Mrs. Sergeant Major

Dear President Obama:

Sir, I speak to you today as a proud and battle-tested military wife, a mother of two beautiful children and an advocate for HOPE, AWARENESS and CHANGE.  I also speak to you as the mother of a charming little girl with autism.

My husband is a twenty-four-year veteran currently serving in the Active Guard Reserve as a Sergeant Major in an Infantry Battalion.  He has served one tour in Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Storm and two in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The life of an active duty military family that also lives with autism is isolating.  Frequent changes of duty station, cycling deployments and disruption of family life are all overwhelming hindrances to accessing therapies and support our children so desperately need.  In addition, the demands on Reserve components activated since 9/11 equates to many more families answering the call to duty without the advantages of residing within a military community leading to even further isolation.

One in eighty-eight active duty military dependent children in our country lives with autism.  That is a staggering thirteen-thousand warrior children fighting every day to be heard, understood and accepted.  A truly unbelievable number of our brave men and women are fighting the battle of their lives this very moment on two separate fronts – The Global War on Terror abroad and Autism at home.

Our daughter was diagnosed with autism at the age of three while her father was serving in Afghanistan.  I wish I could tell you, Mr. President, that I am the only person who has had to make that devastating phone call from seven-thousand miles away – ‘Honey, our baby has autism’ – but unfortunately the numbers don’t lie.

Since that devastating phone call last year, we have been fighting with everything we have for our daughter’s future.  Thousands of our military families are doing the same.

Our military families are battling to get what we need from our school districts and our medical community.  We are fighting to secure the therapies that have been PROVEN to help our children.  We  are pleading for TRICARE to provide autism therapies as medically necessary to ALL military dependent children, whether their soldier is active duty or retired.  Because after twenty-four years of service, it is unfair to look my battle-weary soldier in the eyes and tell him he cannot retire because of our daughter’s autism.


We are in constant communication with our legislators.  All the while, we are sharing our stories in the effort to demystify autism within our community.  We are fighting back the exhaustion, frustration and tears; so that in the absence of our soldiers, our families can find the courage to keep moving forward.


Above all else, our family is working for our daughter’s future – for her physical health, her education, her success and her happiness – none of which can be won without first creating awareness in others.

We are battling for HOPE, AWARENESS and CHANGE.  And just as our troops will continue the fight abroad, our families will do the same here at home.

Please, Mr. President, light The White House blue in honor of all of our citizens who live with autism.

I urge you to honor the thousands of courageous men and women who have answered your call to duty by answering ours.  For it is our soldiers, and the families who serve alongside them, that are in need of a commanding battle cry sounding out for all to hear.  Ours today is, ‘LIGHT IT UP BLUE!’


Mrs. Sergeant Major



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  1. […] >>Click here to read my letter to President Obama and leave a comment in support of Lighting… […]

    • I also am a military wife and parent of a son with autism. The challenges that military families face can often become three fold when raising a child on the autism spectrum. Thank you for writing your beautifully written letter. I do hope that the White House will “Light It Up Blue” for Autism Awareness month. God bless!!

    • Well said Rachel and it is all so true. I am one of the few organizations that provide treatment for individuals on the spectrum and I have made this my life’s passion. I do not have a child or relative on the spectrum, but I am in love with the kids and families in the Autism Community.

      The beauty of their hearts and souls encourage me to fight the good fight because I so believe in what they have to offer the world…they are truly gifts, blessings…whatever you want to call them. Their parents and the people in their lives are tireless in their love, energy and determination to help them get all that they need to have a quality life.

      Please Mr President, light the White House blue and celebrate the Autism Community…they deserve to be celebrated!


      Donna Swanson, MSN, CS, APRN
      Executive Director
      FOCUS Alternative Learning Center

      “Because the creatively wired and socially challenged should not have to go it alone”

    • Mr President,
      The young lady above is my niece and she is a wonderful, loving little girl. Her mom has made a lot of progress with her but she still needs your support to raise awareness of the medical and educational needs of austistic children. Please join me in lighting the people’s White House blue on April 2nd to show your support of these wonderful children. Thank you.

    • Mr. President,

      As you are the Commander in Chief of all of our military heroes, I urge you to help them and their families cope with the affects of autism and to see to it that they receive the help that they so rightfully deserve.

      Joe Leslie

    • Light up the White House BLUE!

    • Dear President,

      Please light the White House Blue for autism awareness!

      These families have such a hill to climb in getting the understanding and resources they deserve. You can make a difference Mr. Obama.

      Thank you!

      Respectfully Yours,
      Kathy, MA Psychology

    • Dear Mr. President,

      Please, Please, Please light up The White House Blue for Autism Awareness. My son is autistic. I believe that if I were educated about Autism before, during and after pregnancy, he would not be autistic today. So many different paths I would have taken. I would have taken the path less followed, as I did with my second son. I saved him from autism.
      I am proud to be a mother of an autistic. It is now my job to educate others on behalf of all those voices that can’t be heard. I believe as an American, it is too the White House’s resonsibility to help American’s learn about Autism.

    • Rachel, What you are doing is wonderful and may God Bless you, & all family’s who are on the journey of learning, living, & loving those with autism. We hope & pray that the White House will be Shining Blue! Blessings, Glenn & Sandy

  2. Beautifully written!

  3. Didn’t Mr. Obama profess that it was our white house and that he would be more proactive about giveing the white house back to the people. This is something that needs everyone’s attention. Our children need the recognition, they need people to learn and become more educated about autism. 1 in 91. They are our future.

  4. 1 in 88. Numbers that are nearly impossible to conceptualize.

    There are no greater patriots than our soldiers, Mr President. And no more inexcusable disservice to them than failing to care for their families while they risk their lives in service to our nation.

    Please, Mr President, light your house blue. It’s a start.

    • Thank you, Jess, for your continued enthusiastic support!

  5. my heart hurts for you and yours. we have two grandsons also with austism and my youngest son is a ranger in the army. So yes I too agree To Let The Blue Light SHINE!!

  6. This is a beautiful letter that I support whole heartedly. My heart goes out to your family and daughter. I thank you not only for your husband’s service but for your family’s sacrifice as well.

    My son is autistic and I know how much of his security lies in his routines. I cannot begin to fathom what the many moves have done to your daughter.

    My son attends third grade in his elementary school. There are only two 3rd grade classes this year due to attendance–there are 32 children in each class. It’s alot for a boy who has hyper sensitive hearing and other sensory issues. Out of the 64 students in 3rd grade, 8 of them are autistic. So many are faced with this, we need all the research and awareness that can be brought forth.

    Blessings to you.

  7. Always a fan Mrs. Sergeant Major!!!! xoxoxoxo

  8. I am sure that the added stress from being a military family is so tremendously difficult. My husband is not in the military. We are impacted by autism though. We too fight every day to give my son what he needs. I fight nonstop with my school district to get my son service and help he needs to learn and grow to his best ability. I strongly feel that not just the child is affected by autism the whole family is. The stress is overwhelming and the support is little if any. I have dealt with friends and family turning their back on us. Sometimes I don’t even know where to turn. I never back down though I am always hopeing that someday there will be an answer or that by parents like you or myself that keep this fight up and keep pushing for awareness and for our children to be recognized and heard that someday people will see that these children need and deserve to be heard. That families like yours and mine need support. I recently found this article . My first response was “Oh it’s not just me. I’m not looseing my mind”. God bless you and your family. I hope Obama changes his mind and gives our children the recognition and awareness they deserve.

  9. My son has Autism we as parents military or otherwise are fighting for the same cause i truly hope that are words are herd and that they will if they can do it for Brest cancer awareness then they can do it for Autism

  10. You speak of change president Obama, now lets see some action.

  11. He would do it. He is a parent too 🙂 Beautiful letter.

  12. Mr. President, I hear so many stories from other military families who are struggling to survive the battles they are fighting each day. It is heartbreaking to know their children are not getting the services and supports they need. More heartbreaking is the quietness of which the struggle continues.

    We need your voice, Sir.

  13. 1:88 Mr. President. 1:88. Those numbers leave me speechless. While these families are volunteering to give the ultimate sacrafice so families like mine can sleep in peace at night, I implore you, Mr. Presdent to light up the white house blue. Seems like it is the least we can do.

  14. Thank you so much for writing this letter. Thank you for the sacrifice that you, your family, and husband make on behalf of our country. And, thank you for summoning the strength to be an advocate for autism awareness. Best wishes to you and your brave family!


  16. My heartfelt thanks to you & your family for the daily sacrifices you make on behalf of our country. Fighting autism is difficult enough, I cannot imagine doing so while a spouse is away fighting a different battle. My best wishes to you all.

    • Dear Mr. President,
      I know because you are a parent and because you care for the people you serve, you will do all you can for those affected by autism. Thank you .

  17. What an amazing letter Mrs. Sergeant Major! OOH RAH!

  18. Dear Mr. President,

    I would hope you take this letter very seriously. I have seen first hand the toll these families endure. They are protecting our lives (yours and mine), I would hope that you could help make theirs not as stressful!

    Respectfully submitted,

    Tracey Ann Black

  19. Your letter was well written and touched my heart. I’m a grandmother than has a grandson with autism. I see what my daughter goes though on a daily basis with her son. I also wrote a letter to the president to light up the White House. I will be wearing Blue in April and my house lights will be blue. We all need to make more people aware of all the families that have a autism child. God Bless you, Gma

  20. I too am a military spouse. My child has autism and he is 9. I would be proud to have the White House light up blue. This simple gesture would mean the world to families, wouldn’t it?

  21. Mr. President- Please hear Mrs. Sergeant Major’s plea. For her daughter. For her son. For my friend whose husband is getting ready to deploy now, and for my other friend whose husband just came home. They need you. We need you. Please.

  22. So eloquently written. Our 5 year old son was diagnosed with Aspergers this year and we too face losing benefits for him next year when my husband retires. I pray daily that the Powers that be will change their rules for all of these children. Light it up Mr. President! I will be there this weekend and hope to see it!

    19 year Navy Wife!

  23. This token seems like a pretty easy way to acknowledge what these families are going through and that their struggles are being heard. How could the powers that be NOT make this gesture? Obviously it should be followed up with a policy of substance.

  24. Dear Mr. President – It’s a simple gesture that would mean a lot. Please – light the White House blue!!

  25. Mr. President:
    Such a simple gesture will mean so much to the families. Please open your heart and light the White House blue.

    Melissa M.

  26. Lovely letter, Mrs!

    Mr. President: This is the future that you spoke so hopefully of during your last State of the Union address. These children are the future; they have talents and gifts that extend beyond their struggles. With increased awareness, we can get them the support they need to allow the positives to blossom and help them with their struggles.

    And it all starts with a light. Your porch light. Well, *all* of your porch lights.


  27. Please, Mr. President, listen to the pleas of these good people whose families and children are in so much need of asssistance to allow those with autism to lead a wholesome life, as well as their fmaily. This letter is touching and so heartfelt. You have much to deal with, Mr. President, but please listen to the plea of our families who are serving the country and have children at home who are in such need of asssistance. Anne

  28. April is Autism Awareness Month AND the Month of the Military Child. In celebration of World Autism Day, light it up blue for our military families serving this great nation.
    Semper Fi,
    Marine wife, mother of 3 (one with autism)

  29. Rachel- That is a beautiful letter from a mother that is desperately seeking what her child needs. I support you and wish you luck on your journey to get it.

  30. Thank you, Mrs. Sergeant Major, for this powerful, heartfelt letter, for the sacrifices that your family makes for the rest of us, and for being the inspiration behind this post about autism, parenting, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Military families feel the sting of PTSD. Autism families feel the sting of PTSD. And military families living with autism? 1 in 88? I can’t even begin to imagine.

    Thank you for using your own experience to reach out and change the lives of so many others. You are a hero.

  31. Dear Mr. President,

    Please light the White House blue in honor of all the children and families living with autism. It seems like such a simple thing to do for people that do so much for this country.

    Thank you

  32. Dear Mr. President,
    How could you say no to the future ? All we are asking is for you to light up the white house in blue for 1 night. This is a cry for help and awarness for our people. I think we are not asking for much for the ones that have given our country there all. Please light up in Blue. Thank you

  33. For my child and all the children around the world, please show your support for Autism awareness.

  34. The LEAST the president can do is to light it up blue. Our military families deserve the best and get the dregs.

  35. Dear Mr. President,

    Some may say that displaying a blue light (or even many blue lights) won’t accomplish anything, that it’s only a symbol that few will understand. You can help change that. Please display these lights to help spread awareness of this often misunderstood and foreign issue that so many struggle with, yet so many have yet to understand. Children and families struggling with this every day deserve it.

  36. It doesn’t cost a thing to shine a light on autism in this way. Not doing it, however? Not doing it exacts an incalculable and unfair price, because it leaves our innocent and beautiful children alone in darkness that they do not deserve and woefully neglects their devoted families.

    Come on, Mr. President. This is a no-brainer. Help us demystify Americans about autism. Show you care. Honor this powerful letter by this amazing military wife. It really is the very least you can do.

  37. It is not hard “Obama”. light it up blue. if not for you, do it for the rest of us.

  38. This is a beautiful letter and I sincerely hope he listens. My daughter is also on the autism spectrum so I can imagine how hard the transitions are for all of you. God bless you and your family for your service to our country.

    Mr. President,
    I know you know about aloha because you grew up in Hawaii and you attended school with my husband’s cousin. Please come through for all of the military personal who must try to explain to their children with autism where Daddy or Mommy are while they serve our country or who have to pack up and leave established therapies and people their children have grown to trust to start over because our country asks them to go to another location.

  39. Dear Mr. President:

    I have had the honor of knowing “Mrs. Sergeant Major” for more than 30 years. We have known nearly all of our lives. I have never seen anyone fight so hard for her child. The stories she tells of the battles she has fought with insurance companies, school systems…. HER FIGHT IS ONE THAT SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO HAPPEN. YET IT *CONTINUES* TO HAPPEN.

    Autism is real and it is wide-spread. 1:88, as you’ve heard many times. The non-military familes numbers are high as well, just harder to keep track of because of the lack of a centralized insurance system like the military has.

    I have other friends with autistic children whose lives are a daily battle, as well. Please, Mr. President, LIGHT THE WHITE HOUSE BLUE. BUT…..after that, go to Congress, the Surgeon General, to anyone and EVERYone and make a change on behalf of these families–military and non-military.

    It is time to fight Autism head-on. I don’t think you’re one to back down from a challenge, Sir. Please take this challenge on.

    with deepest respect,
    Heidi Kay

  40. Dear Mr. President,

    Please light it up blue for Autism. We owe this to the families who give so much to this country and struggle every day to give their kids with Autism a bright future. It really is a small request that would mean the world. Thank You.

  41. C’mon Mr President! Just BLUE it!!

  42. Dear Mr. President,

    Our family had asked prior, but please reconsider lighting The White House up blue this year. Other causes are widely “advertised” and for how large scale Autism has become and how many families are effected it would be wonderful to have someone as important and influencial in our country to speak up and help make more aware of the importance of this fight we all face–especially our children.

    Thank you for your inspirational letter.

  43. I support this initiative. We can make progress!

  44. Blue is the new black : ). Just do it….

  45. Mr. President, please help give a voice to those who do not have one. 1 in 88 is epidemic….a tsunami of children with autism in this country. Help to honor those families to help preserve our freedom and then come home to their own persoanl struggles with autism.

  46. Dear Mr. President…Mrs. Sargeant Major couldn’t of said it any better. Military families need your support especially with children with Autism or on the Autism spectrum. Help them to Fight the Fight

  47. Mr. President,
    What a fantastic and simple way to send a message in support of children with autism and in support of our military and their families. For all the courageous, self-less acts of kindness that our military show us, I would like to support them and their families with special needs. How could you not?

  48. Dear President Obama,

    Please light the White House blue in honor of all the children and families living with autism. Thank you

  49. You are a gift to our community, Mrs. Sergeant Major. Proud of you and grateful for your family’s service to our country.

  50. Dear Mr. President,
    Please do this in honor of all children and families suffering the challenges of autism on a daily basis. I have known Mrs. Sergeant Major since we were kids and now to see and hear her working so hard to get what her needs is such an inspiration. I have never seen more persistance and stamina by any other person to get what her daughter deserves. She is a wonderful mother and only wants what is best for her children. This is a small request that would mean so much to so many people. Thank you!

  51. Dear Mr. President

    Please allow me to introduce myself, My name is Angie, and I am a single mother of a beautifl son, Tanner, who battles every day with Autism. As you have said the White House belongs to the citizens of America. And for this reason I am asking you as a citizen and as a parent to “Light It Up Blue” to show support for all families living with autism. This is an excellent and inexpensive way for you and your staff to show appreciation and support to our citizens and our communities throughout America.

    Sincerely Angie and Tanner

  52. Thank you, Everyone, for your kind words and thoughtful support of those who live with autism!
    It is an amazing gift of HOPE you share!
    -Mrs. Sergeant Major

  53. I have worked with autistic young adults in a group home setting. They were very sweet kids and not difficult to work with.They gave me an appreciation for this cause and I hope it will be supported by as many people as possible!

  54. I’ve known theis family only a little while but I have seen so much love and support and all that Rachel and William do for little Rachel and William Jr. It would be so great if you could please do this for them.

  55. it is time to put as much effort into supporting our children here as we do for the rest of the world


  57. Dear Mr. President,
    I am the mother of an autistic child. You can’t even begin to imagine the challenges that these children and their families face every day of our lives. In addition, we fight every day of our lives to get services for these children that no one wants to provide. Insurance companies don’t want to pay for them and neither do the school systems. We have laws on the books that require school systems to provide the services, but many of them still don’t. We provide them with neuropsych evals, they conduct assessments, we go through appeals processes….all the while we do our best to care for these children and exhaust our bank accounts to do it. This is a small gesture to shed light on a huge problem that faces our society. The numbers don’t lie. If no one acknowledges the plight of these children and their families and no one helps, what does the future hold for them and what does the future hold for our society? Support your own agenda – light it up blue!

  58. Help these families, Mr President; they are “the people” too.

  59. Dear Mr. President,

    Please light the White House blue in honor of all the children and families living with autism. Thank you!

  60. Dear President Obama:
    As a mom and aunt of two beautiful children with autism, I beg you to do the right things and light the People’s House in BLUE. We need to bring much more attention to Autism through public awareness of this alarmingly prevelenat disorder which affects 1 in 110 children. Of course, that means 1 in 110 of our country’s future adult population. We need more research to discover the cause in order to prevent the growing numbers of diagnosis. Even better, if we know the cause maybe we can find a CURE for the many that are already afflicted! But for the first step, can’t you please just light a blue light in honor of the tens of thousands of families affected? We need your support! NOW!

  61. […] at the Word Press site, Light the White House Blue for Autism. Yesterday I saw a post from Ms. Sergeant Major after AK Butler Try Defying Gravity brought it to my attention.  Then Kelly at Puzzle Piece […]

  62. Rachel,
    You’re doing an incredible job. I am so proud of you.
    Good luck to you, your family, and all you are doing. If ever there is anything you need me to do, just let me know. You can rest assured that it will be done.

  63. Dear Mr. Obama,

    The glow of blue light shining from the White House would certainly mean a whole lot to a whole lot of people. We’d greatly appreciate your doing so, and supporting those who support us all.

    Thank you,
    Bill Leslie

  64. Mr. President,
    It’s about time we do something for our military families. We have no problem helping everyone else, but consistently fall short of taking care of the very people who protect our freedoms. If we can afford to provide money to Brazil to help them drill for oil, we can surely come up with funds to help this cause. Please listen to these families and help them. Thank you, Michael

  65. Yes.You.Can! Please, sir, help shine a light of understanding and awareness, of appreciation and compassion, for all the world to see. It would be such a small thing to do but the impact would create a ripple that could change the way the people of our country, an the world, see autism. Please light the people’s house blue on April 2nd.

  66. Mr. President, Please help all of these families. They go through so much everyday fighting for their children and have no answers on why their child/children are affected by this disease. It is truely heartbreaking. We need your support in finding the cause and a cure. Thank you.

  67. One small gesture can mean so much to so many people, and lighting the White House up blue would help to bring up so many discussions and possibly funding for autism. So why not take a moment and do this for all my friends and the many others who fight everyday to get everything that their children deserve.

  68. Mr President Sir

    As a father of a child with autism, and as a husband to a wonderful woman who champions my childs cause, I beg you to light the white house lights blue. Show the country, if not the world, that this cause means as much to you as it does for all the hard working parents out there who’s child has autism. Do it for our kids mr president. They and their parents deserve the spotlight. A blue one.

  69. Mr. Obama, please show support for our kids and light the white house blue!!

  70. Dear Mr. President,
    Do it for our children. Do it for our families. Do it to send a message of awareness and acceptance. Please, light the White House blue.

  71. Thank you so much Mrs. Sergeant Major for writing a beautiful letter that so strongly expresses the need of military families dealing with autism! I’m praying that positive results come out of it!

  72. Mr. President, autism is by far the most prevalent neurological condition faced by children in the United States. The numbers continue to increase, Mr. Obama. These children deserve to know that you care about them. All you need to do is light it up blue. Take a stand for our children. They are our future. Thank you for your time.
    Kate A. Griffith, mother to the most incredible Foster Stetts, a child with moderate autism, and Reilly Stetts, a warrior child who survived a massive brain tumor and who endures many of the same challenges faced by children with autism & sensory integrative disorders.

  73. To all those who have taken the time to show your support, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    -Rachel ‘Mrs. Sergeant Major’

  74. The White House is “our” house. The President of the United States may work and live there as a matter of privledge, but it belongs to *we, the people*. Mr. President, please light up “our” house blue for autism. For 1 in 110 children in the United States, for 1 in 88 children of military servicemen and women, please shine a light of hope for our loved ones with autism.

  75. no child should go without all the help that is available to them….they are our future….please light the blue light

  76. Our grandson was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old. He is now 9 yrs old and will be 10 in May. We were not aware of “autism” until our family became a statistic and how important it is to have the support for our military families as well as non military. These families are to be commended for the tough road they are traveling.
    Please light the blue light for autism. Thank you

  77. All I can say is blue is the least you can do. Rachel and her family sacrifice everyday for our country, a blue light is a small I hear you and appreciate you.

  78. Mr. President,
    I need to know you understand what the families coping with autism are going through. That you care. Because despite all the emails, posts and comments, I feel very alone in this battle. Just a blue light to show you’ve got our back.

    • please do all that you can do for these special kids and families.
      Thank you

  79. Dear Mr. President, Our children and our troops deserve no less.
    Please show your support and light the White House Blue for Autism Awareness on April 2. Please try and encourage our country to support our troops more. I know Michelle is on a mission to do this. Show her your support.

  80. Dear Mr. President,

    Such a small gesture on your part, with such BIG meaning to so many. Show support by lighting the white house BLUE!

    You are an inspiration, Mrs. Sergeant Major!

  81. Dear Mr. President

    My cousin and her family, along with millions of other families in the USA/WORLD have been affected by Autism. Their mission is to help increase the worlds knowledge of the autism epidemic and to celebrate the unique talents and skills of persons with autism. Please light up the White House brightly in BLUE

    Dean Birch

  82. Awesome letter and love RM with the flag.

  83. Very well said and we wish you the best of luck!

  84. Dear President Obama,
    The Mrs. Sargeant Majors of the world are doing what not every parent has the strength or will to do– beating the drum for kids with autism every day. Light the White House blue as an inspiration for the “warrior mammas” to keep fighting for all kids with differences.

  85. The families of Autism need your support. Please light up the White House with Blue.

  86. Rachel, you are amazing!

    Dear Mr. President,

    When it comes to children with disabilities, no request is too big nor too small. Please ‘Light It Up Blue’.

  87. Dear Mr President,

    As a healthcare professional I urge you to support this cause and light up The White House blue! Autism not only affects those diagnosed with it, but also their families and friends. Please, for American families struggling with loved ones with autism, won’t you show us your support?



  88. Mr. President- With all due respect, you have 2 beautiful daughters without disabilities. You have not had to spend a year in a far away place in danger- this family has done both. Have staff change the lightbulbs at the white house to light it up blue- it is really the least you could do, right?

  89. Dear Sir,
    I emplore you, please light up the White House BLUE to recognize all the children with Autism disorders and the familes and communities that support them.
    Thank you!
    Marianne in NH

  90. Dear Mr President, By now I am sure you have a some idea about what families who have a loved one with Autism endure. But I until you live and breathe it, 24/7, you can only imagine the struggles that we face each and every day. As the parent of a child with Autism, I am asking for your support, which will mean so much to so many. Please consider having The White House join in with so many families, buildings and communities who are lighting it up blue. Autism affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys. These numbers are an epidemic. The toll it takes on families is unimaginable. It does not discriminate. The toll it takes on those who have a spouse serving in the Military is immense. Imagine having your spouse serving their country, fearing for them every day and then finding out that your child has Autism, and this will be a life long disability, with NO cure at this point in time. 1 out of 88 active duty military dependent children in our country lives with autism. These are the facts. Mr. President on behalf of all the families, and especially those who have served OUR country, please let us know you hear us and you support us and acknowledge the fight we fight each and every day. Remember todays children will grow up and become adults, and with the growing number of children being born or diagnosed with Autism, it is much more likely that today’s children could very possibly be tomorrows parent to a child with Autism. Join us Mr. President, let us know you care and you stand alongside us in our fight. Light it up Blue on April 2nd.

  91. Mr. President we are not asking for a party on your front lawn to resolve differences! We are asking for a symbol to light up the white house blue. A small acknowledgement that is long over due, you have done more for such few, this is a way you can really show so many men, women and families that you do indeed care.

    Come on after all it’s my birthday!

  92. Light it up Blue Mr. President. The families who have children with autism need your support. WE need your support. 1 in 88 military children need your support. Please light it up Blue for all of them.
    This is a simple gesture but it carries so much weight. Your actions will bring attention to an epidemic that is going unnoticed. Light it up Blue Mr. President.

  93. Dear Mr. President,
    Please read my cousin’s letter and take in every word. Autism is a battle that she and her family fight every day through love and determination. I know she will not give up on the fight for children with autism, and you can’t give up either. Please light the white house blue!

  94. Dear Mr. President,
    This small request would positively affect many people who have children with disabilities. One in eighty-eight active duty military dependent children in America lives with autism, and showing your support would be greatly appreciated.

  95. lets turn the whitehouse “blue” for autism!!!

  96. As a high school teacher for many years, and now as a professor at the college level, I have had a wealth of experience with autism. Autistic children, all over the spectrum, are faced with an array of challenges, as are their parents, and those struggles are frequently ignored or misunderstood. Add to that another layer: military members in active duty have already sacrificed so much…time with their families, watching their children grow up, and the basic day to day life that we commoners enjoy because they have made this commitment to serve and protect. Add the diagnosis of autism to the mix and that sacrifice of absence becomes even more profound. It seems to me the least the White House could do would be to light it up blue, if nothing else, to honor these military personnel, but perhaps most importantly to promote awareness. Respectfully, Tami Fagan

  97. Light it up blue!

  98. I am a PROUD MOM of a daughter with Autism. LET’S SEE THIS CHANGE YOU SPEAK OF!


  99. Dear Mr. President & First Lady Michelle,

    One more thing as we ask you to Light it Up Blue. We have children, who many times go unheard, many cannot speak or communicate. So please hear OUR voices, listen to our plea, the voices of the parents who speak on behalf of our children living with Autism. We are their voices and advocates. Show you care and join in our fight to help create more awareness. Light it up blue, for families, children & adults affected by Autism. We need to know you support us in this.

  100. Mr. President-

    I too am a mother of a child with autism. I too am a military spouse. Believe me when I say that the trials and tribulations that we face daily are exponentially harder because people are not yet aware of the impact of autism. Deployments are hard enough on our families, but when coupled with the constant fight for medical coverage, adequate school support and awareness for our cause and the fight is at times overwhelming. The autism community is a family, much the same way that the military community is. Families depend on each other for encouragement and support when times are hard. As the leader of our proud military, can’t you see fight to honor our cause by lighting the White House blue? The staggering effect of this simple act would start the conversation that would help ease some of our struggles. Please consider supporting us.

  101. Wow….great cause…I see these children everyday and wonder what part I can do to help them and their families…Autism is real and it is hard. Let’s support the families…It is hard enough living with it day today..Let’s give a little encouragement and support in any way we can. This is such a simple thing. Do it for the children and for their families who sacrifice so much for their children and for our country!

  102. Mr. President —

    Military life IS hard enough without the extra stress of finding the right doctor, the right school, the right therapy that will fit our children’s needs. I can relate to the author in the original post – I had to send an email to my husband aboard a submarine regarding our son’s possible diagnosis just weeks ago, only to have that part edited out for “morale” purposes. Military life is isolating at times, and being a part of a community within that community is something I feel both blessed and sometimes discouraged about. I am lucky enough to be located in an area that has a military special needs support group, the only one of its kind in the country, and likely in the world. We are lucky, and just this week, our little group has taken it upon themselves to expand worldwide by launching the Military Special Needs Network, with a website, online information, and even an online support group.

    I speak to you as a mother of 2 children who are on the autism spectrum, and as a spouse to a man bravely serving his country in the US Navy. Please show your support to not only us military families, for to EVERY family in the US and in the world by lighting it up blue for World Autism Day. There are many other cities and landmarks throughout the US and the world who are doing just that, and I would be proud and honored if you would choose to light the White House blue for just ONE day.

    Please consider supporting us.

  103. Mr President –

    I am also a mother of children on the autism spectrum – not just one, but two children on the spectrum. When I attempted to send an email to my husband aboard a Navy submarine to let him know about the possible diagnosis for our son, my email was edited for “morale” reasons. This is a fact of life in the Navy’s submarine force, and part of what we signed up for when my husband signed on the dotted line.

    Many of us are thousands of miles away from our best support, our families. Personally, my family lives approximately 3100 miles away from where I do. Luckily, the military community here in WA is fabulous, and we even have a support group just for military families who have special needs (not just autism – it encompasses every special need that could classify a dependent into the exceptional family member program). They have recently branched out to the rest of the world (after finding out that they were the ONLY support group of its kind in the world) by launching The Military Special Needs Network this week. I am grateful for that, by all means. It doesn’t change the fact that deployments are hard and that at least one of my children has a severely difficult time communicating her thoughts and feelings when Daddy is deployed.

    Please, as a sign of solidarity, not just for us military families, but for ALL families who have a family member with autism (not just children, but adults too), light up the White House blue.

  104. Mr. President, with all due respect, I vote for autism.

  105. Families of autistic children overcome hurdles every day of their lives; hurdles that most of us wouldn’t even consider, much less embrace with the passion that these parents do. For those families who freely volunteer one or more members to our country’s armed forces, these obstacles multiply exponentially. I watched as this family struggled to gain access to services for their dear daughter. This is difficult enough in today’s world. It is even more overwhelming with one parent fighting our nation’s battles overseas and the other at home, fighting daily battles with insurance companies, school districts, and health care providers.

    There is no doubt that access to appropriate care is crucial for those with autism. Our military families deserve for TRICARE, their lifeline for medical issues, to provide autism therapies as medically necessary. These families have much to bear. They should not be expected to beg for needed services from their own support system.

    Please show your support for the community — YOUR community — and light the White House blue tomorrow, April 2, for World Autism Awareness Day.

  106. Dear Mr. President,

    I’ve had the privilege of working with Sergeant Majorand watching the tireless efforts that he and Mrs. Sergeant Major have had to make over the last several years with their experience with autism. The most difficult to observe was the while SGM was most recently deployed while his incredible wife endured her own battle on the homefront to gain the appropriate care for their precious daughter. It’s hard enough for military spouses to be apart from their families and adding the uncalled for pressure to not only the family back home but SGM while oversees is truly a travesty.

    Your opportunity to offer support for these incredible families by simply lighting the White House blue is a simple yet profoundly important act that will impact so many. Don’t let this opportunity and these requests from so many fall on deaf ears. LIGHT IT UP BLUE Mr President!

    Thank you!

  107. Light it up blue!! It’s the least you can do for those who have sacrificed so much.

  108. Dear President Obama,
    This weekend, please join us in lighting up our homes “blue”. Everyday I am thankful that I have two beautiful, “typical” children. While autism has not touched my immediate family, I have cousins and friends who endlessly seek support for their children. I work in the public school system and have the pleasure of being delighted each and every day by children who are on the spectrum. While these children are endearing and unique with their own special gifts, I the other side of their coin so to speak and I know how much their parents, family members, friends and educators have fought for their needs. Please join us!

  109. […] note: Before I continue with my speech on why these issues are so important – If you have not done so – PLEASE – show your support for our military families by leaving a commen…  Scroll down to the bottom and 'Leave A Reply'. THANK […]

  110. Dear Mr. President,

    Please light the white house blue for autism awareness. Such a simple gesture would mean so much to the many people affected by autism on a daily basis. A staggering number of military families are faced with an autism diagnosis and this would be an effortless way to show support for those families who support all of us.

    Considering that Mrs. Obama is a staunch supporter of military families it just seems like the right thing to do. Let’s bring awareness to this issue. Thank you.


  111. Well spoken Mrs. Sergeant Major. I’m behind you 100%

  112. Light it up blue! Way to go Rachel…RM is so lucky to have you and William as her parents!

  113. Military families especially need our support! They are fighting battles on EVERY front; at home and away! Please Mr. President, please support our military families AND children with Autism!

  114. Commander-in-Chief,

    Please do what is right for those who sacrifice so much. Please…

  115. Please light the white house up blue for autism awareness! I work with children who have autism everyday and they are the bravest people I know! Please support this cause with this small gesture!

  116. […] the White House blue for autism awareness” blog that features incredible posts from Jess, Mrs. Sergeant Major, Suzanne, Kerry, Wills, Laura and […]

  117. President Obama,
    My son does not have access to therapy he should be allowed to receive as a child diagnosed with Autism, simply because his father is RETIRED from the military after serving two year-long tours in Iraq, and coming home too sick to stay active-duty. Can you tell me the justification for TRICARE denying my phone call to receive services, even though we have TRICARE Standard? I, along with thousands upon thousands of other families, want answers. Not just answers, but action. OUR CHILDREN DESERVE HELP, AND AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THIS GREAT NATION’S MILITARY, HOW CAN YOU STAND BY AND WATCH THE MILITARY DEPENDENTS LIVE WITH AUTISM AND NO HELP, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ARE ACTIVE-DUTY OR RETIRED? We shouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail for these services that are PROVEN affective (for example, Applied Behavior Analysis)! I guess we have to, though, considering it is taking a village just to get the white house to light up blue.

  118. Rachel, What you are doing is wonderful & may God Bless you, & all family’s on the journey of learning, living, & loving those with autism. Your in our thoughts and prayers. We hope to see the White House Shining Blue!! Blessings, Glenn & Sandy

  119. Dear Mr. President,

    All families affected by autism face a unique set of challenges. Families serving in our military face another set of challenges. For those who are fighting these battles – in large and small ways – please show your support. They shouldn’t have to go it alone.

    Thank you,
    Kate Bartolotta

  120. […] of The United States.  I voted for him and I have to say I am deeply disappointed in the lack of blue lights on his front porch this past […]

  121. Please support these families in their time of need. Thank you.

  122. My thoughts and prayers go out to the military families, and civilian families affected by autism. Rachel, you are very courageous in asking for something so small to be done, but that symbolizes something so much bigger. I am not personally affected by autism, but i support your cause 100%. It is people like you who have the courage to make a stand, and in turn, provide a foundation for change. Please support Rachels’ cause and light the White House blue!

  123. […] daughter RM was born with a 4q Deletion and has an autism diagnosis. Rachel was part of the ‘Light the White House Blue for Autism‘ campaign and has a blog,’Welcome to […]

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