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Goal: 15,000 Progress: 12,151
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


Aug 21, 2014 SGT Mark Parsley, USA (Ret.)
Aug 21, 2014 Mary Levan
Aug 21, 2014 kapil suranga
Aug 21, 2014 Rebecca Monahan
Aug 21, 2014 Michele Hillmer
Aug 20, 2014 Carol Shannon Shame on the powers that be denying military families with autistic children a well recognized "gold standard" treatment for autism. DoD...read up on autism. "Gold Standard" means best recomended treatment modality. Our military deserve best practice !
Aug 20, 2014 Cheryl kimble
Aug 20, 2014 Tommy King
Aug 20, 2014 Tina Young
Aug 20, 2014 Lisa Bodick Every child should have coverage to help them with Autism. Especially our military families with Autistic children.
Aug 20, 2014 Debra Wilson
Aug 20, 2014 Angela Hushea
Aug 20, 2014 (Name not displayed) These families have fought and died for the right for there special needs child to have the same help as any other child. PLEASE help
Aug 20, 2014 (Name not displayed) It is a shame that these services are not available to military families! It has been shown that early intervention is KEY to autism, yet you are denying it.CHANGE IT!!!!
Aug 20, 2014 Dennise Faulkner My grandson is on the spectrum and I can'timagine not being able to get therapy for him. Our service members deserve to care for their children and give them the best life possible
Aug 20, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 20, 2014 Melissa Boggs
Aug 20, 2014 Dusanka Sekuljica
Aug 20, 2014 Tammy Griffin-Compton Please sign help our military families!
Aug 19, 2014 Scarlett Strong
Aug 18, 2014 Lynn Hunsaker
Aug 18, 2014 Jennifer Concepcion
Aug 18, 2014 Diane Gravette
Aug 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 18, 2014 Laurel Lane
Aug 18, 2014 donna sitter
Aug 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 16, 2014 Alyssa Perrin
Aug 16, 2014 Sofia Rivera
Aug 16, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 15, 2014 jackie wilcher
Aug 15, 2014 (Name not displayed) Support is necessary. I have worked wirh children who are with autism.. everyone deserves a quality of life
Aug 15, 2014 Boni Skinner
Aug 15, 2014 Lauren Amaro
Aug 15, 2014 Shannon McCroskey Autism should be supported by all walks of life.
Aug 15, 2014 Angel Ray There is no excuse!
Aug 15, 2014 Jacklyn Fennell This is a necessity for so many. Support our troops and vets by helping their families!!
Aug 15, 2014 Eric Groves
Aug 15, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 15, 2014 Amanda Evans For Ebin
Aug 15, 2014 Dana Faerber
Aug 15, 2014 Sasha Lopez
Aug 15, 2014 Sue Meeks
Aug 15, 2014 Shelley Taroli We need to do more than this! Retirees don't recieve these benefits after serving their lives! Adult service waits in states are 10 years long. Every time we move we go to the bottom of the list in that state. The govt needs to take care of the families!!
Aug 15, 2014 (Name not displayed) Early intervention can make such a huge difference and benefit all of society in the long run.
Aug 15, 2014 Emily Dallmier I am a military wife with a son with Autism.
Aug 15, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 15, 2014 Michele Troyer
Aug 15, 2014 Dolly Pizzimenti
Aug 15, 2014 (Name not displayed) My son has autism and it will be nice if the military will cover it under our benefits.my wife and I have been waiting a very long time to get help for our son.

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