We recently received a few success stories from one of our Parenting Classes, Helping the Behaviorally Challenging Child. This is a story of encouragement and we hope it will ecourage you!

I recently attended Debra Ann’s refresher class after originally attending the Helping the Behaviorally Challenging Child Class Series 2 1/2 years ago.Our son Mark who is now 16 years old and has an autism diagnosis has come a long way over the past three years.   We were very challenged, to say the least, during Mark’s middle school years with explosive outbursts both at home and school.  At school, his academic demands were much too great, he was depressed by the lack of social opportunities, and he was unable to understand or articulate his many daily frustrations.  This was a very stressful time for our entire family living with an intellectually challenged, inflexible teen with very low frustration tolerance. We were desperate parents who needed help.  We tried every medication prescribed on the market for aggressive behavior. At home, we followed a tight schedule using the conventional behavior management approach of positive reinforcement using reward systems and extinction and redirection for negative behavior, mostly met with little success.    Ultimately, the greatest gains we have made come fromunderstandingwhy he is upset, showing empathy, and using the Plan B Parenting Method from “Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach” by Ross W. Greene and J. Stuart Ablon introduced to us from the Helping the Behaviorally Challenging Child class series taught by Debra Ann Afarian.

Mark is now a junior in high school, and he is excelling at school. He is appropriately placed in his special ed classes with fewer academic demands being placed on him.  He loves the social interaction he has with his typical peers in his mainstream electives.  And his happiness at school carries over at home.  Although we still face some negative behaviors that come with the territory, we have learned how to be more empathetic to Mark’s deficit skills, in particular, his low frustration tolerance.  Mark is a huge Anaheim Angels fan, and the majority of Mark’s frustrations now stem from his disappointment over the Angels’ losses.  In the conventional behavior management approach, we were taught to ignore Mark’s negative behavior, and ultimately deny Mark the ability to watch the games if his behavior escalated.  But since the viewing of the games is his passion, we have learned how to implement the Plan B Parenting Method so he can watch the games.  While some losses hurt more than others, we greatly appreciate the more peaceful home we now live in.


Mark was recently voted as Homecoming Prince as his High School. This class has assisted in his assilmilation into high school and has allowed the fostering of friendships! His homecoming story is featured in the OC Register, you can read it by clicking here: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/mark-322801-kylie-homecoming.html

For more information regarding Helping the Behaviorally Challenging Child Class please go to our website or contact Debra Ann Afarian at dafarian@ucp-oc.org.

Published by Life Without Limits: UCP of Orange County

The mission of UCP of Orange County is to help children with disabilities reach their full potential and improve the quality of life for their families.

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