[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Congress Demands Answers On ABA Cutbacks For Military Kids
July 11, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC (July 11, 2013) — In a strongly worded letter to the Department of Defense, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) demanded to know the reasoning behind new policy changes that severely restrict access to applied behavior analysis (ABA) for the nation’s 23,000 military kids with autism.
“The apparent lack of understanding of the needs of children with developmental disability, including autism,…is astounding,” the Senators wrote in their letter to Dr. Jonathan Woodson, director of TRICARE, the military health insurance program. Gillibrand [below] and Murray [right] expressed “complete frustration and dismay” with the policy changes which became public in late June.
Murray chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee; Gillibrand chairs the Senate Armed Services’ personnel subcommittee.
“Given the impact family health care plays on military readiness, it is essential military families have assurances of continued health care. Policies inconsistent with good clinical practice only serve to limit, restrict, delay, and deny care,” the letter continued. “Before these new policies are in effect, we strongly urge you to consult with experts in developmental disabilities such as autism and ABA treatment practices.”
The Senators were responding to policy guidance issued on June 25 by TRICARE affecting ABA coverage for all TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries. The changes are scheduled to take effect July 25.
TRICARE will now require:
- standardized testing every 6 months in order to continue receiving care
- evidence of “measurable progress” as indicated by standardized testing results to receive continued therapy
- waivers to continue care beyond two years of treatment and after age 16
- new discharge criteria for failure to make progress, sustainable gains, or a parent’s inability to participate in the treatment
The new policies require the use of psychometric testing (VBS-II every 6 months; ADOS-2 annually) to show progress in order to continue receiving ABA. Gillibrand and Murray questioned whether those tests are valid or reliable for measuring progress with ABA and directed TRICARE to cite the authority they used to require them.
Imposing that condition to continue receiving care “is a significant shift in how TRICARE covers all other medical services,” the Senators said. “Military children with developmental disabilities, such as autism, often experience periods of regression due to life events (such as deployment, relocation, change in school, change in medications, etc.).
“Coming back from those periods of regression often takes significant time and effort (months and sometimes years), and sometimes progress may be simply the absence of regression,” they continued. “During these challenging times of need, discharging an individual from care is inappropriate and will have longlasting results on patient outcomes.”
The Senators also directed TRICARE to identify any other chronic health condition that requires standardized testing to authorize care or evidence of progress in order to continue receiving coverage under its policies. TRICARE was directed to explain why it will require parents year after year to obtain new assessments reconfirming their child’s existing autism diagnosis.
“Autism Speaks commends Senators Gillibrand and Murray for their commitment to the thousands of military families raising kids with autism and other developmental disabilities,” said Karen Driscoll, Autism Speaks’ associate director for federal government affairs and military relations. “Access to consistent healthcare services is essential to the physical and mental well-being of our military families. We greatly appreciate their leadership to ensure TRICARE policies provide the care our military families have earned and deserve.”
The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic Community
More With Autism Votes
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.