The Silicon Review
“There’s a clear problem in the market that we are solving, namely an exploding population with a developmental disability and a severe shortage of trained clinicians to serve them”: Daniel A. Etra
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading national public health institute of the United States, 1 in 6 newborn children will be diagnosed with a developmental disability (such as autism), making such conditions more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the main treatment methodology recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the US Surgeon General and the US National Institutes of Mental Health for treating individuals with developmental disabilities. However, the highly limited availability of credentialed ABA providers–only approximately 25,000 Board Certified Behavior Therapists worldwide –severely limits its potential benefit for the hundreds of millions of individuals globally with such disorders. Limited public support services, including in the education and healthcare systems, further amplify this challenge.
Rethink Autism, Inc. provides parents and professionals with access to Applied Behavior Analysis based treatment tools for the growing population affected by autism and other developmental disabilities. Its Web-based program provides access to assessment tools, teaching tutorials, video images of teaching interactions, and teaching objectives.
The Company also provides peer support and materials that helps parents and caregivers engage and share ideas, as well as provides them with various support services. In addition, its platform provides strategies that help users adapt each lesson to the child’s individual abilities, and tools to modify and individualize the child’s personal program goals.
Further, the Company’s platform provides analytics by automatically tracking an individual’s progress and making that data available in real time to the caregiver team.
Rethink was incorporated in 2007 and is headquartered in New York City.
Interview Excerpt: Daniel A. Etra, CEO
Rewind: Getting off the Ground
Rethink was founded with a mission to effectively and affordably meet the treatment needs of an exploding population with developmental disabilities worldwide faced with a significant dearth of trained professionals. The company determined that the only way to deliver clinical best practice treatment in a scalable way was to leverage technology to train whoever was caring for the individual how to deliver the treatment. This would impact all the entities revolving around the care of this population, including in the school, in the home, and in the healthcare system. Rethink found extensive research on the effectiveness of video modeling for training in fields such as medicine and the military and decided to combine this proven method of instruction with the proven and medically-recommended ABA treatment methodology, creating an online training and support system for individuals with a developmental disability and their caregivers worldwide.
“We began by offering treatment tools, training and support for individuals with autism (1 in 59 today) and their caregivers. We then leveraged our clinical expertise and best in class platform to expand beyond autism to broader developmental disabilities (1 in 6) including such conditions as developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, speech and language problems, Down Syndrome, ADD/ADHD and a range of problem behaviors.”
Technology: In Full Swing
Using technology to deliver research-based clinical best practice treatment, the online Rethink program includes a comprehensive treatment program for developmental disabilities (such as autism) with over 1,500 video-based demonstrations – developed by internationally-recognized experts in the field – to train caregivers, parents, professional and paraprofessional staff how to teach an individual critical skills as well as manage a range of problem behaviors. Automated data-based reports track progress in real time, facilitate coordination across care team members, and allow for robust data analytics on outcomes. In addition, Program Specialists can also utilize Rethink as a form of job-embedded professional development and to augment coaching caregivers and other support staff.
“We also offer a range of technology-enabled remote service options, ranging from short-term web-based consultations with our Board-certified behavioral therapists to ongoing program development initiatives supported by an in-house team of clinicians.”
The company serves individuals at all levels of development and ages ranging from point of diagnosis through early adulthood, covers a broad range of skills (e.g., academics, language, social, motor, daily living, behavior management, etc.), and spans the entire spectrum from severely impaired through high-functioning individuals.The award-winning cloud-based platform is fully mobile-optimized and can be used on smartphones (iOS-, Android- and Amazon-based), tablets, netbooks, laptops and computers. Rethink is a robust, scalable and easy-to-implement treatment and support program.
Challenges: Taking the Bull by the Horns
One of the biggest challenges early on was securing buy-in from the clinical/academic community that a technology-driven solution could be applied by a caregiver to an issue that historically was addressed with on-site delivery of intervention by a trained and certified clinician. To help address this issue, the company made sure to involve leading clinicians and academics in the development of the program as well as leading advocacy groups and not-for-profits in the space.
Growth: By Leaps and Bounds
Your product popularity – There’s a clear problem in the market that we are solving, namely an exploding population with a developmental disability and a severe shortage of trained clinicians to serve them. In addition, Rethink’s platform, while robust and best-practice, is incredibly easy to use.
We hope to inspire others to think about how to leverage technology to help solve the world’s problems. There are very few ways to drive solutions that are truly scalable and the use of technology has to be an integral part.
Your consistence growth as an organization – A clear commitment to addressing the growing needs of our customers and a strong-mission-oriented drive.
Future Arrangements: Beyond the Obvious
The sky’s the limit. With roughly 450 million individuals with a developmental disability globally, there is a tremendous need for our program and we look forward to continuing to expand around the world to be the program supporting this population and their caregivers no matter where they are located.
Daniel A. Etra A Dynamic Leader
Daniel A. Etra currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Rethink. With over two decades of successful international business experience, including 15 years as a serial entrepreneur, he was a co-founder & CEO of R.E.R. International, a global supplier of printed materials to the retail industry. He was a Consultant at Bain & Company, helping establish their NY office and also served as a Managing Director of Promodex Ltd., an importer and distributor of consumer appliances and industrial equipment in the Middle East.
Mr. Etra has won numerous awards including the Inc. 500 Award and the SmartCEO Future 50 Award. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). Mr. Etra has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Yale University. Born and raised in New York City, he is active in variety of children’s causes and volunteers with organizations such as NY Cares and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.