University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)

BEST: Building Effective Support For Teaching Students With Behavioral Challenges

A person runningBEST/MTSS Summer Institute 2016

Strand E

Using Positive, Strength-Based Strategies to Respond to Students Struggling With Emotional & Behavioral Challenges

Charlie Appelstein


Strength-based practice is an emerging approach to guiding and educating students, including those with emotional and behavioral challenges, that is exceptionally positive and inspiring. Its focus is on strength-building rather than flaw-fixing. It begins with the belief that every young person has or can develop strengths and utilize past successes to mitigate problem behavior and enhance academic and social functioning. This presentation will highlight many of the key principles and techniques of this transforming modality. Focus areas include:

  • What is strength-based practice & the power of a positive attitude & culture;
  • the effects of trauma and positive emotions on the brain; strength-based communication principles and techniques - including reframing, using solution- focused questions, encouraging growth vs. fixed mindsets, positive predicting and inspirational metaphors;
  • self-esteem building & activities for at-risk children and youth;
  • how to help cognitively inflexible young people; the importance of being family-friendly;
  • why, how, and when to use incentive plans; the importance of controlling personal emotions (i.e. managing number one first);
  • respectful limit setting; and
  • a host of creative cognitive behavioral strategies.     

The comprehensive handout will include a plethora of training tools (e.g. assessments, tool’s checklist, training exercises, etc.) that will help participants to weave the training material into the culture of their schools.


No Such Thing As a Bad Kid (ppt)


Charlie AppelsteinCharlie Appelstein, M.S.W. is a nationally prominent youth care specialist and author whose primary focus is on teaching positive, strength-based theories and techniques to professionals who guide at-risk children and youth. President of Appelstein Training Resources, LLC, Charlie trains and consults throughout the United States as well as internationally, with treatment facilities, foster care associations, parent groups, schools, and juvenile justice programs. He has authored three youth care books that are widely used within the field, including No Such Thing as a Bad Kid: Understanding and Responding to the Challenging Behavior of Troubled Children and Youth. Charlie lives in southern new Hampshire with his wife and teenage daughter.



Last modified June 06 2016 11:23 AM

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