Skip navigation

no spam, unsubscribe anytime.
Skip navigation
Goal: 50,000 Progress: 24,895
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

Feb 23, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Feb 21, 2018 Mandy Keane
Feb 21, 2018 kathy patton
Feb 20, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Feb 19, 2018 D Margo Salone
Feb 17, 2018 Karen O'Brien
Feb 17, 2018 Bonnie Clyne
Feb 16, 2018 Natasha Varner
Feb 15, 2018 vivienne burton
Feb 15, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Feb 14, 2018 LINDA FANCHER
Feb 14, 2018 Linn Johnson
Feb 13, 2018 Richard Bosboom
Feb 13, 2018 Anita Phaneuf
Feb 13, 2018 Bonnie Steiger
Feb 13, 2018 sarah carver
Feb 12, 2018 Caroline Bird
Feb 11, 2018 R Mill
Feb 11, 2018 Krista Shanley
Feb 11, 2018 Robin Blakesley
Feb 11, 2018 Barb Benedict
Feb 11, 2018 Rodrigo Gonçalves
Feb 10, 2018 MaryLynn Michaelis
Feb 10, 2018 Sergio Padilla
Feb 10, 2018 Carmen Rodriguez
Feb 10, 2018 Randall Bong
Feb 10, 2018 Erin Kivette
Feb 10, 2018 Linda Conefrey
Feb 9, 2018 Jeanene Mcgee
Feb 8, 2018 Erica Brinker
Feb 8, 2018 Cynthia Green
Feb 8, 2018 Little Beet
Feb 7, 2018 Susana Guillamon
Feb 7, 2018 Cynthia Arneson
Feb 7, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Feb 7, 2018 Cynthia Rosmus
Feb 7, 2018 Tammie Sutcliffe
Feb 7, 2018 Katherine Boas
Feb 7, 2018 Ruth Rogers
Feb 6, 2018 iman Ghavami
Feb 6, 2018 Joan Cootes
Feb 6, 2018 Terry Vaccaro
Feb 6, 2018 Daniella Sarache
Feb 6, 2018 Stephanie L. Williams
Feb 6, 2018 Ashia Castendyk our military families struggle enough, families with autistic children need access to the best treatment options out there.
Feb 6, 2018 Beatrice Mitchell
Feb 6, 2018 Maryann Striegel
Feb 6, 2018 Rhonda Sigman

back to top

Outerwear Brrr-gains
Share this page and help fund therapy: