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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 14,963
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


Dec 22, 2014 Lori Kieres
Dec 22, 2014 Tammy walker I wish these insurance company would do what a doctor thinks is good with an autistic children it's already a long hard road but a beautiful one we just need some help from the insurance companies don't try to get life insurance on them not even Gerber
Dec 22, 2014 Amanda Johnson
Dec 21, 2014 Georgia Atkins
Dec 21, 2014 margaret doole The government shud help the military families don't treat them like outcasts
Dec 21, 2014 Pat Gilch
Dec 21, 2014 joanne karpinski
Dec 21, 2014 Rebecca Carlson
Dec 21, 2014 Sarah patience
Dec 21, 2014 Leigh Dean
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed) It is appalling that we even need to sign a petition for this!! Our military and there family's should have the best of everything!!
Dec 21, 2014 Rocio Escalona
Dec 21, 2014 shelia fenley Please honor our miltary by helping their children who have autism they are a blessing from God
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 virginia lee must !!
Dec 21, 2014 Kimberly lanza
Dec 21, 2014 Ashlie Saylors
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 deb petroff pleasw help military families as they have kept us safe now help them
Dec 21, 2014 Amber Shawgo
Dec 21, 2014 Justin McCauley
Dec 21, 2014 Kristi McCauley
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed) there sgiiu=====
Dec 21, 2014 Nicole Heider I too have a child with autism. There is no tougher job, and yet none other that I'd be prouder to have.
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 Annajean Morales Amen
Dec 21, 2014 Vickie Barnett
Dec 21, 2014 Marcia Headley
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed) Please these families need help not leaving to do it alone.They hit enough with redundacies so lets get behind the people we are proud who help us keep our freedom
Dec 21, 2014 Shane Shovan
Dec 21, 2014 Kel Billings
Dec 21, 2014 marissa walsh
Dec 21, 2014 SANDRA TATE
Dec 21, 2014 Linda Marsh Being retired military myself I do believe if treatment is available then we owe it to the ones protecting our country the very best care for themselves and the ones keeping the home fires burning.
Dec 21, 2014 collette sharp
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 patrick traver
Dec 21, 2014 lizette anaya
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed) All people with autism need therapy. Parents could be providing therapy to their little ones with autism but cant because they are serving our country. Irs not fair. Give them that common courtesy and help support their families.
Dec 21, 2014 Jackie Schwabe
Dec 21, 2014 Anja Porter
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed) How is it that service members with typical kids can keep them on their policies with one letter from their college, but we have to provide 8 different documents and wait 120 days to see if theyre approved? Autism is not curable & you have their med. file
Dec 21, 2014 Natalie Erwin
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 Gail De Castro
Dec 21, 2014 Dean Markham Military personel make the ultimate sacrifice and in return receive horrible compensation and disrespect. God Bless those with the passion and dedication for their selfless acts. For if this was mearly a job, at the current rate of pay No One Would Do It!
Dec 21, 2014 Bridget Livingston
Dec 21, 2014 Tammy Haigis
Dec 21, 2014 Judy Saunders

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