Welcome to the Rethink Benefits Blog

1 in 6 kids have a life-long diagnosed developmental disability (like autism or ADD), and their caregivers struggle to balance work and life. As a result, caregivers experience 2.4x higher rates of stress and anxiety, poorer physical health, and 4x the medical expenses.

Rethink Benefits is the first and only global solution providing Fortune 100 companies and public sector, government and non-profit organizations with training and support for employees caring for a loved one with a developmental disability or undiagnosed challenges with learning, behavior or socialization. We offer caregivers 24/7 virtual teleconsultations with expert behavioral clinicians and online evidence-based training and resources they need to teach their loved one skills, address problem behaviors, collaborate with the school and clinicians, and navigate today’s complex environment.

Rethink also recently launched the Neurodiversity Inclusion Center, offering e-learning modules and a clinical support system to train HR and management about the neurodiverse community.


5 Indicators That You May Be A Conference Guru

2015SanAntonio 2By Roz Prescott @RozAtRethink

This Memorial Day weekend Rethink had the wonderful opportunity to attend and present at this year’s ABAI Conference in San Antonio. In addition to all the amazing take-aways from the presentations and panels we attended, we also learned a little something about ourselves: we are indeed conference gurus.  Are you a one too?  If you can answer yes to the following, join the club!

 

1.  You have successfully set up a monster booth at least once in your career

If you have ever lugged huge “booth carriers” across country, completed a full workout getting all the components out and ready to put together, and then spent 2 hours trying to work out how everything fits together … you might be a conference guru!

To avoid throwing out our backs, the Rethink team wisely decided to take a more subtle approach to our booth. We kept it simple with our Rethink banner and our own smiling faces. We met lots of current customers and hopefully future partners and had some great conversations.

Dr. Patricia Wright, VP Professional Services at Rethink, with a teacher and Rethink user all the way from Fairbanks, AK.
Patricia Wright, VP Professional Services at Rethink, with a teacher and Rethink user all the way from Fairbanks, AK.

2.  You are prepared with both summer and winter attire depending on the whims of the hotel air-conditioning

If you hiStock_000018234936_Doubleave ever had to carefully plan and are prepared with your attire and wardrobe to allow for significant temperature changes in short periods of time (often in the same workshop session) … you might be a conference guru!

Thankfully the Rethink team came prepared for anything and managed to keep our body temperatures relatively stable with just the right mix of summer/winter attire!

3.  You have breathed a sigh of relief when people actually attend your presentation session

If you have experienced slight panic or anxiety attacks with the thought that you will be the only presenter at the conference who has no one show up to their presentation … you might be a conference guru!

Two members of our Rethink team, myself and Patricia Wright, presented at the ABAI Conference this year in sessions about Educational Technology. Thankfully lots of people were interested and showed up to both sessions!  Thanks to all who showed their support!

Dr. Patricia Wright discussing benefits of educational technology during her panel session.
Patricia Wright discussing benefits of educational technology during her panel session.

 

Roz Prescott MA, BCBA sharing the positive results of using technology for paraprofessional training
Roz Prescott MA, BCBA sharing the positive results of using technology for paraprofessional training

 

4.  You act like a teenager seeing a rock star when meeting your academic mentors and heroes (and shamelessly ask for a selfie)

The Rethink team got to take shameless selfies with many of our ABA mentors and heroes this past weekend at the ABAI Conference 2015.

Dr. Patricia Wright meeting Oliver Wendt, Assistant Professor at Purdue University
Patricia Wright meeting Oliver Wendt, Assistant Professor at Purdue University
Roz Prescott with Dr. Aubrey Daniels-Aubrey Daniels International.
Roz Prescott with Dr. Aubrey Daniels-Aubrey Daniels International.

5.  You willingly give up your holiday weekend to advance your knowledge and learning while sitting in uncomfortable seats and eating overpriced hotel food

Yep! That’s us–walking 15,000 steps (or approximately 7 miles per day) from classroom to classroom and even spending some sessions seated on the floor, all in the name of knowledge!

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Why do we do it you ask? The answer is simple: we are passionate about our field and consider the chance to advance our knowledge of value to ourselves, the places we work, and the children and students we support. See you all next year for more of the same!

3 Tips for Building Your Personal Learning Network

Becoming a more informed, more knowledgable, more connected educator through your personal learning network.

It’s spring, which at Rethink can only mean one thing—it’s User Group Season! Throughout April and May Rethink has been visiting districts across the country that are utilizing Rethink in their special education programs and facilitating conversation and sharing around best practices.

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Educators share and connect at the San Francisco User Group

What becomes clear with every User Group is the incredible value for those involved. From administrators and coordinators to teachers and paraprofessionals, the user group is a wonderful time for sharing resources, and most importantly, best-practices with one another. With all the demands on educators’ time and resources, these in-person opportunities for sharing can be few and far between. This is why many educators have increasingly turned toward building their own Personal Learning Networks online.  This month, as a follow-up to User Group Season, we are sharing some ideas for building your own Personal Learning Network using one of the most popular social media sites for educators, Twitter.

1.  Follow other educators and thought leaders

Twitter is full of educators. One of the most powerful things about the Internet is its ability to bring together likeminded people with similar interests who may never otherwise have the opportunity to connect.

To build your personal network on Twitter, start by following other educators and organizations germane to what you do in the classroom or the populations you teach. Here are a few great resources that point you to some awesome special education Twitter accounts.

Also follow Rethink and our team of clinicians and educators. They are a wonderful source of information, tips, and encouragement!

2.  Join weekly Twitter chats

Twitter chats provide an opportunity to follow topical conversations live on Twitter. With a shared time, hashtag, and topic to discuss, Twitter chats bring together all of the best aspects of Twitter into a structured forum. Participants can ask questions, share topical ideas, and stay up-to-date on latest trends in education. To participate in a Twitter chat, use a tool like Tweetchat to easily follow the conversation.

A few Twitter chats you might consider joining are:

  1. #Spedchat – Mondays from 9-10pm Eastern: A chat specifically for special educators to discuss issues in special education, share ideas and resources, and connect with others in the field.
  2. #Edtechchat – Mondays from 8-9pm Eastern: A chat for all educators to learn more about best-practices for using technology in the classroom.
  3. #Edchat – Tuesdays from 12-1pm and 7-8pm Eastern: Like #spedchat but for all educators, this is a place to talk about trends, share best-practices, and connect with other educators.
  4. #EWedchat – Wednesdays from 8-9pm Eastern: A chat hosted by Education Week that discusses a different topic every week germane to education.

For more information about joining a Twitter chat, check out this blog post.

3.  Live tweet events

Liv- tweeting events, trainings, webinars, and conferences is another way to build your network and keep you in the socially connected. Many events (including all of Rethink’s public webinars) will share a hashtag with you for live tweeting. Using this hashtag to live tweet during the event helps you connect with others participating in the same event, gather succinct ideas, and chat with others online about a topic, even after the event is over.

Some examples of the kinds of things you may consider tweeting during an event are:

  • quotes or interesting ideas mentioned by the presenter/s
  • questions you have about something mentioned by the presenter
  • questions you have for other event participants
  • ideas that occur to you during the event/presentation
  • resources pertinent to the topic being discussed

Twitter is just one of many social media tools you can use to navigate the landscape of digital learning. Best of luck finding new ways to build your Personal Learning Networks and connect with other special educators. See you in the Twittersphere!

Early Intervention and Beyond: Top 5 Tips for Teaching a Child with Autism

iStock_000028867426_XXXLargeAbout this FREE Webinar

Early intervention can be crucial in helping children with autism be successful in school and in life, but effective intervention can begin at any age. Teaching a child with autism can be easier than you think and fun for you and your child or student!  Whether you’re an educator, parent, or caregiver, there are practical things you can easily do to integrate effective teaching into your everyday routine. In this free, 60-minute webinar, Rethink’s Angela Nelson, MS, BCBA will discuss practical tips for educators and parents who want to learn more about how to effectively teach a child with autism in a fun and natural way!

Attendees will:
  • Gain practical knowledge on effectively teaching children with autism
  • Learn how to make teaching effective AND fun
  •  Learn easy-to-implement strategies for successfully motivating a child with autism

Wednesday, March 22nd, 12pm EST  REGISTER

Wednesday, March 22nd, 6pm EST  REGISTER

About Our Guest

Angela Nelson currently serves as the Executive Director of Family and Clinical Services for Rethink, conducting trainings for educators, therapists, and administrators on how to utilize Rethink’s platform as well as consultation and support on how to implement a robust platform such as Rethink in both small and large school districts.  She also provides consultative services to families utilizing the program as part of Rethink’s Employee Benefits program.  She has devoted her career to supporting children and adults with a variety of disabilities in their classrooms, homes, and communities for many years. Angela holds a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling from California State University, Northridge, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UCLA, and is a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst).  Aside from her interest in Applied Behavior Analysis, Angela enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband, going to the beach, and playing sports.

 

Spotlight Teacher of the Month: Kristy Byers

School District:  Volusia County Schools, Florida
Position:  Special Education Teacher

Kristy Byers began using Rethink at the beginning of the 2014/15 school year. What she has found most valuable about Rethink is its capacity to facilitate collaboration: “With Rethink, my whole team–paraprofessionals, speech therapists, etc.–can easily keep up with each child’s progress and work with them on appropriate skills,” Kristy explained.  She has also had success collaborating with parents.  By sharing Rethink’s graphs and reports, she has found it much easier to keep parents abreast on their child’s progress and encourage participation in their child’s growth.

1041“Rethink makes collaboration so much easier.” 

26412496-a514-42e4-bf8e-179b5d716fcbIn the relatively short time that Kristy has been using the Rethink program, she has seen significant progress in some of her students with the most intensive needs. For instance, at the beginning of the year one of her students came to her with severe echolalia–communicating only by echoing or repeating other people’s speech.  Using Rethink strategies and lessons, Kristy collaborated with the student’s learning team to set up a plan and began to work on teaching him appropriate greetings.  “One day, after we’d been working with the student for about 2 weeks,” Kristy explained, “he entered the classroom, and when I said ‘good morning’, he said ‘hi!’ It was so exciting!”  Now, 2 months later, he is communicating independently with very few (if any) echolalic phrases and his whole world of communication has opened up to him.  His parents are thrilled because his learning has carried over into the home environment as well!

 

 

Inclusion: Making it Work

Story timeBy: Meredith Ouimette                                                           

What is inclusion?

According to the Council for Exceptional Children, “all children, youth, and young adults with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate education and/or services that lead to an adult life characterized by satisfying relations with others, independent living, productive engagement in the community, and participation in society at large. To achieve such outcomes, there must exist for all children, youth, and young adults a rich variety of early intervention, education, and vocational program options and experiences.”

What are some strategies that work with effective inclusion programming?

With many schools that have district wide inclusion programming, the following have been strategies that have helped them make inclusion work!

  1. Collaboration, team work, and co-teaching with special education and general education teachers
  2. Use of evidence-based practices with all students in inclusion settings
  3. Strong leadership and administrative support at the school and district level
  4. Differentiated instruction for all students in classrooms
  5. Additional and ongoing teacher and paraprofessional support and professional development

In a classroom setting, Rethink can help teachers COLLABORATE and make inclusion successful!

  1. Determine what skills a student needs to be successful through Rethink’s Inclusion Assessment
  2. Determine what level of support is needed for success
  3. Select inclusion plans and videos for teachers and paraprofessionals to use when teaching students
  4. Provide support through teachers, paraprofessionals, and peers

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Explore Rethink’s Inclusion Curriculum today!  Have other questions about effective strategies with inclusion programming? Leave a comment below and get the conversation started!

Mind Your Ps and Qs: Teaching Social Skills to Reduce Challenging Behavior

Group of happy elementary friends togetherAbout this FREE Webinar

Challenging behavior in the classroom is one of the most highly discussed topics in public education. Teachers frequently report that disruptive behavior is their greatest concern and has a significant impact on their job satisfaction. This session will focus on what teachers do best – facilitate student learning and teach students new skills.  Direct instruction in social skills promotes skill development in pro-social behaviors and reduces challenging behavior. When students have social skills in their repertoire they don’t have to rely on challenging behavior.

Participants will leave the webinar with:
  • A better understanding of how social skill development can impact behavior
  • Specific teaching strategies to promote social skill development in their classrooms
  • Ideas for teaching social skills 1:1 and in groups

About Our Guest

Dr. Patricia Wright, is Rethink’s VP of Professional Services and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Prior to joining Rethink, she was the National Director for Autism Services at Easter Seals, one of the largest social service providers for individuals with autism. Dr. Wright has a passion for education and has dedicated her career to ensuring that individuals with disabilities are fully included in society.

Click the button below to learn more about social emotional wellness with a FREE on-demand webinar!
View Webinar

We Are Thankful for … You!

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The season of giving thanks is upon us!  In the spirit of the season, we have many new goodies to share with you as a special thanks for all that you do for your students!

measuring-ingredientsI.  Transition Curriculum Rethink’s new Transition Curriculum is here!  You can now log into your Rethink account to explore this amazing new curriculum and start helping your students prepare for life beyond school. The curriculum is split into five key domains:  community, home, social, leisure, employment, each domain including a library of lessons, task analyses, and lesson materials.  You can read more about this new curriculum here.

 

 

II.  New Resources we are always updating our site with additional resources to help make lesson planning and teaching easier for you and more effective.  Here is a list of some of the new resources you’ll find under the resources section of our website:

archived webinars

  • Archived Webinars: If you missed last month’s webinar series, not to worry!  You can now find recordings of our most recent webinars on Collecting Data in the Natural Environment and Strategies for Integrating ABA into Group Instruction in the archived webinars section of our website (along with many other past webinars)!

 

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  • Data Sheets:  After small and large group data collection sheets were featured in last month’s data collection webinar, we received tons of requests to have these available on our website.  In response, these data sheets are now available for download under the data sheets section of the Resources page!

 

 

  • matching-wordsFlash Cards:  Because the goal is always for our students to generalize the skills they are building in the classroom, you can now download advanced word flash cards in different fonts and colors from the flash cards section of the Resources page!

 

 

 

  • lesson-plan Lesson Plans:  And finally, we have recently added a new lesson, Making Requests by Using Signs, which is now available for download in the lesson plans section of the Resources page.

 

 

 

 

II.  Other New Stuff You Can Expect to See:

  • The new “View Data” button on Data Express allows you to view lesson graphs and manage data as you collect it.Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 1.27.13 PM
  • Now when printing out your child activity center login credentials, they will be printed in a fun student-friendly format that students can take home to their parents!Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 1.24.50 PM
  • You can now export all student data to a CSV spreadsheet for easy uploading into your IEP system.Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 1.29.10 PM

If you have any questions about any of the resources or updates please feel free to reach out to us at info@rethinkfirst.com!  We value your feedback–updates like this could never happen without it!

Free Webinar! 3 Strategies for Effectively Integrating ABA into Group Instructional Settings

Rethink First Webinar on implementing ABA in classrooms

About The Webinar

ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) is proven to be an effective treatment for individuals with autism and other disabilities.  Yet despite its success as a treatment option, the common misconception that ABA can only be implemented 1:1 has elided its effectiveness in group settings, including classrooms, where it can benefit many students.

In this webinar, Dr. Pamela White will discuss 3 key strategies for effectively integrating ABA into group instructional settings and classroom activities and will be offering practical tips for getting started implementing ABA in your classroom today!

View the Webinar Now

Dr. Pamela White, Rethink FirstAbout Our Guest: Dr. Pamela White

Dr. Pamela White is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and one of Rethink’s Professional Services Director living in Austin, Texas. She has worked as a teacher and therapist in a variety of settings, including residential, charter, public, and private schools.

Watch the Webinar On Demand!

Easy as Pie!

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Meet Rethink’s new and improved Progress Report:  a one-stop shop for generating a customizable, readable, and informative progress report.

The new progress report …

  • Is Customizable

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Whether you want an in-depth report on your student’s progress or a more general summary, the new Progress Report allows for several levels of customization to help you create the report you need. The new report allows you to add Common Core State Standards, lesson graphs, objectives & targets, and notes, or simply stick with an automatically generated data summary for each of the student’s goals.

  • Encourages Data Driven Decision Making

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Taking a look at the detailed data collected for targets in the Progress Report can allow you to identify a student’s strengths, weaknesses and areas of concern so you can make both short and long-term teaching decisions informed by data.

  • Supports IEP Meetings

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When creating a report for a specific date range, you will be able to select what kinds of lessons you’d like to include in the report.  This feature makes it easy to generate a report for progress on your student’s IEP goals to bring to IEP meetings, where you can then use the report to help write new goals and plan for the upcoming year.

  • Encourages Communication Between Home and School

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New customization features make it easy to create a parent-friendly progress report that can be quickly emailed to a parent from the user interface or printed out, thus encouraging more active parent involvement.

  • Provides for Accuracy and Transparency in Reporting

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Whether you are going to an IEP meeting or working on marking-period grades for a student, the new Progress Report provides you detailed information that makes student progress and team member data collection accurate and transparent to everyone.

To find out more about how Rethink’s new Progress Report can benefit you and your students, please contact us at info@rethinkfirst.com