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Goal: 15,000 Progress: 11,964
Sponsored by: The Veterans Site

For years the Department of Defense (DoD) has refused to acknowledge the validity of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in treating the symptoms of autism. With over 23,000 military dependents living on the spectrum, this means restricted access to the most valuable treatment currently available. Already burdened by the constant moving and social turmoil of military life, families must also pay out of pocket for this costly yet vital therapy.

Rather than embrace change, the military's primary health care program, TRICARE, has imposed a series of even more restrictive guidelines, all while DoD lawyers continue to argue against covering ABA, citing "a lack of evidence of effectiveness." Medical professionals and organizations agree, however, that ABA is the most effective treatment available, helping those with autism lead happy and productive lives. Children tend to respond best to the therapy at a younger age, so as the DoD stalls and delays, families are losing precious time to help their loved ones.

With the world's largest, best-equipped, and best-financed military, such practices are unacceptable. An effective military starts with the people. Let's give military families the benefits they have earned.

Sign Here

Dear Dr. Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs:

As the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense of matters of health, you have an obligation to keep our nation's military healthy.

And you are failing.

For years the Department of Defense has refused to acknowledge the valuable service provided by Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in treating the symptoms of autism. Medical consensus depicts ABA as the gold standard of autism therapies, yet TRICARE provides inadequate coverage and imposes unreasonable bureaucratic obstacles, leaving military families to incur debt trying to cover the costly yet necessary treatment.

It is time to live up to your obligation. The DoD should immediately:

  1. Recognize ABA as a "medical therapy." Current TRICARE policy labels ABA as "educational intervention" and places restrictive caps on who can receive benefits and how much they can receive. Even the federal courts recognized the misnomer, calling TRICARE's designation "arbitrary and capricious." Words matter.
  2. Fulfill the congressional mandate for a pilot program. The late-2012 order from Congress would establish a model for the future while providing immediate relief for the nation's veterans and their families. Several months overdue, the pilot should be launched immediately with clear and concise communication to the families affected.
  3. Reverse ABA cutbacks. The recently announced changes to ABA policy impose impractical obstacles to proper treatment and, given the timing of the changes, demonstrate an unwillingness to work with the families who are only seeking access to the benefits they earned.

The health and well-being of military families has a direct impact on military readiness. By continuing to stall on this matter, the DoD not only betrays the nation's military, but also puts the nation at risk.

Please do the right thing.

Petition Signatures

Jul 22, 2014 Layla Wake
Jul 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 22, 2014 Drema Harbinson
Jul 22, 2014 Liza Z
Jul 22, 2014 Leo Celaya
Jul 22, 2014 Tyler Fazio I have Autism and would like to speak out for other kids like me. Help our military parents give kids with PDD a fighting chance for a hopeful future.
Jul 22, 2014 Breanna Fazio I watch my parents struggle everyday to make ends meet because my mom has to stay home and take care of my brother with Autism. We aren't military and I see how hard it is. Time to step up Mr. President and cover our troop like they have covered you!!!!!!
Jul 22, 2014 Pete Fazio JR.
Jul 22, 2014 Peter Fazio
Jul 22, 2014 Jeanne Furman Time to step up to the plate. The Government needs to protect our soldiers families just like the soldiers have done for the government, their families, and this country.
Jul 22, 2014 Shannon Fazio Time to cover our military families as well a you cover those on welfare who refuse to work!!!!!
Jul 22, 2014 ken jurick
Jul 22, 2014 Litticia Rudy
Jul 22, 2014 Teresa Sutton
Jul 22, 2014 James Babb Please do the right thing.
Jul 22, 2014 Geraldine Fuhrmann As a military spouse with a child who has Autism I beg you to recognize ABA as medical therapy and get our service families the help they need.
Jul 22, 2014 (Name not displayed) My grandson is Autistic and my son is a Marine. They have to pay for their son's therapy themselves causing hardship to the family.
Jul 21, 2014 Sandra Bowerman They have served this country and/or risked their lives for this country! Don't you think they deserve more than they have gotten in return?!!!
Jul 21, 2014 Denise Denton
Jul 21, 2014 Adriana Chalson
Jul 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 20, 2014 Franck Gauthier
Jul 20, 2014 Jimmie Lynne Berry
Jul 20, 2014 Diane Holland
Jul 19, 2014 Linda Rock
Jul 19, 2014 Michelle pease Please give military families benefits for autism, there is a great need for these children. I
Jul 19, 2014 Sophia Chapman
Jul 19, 2014 Nicole Ericksen
Jul 19, 2014 Rose Ostrander
Jul 19, 2014 Raquel Grigoropoulos As a military family i think this is very important that children on the spectrum get the care they need and deserve.
Jul 19, 2014 Heather Clarke When they're out fightin for our freedom they don't need the constant worry if their child is getting the proper medical treatment!
Jul 19, 2014 Cheryl Wiehr
Jul 19, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 19, 2014 Racheal Burdick
Jul 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 18, 2014 Tracie Taylor
Jul 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 18, 2014 (Name not displayed) Please help lessen the burden of those who put their life on the line.
Jul 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 18, 2014 Jenn Catts
Jul 18, 2014 Heidi Insolera
Jul 18, 2014 Kellie Burnette Being a soldier is tough. Being a parent is tough. Don't make their job tougher by denying them access to the care that could make their child's life a little easier.
Jul 18, 2014 Azalea Vega-Lownsbery
Jul 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 18, 2014 Tamrs Haynes
Jul 18, 2014 Amanda Snodgrass
Jul 18, 2014 Charlotte Moore
Jul 18, 2014 Denise Siverling
Jul 18, 2014 jamie Schneider
Jul 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)

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