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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 24,018
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


Jul 18, 2017 Charles E Coombes
Jul 12, 2017 Ani Sandoval
Jul 10, 2017 John Walker
Jul 10, 2017 Katherine Babiak
Jul 10, 2017 Joseph Marotta "To care for him or her who shall have borne the battle."
Jul 10, 2017 Debbie King
Jul 10, 2017 Pam Lowry13441
Jul 10, 2017 Simone Nicholson
Jul 10, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 10, 2017 Lori Visioli
Jul 10, 2017 joan little
Jul 10, 2017 Carol Wilson
Jul 10, 2017 Audrey Martin
Jul 10, 2017 Linda Longworth
Jul 10, 2017 Dianne Hallman
Jul 10, 2017 Norma Sutcliffe
Jul 10, 2017 Verna Dentrey
Jul 10, 2017 Barbara Deuel
Jul 10, 2017 Linda Anderson
Jul 10, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 10, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 10, 2017 Barbara Guedes
Jul 10, 2017 Alsira de Lima Guedes
Jul 10, 2017 Diana Spencer
Jul 10, 2017 R. C. Wilson
Jul 10, 2017 BERTRAND Graziella
Jul 5, 2017 Lynn Ronconi
Jul 5, 2017 Renee Edmisten
Jul 4, 2017 Stacey Catella
Jun 30, 2017 grace padelford
Jun 30, 2017 Diana Bode
Jun 30, 2017 Nancy Collins
Jun 30, 2017 ALYSSA SIE
Jun 30, 2017 Sue Grace
Jun 30, 2017 Anna Marie Peloso
Jun 30, 2017 Bonnie Heimbigner These brave men & women fought for our country and their families were right there too. We need to step up to the plate & TAKE CARE of our military, including autism therapy. Autism is devastating & it's our responsibility to offer this therapy to them
Jun 30, 2017 Teresa Kohl
Jun 30, 2017 Ruthie Barry
Jun 30, 2017 Lani Reinhart
Jun 30, 2017 Joyce Davis
Jun 30, 2017 Denise Bennett
Jun 30, 2017 Nicholas Flanagan
Jun 30, 2017 Ann Dallwitz
Jun 30, 2017 Rhonda Spencer
Jun 30, 2017 Thomas Spencer
Jun 30, 2017 Jewel Clark
Jun 30, 2017 Michael Ortman
Jun 30, 2017 Shannon Hoffman
Jun 30, 2017 Teresa Foster
Jun 30, 2017 Wayne Swiers

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