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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 16,110
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


May 27, 2015 Anne Manino
May 27, 2015 Jessica Davis Ridiculous! My sister-in-law are trying to raise awareness for autism. We started a Facebook site called "Dye it Blue-For Autism" where people dye some or all of their hair to promote awareness. I will add this info to our site!!
May 27, 2015 isabel sleiman
May 27, 2015 Tarri Mccullough Please help these families
May 26, 2015 Cathy Sikes
May 26, 2015 dana Migliaccio
May 26, 2015 Kay Robinson While I respect and support our military, we must do something for the children of our soldiers, and our veterans. Please help.
May 26, 2015 Holly Easterly
May 26, 2015 Caroline de Ville de Goyet
May 26, 2015 Anne Marie Maltbie
May 25, 2015 bonnie davison Denying autism therapy is inexcusable and reprehensible.
May 25, 2015 Mary Burt
May 25, 2015 Joanna Jaicks
May 25, 2015 Linda L Taylor
May 25, 2015 Maureen North
May 25, 2015 Katherine Myskowski
May 25, 2015 Susan Tate
May 25, 2015 (Name not displayed) My husband served proudly in the US Air Force and we support our grandson who has Asberger's.
May 25, 2015 Rosa Rodriguez They deserve all the benefits for serving our country. Please help them.
May 25, 2015 Robin Candelario
May 25, 2015 kim triplett Both my boys are have ASD and ABA saved our lives. Each was diagnosed at 2 and 3 1/2 and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our future is bright due to ABA
May 25, 2015 Cindy Zatlokowicz
May 25, 2015 bill hughey
May 25, 2015 Laura Page Please help and support them.
May 25, 2015 Melissa Churchill
May 25, 2015 Carl R. Yates
May 25, 2015 Carol Fille
May 25, 2015 Carole McCarthy
May 25, 2015 Joan Easley Least we can do for vets who've often sustained their own serious problems is help if their children are also impaired.
May 25, 2015 Zaida Latorre
May 25, 2015 Diana Powell
May 25, 2015 Andrea Giza-O'Neill
May 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
May 24, 2015 pamela bartolo
May 24, 2015 Sue Arehart
May 24, 2015 Xiomara Ruiz They deserve to have medical coverage for their family so there is one less thing they have to worry about. God Bless them all.
May 24, 2015 Donna Zewen-Rossmann
May 23, 2015 Tamar Dansby
May 23, 2015 Tracy Meeks
May 23, 2015 Casey Roy
May 23, 2015 jessica Wilpon
May 23, 2015 tammy miles
May 23, 2015 candice haak
May 22, 2015 (Name not displayed) These children deserve our care and attention, as their parents go out and stand firm for our freedom. we need to stand firm to be sure the child has the proper care and attention.
May 22, 2015 Dea Shandera-Hunter
May 22, 2015 Vicki Mullins Take the money away from illegals and the abundance amount of congress benefits give it to the brave that protects us and their families that make sacrifices.
May 21, 2015 Jennifer Beaulieu
May 20, 2015 Britney Ferguson
May 20, 2015 Rodney Catenacci Please help our Veterans with their disability's. They deserve it...keep America Strong! May The Blessings Be... Rod Catenacci
May 18, 2015 Christina Kimball

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