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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 17,343
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 1, 2015 Eliza Duncan
Sep 1, 2015 Christelle Gnon
Sep 1, 2015 Traci Golden
Sep 1, 2015 Sandra Jesionek
Sep 1, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 31, 2015 Suzanna Taylor As a Special Education teacher and wife of a Vet, I give full support for this cause.
Aug 31, 2015 Sandy Amador
Aug 30, 2015 Kami Martin I can't believe this topic even needs a petition for support; this should be a given!!
Aug 30, 2015 Phyllis Gladden
Aug 30, 2015 Betty Combs Our military famileis goes through so much , so pl;ease give them the help they need
Aug 29, 2015 ida faulkner
Aug 29, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 28, 2015 Kristina Hughes I have two autistic children that have come a very long way since they were diagnosed. Their progress is due to the ABA and additional therapy they receive several days a week.
Aug 28, 2015 Patricia Featheringham It is a shame that our military have to beg our dear government for health care coverage when the people of the United States pay for the best health coverage our so called President and his family.
Aug 28, 2015 Rachelle Lattiak
Aug 28, 2015 Kathy Nay
Aug 28, 2015 linda martinez
Aug 28, 2015 Rosanne C Trying to save money by denying our military personnel the insurance benefits they deserve and have earned is outrageous! In the long run, society will pay a bigger price for untreated autistic children. Give them a chance at life!!!
Aug 28, 2015 Christina Raper
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed) All families should be covered by insurance for their needs...autism is present in families not just military. is a shame the way insurance treats families. They gladly take the money but refuse coverage of autism !
Aug 28, 2015 Yvonne van Zadelhoff I have autism. And I Will support this!!!
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 28, 2015 Allison Thompson
Aug 28, 2015 Martha High Please see that the military families get the benefits that they have earned.... especially the children with's the right thing to do & they need it!
Aug 28, 2015 Emily Gault
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 27, 2015 Madeline Coriano
Aug 27, 2015 Susan Desisto
Aug 27, 2015 Donna Iannelli
Aug 27, 2015 Nicole Downing
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed) It is imperative that these families get the therapies that they need.
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 27, 2015 Leigh Dickey
Aug 27, 2015 Kacey Wiebenga
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 27, 2015 Claudia Rosas
Aug 27, 2015 Kathryn Whiteman
Aug 27, 2015 Donna Pulous Help everyone out with Autism or those whom are on the scale!
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 27, 2015 Susan VanDemark
Aug 27, 2015 Gail Braxton Our family has veterans that served proudly, we also have Autisim in our family and are proud of their achievements. DOD is very irresponsible in not helping these children and adults who are a part of the military also. Acknowledge them and their needs,
Aug 27, 2015 sarah winkler
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 27, 2015 Janet Ocasio
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed) I have an autistic granddaughter born while her dad was in the service. From the day of her birth it was obvious something was wrong. She was diagnosed while dad was serving in the army. She never got the care or treatment she needed.
Aug 27, 2015 Brandy Mousel Military children deserve care. Our families sacrifice so much! My Son with ASD lives with out his Active duty father much of the year, the very least our country can is provide/continue to provide the appropriate care needed!
Aug 27, 2015 Neisha Vega-Mendez I currently live in Pr and here Tricare is only accepted in the Metro area. I Live on the west side. My son has And and needs several therapies and we have had to pay out of pocket. I military families received the benefits it would help tremendously.
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 27, 2015 Sarah Poppen

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