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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 15,810
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


Mar 31, 2015 sherry newsome
Mar 31, 2015 William McMannis
Mar 31, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 31, 2015 Lisa Davis
Mar 31, 2015 Linda R Hester
Mar 31, 2015 Melvin Gamble
Mar 31, 2015 Kathie Scolet Shame on you, DOD!
Mar 30, 2015 Lee Dixon
Mar 30, 2015 Howard Rouser
Mar 30, 2015 Margaret Brumfield Please give the Veterans and their families the benefits they have earned.
Mar 30, 2015 Victoria Clark Thank you for your service & dedication to our country! May you get the benefits you & your family deserve!
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed) Every child deserves the best accommodations possible to help them be as successful as possible in school & in life. ABA is a big step in the right direction for children on the autism spectrum.
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 Helen Carson our military has earned there benefits... WHY is our Country denying them? WHEN ILLEGALS can come into OUR COUNTRY AND GET ALL THEY NEED.... SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH OUR AMERICA... IM ASHAMED OF OUR GOVERNMENT...:((
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed) We NEED to give our veterans everything possible. REDUCE our governments OVERPAID salaries and GIVE it to our VETERANS!!!!!!
Mar 30, 2015 Amy Graves
Mar 30, 2015 michael valenzuela
Mar 30, 2015 Jennifer Harvey
Mar 30, 2015 Sonya Puckett Give our VETS what they need
Mar 30, 2015 renee horton
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 Robert Dexter my dad and both grandparents served this country expt for me because I got sick before I started high school. Good luck...
Mar 30, 2015 Darlene Goehring They NEEDS to cover this therapy
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 chris Sedlak
Mar 30, 2015 Charles Hedges III
Mar 30, 2015 iris barron
Mar 30, 2015 Joyce Evans
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 Peg Feiler Give our Vets the benefits that our Congressmen and Senators and they will be able to make it. Thank them more publicly and when a Vet passes that is serving and is killed whether stateside or abroad lower the flag to half staff.
Mar 30, 2015 Patti Michaels Coming from a military family and having 4 young ones in our family on the autism spectrum I know how vital therapy is. Please help our military families get the help they need. We owe them this much and so much more.
Mar 30, 2015 David Weiner unacceptable to think this therapy is not made availabe....spread the message and rid our Congress and Senate of those that refuse to respect our Veterans serving, served, and their family members as well
Mar 30, 2015 Tina Eck
Mar 30, 2015 Thelma Brown I agree with Polly Leamer; since they served and sacrificed their lives for our country; now it is their country's turn to take care of them in all ways maginable.
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 Sue Garstka
Mar 30, 2015 Pearson Klein
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 Joyce Hong Civilians in need receive all kinds of benefits. Why shouldn't our Veterans receive premium benefits? They risk their lives. We should do our best to guard their health and the health of their families. It's just fair.
Mar 30, 2015 David Andes
Mar 30, 2015 Nancy Farrell
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 30, 2015 Christie Brewer
Mar 30, 2015 Frank Zarro
Mar 30, 2015 Edward Aronson The parents need these tools. Why hold them back from those that need it?
Mar 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)

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