Spotlight Teacher of the Month: Maria DiMatteo

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School District: District 75, New York City
Classroom: Self-Contained Special Education Classroom
Position:  Special Education Teacher

In the fall of 2013, Maria DiMatteo was a part of a group of teachers selected to pilot Rethink at P352X, a group of five schools in the Bronx, NY for students with autism and other disabilities. She has found Rethink to be an invaluable tool, both enhancing her own instructional practice and helping to improve student outcomes.

“In my classroom it has been most valuable in terms of tracking data and seeing/showing a child’s progress,” Maria explained. “It has helped me to make adjustments in my approach to teaching.  When you are constantly looking at the data, and when a student’s progress has flat-lined, you really start to think about how to break a skill down into more teachable steps that a child can master, and then building on that.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 1.46.53 PM“Rethink is multifaceted … There is something for everyone working with a child who has autism.”

One of Maria’s most rewarding experiences was using Rethink to help one of her students and his mom with toilet training. Once she began looking at the lessons and resources for toilet training, she realized she was missing a lot of opportunities to help the student. “Even though you think you know it, sometimes we need to be reminded of the simple things that we forget,” Maria explained.

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After watching the Rethink lesson video for toilet training, Maria downloaded data tracking sheets, started using pictures and motivation boards from the Rethink site, and tailored a specific plan for her student. Het is now trained on a time schedule to use the toilet and is working on responding yes or no to pictures. “With this child, using Rethink made a world of difference,” said Maria.

Keep up the great work, Maria!

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