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Goal: 15,000 Progress: 14,050
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 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
Oct 19, 2014 joanne Simon They work hard to protect everyone why can't they protect the ones they love
Oct 19, 2014 Joyce Teel This practice is unacceptable
Oct 19, 2014 Beth McGaughey
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed) My husband is in the military and my son, who recently turned 3, lives with autism. We just had our ABA services discontinued because of his age...and I've been jumping through hoops ever since. Please sign the petition.
Oct 19, 2014 Heather Young
Oct 19, 2014 Melissa Moak
Oct 19, 2014 Tracy Davis
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed) Two of the hardest jobs are being in the military, &raising a child w/autism. Give these families the resources they need!. It's hard enough raising 1child w/autism &2 parents at home. I couldn't imagine doing it w/only 1parent. God bless these families!
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed) While I'm not in the military, my younger brother is. And while he doesn't have a child of his own yet, I know he will in the future. And if that child happens to have autism, I want that child to have the best future they can possibly have!
Oct 19, 2014 Sandra Theriault
Oct 19, 2014 sabrina chowdhury
Oct 19, 2014 pj bains
Oct 19, 2014 aman chowdhury
Oct 19, 2014 fateh bains
Oct 19, 2014 am bains
Oct 19, 2014 aman bains
Oct 19, 2014 mahrina chowdhury
Oct 19, 2014 Kelly Weems
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed) Military families have earned adequate healthcare. Help with autism therapy isn't frivolous. It's necessary.
Oct 19, 2014 Jessica Paul
Oct 19, 2014 Pepsi Maxwell Our military should have better benefits than the government for the simple fact that they are the ones putting their lives on the line!
Oct 19, 2014 Dale Altmann Being a vet myself with 2 autistic boys I know first hand about this so please for all these kids sign this type..
Oct 19, 2014 Kieche'el Washington
Oct 18, 2014 Gretchen Hall

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