Video | A Tale of Two Success Stories With ReThink Autism: Home Depot & Costco | Circa April 13, 2017 #NotAnAutisticAlly #AutisticHistory

ReThink Autism: Not An Autistic Ally

[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

A Tale of Two Success Stories:
Unique Benefits Strategies of Two Fortune 50 Companies

In this recorded session you’ll hear two amazing success stories from The Home Depot and Costco Wholesale. Both companies will share unique communication and implementation strategies they’ve deployed to successfully engage with and support their employees who are caring for an individual with a developmental disability.

With nearly 17% of your workforce caring for a child diagnosed with a developmental disability, this issue is now at the top of the agenda for all major employers who are seeking to create cultures of wellness and increased engagement.

Topics Discussed:

• Leveraging innovative vendor connections
• Member experience and communication strategies
• Business case justification tips
• Employee success stories and much more

Notes From video (in Progress)

ReThink : A Tale of Two Success Stories: Unique Benefits Strategies of Two Fortune 50 companies: Costco & The Home Depot Orange Life

Rethink Slide screenshot: Rethink – A tale of two success stories. More below.


  1. Developmental Disabilities – Prevalence and Statistics
  2. Costco Wholesale – Q & A w Donna Sexton, Director of Employee Benefits
  3. The Home Depot – Q & A w Anne Marie Kelly, Senior Benefits Manager
  4. Recap and questions from the audience

Presented by : Mike Civell, Vice President of ReThink Benefits

Welcome everybody. My name is Mike Civello. I’m the VP of ReThink benefits. The benefits product division of ReThink first. We’re super excited to have you all today. There’s about 150 of you across many Fortune 1000 companies. It’s an honor to have your attention.

For those of you were aware, March is developmental disabilities month. And April is global and national autism awareness month. so we wanted to bring you some innovative and interesting content. to show what two very special fortune 50 companies are doing to innovatively support their employees are caring for loved ones with a developmental disability such as autism.

First a little bit of context before we hear our amazing speakers.

About ReThink Benefits slide. info below.

About Rethink Benefits

Developed by highly experience clinicians, educators and leaders int he field of developmental disabilities, the Rethink program includes a comphrehensive parent & caregiver training and support program with thousands of instructional videos, progress reporting, forums and 24/.7 virtual access with Behavioral experts.

Rethink is covering over 4 million lives across many of the Fortune 1000 companies nationally and worldwide. ReThink’s mission is to empower families to help their child reach their full potential.

Screenshot of Slide for Presenters. Text below.

About Our Presenters

Ann Marie Kelly

Sensior Benefits Manager

Ann Marie Kelly is a Senior Benefits Manager at The Home Depot, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. She began her career at The Home Depot in 2004 and currently has overall responsibility for the strategy, design and financials of The Home Depot medical and pharmacy plans.

Donna Sexton

Director, Employee Benefits

Donna is the Direct of Employee Benefits at Costco Wholesale. Along with her team, she is responsible for program selection, supplier collaboration, implementation and all aspects of operations that make the Costco Wholesale Employee Benefit program one ofthe highest regarded employer benefit programs in the US. Donna is currently on the Board of Trustees for the Council on Employee Benefits where she enjoys the connections with her peers, regardless of the industry, as we all work togehter to find solutions and stregthen the value proposition between our companies and employees. Donna’s passion is finding, developing and delivering the right srouces to employees and their families witen they need it the most.

Screen of Graphic. Text below.

1 in 68 prevalence of Autism has increased 20x since the 1980s.

1 in 6 children have a developmental disability.

Treatment costs have increased up to $60,000 annually per person.

Autism Developmental Delays Intellectual/Learning disabilities, speech/language problems, add/adhd, Down Syndrome, problem behaviors.

Screenshot of graph showing shorts of therapists.

Severe Shortages of Therapists. Wait lists months to years.

Screenshot of employee challenges. text below.

Employee Challenges

Is there anything I can do now?

How do I work with my child’s school and caregivers?

Who can help my child with a developmental disability (such as autism)?

What is the right treatment approach?


I wanted to share some important statistics. You may be familiar or heard quite a lot about autism. One in 68 is the latest diagnosis rate in the United States according to the CDC.

This has increased more than 20 x in the past several decades. However we’re going to spend a bit more time on focused on developmental disabilities over all today.

Which includes autism. But developmental disabilities is a category that includes other conditions such as ADD/ADHD, down syndrome, intellectual and learning disabilities and other problem behaviors.

Treatment costs for therapy are quite high. This can be quite a burden to the families that are impacted and to employees who are looking to provide more support to employees who are caring for a loved one.

Direct providers by state: There’s a severe shorts of providers. Even in California. Waitlists up to two years.

When we talk about autism and developmental disabilities, very often the conversation is focused simplistically on the child or the patient. However at Rethink we’re really focused on the parent and caregiver and all the extended family members. So we’ve taken a look at employees challenges.

Employee challenges are finding services, how do i deal with the school systems and things that fall well outside health plans, things like financial burdens and marital issues also impact employees with these types of challenges.

Screen of graph for Impact on Employees/Employers of caring for a child with a developmental disability.

Impact on Employees/Employers

of caring for a child with a developmental disabiltiy:

Higher rates of anxiety & depression

  • Caregivers are 2.4x more likely to report poor/fair mental & emotional health
  • >40% of caregivers need help managing stress and balancing work/family responsibilities.

Increased absenteeism & lost productivity

  • Up to 250 hours lost work time per year & $3000 – 5000 in lost productivity.

Heavy impact on employment descisions

  • >50% worked fewer hours/did not take job to accommodate needs of their child
  • -25% passed up a promotion.

Higher health care costs

  • More than 2x the mean cost of hospitalization/clinics
  • More than 7x the cost of prescription medications
  • avg. medical expenditures up to $6,200 greater.

We’ve uncovered some very statistics happy to share following today’s presentation. Just a selection are some highlights from The National Business Group on Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a variety of other reputable sources.

There really looking at 2.4x more likely to report poor or fair emotional health.

Many caregivers say they aren’t recieving support to blaance their work and family responsibilties. This can translate to 250 hours of lost work time per year. Fifty percent of employees had to work fewer hours or were unable to take a job related to the care of a loved one with a developmental disability. Cost can be double that of a typically developing peer. 7x the cost for prescription medications.

Screen of critical gaps in medical and EAP plans graph. Text below.

Critical Gaps in Medical & EAP Plans

Pre-diagnosis ABA supports – x

Post-diagnosis direct ABA service by provider – check mark

Training & supports specifically for parents/caregivers – x

ABA supports for non-Autism Diagnoses – x

ABA supports for non-medical-plan-eligible employees – x

Supports for parents/caregivers to address needs related to school – x

ReThink Rep:

And just some gaps in the medical and EAP plans. We wanted to illustrate that again to the earlier point about coverages that no matter the richness of your benefits plan this illustration takes into consideration that you might have some type of ABA, Applied Behavioral Analysis, the most recommended behavioral intervention treatment for autism and other types of developmental disabilities.

This takes that into consideration. But many employers on the line today don’t have that. So unfortunately you might see all red x down. many things like pre-diagnosis support, support for non-autism diagnoses. When you’re looking at developmental disabilities, the only folks that are allowed to get coverage for ABA are those with an autism diagnosis. Of course, ReThink, we’re primarily focused on parents and caregivers and theres almost no resources for that in the health care community environments today. A critical delivery for rethink.

More With ReThink Autism


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 workIn 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.

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