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Goal: 15,000 Progress: 14,288
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 29, 2014 Mary Khan
Oct 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 29, 2014 Robert Pettit I am a Viet Nam Vet, 100% disabled. Anybody that has a problem should not be denied the help that they need.
Oct 29, 2014 JULIANNE NOWAK
Oct 28, 2014 Claudia Hall VETERAN'S SACRIFICE ALLOW ME TO FREELY, WRITE TO YOU. PLEASE, I BEG YOU, GIVE OUR HEROES &THEIR FAMILIES THE BENEFITS THEY HAVE EARNED.
Oct 28, 2014 sally bascom
Oct 28, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 27, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 27, 2014 Victoria Olivarez
Oct 27, 2014 Tina Campbell Help and support for all families is basic human rights. Step up.
Oct 27, 2014 Richard Bosboom
Oct 26, 2014 Karl Vansickle
Oct 26, 2014 Patricia York
Oct 25, 2014 Kristine Cole
Oct 25, 2014 Holly Downs What is up!? My husband gave 20 years to get full FREE healthcare now it is not free . Our government needs to make good on its promises ! Do we want a country of liars ? Where will it end ?
Oct 25, 2014 Linda Radnor They would give their lives for us to live in freedom. Their health care program should be the BEST program in the US.
Oct 25, 2014 Dawn Schmutzler
Oct 25, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 25, 2014 Linda Rosser They've already paid for their benefits. STOP messing with ALL they deserve for free!!!
Oct 25, 2014 Richard Raymond
Oct 24, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 24, 2014 Jacqueline Jones-Dailey
Oct 24, 2014 Susan Stibb These families sacrificed everything for our country. Anything these soldiers and their families need...should be given to them freely. Without hesitation...benefits and therapies included!
Oct 24, 2014 tamalee robinson
Oct 24, 2014 Mary Hockett
Oct 24, 2014 Anna Fierro
Oct 24, 2014 Elizabeth Johnson
Oct 24, 2014 Jaime Worthen
Oct 24, 2014 Chrissy McIntire
Oct 24, 2014 Penny Taylor
Oct 24, 2014 Tammy coey Please help!!!
Oct 24, 2014 Jody McBride
Oct 24, 2014 (Name not displayed) What could *possibly be* in the many, many military vaccines that are forced on them, that could *possibly be* raising autism rates and suicide rates? Hormone disruptor, fertility kill? Does our military unknowingly volunteer as population control agents?
Oct 24, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 24, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 24, 2014 Antonietta dalonzo
Oct 24, 2014 Sandra Miller
Oct 24, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 24, 2014 Haley Holder
Oct 24, 2014 Ellen Coyne
Oct 24, 2014 Dawn Bowers
Oct 24, 2014 Nora Groeneweg
Oct 24, 2014 Kelly Connell
Oct 24, 2014 Dominique Landry
Oct 24, 2014 Linda Reptik
Oct 24, 2014 Ann Swiney
Oct 24, 2014 Christine Sykora
Oct 24, 2014 Beth Burgeson
Oct 24, 2014 jacy Bradham
Oct 24, 2014 Rosemary Bell Absolutely, it is pitiful that military families cannot get the help and assistance they need with special needs children.

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