Positive Behavior Today

Our Presenters

Hear from our Presenters

Sara Gardner, Seattle, WA

Why do I teach these classes?

When my son was born, I realized I would need help. Both my parents had backgrounds in education, and worked with children, so I had been surrounded by parenting and education theories and practices my entire life. But nothing prepared me for my son, and the difficulties we faced in parenting him.

I sought help from doctors regarding his difficulty sleeping, and found some relief by removing certain foods from my diet, since I was nursing. As he grew, we avoided wheat, oats and dairy, although we did not follow a strict GFCF diet.

When my son was old enough, I enrolled in a series of early childhood education classes that included him in a hybrid preschool/college course. I also read every early childhood parenting book I could get my hands on. This turned out to be a blessing for both of us, and gave us the tools we needed to get through the next several years.

At age 10, my son was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome, and was put on a medication that caused him to have uncontrollable rages. Although he stopped taking the medication, the rages continued. At age 11, he received a diagnosis of PDD-NOS which eventually turned into a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. 

This is when I found the book "Treating Explosive Kids: A Collaborative Problem Solving Approach" by Ross Greene, PhD & Stuart Ablon, PhD and things began to get dramatically better for us in many areas. I read everything I could get my hands on, and as I implemented the approach described in the book, soon my son stopped raging completely, and was well on his way to becoming a happy, flexible thinker.

At that time, I was on the Board of Directors for a large Asperger's support group, and doing advocacy work for families. I told everyone what methods I was using at home, and started sharing with parents how they could help improve their situations at home by implementing these and other parenting and intervention methods. As I worked with families, I studied parenting more and more, to learn how to best help different situations. Soon, members of different disabilities groups were contacting me for help. 

I finally realized the tremendous need for parenting classes so that more people could access and implement this information. That's when I created the class Helping the Behaviorally Challenging Child.

Since then, I have earned professional certification from Think:Kids, which is a program in the Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), directed by Dr. Stuart Ablon, co-author of "Treating Explosive Kids: A Collaborative Problem Solving Approach." For more information, please see www.ThinkKids.org.

I am passionate about helping parents understand how to better communicate with their children and how to help their children learn how to become flexible thinkers who consider the needs of others and have a positive life outlook.

To learn more about Sara, go here.

Debra Ann Afarian, Orange County, CA

I teach these classes because.....

  • I want families to overcome the feeling of isolation that we went through trying to figure out what was going on with our son.  We knew that our son "wanted" to behave as he was expected to, but he just didn't know how and we didn't know how to "parent" him to bring out his maximum potential. 

  • I want parents to feel understood when the conventional parenting theories don't work for them - there is another way.

  • I want to help remove the stigma that when children don't behave properly, as expected of them, that they are being defiant, manipulative, stubborn and/or parented incorrectly.

  • I want to share that all children with Challenging Behaviors can reach their maximum potential!

  • I am passionate about helping parents understand how to better communicate with their children and how to help their children learn how to become flexible thinkers who consider the needs of others and have a positive life outlook.

    "The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do." ~Sarah Ban Breathnach 

  • To learn more about Debra Ann, go here.

Positive Behavior Today
Communication Facilitation and Education

Currently presenting classes in Orange County, CA and Seattle, WA
Phone: (425) 577-2351
Email: 
positivebehaviortoday@gmail.com

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