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Goal: 15,000 Progress: 14,264
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

Oct 24, 2014 Mary Hockett
Oct 24, 2014 Anna Fierro
Oct 24, 2014 Elizabeth Johnson
Oct 24, 2014 Jaime Worthen
Oct 24, 2014 Chrissy McIntire
Oct 24, 2014 Penny Taylor
Oct 24, 2014 Tammy coey Please help!!!
Oct 24, 2014 Jody McBride
Oct 24, 2014 (Name not displayed) What could *possibly be* in the many, many military vaccines that are forced on them, that could *possibly be* raising autism rates and suicide rates? Hormone disruptor, fertility kill? Does our military unknowingly volunteer as population control agents?
Oct 24, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 24, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 24, 2014 Antonietta dalonzo
Oct 24, 2014 Sandra Miller
Oct 24, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 24, 2014 Haley Holder
Oct 24, 2014 Ellen Coyne
Oct 24, 2014 Dawn Bowers
Oct 24, 2014 Nora Groeneweg
Oct 24, 2014 Kelly Connell
Oct 24, 2014 Dominique Landry
Oct 24, 2014 Linda Reptik
Oct 24, 2014 Ann Swiney
Oct 24, 2014 Christine Sykora
Oct 24, 2014 Beth Burgeson
Oct 24, 2014 jacy Bradham
Oct 24, 2014 Rosemary Bell Absolutely, it is pitiful that military families cannot get the help and assistance they need with special needs children.
Oct 24, 2014 (Name not displayed) Please help these children of our military vets. The military deserves peace of mind that what they do for our country is truly appreciated by the benefits that they and their families receive and deserve.
Oct 24, 2014 Joseph Harris
Oct 24, 2014 Nancy Harris
Oct 24, 2014 Carolyn Dennis
Oct 24, 2014 Cari Lakatosh
Oct 24, 2014 Timothy Cross
Oct 24, 2014 Glenda Combs
Oct 23, 2014 Julie Cannon
Oct 23, 2014 Pat Turner Please give military families the benefits they earned and cover autism therapy and whatever else they need as far as treatment is concerned. Quit giving them hope when there is none. Carry through with all treatment whenever and where ever needed!!
Oct 23, 2014 Constance Rux
Oct 23, 2014 Angelina Squire
Oct 23, 2014 Marie Edmiston
Oct 23, 2014 robin richey
Oct 23, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 23, 2014 Gail Silverman
Oct 23, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 23, 2014 Anna Merritt This works. I have a relative with a special needs child. The parents started training him at nine months. He is four years old now and we had the pediatrician at the birthday party. She remarked he is amazing. Do not take this opportunity away .
Oct 23, 2014 Lisa Verruso
Oct 23, 2014 lyn arwood Please give military families access to autism coverage.
Oct 23, 2014 Marjorie Croteau Stop wasting time, please lives can be saved.
Oct 23, 2014 Nancy Daily
Oct 23, 2014 Jami Lee
Oct 23, 2014 Judith Haney
Oct 23, 2014 Cheri Kilgour

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