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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 22,809
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

Sep 23, 2016 Matthew McWhirr
Sep 21, 2016 Rosa Maria Negrete
Sep 19, 2016 Debra Yovella
Sep 18, 2016 Brianna Onken
Sep 18, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 18, 2016 Barbara Snyder
Sep 17, 2016 Karienne Gauthier Crone
Sep 16, 2016 Janine Vinton
Sep 16, 2016 Frances Bessette
Sep 16, 2016 Guadalupe Chisolm
Sep 16, 2016 Ken stein
Sep 16, 2016 cindy stein
Sep 16, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 16, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 15, 2016 Mojca Maver
Sep 15, 2016 Natasha Korowajczuk
Sep 15, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 15, 2016 Betty Chan
Sep 15, 2016 Sharon Ellis It is long past time that the U.S. military gave military men and their families the treatments and medical aid that they deserve.
Sep 15, 2016 John Peek
Sep 15, 2016 Gigi Middlebrook
Sep 15, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 15, 2016 Angela Zerance
Sep 15, 2016 Janet Almond
Sep 15, 2016 Lori Howard
Sep 15, 2016 Diane Johnson
Sep 15, 2016 Jackie Redmond Please give military famines the benefits they deserve to treat autism. Thes families sacrifice so much for our country they should be offered this Autism benefit!
Sep 15, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 15, 2016 Allisom D Help these autistic kids!!
Sep 15, 2016 Connie Stewart
Sep 15, 2016 haustete Sylvie
Sep 15, 2016 vanessa isenberg
Sep 15, 2016 Kinju Dudhia
Sep 15, 2016 Mo! Langdon
Sep 15, 2016 Donna Ainsworth
Sep 15, 2016 Sissel Frettim
Sep 15, 2016 Tammy Manthe
Sep 15, 2016 Mita Chakraborti
Sep 15, 2016 Michaela Hennessee-Milerski
Sep 15, 2016 Sandra Greene
Sep 15, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 15, 2016 Vickie Gonsoulin
Sep 15, 2016 Karen and Joe Lansdale
Sep 15, 2016 Carlyn Pruess
Sep 15, 2016 Elizabeth Cabell ABA has been very thoroughly researched and established as an effective intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders. There is no logical reason to refuse to consider it a medical therapy.
Sep 15, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 15, 2016 John Hussain
Sep 14, 2016 Katie Stansell
Sep 13, 2016 amy stribling
Sep 13, 2016 Patricia Rossing

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