Friday, July 17, 2009

Rethink Autism's Web-Based Program -- Rethinking ABA

On July 14, 2009, Jamie Pagliaro, the Executive Vice President of the Rethink Autism ( presented his company’s innovative new web-based educational program for children and young adults on the autism spectrum to a group of parents and professionals at our monthly Parent Network Exchange Meeting.

Rethink Autism’s program offers Applied Behavior Analysis-based teaching modules to parents, caregivers, and professionals wherever they may be located (and also licenses the program to schools and other providers with more than 3 children). For parents who are located in areas with few, if any, service providers, or who simply -- for whatever reason -- cannot get the ABA hours their child needs, this site offers an alternative that makes ABA available to virtually anyone.

The site is easy to use so that subscribers can log on and jump right in (training modules are available for those who need or want help getting started). Subscribers can set up password-protected access for themselves as well as others who work with the child. Subscription details and pricing, along with sample videos, are on the website. Once registered, you complete an assessment of your child, developed by Rethink Autism’s team of professionals. Based on that assessment, the site presents a recommended curriculum and sequence of teaching modules. There is flexibility to adapt the curriculum to your child’s changing needs -- for example, to add modules for additional skills you want to target or to delete modules of goals you have already met (or, if you use a different assessment tool from the on-line assessment, you can manage your curriculum by matching modules to that assessment). As new video modules are added to the site, they will appear in your curriculum if they match your child’s assessment profile.

Since the program is web-based, there is no limit on how often you can use the videos. Videos are not meant to be shown to the child being taught, but are, rather, a tool to teach the subscriber how to teach the child. The lessons are broken down into easy to understand segments and feature actual children on the spectrum being taught. Each module also provides helpful hints and strategies to help individualize the lesson.

Mr. Pagliaro showed our eager group a several sample videos, including videos of peer imitation, using assistive technology to communicate, how to complete a chore chart, and how to help others. The company already has added over 400 video lessons on a wide range of skills, including everything from pre-academic/academic skills to social interaction, to skills of daily living. New videos will frequently be added, based on feedback from users and the company’s professional advisory board.

Each lesson also includes a printable program plan and an on-line assessment tool and tracking mechanism. The program offers additional user-friendly features to help incorporate professionals or others working with your child and to create a comprehensive program.

Rethink Autism recommends that parents work with an ABA professional if one is available but the site is also a great resource for parents who may not have a trained professional in their area or may have limited access to professional services. Subscribers to the service can choose to add access to a Rethink Autism professional for questions, but this feature is not meant to replace professional guidance from someone who knows your child.

NAA - NY Metro is pleased to announce that Rethink Autism is offering our members and readers a 20% discount for the first month to try the program. Simply enter the discount code RA2009NAA when you subscribe. This offer expires on August 31, 2009.

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