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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 16,535
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.

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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 29, 2015 Melissa Miller Important
Jul 29, 2015 Liz s.
Jul 29, 2015 Amber Ramos
Jul 28, 2015 Nancy Black
Jul 27, 2015 Danielle Schultz
Jul 26, 2015 Chris Sterry
Jul 22, 2015 Vickie Long
Jul 21, 2015 DOUG SNYDER
Jul 21, 2015 athena villa
Jul 18, 2015 shandi lawrence
Jul 18, 2015 Dante Schulz
Jul 18, 2015 Timothy Doerner
Jul 17, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 16, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 16, 2015 Victoria Miniaci
Jul 15, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 14, 2015 Cynthia Haynes
Jul 14, 2015 Lea Faulks
Jul 14, 2015 Yvonne Christison
Jul 14, 2015 helena hackel
Jul 14, 2015 Anthony Hostetter
Jul 13, 2015 Emma Haigh
Jul 12, 2015 Tim Pratt
Jul 11, 2015 Jan Adler
Jul 11, 2015 bill o'connell
Jul 10, 2015 leon hargett Give our disabled vetarens what they deserve
Jul 9, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 9, 2015 Debra Berg
Jul 8, 2015 Gareth Payne
Jul 8, 2015 Greta Reis
Jul 8, 2015 KATHLEEN DUASON These Vets gave earned health benefits for themselves and their families, so lets give them ALL the benefits they needs!
Jul 8, 2015 Krystal vaneiken
Jul 8, 2015 Robin Dosanjh
Jul 8, 2015 Doris Smith
Jul 8, 2015 (Name not displayed) They earned this by protecting our freedom!
Jul 8, 2015 Brianne Brandemihl Autism coverage is essential!!
Jul 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 8, 2015 m rivera
Jul 8, 2015 Darla Daniel-Seabolt
Jul 8, 2015 Rebecca Davis
Jul 8, 2015 Jeff Grecula
Jul 8, 2015 Ashley Clark As a mom with an autistic little girl, I can truly say that therapy is a HUGE help for children. It's hard enough to find ANY therapists for young children. No reason for insurance to make it more difficult. This is so SO important.
Jul 8, 2015 Barbara Wilson i was military and I believe the children left behind while our men and women go to do their jobs need all preparation for autistic spectrum children so they may have a chance! Military had one parent let's not take away from the children anymore!!!!!
Jul 6, 2015 Tammy Moran
Jul 5, 2015 Jamie Veysey
Jul 5, 2015 Jack Behme
Jul 5, 2015 tracy beason
Jul 4, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 4, 2015 Donald Wedekind
Jul 3, 2015 Jackie Reed Our members of the military deserve our thanks and support for PTSD and Autism and so many other problems, The suicide rate is intolerable

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