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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 15,868
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


Apr 18, 2015 Camille VanGee
Apr 18, 2015 RAY EARLEY
Apr 18, 2015 Lawrence Slagel
Apr 17, 2015 Wendy Bohatyritz
Apr 17, 2015 Allan Kaopua
Apr 15, 2015 Justina Lane
Apr 15, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 15, 2015 carol scott
Apr 15, 2015 Charles Kolton
Apr 15, 2015 Susan McNary-Murray
Apr 14, 2015 Christina Michael
Apr 14, 2015 Sarah Dyson
Apr 14, 2015 Lisa Davis Its outrageous that our government treats our nations veterans in the manner they do.... They should be ashamed of themselves ... I am a proud American and I fully support our Armed Forces ... And whole heartedly thank them for their service and sacrifice
Apr 14, 2015 Janice Haynes
Apr 13, 2015 Richard Shearer
Apr 13, 2015 Alan Simon
Apr 13, 2015 Catherine Sutton
Apr 13, 2015 Bryan Espinosa If the research has proven it to be effective AND if the health care and mental health care providers agree, then approve it. The legal beagles need to listen to these people.
Apr 13, 2015 Nancy Rittenhouse
Apr 13, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 13, 2015 Maria Paissios
Apr 13, 2015 Pam Wolf
Apr 13, 2015 Boyd Herrst Don't dally, give Military dependents what is needed to fight autism and win. Thank you !
Apr 11, 2015 vicky hoagland
Apr 11, 2015 Karole Whitney
Apr 9, 2015 yvonne garcia rice
Apr 9, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 9, 2015 Jocelyn Hartwell
Apr 9, 2015 Richard Bosboom
Apr 8, 2015 Renata Mendes de Sa
Apr 8, 2015 fred thornton
Apr 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 8, 2015 danielle nino
Apr 8, 2015 Sharon Domon
Apr 8, 2015 Linda Shadle
Apr 8, 2015 vautrin noelle
Apr 8, 2015 Rose Rygiel
Apr 8, 2015 Evelyn Padiz
Apr 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 8, 2015 Gary Van Deusen
Apr 8, 2015 James Rice
Apr 8, 2015 Mandy DeVine
Apr 8, 2015 Maite Arauz
Apr 7, 2015 sherrie asche
Apr 7, 2015 sarah yocham
Apr 7, 2015 Yina Lacayo
Apr 7, 2015 Judith Regan
Apr 7, 2015 Michelle Smith
Apr 6, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 4, 2015 Stan Cosper

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