Target: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Goal: Demand cuts on autism therapy for children in military families be reversed
New restrictions on a military benefits program have been implemented to cut back on the available treatment for children with autism. Due to the varying nature of autism cases in children, these cuts can be extremely damaging. Demand that such restrictions are repealed so that military families can get the treatment they deserve.
TRICARE, the Department of Defense’s health benefits program, has recently publicized its new policies on applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. These included both age and time limits, threats for treatment to be cut off, and new administrative hurdles that will make access to care more difficult. Such policies are shocking considering the high number of cutbacks military children already face.
These cuts, however, are particularly harmful due to the wide range of severity autism cases can have. Setting such age and duration limits makes the assumption that treatment can be effective for all cases in the same specific way; this is simply not true. Children do not always fall into the correct age range, or do not react in a similar way to others, yet they still could be just as in need of treatment.
On top of this, the very nature of autism makes treatment particularly important for children of military members. Children affected by autism have trouble adjusting to a change in or disruption of their therapy, yet military families often change location every two to three years. This creates a system where even if there was a normal time frame for treatment, it would be consistently disrupted anyway. This just highlights why cuts in benefit programs for autistic children in military families is such a bad idea.
By signing the petition below, you will encourage Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to repeal these cuts and give military families the benefits they deserve.
Dear Secretary Hagel,
New restrictions on TRICARE have been implemented to cut back on treatment for children with autism. Due to the varying nature of autism cases, such restrictions can cause a large amount of damage. These cuts must be reversed so that military families are able get the treatment they deserve.
These newly publicized policies included both age and time limits, threats for treatment to be ended, and new administrative hurdles which will make access to care more difficult. However, age and duration limits assume that treatment can be effective for all cases in the same particular way, which is simply not true. In addition to this, the very nature of autism makes treatment especially important for military families; children with autism adjust poorly to changes in or disruptions of their therapy, yet military families usually change location every two to three years. For these reasons cutting back benefits for autistic children in military families is simply a poor idea.
Please take action to reverse these cuts in TRICARE so that military families can get the benefits they deserve. They already give up so much for their country, they should not have to sacrifice their children’s well being as well.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Beverly & Pack via Flickr