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Goal: 15,000 Progress: 12,018
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


Aug 1, 2014 April Riendeau
Jul 31, 2014 Sylvia SHUMAN
Jul 31, 2014 Pamela Russo
Jul 31, 2014 FRANK & Elleta Wilson
Jul 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 31, 2014 Juanita Harbeson
Jul 31, 2014 pat bentley Please keep the military and their families healthy!
Jul 30, 2014 Rosary Reinbold
Jul 30, 2014 Edward chin
Jul 30, 2014 Michael Ladd
Jul 29, 2014 Ruth Wright
Jul 28, 2014 Daphne Waller
Jul 28, 2014 Vickie Newman Autistic children deserve every chance to live a productive life.
Jul 28, 2014 PHILIP D'Arcangelo
Jul 28, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 28, 2014 Jenny Williams
Jul 28, 2014 Milissa Kernstock
Jul 27, 2014 (Name not displayed) They have earned it and deserve it as a whole
Jul 27, 2014 Brent Krauth
Jul 27, 2014 Marle Fleming These kids are our future and many of the high functioning autistic kids are going to be our next Einstein's... Why prevent the kids from reaching their fullest potential? Why hold them back!
Jul 27, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 27, 2014 Carol Barham
Jul 27, 2014 Judith Huston
Jul 26, 2014 Beth Steggall
Jul 26, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 26, 2014 Cindi Harbison
Jul 26, 2014 JOHN CALDWELL This is a "no brainer". This men and women deserve our best support. Above and beyond is what they deserve. Not a VET myself but admire and respect the sacrifice they have given me, my family and my country. Love you guys.
Jul 26, 2014 Amy Young
Jul 26, 2014 April Humphrey
Jul 25, 2014 Kristina Aguilera
Jul 25, 2014 Alexis Monteleone
Jul 25, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 25, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 25, 2014 April Webb There should be no question that ABA or any therapies proven beneficial to treat ASD disorders should be covered under Tricare.
Jul 25, 2014 marla armstrong
Jul 24, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 24, 2014 Lorraine Richio
Jul 24, 2014 P Bowen
Jul 24, 2014 Pamela Lehman These MEN and WOMEN have sacrificed so ver much for this country! I BELIEVE it is time WE as a COUNTRY sacrifice for them! God Bless America!
Jul 24, 2014 Joan Weldon
Jul 23, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 23, 2014 Iris Sinai
Jul 23, 2014 Sue Hartmann Start today! Mieux vaut tard que jamais...
Jul 22, 2014 Susana Reid
Jul 22, 2014 Amy Dulfer
Jul 22, 2014 Larry spizzirri
Jul 22, 2014 daphne joseph
Jul 22, 2014 Atenéia Araújo
Jul 22, 2014 Melody Roberts
Jul 22, 2014 Raven Haber

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