Spotlight: Nathan’s Life Without Limits with Respite from UCP-OC

At United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County (UCP-OC), our vision of a Life Without Limits for children with disabilities is central to all that we do. In addition to providing the therapies and resources children with special needs require to achieve their full potential, UCP-OC seeks to improve the quality of life for families like Nathan’s. This is Nathan’s story.

Nathan at 18 months old.

As an infant, Nathan was delayed on all developmental milestones. Shortly before his 2nd birthday, he was diagnosed with athetoid cerebral palsy. At 6 years old, non-verbal and exhibiting self-stimulatory behaviors such as staring intently at the ceiling fan, Nathan was also diagnosed with autism.

Nathan and his parents, Derrick and Julie, have found a great support system in family, friends, and their local community. One thing Julie was missing, though, was time to herself. She felt strongly that since she works full-time as a teacher, she needed to spend all of her free time with Nathan.

Then, when Nathan was 15, Julie was introduced to UCP-OC’s Respite and Childcare programs, which provide childcare support and  temporary relief to those caring for people with special needs. Yvette Staggs, UCP-OC’s Director of Respite & Childcare, helped Julie to realize that the entire family’s quality of life could be improved with the support of UCP-OC’s skilled, compassionate respite workers. She also pushed Julie to encourage Nathan’s independence.

 “Nathan is a remarkable young man with an endless amount of opportunity. His fun-loving personality makes Nathan a joy to be around.  Nathan’s drive to know more, his desire to increase his independence, and the endless support that surrounds him serve as a reminder of what a Life Without Limits truly means.” – Yvette Staggs, Director of Respite & Childcare

Nathan with his respite worker.
Nathan with his respite worker.

While Julie gets to enjoy musicals like Jersey Boys with her friends and paddle boarding with Derrick, Nathan spends quality time with his current respite worker, Christy. Christy and Nathan go out to lunch or visit the pier. Christy always encourages Nathan to be independent – to feed himself and use the Proloquo app on his iPad to communicate. Julie never has to worry about Nathan, because he always comes home with a smile on his face.

“UCP has given us a great quality of life. From knowing that Yvette is always there to provide support and advice, to the comradery and confidence Nathan gets from time with his respite worker, and the motivation to encourage Nathan’s independence, UCP-OC has made a big impact on our lives.” – Julie

This focus on his independence helped Nathan secure one of 24 coveted spots in a local Independent Living Skills program. Julie and Derrick are grateful to UCP-OC for helping them to realize Nathan’s potential and always pushing them to encourage his independence. UCP-OC is proud of all of Nathan’s accomplishments and to play a significant role in his Life Without Limits.


UCP-OC 2014 Life Without Limits Gala Video

Recent studies show a staggering statistic that 1 in 6 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with a developmental disability. UCP-OC proudly serves the 1 in 6 children in our community that make up this statistic.


Learn more about the services UCP-OC provides:

UCP SmartBrief & My Child Without Limits

UCP SmartBrief

Disability Update:
Judge says NYC emergency plans inadequate for people with disabilities
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled that New York City’s emergency planning is inadequate to accommodate people with disabilities and the city is in violation of local and federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Furman said the city’s plans do not ensure evacuation of people with disabilities, do not provide sufficiently accessible shelters, and do not do enough to inform people about accessible emergency services. The class-action lawsuit was brought by local disability-advocacy groups after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)

Children with autism are more prone to gastrointestinal problems
In a study involving almost 1,000 2- to 5-year-olds in California, researchers found that gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, food sensitivity and constipation, were six to eight times more prevalent among children with autism than those without the condition. “GI problems may create behavior problems, and those behavior problems may create or exacerbate GI problems,” lead author Virginia Chaidez wrote in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. HealthDay News

Assistive Technology
Children with autism are more prone to gastrointestinal problems
In a study involving almost 1,000 2- to 5-year-olds in California, researchers found that gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, food sensitivity and constipation, were six to eight times more prevalent among children with autism than those without the condition. “GI problems may create behavior problems, and those behavior problems may create or exacerbate GI problems,” lead author Virginia Chaidez wrote in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. HealthDay News

DOT rules to make airport kiosks, airline websites more accessible
New U.S. Department of Transportation rules will require airline websites and airport kiosks to be accessible to people with disabilities. Airlines will be required to make their website pages with key travel information and services accessible to people with disabilities within two years of the rule, and at least 25% of airport kiosks used for such services as printing boarding passes will be required to be accessible within 10 years. Forbes

Minn. district switches to inclusion model for students with disabilities
St. Paul Public Schools in Minnesota has closed most of its learning resource centers and placed students with behavioral and emotional disabilities at their home schools to have more interaction with their peers. The change has given most students a chance to be in a regular education classroom. Some student advocates and teachers raised concerns, such as not having enough aides and special-education teachers to co-teach in every classroom with students with disabilities. Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)

Adding sensory elements to stories can enhance learning
Incorporating sensory experiences, such as feeling a drop of water or smelling a favorite scent, into stories can help enrich learning for all students, says special-educational needs and disabilities consultant Joanna Grace. In this blog post, she shares specific ways sensory stories can be used with a range of student populations, including students with sensory-processing disorders and other special needs. The Guardian (London)/Teacher Network 

UCP News
2013 Design- athon a huge success!

Held in partnership with U.K.-based Enabled by Design and Futuregov, the Design-athon is an international innovation event with a focus on disabilities. More than 100 hackers, designers and inventors came together at the Design-athon to hear from experts, discuss the issues surrounding the need for more accessible, attractive and easier-to-use products for people with disabilities, and to build functional, scalable prototypes. Learn more about the Design-athon and how you can get involved!

World Cerebral Palsy Challenge final results announced
The final fundraising results from the second annual World Cerebral Palsy (CP) Challenge, an international awareness and fundraising campaign for people living with cerebral palsy and other disabilities, were recently announced — and they are amazing! More than $180,000 was raised in the U.S., and $1.6 million was raised worldwide. More than 1,900 individuals from five different countries participated in the World CP Challenge, making it a huge success. Thank you to everyone involved, and we hope to see you again next year! Learn more about the World CP Challenge.


My Child Without Limits

Giving Tuesday

This year, on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, UCP and My Child Without Limits are part of a call to action celebrating a day dedicated to giving. Charities, families, businesses, community centers, students, retailers giving_tuesdayand more will all come together for #GivingTuesday – a movement to celebrate giving and encourage more, better and smarter giving during the Holiday Season that we are proud to be part of.

Since the beginning UCP-OC has relied on support from its community members to continue serving the children and families in Orange County.  #GivingTuesday proves that the holidays can be about both giving and giving back. It celebrates how Americans can do more with their wallets than just shop – and that we Americans can give as good as we get.

Mark your calendar for #GivingTuesday or click here to donate today.

U.S. Preterm Birth Rate Falls But More Can Still Be Done
According to a report released by the March of Dimes, in 2012 the nation’s preterm birth rate was 11.5%, a 15-year low. While it is better than in previous years the U.S. received a grade of C and was ranked 131 out of 184 countries worldwide. There is still very far to go in decreasing the U.S.’s preterm birth rate. Beyond statistics about the numbers of births, the report focuses on the reasons behind the rate and strategies for prevent- including reducing smoking and increasing health insurance coverage among pregnant women.

Click here for full results of the March of Dimes Global Action Report.

Click here for more information about premature births including common associated health problems and treatments from

Trying To Teach Empathy Through A New Video Game
quandaryMIT’s Education Arcade and the Learning Games Network created a new free game called Quandary with the idea of engaging kids to start thinking. Quandary approaches the broad topic of ethics by helping students understand how to take a different perspective and learn how to empathize.

As a player you are the captain on an Earth colony on a distant planet charged with the survival of your crew and residents. In order to understand the situation you must interview different characters and organize the information you get in to facts, solutions, or opinions, and then act. The game allows players to experience a diverse set of character viewpoints. Gamer creators believe “The game offers a unique decision-making mechanic, one where the choices and outcomes available to players are not a binary ‘good or bad’, and where there are no easy, right answers.”

Creators are careful to say the game doesn’t teach ethics, per se. Instead they “…see games as an organized space for playful exploration and through the process people encounter and form new ideas and concepts, they begin to construct knowledge.”

Quandary has a new iPhone and Android app that offers the same experience as the web-based game and are available for free. Check out the website for more information and to download the game.

Other interesting news:

Child of the Month….and Volunteer of the Month

November 2013: Andrew & Natalie Cernius

With Thanksgiving coming up, we have much to be thankful for this month of November. We would like to kick off our month of thankfulness by featuring Andrew Cernius as our Child of the Month and Natalie Cernius as our first Volunteer of the Month!

We could not be more excited to feature these two wonderful people and the immense impact they have made at UCP-OC and alongside UCP-OC.

Andrew is 19 years-old and is the third child in the Cernius family. IMG_20131017_194249Andrew has autism and comes to UCP-OC for recreational classes. “He participates in Drawing and Painting and absolutely loves it and the new teacher is fantastic!”says his mother Poita. Recently he has gotten a job at Creative Solutions for Hope in their mailroom, which both he and his parents are very proud of. He loves bringing home his paycheck!

Andrew is also the founding member (and inspiration) for the Friday Night Club, something we have all grown to love at UCP-OC!  As the third child, Andrew became very close to his older siblings, and as they left for college his younger sister Natalie saw that Andrew was left without his friends. With this as her driving force, Natalie set out to create a time for teens with special needs like her brother to socialize with their peers, make friends and just have fun.

This November 21st Natalie will be honored by the National Philanthropy Day Board who is awarding her with the Outstanding Youth Award for the creation of the Friday Night Club and other philanthropic work throughout the community. More rewarding to Natalie and her family is what happened this past weekend. The Friday Night Club started 2 years ago, and this past Friday’s Halloween party attracted over 200 teens with special needs and typical teens that volunteer at the event.

Thank you Natalie for your idea to start this, and thank you Andrew for being her inspiration. With this idea UCP-OC been able to create a program for teens that is changing lives.

Drawing and Painting Class
Thursdays, 6:30pm
To sign up for Drawing and Painting Class please contact Cindy Escobar at  


To find out more about the Friday Night Club and hear a teen’s story stay tuned for December’s Child of the Month with video!

Natalie and Andrew 

Physical Therapy Month

pediatrictherapyIn honor of National Physical Therapy Month (yay October!), we want to do a fun/informative post.

10 signs that you’re a Pediatric Physical Therapist

10- You are used to answering the question, “What?? Why do kids need physical therapy?” after someone asks what you do.
9- You get excited to wear fun socks to work because let’s face it, you barely wear your shoes at work anyway.
8- No matter how your hair is styled for the day, by the end of the day, your hair will be tied back in a pony tail.
7- You have your standard 5 nursery rhyme songs you know by heart and can sing all day long.
6- You have at least 1 toy rolling around in your car.
5- You’re a pro at walking in a squatting position and walking backwards down stairs.
4- You are able to use 1 toy for a minimum of 5 different activities.
3- You know how to sign for “more” and “all done.” (you probably just read this again and did the sign with your hands )
2– You’ve developed cat-like reflexes to dodge flying toys and to catch falling children.
andddd last but not least!
1- You still get excited every time one of your patients reaches a new milestone

–Lisa Kerfoot, Physical Therapist, DPT, Manager of Therapy Services


Make sure to tell our physical therapists how much you love and appreciate them! You can leave a comment on the blog and they will see it.

UCP News Brief

Disability Update

Children with genetic disorder may be misdiagnosed with autism
As many as 50% of children with a genetic disorder called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome were diagnosed with autism, but U.S. researchers found that none of the 29 children with the deletion disorder met the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder. The findings, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, show the need for more accurate assessments for autism among children with the genetic disorder. Disability Scoop (9/19), HealthDay News (9/18)
Md. commission to study police response to people with disabilities
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley created a commission to recommend training standards and best practices for first responders who handle emergencies involving people with disabilities. The Maryland Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities was created in response to the death of Ethan Saylor, who had Down syndrome and was handcuffed by deputies on the floor of a Frederick movie theater after he refused to leave after the show. The Frederick News-Post (Md.) (9/17)
Disney to adopt new wait policy for people with disabilities
Disneyland and Walt Disney World are eliminating a policy that allows people with disabilities to go to the front of the line at events and rides because the system was being misused. A new policy, which goes into effect in October, will use a kiosk system that gives people a ticket to go on a ride at a specific time without having to wait in line. Only one ride can be requested at a time. Disability Scoop (9/20)

Assistive Technology

Poll: 50% OK with service, therapy animals in restaurants, stores
Only half of Washington state residents responding to a Pemco poll said on-leash therapy or service dogs should be allowed inside a store or restaurant. Pemco spokesman Jon Osterberg said it was surprising that one-third of people said service dogs should be allowed in restaurants and shops but not therapy dogs. “It makes us wonder what’s less tolerable about therapy dogs than service dogs,” he said. American City Business Journals/Puget Sound, Wash. (9/19)
Other News


Students learn job skills as elementary-school helpers
High-school students with disabilities at Bonner Springs High School in Kansas are working as helpers at an elementary school as part of a special-education transition program. Students in the program learn independent work skills while performing tasks, such as cleaning library books, filling teacher mailboxes and stacking chairs. “And it is also giving us an opportunity to figure out what they like to do and what they don’t like to do, what they’re good at and what they need a lot more support with,” teacher Tierney Thompson said. Bonner Springs-Edwardsville Chieftain (Kan.) (9/18)
Hockey team helps students with disabilities find their place
A hockey club in Montgomery County, Va., is helping students with disabilities learn social skills and self-confidence. Operated by volunteers, the club accepts children of all abilities and helps them access the sport at their level. “There’s a sense of satisfaction when you see a kid with disabilities have the same opportunities the other kids have,” a mother, Mildred Bonilla Lucia, said. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (9/15)
Other News
LTSS Commission releases final report
Created to replace the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, which was repealed in 2012, the Commission on Long-Term Care recently released its Final Report to Congress. The Commission was established to examine the issues surrounding long-term care, specifically service delivery, the workforce requirements and financing — but did not adequately address how it will be paid for. Learn more about the Commission, the recommendations created by the members who voted against the report, and read UCP’s statement.
“Breaking Bad” star RJ Mitte on World CP Day
RJ Mitte, star of the hit television series “Breaking Bad” and Global Ambassador for World Cerebral Palsy Day, has filmed a video in support of “Change My World in One Minute” campaign, which encourages people to come up with ideas that could change the world for people with CP. RJ, who has cerebral palsy himself, urges everyone to participate for the chance to see their idea brought to life. Learn more about World CP Day, watch the video and upload your idea today!
What is harder than rock, or softer than water? Yet soft water hollows out hard rock. Persevere.”
— Ovid,
Roman poet

Fun Facts

When we get down to it, we all like to hear new fun facts about people and places we are invested in. Especially when they are great conversation starters! This week we wanted to share with you our top 10 fun facts about United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County!


Fun UCP-OC Facts:

  1. Did you know UCP-OC started in 1953 serving 7 children with cerebral palsy?

    Early Intervention Specialist Ana Reyes in the Let’s Grow class on Monday mornings.
  2. UCP-OC provides access to resources all in one place! We offer the most comprehensive suite of services for children with disabilities anywhere in the Orange County community.
  3. The 5 most prevalent disabilities we serve, in no specific order, are cerebral palsy, developmental delay, autism, Down syndrome and speech disorders.
  4. Our iPads are used in therapy 40-48 hours a week, equivalent to a full-time therapist’s aid.
  5. We have 14 therapists on staff with a combined 160.5 years of experience. Four of our therapists have advanced practice certifications in addition to their credentials.
  6. More than 300 families receive respite care through UCP-OC each year. Respite provides a much-needed break for caregivers, transportation of special needs clients within the community, or assisting with other special care needs. Last month, families received over 6,600 hours of respite and childcare.
  7. Early Intervention Specialist Ana Reyes has been with UCP-OC for 25 years and has directly impacted over 2,500 families.
  8. UCP-OC’s Pediatric Medical Board consists of 15 of the county’s finest and most innovative doctors.
  9. In 2013, 464 new donors learned about UCP-OC and made an impact on the children we serve.
  10. UCP-OC’s Friday Night Club for Teens and Young Adults with Special Needs founder Natalie Cernius will receive the 2013 National Philanthropy Day Youth Award.

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Life’s a Journey with CP and Me

Hi Everyone at UCP-OC!katyfd-225x300
Katy here—I just returned from UCP-OC’s bike camp at Soka University in Aliso Viejo (where I am going into my 3rd year for my BA!) For those of you who are unfamiliar with the week-long camp, it is put on by iCanShine, a national organization that provides quality learning opportunities in recreational activities for individuals with disabilities who are determined to learn how to ride a bicycle. The camp is run by UCP-OC and Down Syndrome Association of Orange County and both organizations are very grateful for the support of the Pujols Family Foundation who sponsored the camp.
With the help of some amazing volunteers, the kids spend five days on adaptive bikes in the hope that they will be able to ride a two-wheel bike without any assistance! Having gone on the final day of camp, it was so awesome for me to witness these kids getting out there on two-wheeled bikes for one final ride with confidence with smiles on their faces! I was very proud of these kids with knowing how hard it is to put in the physical effort it takes to succeed like they have.

This experience—although I was not there to witness their entire progress—made me reflect upon my own past when I learned how to ride a bicycle. Having CP, it may seem unlikely that bike riding is actually my favorite form of exercise, but it is true! I did not learn how to ride a bike until I was nearly nine years old (four years later than my twin sis) but I never would have thought that it would become such a fun part of my active lifestyle! The day I learned how to ride a bike is a day I will never forget; my parents woke me up that morning and told me this was the day I was going to ride a two-wheel bicycle. Before then, I just had training wheels and started to feel like I was never going to be rid of them, how embarrasing! My whole family and I took a trip to the boardwalk in Huntington Beach, my hometown, and my dad placed my bike on the side nearest to the sand. He told me to get on my bike, and that he would help me start, but by the end of the day he made me promise that I was going to ride without any help! Looking back, my whole family seemed pretty fearless about my CP—and I think that was a great thing for me at the time! It forced me to continually challenge myself, because everyone around me was always doing the things I wanted to do, but just took longer to learn and adapt to because of my CP. After several scary spills and nose dives into the sand, I became more and more frustrated with my lack of balance, but it motivated me to keep going and I eventually grew more comfortable with the fluidity of my legs and found my rhythm! I was exhausted and probably a little shaken up from the day, but as you may know already, CP comes with its fair shares of scraped knees and hands just from everyday life! Now, biking is the best thing for me; it’s low impact and great cardio! The only adaption I make is adding a foot strap on the left pedal, so my foot won’t slide off in the front. I’ve been riding my beach cruiser around ever since that day and I find it so freeing because I can go much faster than if I was running, and no one would ever know I have a physical disability when I am on a bike!
Looking back, learning how to ride a bike was just the next obstacle that I was determined to overcome at the time and I know myself well enough to admit that I am the type of person to never back down from a challenge, no matter how difficult my CP makes it for me!
That is probably the type of attitude that I’ve carried with me over the years and got me through my years of AYSO soccer, over Yosemite Falls, and into my active lifestyle where I am today. I have had to slow down quite a bit because my CP does make running and rigorous activity difficult; so I just continually adapt myself to what my body can manage on a daily basis! It has taught me to value my body, and has improved my capacity to understand my limitations. I know now that however frustrating they may be—we all have our own limitations whether we set them for ourselves or not. Some people I’ve encountered over the years call me courageous or inspirational, but I prefer to think of myself as a resilient human being… we all have our own struggles to endure—we just have to learn how to better deal with them when we can’t always overcome them, and that’s what my CP has taught me.

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UCP SmartBrief

Hello UCP family,

We hope you enjoy this week’s UCP SmartBrief, a compilation of news stories, articles and new research impacting the lives of people with disabilities and family members.

If you should have any questions please contact Elizabeth Eckman at

Thank you,

UCP of Orange County

Disability News

Why Internet accessibility may be the next big civil rights issue
The U.S. Justice Department this year is expected to issue guidelines on how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to websites. Recent lawsuits against companies such as Netflix and Target have brought the issue of online content accessibility to the forefront. “Websites are the new frontier,” said Brian G. Muse, a law partner with LeClairRyan in Williamsburg, Va. Detroit Free Press (7/5)

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Study examines IVF and risk of autism, intellectual disability
Overall, in vitro fertilization treatments were not linked to an increased risk of autism in singleton children, but IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection carried a slightly higher risk of autism or intellectual disability, a Swedish study showed. Conception of twins under the most serious forms of male infertility was tied to a fourfold greater risk of autism compared with less severe forms of male infertility, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. CNN/The Chart blog (7/2), Reuters (7/2)

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Other News

Assistive Technology

Technology helps make school laboratory accessible
Purdue University is helping budding scientists with disabilities — many of whom graduate without conducting research — gain laboratory experience in its Institute for Accessible Science, where students have access to a range of high- and low-tech adaptive tools. For instance, one student who is legally visually impaired uses a device called Penfriend to read labels and computer software to record lab data. Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Ind.) (7/1)

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Volunteers build adaptive equipment for Minn. school district
Retired engineers and woodworking hobbyists build adaptive furniture and equipment for a fraction of commercial costs at a workshop located in a Minnesota school district. Their designs range from a chair with interchangeable parts that adapts to children of all sizes to a laser-guided bowling ball launcher. “We think we produce a better product than we can purchase because we can customize it to the child we are serving,” special-ed executive director Ann Casey said. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (7/4)

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Other News


Colo. woman creates virtual world for people with disabilities
Coloradan Alice Krueger, who has multiple sclerosis, created the online community Virtual Ability within Second Life, and the community has more than 700 members with disabilities. Users, who create avatars that are not bound by physical limitations, can interact with other members in the virtual world. Retired University of Colorado neuroscience professor Mark Dubin says such programs can be therapeutic. The Denver Post/Colorado Public News (7/5)

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Other News

UCP News

Full Spectrum Newsletter
Want to find out more about how to get involved in the World CP Challenge, read about the Adventure Trails of UCP of Central Pennsylvania, learn about an underwater wheelchair ballerina, or the PCORI awards? Then check out the latest issue of our Full Spectrum newsletter, and be sure to sign up to receive the newsletter each month!

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Life Labs Blog
Life Labs, a technology and grassroots-focused initiative of United Cerebral Palsy dedicated to identifying, developing and supporting ideas that will make a difference for people living with disabilities, has continued to feature some amazing stories on their blog. Learn more about what Life Labs is up to and the stories they are highlighting on their blog.

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“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”

— George Bernard Shaw,
Irish playwright and essayist

Success Story | Helping the Behaviorally Challenging Child


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:

For more information regarding Helping the Behaviorally Challenging Child Class please go to our website or contact Debra Ann Afarian at