• Petitioned Senator John McCain

This petition was delivered to:

Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator John McCain
Chief of Staff, Office of Senator John McCain
Rebecca Tallent
Communications Director, Office of Senator John McCain
Brian Rogers
Communications Director, Office of Senator Richard Blumenthal
Nu Wexler
Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator Jack Reed
Legislative Director, Office of Senator Jack Reed
Elyse Wasch
Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator Jeff Sessions
Communications Director, Office of Senator Jeff Sessions
Stephen Miller
Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator Saxby Chambliss
Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator Roger Wicker
Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator Joe Manchin
Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator David Vitter
Chairman, House Armed Services Committee
Congressman Buck McKeon
Legislative Director, Office of Senator Carl Levin
Jack Danielson
Sen. Carl Levin
Sen. Claire McCaskill
South Carolina
Sen. Lindsey Graham
Sen. Mark Udall
North Carolina
Sen. Kay Hagan
New York
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Sen. Richard Blumenthal
New Hampshire
Sen. Kelly Ayotte

Congress: Make Recommended Autism Treatment Available to All Military Children

    1. Rachel Kenyon
    2. Petition by

      Rachel Kenyon

      Manchester, CT

Hello and thank you for signing this petition on Change.org in support of the 23,000 military children with autism.

My name is Rachel Kenyon.  I am a proud and battle-tested Army wife and mom of two beautiful babes, one with autism.

Currently, “TRICARE” military healthcare provides less than half the recommended treatments for autism, and only to children of active duty service members.

Service members who retire after more than twenty years and Wounded Warriors forced to medically retire are stripped of what little treatment TRICARE allows via the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO). 

Last year I had the opportunity to speak to my Congressman, John Larson [D-CT].  I shared with him the struggles facing military families with autism.  He listened.  He took action.  There is now a bipartisan federal bill - HR2288 - Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act (CMKAA) - that would make autism therapies available to both active duty and retiree dependents and would remove the arbitrary dollar cap on care. It has passed both the House and Senate as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). TRICARE was given 90 days to implement this care.

We are still waiting.

My husband has served honorably in the Infantry for more than 25 years. He was a scout sniper in Desert Storm. On his first tour to Afghanistan as an Infantry Platoon Sergeant, he arrived home a day late to meet his brand-new baby girl who had just been born with special needs. He left her in a hospital crib with a feeding tube to return to Afghanistan when she was 15 days old. He headed back home four months later for her open-heart surgery, not by choice, but because his Command determined that his family needed him more than his men. He had preferred to stay with his men to ensure their safety and success of mission. Because that is what he signed up for.

On his next tour to Afghanistan, as an Operations Sergeant Major for the same Infantry Battalion, I had to call him 7,000 miles away to tell him that his little girl had autism. Several times over the next several months of his deployment, I had to continue to tell him that we were still being denied services to treat her autism, that TRICARE does not provide the recommended treatments. 

It is two years later and my husband still gets up before me and our two young children EVERY DAY and heads out to work before the sun comes up.  He still carries his duties and responsibilities to his unit every second of every day, including the days when our five-year-old daughter is inconsolable or has pulled off her diaper and flung its contents all over her bedroom. He still gets down on his hands and knees and cleans the floors and the walls while I bathe our daughter at two in the morning. Then he gets up at 5am, puts his uniform back on and starts all over again in service to his country.  Because that is what he signed up for.

There are scientifically proven medical treatments such as Applied Behavior Analysis for the treatment of autism.  The Congress and the Department of Defense have been denying what our military children need in order to trim the budget. Our service members did NOT sign up for that.

It is time to do the right thing here.

Any elected servant of The People who claims to care about what our military families are living through with a child on the spectrum, will not only sign on as cosponsor to this legislation, but will CHAMPION the cause and push fellow Members of Congress to make it a reality.

Our brave service members never leave a fallen soldier behind.

Now it is the job of Congress to return the favor.

Tell them that our military families deserve better. 

Thank you. 


Mrs. Rachel Kenyon

Wife to Command Sergeant Major William Kenyon, 1stBN 102nd IN(MTN) CTARNG 

Mother of two beautiful babes - one with autism




Recent signatures


    1. DoD Continues to Shirk Compliance with Autism Pilot Program

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      Autism Speaks obtains letter from DoD to Congress expressing the several mystifying factors that make it impossible for autism therapies to be implemented. Things like there are too many kids to treat. They are too spread out to find them all. If we acknowledge they exist and that the treatments work, we will have to start treating them. If we start treating them, there will only be more and more to treat because autism is increasing in prevalence. So... let's just pretend this all never happened:
      DoD letter: http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/docs/gr/report_on_dod_autism_pilot_projects.pdf


      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      TRICARE website search of autism benefits leads to blank page.

      After nearly two months of the 90 days TRICARE has to implement autism treatments under basic care, time is running out and not a word from the DoD or TRICARE.

      Why does the Department of Defense and TRICARE continue to blatantly ignore a federal court order and now legislation to provide these services to our children?


      See What's Covered - Autism Services

      Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) affect behaviors such as social interaction, the ability to communicate ideas and feelings, imagination and the establishment of relationships with others. Several treatments, therapies and interventions, known as Educational Interventions for ASDs (EIA), are available and they have been shown to reduce or eliminate specific problem behaviors and teach new skills to individuals with autism.

    3. Reached 2,500 signatures

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      Dear Friends and Supporters,

      The 2012 Election is over and our time is running out.

      We MUST push our current Congress to take the remaining time left in this legislative session to DO THE RIGHT THING and make TRICARE provide the autism treatments our 23,000 military families are being denied TODAY.

      We passed in the House, but we have only weeks to pass in the Senate or all is for naught.


      PLEASE. Please share this petition far and wide NOW and urge everyone you know to support our military families by telling Congress it is unacceptable to deny our military children the medical treatments they need and deserve.

      Thank you! Hooah!


      Mrs. Rachel Kenyon

      Wife to Command Sergeant Major William W. Kenyon, 1BN 102IN (MTN) CTARNG. Mother of two beautiful babes – one with autism.

      GET IT DONE!


    5. Reached 2,000 signatures
    6. Senate Hearing on Medical Necessity of Autism Care for Military Families

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      Washington -- Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) held a hearing on June 21 to examine the Department of Defense's (DoD) classification that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is not medically necessary in the treatment of autism. TRICARE, the DoD's health care program, insists that ABA is unproven. The American Academy of Pediatrics, other leaders in the medical community, and tens of thousands of military families disagree and are advocating for change. [Click below for full article at Huffington Post.]

    7. Military Family Fights For Better Autism Coverage

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A retired airman who dedicated 21 years to the United States Air Force is denied medical coverage for his autisitc five-year-old daughter.

      Sara Bryan was diagnosed with autism at age four. The news was devastating to her parents, Jeff Bryan and his wife, Lisa.

      “I was stunned. You know, it was in the back of my mind that it was a possibility, but hearing it and knowing it was real, was shocking,” said Lisa Bryan.

      Even more shocking was when Lisa realized her insurance, TRICARE, wouldn’t cover treatment. Click below for coverage of this story.

    8. Reached 1,500 signatures
    9. An Open Letter to the Armed Services Committee Members on Memorial Day

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      "...I contact you today because this fight is so very personal for so many of us serving our country each day. Not only do I want my husband to feel that his more than 25 years of service warrant the medical care our daughter with autism needs, but I want my daughter to have the security of being able to access the tools that can give her a richer, more meaningful life..."

    10. Senate Armed Services Subcommittee Considers Gillibrand's Amendment

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      Yesterday, behind closed doors, Subcommittee Members began the discussion of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act - a measure similar to the one passed last week in the House with support of Congressmen John Larson, Buck McKeon, Adam Smith and Tom Rooney.

      Press releases from SASC Members flooded the media last night and today praising themselves for a job well done in markup sessions held this week behind closed doors. Yet, not one word about the 23,000 military children that need this legislation.

      Every time a signature is added to this petition, every Member of the SASC receives a copy.

      Now is the time. It is URGENT that we sign and share and get this done.

      Our military families need us now more than ever.

      Thank you,
      Rachel Kenyon

    11. Reached 1,000 signatures
    12. Autism Amendment On Its Way To U.S. Senate

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      A teary-eyed military wife and mother of an autistic child thanked U.S. Rep. John B. Larson Tuesday for introducing legislation that calls for better coverage of autism.

    13. Mom: military health care won't cover autism treatment

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) -- You're in the military serving your country in Afghanistan and your wife informs you that your 4-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with autism . Then word comes that the military's health care plan will not cover her treatment. What do you do?

    14. Larson Measure to Help Military Children With Autism

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      WASHINGTON – In a huge victory for military families struggling with autism, the annual defense budget that was passed by the House of Representatives today includes an important provision authored by Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) that will ensure that TRICARE – the military healthcare program – fully covers the treatments that military kids with autism need. [Click link for entire press release.]

    15. Larson Fights for Military Kids with Autism

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      Congressman John Larson took to the House floor on Thursday, May 17, 2012, to rise on behalf of military families with children on the autism spectrum. Mr. Larson successfully pushed for CMKAA to be added as an amendment to the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act. [Watch Congressman Larson's remarks on youtube by clicking link below.]

    16. Reached 750 signatures
    17. Press and Media for HR2288 CMKAA at CMKAA.org

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      Archives of related articles, news, video, social media and blog posts highlighting HR2288 - Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act. Click on the link below:

    18. Andrea Mitchell Reports highlights HR2288 CMKAA

      Rachel Kenyon
      Petition Organizer

      <object width="420" height="245" id="msnbc51360f" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=10,0,0,0"><param name="movie" value="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640" /><param name="FlashVars" value="launch=46255318^13461^82164&amp;width=420&amp;height=245" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed name="msnbc51360f" src="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640" width="420" height="245" FlashVars="launch=46255318^13461^82164&amp;width=420&amp;height=245" allowscriptaccess="always" allowFullScreen="true" wmode="transparent" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash"></embed></object><p style="font-size:11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #999; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent;

    19. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Shawn Anderson SALINAS, CA
      • 9 months ago

      We are active duty military w/4 kids on the spectrum

    • Chaunita Webb NAVARRE, FL
      • 10 months ago

      My child suffers from Aspergers Syndrome and we are a military retiree family. He will be one of the children who loses necessary services.

    • Emmanuel Garcia WALLA WALLA, WA
      • 11 months ago

      one of my twin boys was just diagnosed with autism.

    • Jessica Ruff FORT WORTH, TX
      • 11 months ago

      I have twin boys recently diagnosed with autism. It is hard enough to deal with their daily needs and dealing with medical expenses TRICARE should cover would be even more difficult. Autism itself is enough to deal with; we should not have to struggle even more with extensive medical expenses.

    • Kimberly Nelson KANSAS CITY, MO
      • about 1 year ago

      My husband and I both are 100% disabled veterans. We both served in Desert Storm. Now both of us and our 2 children all have disabilities. My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and Autism. I am having a very difficult time getting all the required treatment he needs to be covered by CHAMPVA. Our children should be fully covered the same as we are.


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