Challenging Behavior in Elementary and Middle School Challenging Behavior in Elementary and Middle School
Challenging Behavior in Young Children
Challenging Behavior in Elementary and Middle School
About Challenging Behavior in Elementary and Middle School
Table of Contents
Expert Praise
Excerpts from Challenging Behavior in Elementary and Middle School
About the Authors
Workshops and Presentations
Other Publications
Judy's Writing Services
Selected Work
Order the Books
Contact Us

Workshops and Presentations

Barbara Kaiser is giving presentations about challenging behavior throughout the United States and Canada. You can invite her to your school, conference, or center.


Meeting the Challenge
If you’re like most of us, you feel frustrated and defeated when confronted with a child with challenging behaviors. The daily struggles sap your energy and joy in teaching. You worry that you’re failing not only that child (and his family), but the other students in your class as well. Teachers can make a big difference in their students’ lives. They have become more than just the purveyors of knowledge; they may also be the only constant and consistent adult in a child’s life. This keynote address, which is designed to help teachers, social workers, resource staff, and paraprofessionals who are working first hand with children with challenging behavior, uses an anecdotal approach to identify practical and effective ideas and strategies drawn from research in many fields.

Opening the Culture Door (keynote or workshop)
Everyone has a culture, and our culture is the framework for our lives. Children naturally develop the characteristics that their own culture values. They begin to construct their identity—to understand who they are—from understanding their own culture and by responding to how others see and relate to them. Sometimes a cultural conflict, visible or invisible, causes or contributes to challenging behavior. Maybe behavior that is inappropriate in school is acceptable—or even desirable—at home. This workshop explores how understanding the impact of cultural influences on both educator and child can improve a teacher’s ability to prevent and respond to challenging behavior. handout and A Mother Speaks


I Didn’t Mean to Ruin Your Day (keynote or workshop)
When you recognize that a child’s challenging behavior is rooted in biological and environmental factors and not a desire to ruin your day, it becomes possible for you to figure out what the child needs to learn in order to succeed. This workshop will help you understand why a child behaves in a particular way and make it much easier to meet those needs and effectively manage inappropriate behavior using evidence-based prevention strategies. handout

Prevention Is the Best Intervention
Challenging behavior can be prevented when teachers understand its causes and create a responsive learning environment, program, and social context. This workshop applies research to practice, investigates biological and environmental risk factors and the role of the brain, and helps teachers to redefine the concept of fairness.

Opening the Culture Door  (click here for a description)

Time-Out for Time-Out!
This workshop explores the effects of and alternatives to punishment—to time-out, sending students out of class, and/or even suspending them. It examines the use of natural and logical consequences and provides an overview of Functional Assessment and Positive Behavior Support, important tools that enable teachers to understand the function of children’s behavior and help them learn appropriate ways to express and/or meet their needs.

There’s Bullying in My Classroom (1 ˝–3 hours or full-day workshop)

Bullying happens everywhere, whether the school or the classroom is large or small, urban or rural. But what is bullying? Why do kids bully? Who bullies? Who is victimized? Who are the bystanders? This workshop helps teachers to understand the dynamics of bullying as well as how to reduce and prevent it, how to respond, and how to deal with the parents of children involved in bullying.

Parents as Partners
Talking to parents about their child’s challenging behavior can be one of a teacher’s most difficult jobs. This workshop provides lots of tips for connecting with parents and creating a team approach to challenging behavior.

Parent Workshop (a workshop for parents of children with challenging behavior)
Struggling with their child’s challenging behavior at home, families are often eager to learn new strategies. This workshop will help them to understand their child and themselves and teach them ways to prevent and respond to challenging behaviors more effectively. 

WEVAS: Working Effectively with Violent and Aggressive States (3-hour workshop)
This workshop presents an overview of the WEVAS strategy that enables teachers to identify their role in a child’s challenging behavior and learn ways to help a child to de-escalate that behavior and re-join the group successfully.


Challenging Behavior in Elementary and Middle School
Bringing together information and skills drawn from neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry, special education, and social skills programs, this workshop is designed to help people who are working with elementary or middle-school-age children with challenging behaviors by bridging the gap between research and practice. Teachers often feel unable to help students with challenging behaviors to develop the skills they need to succeed and as a result may not be able to provide a safe setting for the other children in their classroom. In this workshop, educators will learn the basic facts about challenging behavior as well as strategies for preventing it, addressing it effectively, and teaching alternative appropriate behaviors.

Positive Behavior Support/Functional Assessment
Used together, Positive Behavior Support and Functional Assessment help students with challenging behavior learn appropriate ways to express their needs. The premise of these techniques is that every challenging behavior can be thought of as a child's solution to a problem and a form of communication. This workshop will help educators learn how to use these important tools to understand where the behavior is coming from, why it is happening at a particular time in a particular place, the logic behind it, and function (or functions) it serves for the child. Even if the behavior is unacceptable, the function seldom is.

Differentiated Instruction
A child with challenging behavior dares you to examine your teaching style and program. If you can meet a child’s needs before challenging behavior becomes necessary, you will enhance his self-esteem and allow him to begin to think of himself as a person who is capable of success. Differentiated instruction means starting where children are rather than adopting a standardized approach to teaching that presumes that all learners of a given age or grade are essentially alike. This workshop helps teachers learn how to plan varied approaches to what students need to learn, how they will learn it, and how they can express what they have learned.

There’s Bullying in My Classroom (click here for description)

WEVAS: Working Effectively with Violent and Aggressive States  
Even to the most experienced teacher, it sometimes seems as if challenging behavior comes out of nowhere. But according to the WEVAS intervention, children usually present warning signs. If you can recognize them and intervene early enough, you can prevent challenging behavior and help children return to a competent state, where their minds, bodies, and emotions are functioning well and geared up for learning. No matter which state they’re in, children need support and guidance to return to the competent state. The WEVAS strategy helps teachers to provide this support and guidance by recognizing exactly where the child is at, seeing things from his perspective, understanding how their own reactions contribute to the child’s behavior, and matching their response to the child’s needs.

back to top

Participants rave about Barbara’s presentations!

“After your workshop I came back to a dozen or more left messages—parents, providers, early ed. college staff, all sharing their thanks for being able to attend the “best” conference ever!!! You truly were an inspiration to all who were in attendance. I must honestly say, I've been here 24 years,and this is the best response on any event we've sponsored. The dialogue among our educators and providers is being shared throughout the community. Barbara you made quite an impact.” —Wendy Hood, Child Care Resource & Referral, Plumas Rural Services, Quincy, CA

“We were thinking about you yesterday as we prepare to share our workshop notes with our colleagues. I have to tell you how much I loved your workshop and the ideas I took from it. I am using it at home a lot with my own children. We are certainly trying hard to implement it in our classes, too, and I already see some positive changes in the general class behavior. I do not have an “Andrew” this year so I won’t need everything, but it certainly helped me set a different tone in my class. Thanks again for all the tips.” —Julie, Singapore American School, Singapore

“This workshop opened my eyes to things I can do differently. Barbara is great! I loved her enthusiasm. There were lots of opportunities for discussion and exchange of ideas.”  Richardson, TX

“Learning about Functional Assessment and Positive Behavior Support using an actual case study was very practical and useful.”  Baltimore, MD

“Finally, a workshop where I learned some strategies that are useful and realistic. I plan to use them with two of the children in my classroom.” Baton Rouge, LA

“I have found the WEVAS system invaluable this year working with special needs 4-year-olds. It significantly changed the behavior of the child I was working with, after more traditional methods (sending him home, time-out, “talking” to him) did not work at all.”

“Barbara packed the day with insights about young children and useful strategies for the classroom teacher….we were energized.”

“Barbara’s workshop is not only practical, but full of her own personal experiences.”

“Virtually everyone learned practical strategies they couldn’t wait to try!”

“We were thrilled with the day! Barbara challenged teachers to rethink their classroom management practices and apply new ideas.”

back to top

Where is Barbara going?

February 19, 2013 Wading River, New York Long Island Head Start Conference, Keynote Presentation
March 8, 2013 Elyria, Ohio Educational Service Center of Lorraine County, Full-day workshop
April 12–13, 2013 Boise, Idaho Treasure Valley AEYC, Keynote and sessions TBD
April 30–May 4, 2013 Montreal, Quebec Quebec Association of Pre-School Professionals  (QAPPD), WEVAS workshops
May 11, 2013 Montreal, Quebec Association of Early Childhood Educators of Quebec (AECEQ), Keynote and workshops
May 22, 2013 Webinar Early Childhood Investigations
June 1, 2013 St. Louis, Missouri SouthSide Early Childhood Center, Full day workshop
June 10–11, 2013 San Francisco, California National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Professional Development Institute. Featured session, panel discussion: Developmentally Appropriate Practice through the Eyes and Ears of a Child with Challenging Behaviorand Where Is the Fairy Dust? How Do I Prepare My Students or Staff to Effectively Respond to a Child’s Challenging Behavior?
July 9, 2013 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Academy in School Mental Health Keynote: Bullying: What Do We Really Know?
August 20, 2013 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada EDUfest 2013, Full-day workshop: What Is Bullying? Creating a Safe and Secure Learning Environment
August 21, 2013 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada EDUfest 2013, Full-day workshop: Creating a Positive School Climate and  Sense of Community
August 22, 2013 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada EDUfest 2013, Full-day workshop: Understanding Bullying / Cyber-bullying and Responding Effectively
October 2–4, 2013 Villanova, Pennsylvania Devereux DECI, Facing the Challenge (Train the Trainer, 2–1/2 days)
October 19, 2013 Halliburton, Ontario Ontario Early Years Centre Haliburton Victoria Brock, Early Childhood Conference, 3 Sessions TBD
October 23–25, 2013

Montreal, Quebec

QAPPD WEVAS workshops (2 full days)

October 27–29, 2013

Montreal, Quebec

QAPPD WEVAS workshops (2 full days)

November 1, 2013

Coldbrook, Nova Scotia

AVRSB Mental Health Conference Keynote ("Bullying in schools: What do we know? What do we need to know? How can remake a difference?") Two breakout sessions, Creating a safe a caring school environment.

November 15, 2013

Mt. Uniacke, Nova Scotia

CCRSB, The importance of understanding, preventing, and responding effectively to children’s challenging behaviour

December 4, 2013

Glendale, CA

St. Mary’s Tufenkian Preschool, Full-day Nothing I do Works! The importance of understanding, preventing, and responding effectively and Parent evening workshop, 2 hours


March 8, 2014

New York City

NYCAEYC Keynote: "Where is the Fairy Dust?" and workshop "I didn’t mean to ruin your day"
March 17–18, 2014 Rhode Island and Connecticut EASTCONN Full Day Workshop: "Nothing I Do Works"
March 28, 2014

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Prairie Spirit School Division, full-day Workshop TBD

June 6–10, 2014 Auckland, New Zealand Early Childhood Council Keynote, workshop and full-day post-conference workshop
July 28, 2014

Houston, TX

Presbyterian Weekday Ministries Conference Keynote and breakout session TBD

September 20, 2014

Tulsa, OK

Tulsa Community College Keynote TBD

October 20–22, 2014

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Devereux Center for Resilient Children, Facing the Challenge (Train the Trainer) 2-1/2 days

November 4–8, 2014

Dallas, Texas

NAEYC Annual Conference, Bullying in Early Childhood: What You Need to Know and What You Can Do About It! (3-hour Wednesday presentation with Joan Duffell and Linda Likins) and Opening the Culture Door: Creating Culturally Respectful Early Learning Environments

November 21

Fredericton, New Brunswick

New Brunswick Association for Community Living, Keynote: I Didn’t Mean to Ruin Your Day!

December 3, 2014


Early Childhood Investigations, Out of Control Children: A Team Approach for Early Educators and Families

March 28, 2015 Halifax, Nova Scotia St Joseph’s Children’s Centre Full-day workshop
April 8–10, 2015 Rapid City, South Dakota SDAEYC Keynote and workshop
April 17–19, 2015 Pumas County, California Pumas Rural Services Full-Day workshop
April 28–30, 2015 Kenora, Ontario Firefly Community Services, “Where Is the Fairy Dust: Supporting Teachers When There Is a Child With Challenging Behaviour in Their Group”
May 8–10, 2015 Regina Saskatchewan South Saskatchewan Directors for Early Learning “Nothing I Do Works!” Full-day workshop for teachers and directors
May 20–24, 2015 Winnipeg, Manitoba MCCA “I Didn’t Mean to Ruin Your Day!” “Parents as Partners,” “Bullying in Early Childhood,” “Opening the Culture Door”
June 6–10, 2015 New Orleans, Louisiana NAEYC PDI TBD
June 18–21, 2015 Tulsa, Oklahoma Tulsa Community College Keynote and Workshop
June 24, 2015 Bowling Green, Kentucky Simpson County Schools keynote and break-out session
July 7, 2015 Owensboro, Kentucky County Early Childhood Regional Training keynote and break-out session
Sept 7–9, 2015 London Sanguine Consulting “Challenging Behavior in Young Children: Understanding, Preventing, and Responding Effectively” (Pre-K–Grade 3)
Oct. Date TBD Villanova, Pennsylvania Devereux Center for Resilient Children “Facing the Challenge” (train the trainer, 2-1/2 days)
October 30–31, 2015 Zurich, Switzerland Foundations for Learning 2 full-days. Meeting the Challenge, Bullying Behavior: What it is, what it is not, and what you can do about it, Understanding and Implementing Differentiated Instruction
November 7, 2015 Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Community College Full-day workshop
November 14, 2015 Bridgewater, Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Community College Full-day workshop
November 25–27, 2015 Hong Kong Sanguine Consulting “Challenging Behavior in Young Children: Understanding, Preventing, and Responding Effectively” (Pre-K–Grade 3)

To book a workshop or keynote address, or contact Barbara, email

back to top