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Goal: 15,000 Progress: 14,076
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


Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed) Our Government should be completely ASHAMED of their refusal to help take care of the needs of our military personnel. These are the men and women who place themselves in harms way to allow us to continue to enjoy the freedom we have as Americans.
Oct 22, 2014 mark anderson
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed) I am not affected by the outcome of this petition, but if there is any chance of ABA helping children of a young age living a better life, I am 100% behind making sure the families will be receiving every help there is.
Oct 22, 2014 Catherine Johnston
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 22, 2014 Teri Daniels Our military men and woman risk everything for us. And yet have to fight at home as well for medical care and proper pay. They should be compensated and covered better. They shouldnt have to beg for any treatment.
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed) Military wife through husbands active years, now a disabled veteran. Help these families!
Oct 22, 2014 Marilyn Holcomb
Oct 22, 2014 daveena taylor
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed) HELP OUR MILITARY'S CHILDREN! THEY SACRFICE SO MUCH FOR OUR COUNTRY.
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed) Please give the members of the military healthcare coverage forr alternative therapies for special needs children
Oct 22, 2014 Karen Norfleet
Oct 22, 2014 Diana Jakob
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 22, 2014 Susan Zanghi
Oct 22, 2014 Eileen Greenberg
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 22, 2014 Wendy Miller
Oct 22, 2014 Robin Krawczyk All Military families should receive whatever medical help they need, without any problems.
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 22, 2014 Jinny Weatherford
Oct 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 21, 2014 Colleen galietti
Oct 21, 2014 Rita Shoemaker
Oct 21, 2014 Debbie Clark
Oct 21, 2014 Tristan Webbe
Oct 21, 2014 Karen Paradiso
Oct 21, 2014 Shawna Harbaugh
Oct 21, 2014 j abbott
Oct 20, 2014 Rebecca Gaskin Why is this even an issue? They should have the best coverage and the least bureaucracy to encounter after what they have done for this country!
Oct 20, 2014 mike lowry
Oct 20, 2014 Jessica rozicki
Oct 20, 2014 Dona Stone
Oct 20, 2014 melissa alaniz
Oct 20, 2014 Jill McLaury
Oct 20, 2014 Cindy polesky
Oct 20, 2014 (Name not displayed) EVERYONE should have access to the benefits that cover Autism Therapy. That therapy makes all the difference, and the earlier the better. Time is too precious to have to fight over our children's care, but giving up is not an option.
Oct 20, 2014 mary mcdonald
Oct 20, 2014 (Name not displayed) pass this please
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 19, 2014 Eileen Council
Oct 19, 2014 Amanda Mitchell You are safe and protected because of the Military... Give back what they deserve
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 19, 2014 Tammy Cross
Oct 19, 2014 stephanie phillips Our children deserve this- therapy is vital for their well being

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