GE Privacy

Introduction: protecting your privacy, enhancing your online experience

When it comes to data privacy, protecting your personal information is most important. We feel it’s also important to give you, your colleagues, and your family members a voice in the development of this web site and your overall experience with it. To do this, we need to collect certain types of information to help us evaluate how the HealthAhead web site is being used, so we can continually improve your experience and the content we offer to you. By tracking overall usage patterns, providing an easy channel for your feedback, and allowing you to tell us what content is most useful to you, we can refine our offerings and provide more of the content you personally find valuable.

Overall, we are committed to giving you the option to participate – or not participate – in a manner that’s right for you. Read more for how we do this.

Information we collect and how we use it

Identifiable Information Collecting

All methods of identifying yourself to GE will be optional and opt-in, may be updated by you at any time, and will not be required for all areas of the web site.

We will not collect any identifiable user information from the areas of the HealthAhead web site which do not require SSO (Single Sign On), unique User ID (Identification), and/or Password.

There are areas of the web site that require you to identify yourself to us (authenticate). This allows you to access certain parts of the web site that may otherwise be restricted for privacy and security purposes.

There are also areas that may provide the option to create a personalized profile. The information you provide is optional and what you tell us will determine the level of personalization you will experience.

Access to identifiable information is restricted to internal, administrative personnel and solely for purposes of providing web site support, awarding prizes and other recognition, and customizing the web site content and overall functionality for the user. However, we will also allow you to change your mind and opt-out of sharing personal information with us at any time.

Non-Identifiable Information Collecting

When you visit the HealthAhead web site, we track, collect and report on certain aggregate and non- identifiable information. In other words, the information we collect does not relate to a single identifiable visitor. It tells us things such as how many users visited our web site and what pages they viewed.

This non-identifiable data will be collected and stored in a secure database in the U.S., and may be viewed by GE. We will analyze this information to refine our web site to better reflect user preferences, such as the type of content users are searching for most, and to improve the usability of the web site and the user’s web site experience. The information may also be used for purposes of promoting the web site. The data will not be used for medical analysis or other medical purposes.


Like many web sites, the HealthAhead web site uses browser cookies – bits of text placed on your computer’s hard drive when you visit. We use them to tell us things like whether you’ve visited us before, and to help us identify features in which you may have the greatest interest. We also use cookies to track country and language selection.

In the future, we may use cookies to track additional details, such as city and state.

We keep this information unless you don’t wish GE to capture this and choose to delete your cookie history. If you wish to stop accepting new browser cookies, get notification when you receive a new cookie, or disable existing cookies, the “help” portion of the toolbar on most browsers will tell you how. Keep in mind, without browser cookies, you may not be able to take full advantage of all our web site features or have your preferences saved for future visits.

We also use Flash cookies on the web site to enhance your online experience. These are similar to browser cookies, but they store data more complex than simple text. Flash cookies, by themselves, cannot do anything to or with the data on your computer. In addition, Flash cookies cannot access or remember your email address or other personal information unless you provide the information on this web site.

Web Beacons

Certain pages on our web site contain “web beacons” (also known as Internet tags, pixel tags and clear GIFs). These web beacons obtain information such as the time the page was viewed, the type of browser used to view the page, and the information in cookies. Web beacon data does not include IP address. The web beacon data is stored at Google Analytics, a third party (see ‘Tracking and Reporting’ for more information on this technology).

Tracking and Reporting

Specifically we will track, collect and report on the following data using software from Google Analytics. For more information about Google Analytics, including information about how to opt out of these technologies, go to

Our primary metrics include: Poll response rate, repeat visits, number of times content is shared, and visits by country.

The sub-metrics include:

Most Popular Content Types, Most Popular Content Topics, User Pathing, Exit Links, Bounce Rate, Traffic by Source (region), Time on Web site, Visit Time of Day, Unique Views/Page Views, Thumps Up/Down, Most Shared Content, Number of Times Content is Rated, Most Rated Content by Type, Language Selection.

We will also be tracking how much communicators, web site leaders and other HealthAhead operations teams are leveraging the web site to support and align their business, regional and web site specific efforts. Some of these metrics may be tracked using existing support central tools.

These metrics may include:

Number of Content Submissions by Region, Number of non-corporate Driven Promotions by RCs, Number of Promotional Downloads by Region, Support Central Survey

Feedback Form

Your feedback is important to the web site’s ongoing development, so we’d love to hear your opinions and ideas. To contact us, please use this Feedback form. We will not be able to respond directly, but all feedback will be reviewed, evaluated, and factored into future content decisions. Please note: this form is monitored by IT support staff only. Please do not submit any personal or medical information. And thank you in advance!

Poll and Quiz Responses

On the web site, we will conduct polls and quizzes to better understand user activities, attitudes, interests and knowledge across multiple health topics. These polls may also help us serve you better by asking questions that relate to the usefulness of our web site. We will not capture any personally identifiable information through the collection of poll response data. As part of these polls and quizzes, we will capture responses sorted by country. In the future, we may capture responses sorted by additional anonymous demographics such as language, affiliated GE business, work web site location, gender, etc.

Sharing Content with Family and Friends

We want you to share the web site’s content with important people in your life, so most articles, videos and slideshows can be emailed. To do so, we will ask you to provide your name and the recipient’s email address. We simply use this information to send the content as you request. At this time, we do not capture or store your, or the recipient’s, email address. Please see below to learn how we track and report on email sharing activity.

Please also review GE’s Social Media Guidelines

How we protect information

GE maintains administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect against unauthorized disclosure, use, alteration or destruction of any information you provide on this web site. We use secure socket layer (SSL) technology to help keep the information you provide on this web site secure. See ‘Information We Share’ and ‘Information We Transfer’ for additional details.

Information we share

We do not sell or otherwise disclose personal information about our visitors, except as described here. We may share information provided by visitors with service providers we have retained to perform services on our behalf. These service providers are contractually restricted from using or disclosing the information, except as necessary to perform services on our behalf or comply with legal requirements. In addition, we may disclose information about you if we are required to do so by law or legal process; to law enforcement authorities or other government officials; or when we believe disclosure is necessary or appropriate to prevent physical harm or financial loss or in connection with an investigation of suspected or actual illegal activity.

Information we transfer

We may transfer the information we collect on this web site to other countries where we do business, but only for the purposes described above. When we transfer your information to other countries, we will protect that information as described here unless otherwise required by applicable laws.

Links to other web sites

We provide links to other web sites for your convenience and information. These web sites may have their own privacy statements in place, which we recommend you review if you visit any linked web sites. We are not responsible for the content of linked web sites or any use of the web sites.

Children’s privacy

This web site is not directed to children under the age of thirteen and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of thirteen on the web site. If we become aware that we have inadvertently received personal information from a visitor under the age of thirteen, we will delete the information from our records.

Some links on this web site may take web site visitors to web sites that are directed to children. These web sites have their own privacy notices that address children’s privacy. We encourage you to read these privacy notices if you visit any linked web sites directed to children.

Updates to our privacy & data policy

This Privacy & Data Policy may be updated periodically and without prior notice to you to reflect changes in our online information practices. We will post a notice on this web site to notify you of any significant changes to our Privacy & Data Policy, and indicate at the top of this policy when it was most recently updated.

How to contact us

If you have any questions or comments about this Privacy & Data Policy, or if you would like us to update information we have about you or your preferences, please contact us by visiting our Feedback Form.

The Next Step for Children with Special Needs: Planning for After High School
The Next Steps for Children with Special Needs

Many parents of children with special needs describe the time after high school as “like falling off a cliff.” But there are options available, and long-term planning can help you decide what is best for your family.

To learn more about how families can start preparing for the post-high school years, we’ve reached out to Peter Bell, Executive Vice President of Programs and Services at Autism Speaks, a leading non-profit autism science and advocacy organization. Bell is an expert on services available for children with special needs. Moreover, he has gone through this transition with his own 20-year-old son, who has autism.

If you’re worried about what life will be like for your child after high school, you’re not alone. Many families face this challenge. Let’s take a closer look at the options that may be possible for your child.

Transition Planning: Start Early

Many organizations that advocate for children with special needs—including Autism Speaks, National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), and national non-profit Great Schools—recommend early planning. In fact, transition planning may be legally required to start at age 14 if your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

At Autism Speaks, Bell says, “our general advice is to start early and to pace yourself. All the things you need to think about and plan for don’t happen over the course of a week or a month. You need to use that 5 to 6 year period of later adolescence to plan.” However, even if your child is graduating this year, it’s never too late to start preparing.

Most of the services available to children with special needs end after they leave high school. At that point, families generally take on the responsibility of coordinating resources for their child. Bell recommends doing research to make sure you understand what services your home state provides. Certain services require advanced registration, and states may have long waiting lists.

Autism Speaks offers a transition tool kit to help families plan ahead. Families with a child with autism between the ages of 14 and 22 may request a hard copy from the organization, tailored to their specific state. Autism Speaks also offers transition timelines for each state, which may also be applicable for children who have special needs other than autism.

What’s Available? Options for Children with Special Needs

The options available to your child will be partially dependent on your child’s capabilities and interests. Even if your child has fewer capabilities, Bell stresses the importance of including your child in the planning process.

“You want to involve the child no matter what their level of functionality is,” says Bell. “There are certain children with autism who may not have strong communication skills, who can still be involved.” For example, Bell’s son has some language skills and, with the help of his therapist, was able to circle and point to activities that interested him.

If you apply for services through your state, you may be assigned a case worker who can help you apply for programs. Some non-profit organizations may also be able to help you locate resources. Autism Speaks, for example, offers an extensive Resource Guide that you can search for services in your area. Bell notes that their Resource Guide is the world’s largest database for autism services. Some of these services may also be helpful for children with other developmental conditions.

When researching options, there are three main areas to explore: employment, day programs and buddy programs, and post-secondary education.


According to the National Center for Special Education Research, 71 percent of students with disabilities had a paid job within 6 years of leaving high school. There are three types of employment options for people with special needs:

Competitive: This involves applying to employers directly, without supportive services.

Supported: This is the most common type of employment for people with special needs, and involves working in an integrated environment among people without disabilities. Support services, such as a job coach, assist the employee with job skills. A job coach may work with the employee full-time in the beginning, and then visit only as needed.

Sheltered: People work in a program designed specifically for people with special needs. Wages for this type of work are sometimes low, which Bell notes makes these programs controversial. According to NDSS, sheltered employment often involves manual labor, like assembling goods. It may also include creative projects, like photography.

Bell notes that all states have vocational rehabilitation programs, commonly called “voc-rehab,” which may help prepare students with special needs for employment. Sometimes these programs will provide a job coach, but there may be a waiting list.

Most job coaches also accept private payment. If you are interested in finding a job coach, you can consult your state’s voc-rehab program, your school’s special education department, or your child’s therapists. There is no certification for becoming a job coach, so be sure that you ask for a resume and references before hiring someone.

Day Programs and Buddy Programs

If employment isn’t possible for your child, day programs and buddy programs may be helpful options.

“There are a variety of different organizations who offer those kinds of services,” says Bell, but notes that programs may not be readily available in some regions. To find programs in your area, Bell suggests consulting Autism Speaks’ Resource Guide. He notes that Special Olympics and Best Buddies provide excellent activities. Your local YMCA or Easter Seals organization may also offer programs or have suggestions for nearby services.

When assessing your options, Bell recommends looking for programs that offer recreation as well as physical activities. Like everyone, children with special needs have diverse interests.

“Some like sports, or music, or the arts,” adds Bell, “It’s important to have a rich variety of activities and programs.”

Post-secondary Education

Post-secondary education options for students with special needs vary widely. Think College, an initiative of the Institute for Common Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston, has a database of over 200 college programs for students with intellectual disabilities. Their website lists each program with information on admission requirements, tuition fees and financial aid, housing options, and if students can earn a degree or certificate through the program, among other details.

If your child has autism, Autism Speaks provides extensive information on post-secondary education resources. You may also be interested in consulting College Autism Spectrum, which has information on more than 20 colleges offering programs for students with autism.

There are also numerous programs tailored to students with learning disabilities, as the New York Times reports. You can contact the College Board to learn if your child might be eligible for special testing accommodations.

HealthAhead Hint: Preparing for the Future

Even if your child is still in school, it’s never too early—or too late—to start planning. Depending on your child’s abilities, post-secondary education or supported employment may be excellent opportunities. If those goals seem out of reach, consider engaging the help of an organization that can provide visits and activities. With advanced planning, you may find some great options for your child.

* Note: This article refers to many outside organizations and services they provide. GE does not have any affiliation with these organizations, and GHS has not done independent research on their services.