Autism and Military Healthcare

The Department of Defense (DoD) has established the policies that support military families of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps and their reserve components. The DoD has also established the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) for service members and civilian personnel within DoD who have children with special needs, including autism.

DoD and Healthcare

Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) enrollment is mandatory for active duty service members and required immediately upon identification of a medical and/or educational special need. Providing for both administrative and family support, it is an essential program for both families and the Military Services.


TRICARE combines military healthcare resources and civilian providers authorized by TRICARE to receive reimbursement. Within the United States, TRICARE is organized into three geographic service regions: North, South, and West. Each region is administered by a TRICARE Regional Office and offers the same choices for health care plans and coverage. TRICARE beneficiaries living overseas have fewer options.

Extended Care Health Option (ECHO)

In 2005, TRICARE replaced the Program for Persons with Disabilities with the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO). ECHO provides financial assistance to eligible beneficiaries who qualify, based on specific mental or physical disabilities, and offers services and supplies not available through the basic TRICARE program. In this way, eligible family members, once registered, access these additional benefits from ECHO as a supplement to TRICARE.

Autism Demonstration Project

The TRICARE Autism Demonstration Project is a program designed to augment the services provided by TRICARE and better meet the unique challenges faced by families with a child who has an ASD. This program specifically targets evidence-based interventions founded in principles of applied behavior analysis.