it that Mental health among its service members needs to be supported?

Due to the furloughs, it seems that the Military took a kick in the shorts. From everything to commissaries shortening  their hours to civilian workers with in our military medical system taking a cut. It sucks. But really grinds my teeth, is the cut back to the already failing system our men and women in uniform have for their mental health. Its bad enough that Families that have special needs have to worry about their services being cut, on top of that many of them are returning back from the War Zones this country has sent them to, without a proper mental evaluation. Its like people think they can just carry back on to the routine of normal life, after being in such extreme conditions or seeing things that the every day joe shmoe wouldn't see.

It has been proven through history that after wars have taken place, the returning servicemen and women had PTSD or as they called it back then Shell Shock. A large majority of those coming back from WWI and WWII were undiagnosed. It wasn't until Vietnam that people started to notice that our Veterans needed help coping with returning back to the way of life they had before they left. Even still it was lacking.

It bothers me that the Mental Health of our military is considered a back burner issue. It me it seems like the Government thinks its got super humans, who can deal with anything thrown at them. Which isn't the case.

So with this furlough, there is cuts made to the mental health program that does exist for our military. Many Behavioral Health Professionals are not accessible to those who desperately need it. But it all goes back to looking at Washington. Do they really care? I'd like to think they do. But it seems as of late, they have forgotten about us. They have forgotten the job they ask us to do. They have forgotten what its like to look into the eyes of a member of the military returning back and seeing the pain, stress, and the sadness and most importantly the struggle they have just coping. They have forgotten that Mental illness is invisible.  Just because they have come back with all of their body parts, doesn't mean they don't need support. They have forgotten about the families that have to live with someone that has PTSD. Yes, we are in this too. Its time for the government to see what its doing to its military. Yes they want us to protect America's freedom and borders. But yet they aren't willing to help us out when we need it.

Just my two cents.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Even Perfection has its faults...

I am not perfect. There I said it. I have never claimed to be. I have my faults. I make mistakes as I go along on my journey on this planet. Mistakes that I learn from.But why is it that there are people out there that seem to think that pointing the faults of others is like a Olympic Sport? I know everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but just because you have doesn't mean you always have to voice. Especially when you are sitting there criticizing a perfect strange for a choice they have made, or an emotion they are feeling. Seems a little hypocritical to me for some one who has also made mistakes in their lives or who doesn't understand the life lived by the other person to sit there and pass judgement.

I sit here and as I write, I think back at all those times I was judged unfairly by people. People that have no idea what is going on in my life or understand why things need to be done a certain way. And its sad that I don't have enough fingers and toes to count on. Sometimes it makes me want to scream. Right there. Whether it be in the middle of the Supermarket or in front of my computer.

I wrote the other day about Sanctimommies.They are everywhere, not just on the internet. Most of them hide behind a computer screen. But you have the few that you run into in public.  I always find they are the most vocal about pointing the faults of others, but yet overlooking their own. That was very clear to me yesterday when I tried to get the few items at the grocery store and watching my youngest son have an epic meltdown while sitting in the cart. Granted my day started out with an early am birthday party at the Ninth level of Hell, otherwise known as Chuck E Cheese in this house. So my child was over stimulated and had, had enough. I needed a few things. I thought.. Ok, I can get this down quickly and then I won't have to come back out later to do it. Great Logic right? I thought so. Apparently the woman behind me in line didn't think so. After listening to the first couple of barbs muttered behind me about how I was a bad parent for bring a tired cranky child shopping, I finally turned to her and said...

Me:"Really? Do you live my life? Do you?"
Her: " No, but I know better not bring a cranky child shopping"
Me: " Really? So you were the perfect angel when you were this age? Never gave your parents grief? Never had a meltdown? Or got cranky or tired while your parent were trying to run a simple errand?"
Her: " Well.. um..."
Me: " He has autism. He is overstimulated. I have a deployed husband who isn't here to look over his children, while I grocery shop. And your comments and staring will not stop him from melting down. You need to keep your judgmental ignorance in check"

She promptly moved to another line and the cashier stood there stunned.

It just seems that you could be doing the best job at living your life and people, random strangers, will always have something to say about it. I mean, who's business is it of theirs to sit there and make a comment about someone they know nothing about. Maybe it was the way I was brought up, but to me, I have no right to criticize the choices  or way of life of others.

So to all those who feel the need to pass judgement on random strangers, guess what? You have faults just like the rest of us. You make mistakes just like the rest of us. And pretty soon the skeletons while come out of your closet while you are off making inflammatory comments about others.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sanctomonious Parents....

Sanctimonious Parents.

We get it, you have the perfect child. You are the perfect parent that hasn't done anything to permanently scar your children for life. Never made a mistake, never had to deal with meltdowns or have never had to deal with the criticism  of others.Why? Because you are perfect, right?

Here's the trick, we all make mistakes. Its called being human. So when we post about the things that makes us the parents we are today or why we do certain things in order to find a balance in our lives, the last thing we need is for you Sanctimomommies jumping down our throats about it. So what if what we do, differs from what you do with your children. Its not your right to sit on the "High and Mighty" pedestal and post the most inflammatory posts you can squeeze out of your brain.

Parenting is hard enough without the chitter-chatter of the Sanctimommies judging your every move or every personal story that is yours. A lot of bloggers post about personal things going on in our lives.Yes we made the choice to put ourselves out there, but the fact is, we do it because we tend to think that maybe our personal stories will help others get through a tough period in their lives. As in to say, "Hey, you are not alone."

Recently, another blogger did a fantastic piece about feeling jealous over the accomplishments of NT children compared to her own. It was raw and it hit home. Why? Because she had said what a lot of us Special Needs parents often feel, but don't say. She got torn to shreds by a bunch of people that have no idea what her life is like to live. It makes me wonder, what is the damn point is?

I mean, aren't we all in this kinda together. We all have children that require special attention. We all have children that are truly amazing. Why on earth do these Sanctimonious Parents feel the need to rip into other parents simply because of a difference of thought or opinion?Is this the lesson you want to teach your children, that just because you dislike the opinion of others, its ok to publicly blast them,call them names and say to them " Hey you don't love your child" because you aren't parenting your child my way.

It annoys me that even in the world of Autism and Special Needs, we are still fighting Acceptance among ourselves.  I am looking at all the those who have ever sat there and told another parent how to parent their child, or said anything mean. It seems you are the ones that need to take a step back and re-evaluate your life if you think its ok to blast someone for their own parenting choice or thought.

If you are reading this, go check out Mostly True Stuff. Why? She had enough courage to put herself out there and say what a lot of us Special Needs Parents are afraid to say.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

We'll send you off to War, while we cut your benefits.. Thanks for the Service!

Its a sad reality when a Country asks its military to go off to war, fight its battles only for them to return home and have their services being cut or downgraded. At what point should the government actually start caring for the people that do its dirty work or the work that average congressman isn't willing to do?

I sit here watching Tricare trying to revise its policy on covering ABA therapy for its servicemen and women's children and it makes me wonder, is this what they go off to war for? Are they not entitled to having some sort of security regarding their healthcare? How are you going to expect your military to perform at the standards you set for them, if they are constantly worried about if their family is taken care of. I know the old saying that if the military wanted the guys and gals to have a family they would have issued them in their seabags or rucksacks after bootcamp. But it begs to ask the question, does our government really care about the welfare of its military?

Sadly, it seems that lately it does not. With the furloughs happening with the DoD workers to Tricare cutting back on its policies. What's the point of enlisting if this is what you can expect. Military lifestyle isn't a bad life. Its a hard one. But it isn't bad. Sure you get to see the world, you meet people along the way,you get to do an interesting job(most of the time) and you get some sort of job security. But when people want to say that our medical benefits are a perk. I would like to point out that, we have to fight to get a lot of things covered. Especially,  if you have special needs. And now that its getting even harder for some services to be provided or even covered, it really isn't a perk, is it?

We always hear that this country is broke or it has no money. Take a look at the salaries of our government officials. Do you honestly think they deserve the amount of money they are getting paid? This isn't a pick a side kinda thing, either. Its a, "Why are these people getting paid buko bucks, while our military members are getting barely nothing?"

I would love to challenge anyone of those sitting in Washington, to saddle up, go boots on ground and do the job of the average Soldier, Sailor, Marine and Airman who are out fighting a War they were told to go fight. Not just for one day, but for a month. Then I want them to come back and be told that their family's benefits are being cut or downsized. And top of that, they are going to get less in retirement and their pay is going to be less. Then, I want to see if anything will change. I want to see the salaries of these people go down. Maybe they should start doing the job they were elected or appointed to, then maybe they would be worth the money they get.

Its ridiculous that this is even an issue. That our government can't fight harder or even work together to help it's own military.  That's my two cents.

I urge people to write to their member of congress. Maybe someone in Washington is listening

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrating the Holidays with an Autistic Flare

With the summer Holidays picking up, its easy to get caught up in the festivities. The parties, the cookouts, the fireworks and the large venues. This time of year is often difficult for some, as all of those things can be difficult to handle. It can be a sensory overload, even for the regular person. When you throw Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder into the mix, it makes things a little harder.

I find that this time of year is more difficult than Christmas. Now don't get me wrong, Christmas is also stressful, as someone in our house doesn't like Santa Claus. A topic for another time. For us, its the large crowds,the fireworks and being out of our school routine. I love fireworks. Growing up in Canada, we didn't have neighbourhood displays of fireworks. It was illegal and you couldn't buy them. You had to go watch the City fireworks display. Even back then when I was little, I still didn't like the loudness of it. And I can see how that would startle a child and make them fearful. Now that I have children of my own and see the very violent reaction they have for all things loud and overwhelming, I have an understanding of why things like fireworks or large venues might not be ok for some.

I am often asked why we don't do the huge celebrations.When I explain that I have two autistic children who can't tolerate large venues, 9 times out of 10, I get " Wow.. that must really suck for you.." Now I know that most people don't mean that as insult. If you don't live with it, you aren't going to understand the ins and outs of Autism. I get that. I honestly don't think that the average everyday person doesn't comprehend the full extent of what it means to deal with an Autistic sensory overload. Or what it means to always having to be on full alert because you have a child that bolts or wanders. That doesn't mean to say that all autistic people are like that. I just know my two and it could be different for someone else.

So I always say that we are celebrating our holidays in our own way. It doesn't make us any less patriotic or festive. There are lots of thing we do that are fun and still maintains the spirit of the holiday.

* We keep it local. Neighbourhood cookouts. Fun, easy and the kids are in their own environment. They can go inside your house if things get to overwhelming for them and they can take a sensory break.

* We like to make our own festive decorations. It doesn't have to be anything too fancy. Sometimes a Flag drawn by your little one can one of the best decorations, as you know it was done with love and by someone who worked hard to do it.

* We love to bake. Everyone likes to help bake. And that can also help with the sensory input. The different types of things that go into baking. And we know the end result is something yummy.

* Sometimes we like to read stories that pertain to the holiday we are celebrating. Or look at pictures of different ways others celebrate.

These are just some of the things we do in this house, that have helped us. We keep it simple or we try to. I want my children to enjoy celebrations like the 4th of July. I want them to have fond memories of it. And sometimes, We as parents have to find ways to help accommodate the special needs of our children. And if the rest of the world doesn't understand that, well, they are welcome to come take my children to a large venue with everything loud and then deal with the meltdown that I can guarantee will happen times two.

[Circle of Moms Top 25 Military Moms - 2013 - Vote for me!]

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ever look at yourself as a Pie?

Ever look at yourself as a pie? With Slices? How each of those slices make up a whole? I know I am talking about fractions on a 3rd grade level, but think about it....

I look at all the slices that make up me and how each slice makes up me. Right now I am the most important person in my children's lives(next to Daddy, he's cool, but no one beats Momma). I am the caretaker of all things regarding these children. I am a walking day planner for three people. Its a wonder that I can keep everyone on schedule. There is a reason I call my cell phone my second brain. I truly would be lost without it. Momma is one of the jobs I think has to be selfless. You do need to put your needs aside sometimes to accommodate those who still need guidance and navigation in this world. . A role that is part of me, its just a slice that makes a whole pie. And pie is awesome btw.

I am Wife. A Navy Wife. I write about often the ups and downs of that. I support my husband and his job. I will go with whatever the Military throws at me or gives me. Its what I do. Another slice of that pie that is me.

I am Canadian. Which will always be part of me. No matter where I am living in the world, my heritage will always be a part of me.

But I am more that. I look at all the things that make up me. I am open minded. I am kind. I think about things on a philosophical level. I like Poppies. I love Chocolate. I love being outdoors. I love to Barbeque. I am an emotional person. All these things are part of that pie.

I think sometimes we tend to get lost in our roles in society, that we lose ourselves. Don't get me wrong, I gladly wear my Momma and Wife badges with pride. But it boils down to Who am I? Really? We are always trying to change ourselves to conform to what we think society wants to see. But have you ever looked deep down and looked at yourself for you are and discovered that you are this very unique individual. You have all these things to offer the world. I think its hard for people to come out from under their roles in life to see the awsomeness that they hold on to.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, don't be afraid to let be people see you for who you are. Don't let your job, labels or disability define who you are on the inside. There are always going to be people on this planet that see faults and the mistakes. Ignore them. Make them realize just what they are miss out on by concentrating on the bad stuff.

I say enjoy that pie that is yourself. Every last slice of it. Savor it. Each slice makes up you.

Myself, I am a glorious warm pumpkin pie.