Next 4-Week Course Starts Tuesday Nights May 4, 11, 18, 25 & June 1 @ 7pm
Debra Ann Afarian is CPS Think:Kids Certified using Collaborative Problem Solving, since 2003. The approach is defined in the book “Changeable” by Stuart Ablon, PhD and "Treating Explosive Kids" by Stuart Ablon, PhD and Ross Greene, PhD. Debra Ann works independently under the direction and supervision of Dr. Ablon, the director of the Think:Kids Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital www.thinkkids.org
As the founder of the non-profit Helping the Behaviorally Challenging Child (HBCC), she has made it her mission to make sure that adult/child power struggles are understood in a whole new way, to break the cycle of misunderstanding challenging and difficult-to-manage behaviors. Married since 1989, she is the parent of two adult children (2/1994 & 11/1995), the older of the two being a “formerly” challenging child.
In addition, having been a challenging child herself, she has first-hand experience of how challenging behaviors are treated by most. Debra Ann has developed a strength and hope to break that cycle of misunderstanding and mishandling challenging behaviors with a focus on helping people understand that challenging behaviors are a learning disability in key skill areas like frustration tolerance, flexibility and communication of needs/thoughts.
Debra Ann's life experiences give her unique insight into behaviorally challenging children. She shares her story in the hope that, if you are also misunderstood or have a misunderstood child, you will know you are not alone. Finding your tribe can be helpful and give you a sense of community and maximize your family’s potential to meet the demands of life, school and work.
A special message from Debra Ann:
“If sticker charts, rewards & punishments are not helping with low-frustration tolerance, flexibility, impulsivity, risk-taking behaviors and problem solving, you will want to explore this website more! Collaborative Problem Solving helps ALL children, especially those frequent-flyers who are put on time-outs, don’t respond well to consequences, have a hard time earning rewards, seem unaffected by punishments, are sent out of class, get detentions, suspensions, expulsions, restrictions, restraints, seclusion, self-medicate or are at-risk for out-of-home placement.
Stop chasing compliance and start building skills!"
Learn how to Regulate & Relate to then Reason.
~Bruce Perry, PhD
DA enjoys hiking, gardening, reading, the mountains & ocean, her dog Maia, learning and family.
Susan Peck comes to HBCC with over 30 years of Corporate experience in Technology Program Management and Governance with specializations in Business Relationship Management and Organizational Change Management. She received her BA from UCLA, and also studied at Marymount California University and Regents University in London.
Susan has always had an affinity for public service and has served as a volunteer on several nonprofit boards. She served as the Director of Sponsorship for Advancing Women in Technology (AWT), and was awarded for Outstanding Contribution by the Governing Board in 2015 for growing foundation donations for student scholarships by over 500% during her tenure.
A natural change-maker, Susan co-founded the inaugural Diversity & Inclusion community at Pacific Life Insurance Company and served as Director of Events & Programs. This grass-roots pilot organization, Women @ Pacific Life (W@PL), drew in 1,000 participants during their launch on International Women's Day in 2019. The success of this program and associated services for employees over 3-years ushered in a cultural shift at the organization, resulting in the establishment and development of Pacific Life's first ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office in September 2020.
Susan is at her best when guiding teams to exceed goals through strategic and operational planning with a focus on building partnerships and mutually beneficial outcomes. She has a keen interest in data analysis to anticipate program needs and improvement opportunities. Susan is a motivator, supporter and an empathetic leader.
She has lived in the Finger Lakes region of New York, rural Ohio, Chicago Illinois, the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles and Orange County California. She currently resides in Tustin, California where she enjoys frequent hikes with her dog Ruby. Susan loves to travel and explore other cultures with her family and friends.
Raffy Afarian is a Product Development Engineer with over 35 years experience at Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from California State University at Los Angeles. Thirteen years later he went back to school and earned his Masters In Business Administration degree from California State University at Fullerton. These qualifications, along with his passion for a better world for ALL children, have motivated Raffy to create HBCC along with his wife, Debra Ann, and support it with his time and efforts.
When they wrote the phrase “opposites attract,” they had Raffy and Debra Ann in mind! That is the very foundation of their marriage. Debra Ann comes from a military influenced, working class, 5th generation, Irish-American family. Raffy comes from a 1st generation Armenian immigrant family rich with Middle Eastern traditions where food fixes everything, every child must be multilingual and grows up to be a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer!
Having two boys, one in 1994 and another in 1995, were the home runs Raffy had always dreamed of. Providing for his family is the one and only goal of his life! When Raffy and Debra Ann realized that they needed to learn to live with and raise their challenging child, they decided to dive in head first and learn all they could to make life where BOTH their boys could maximize their potential.
The natural progression of the learning and raising process compelled them to put their heads together and come up with a plan to help others navigate the treacherous journeys that all families will experience in raising challenging children. Raffy then made a bold statement to Debra Ann saying, “You go make the difference and I will make the living.”
In 2009 the vision for helping other families began with the thought of helping themselves and meeting a few other families to share their experiences. Little did they know it would grow into what it is today! They have come to find out that there are over 12 million kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges in North America alone – many still being treated in ways that are inhumane and ineffective. A heartbreaking number of kids are losing their futures simply because their challenges are poorly understood. This view, especially of being poorly parented, motivated Raffy to do everything he could to support his wife in launching HBCC.
Raffy enjoys soccer, golf, football, hiking, reading and cooking. He has not met a kitchen appliance that he does not like!
Elisa Brown holds a Masters Degree in Accounting from the University of Southern California. She spent more than 20 years working in both public and private accounting as an Auditor, Corporate Controller, Vice President of Accounting, and Director of Treasury. During her tenure as an accounting executive, Elisa provided financial clarity and direction to leadership teams and operating units to support informed decision making. In her various roles, Elisa was responsible for accounting operations, financial reporting, cash management, development of internal controls, audit management, software implementation, project management and strategy setting.
Elisa's greatest joy is parenting her two sons! Her experience raising children, including a twice exceptional child, reignited a forgotten passion for psychology. Prior to studying accounting, Elisa earned a degree in Psychology and Social Behavior from the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine. After graduating, she worked at the UC Irvine Child Development Center, participating in research aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of parent training as a therapeutic component in the management of ADHD. Little did she know how useful this experience would be!
Elisa's desire to use neuroscience-informed, relationship-centered approaches to parenting led her to Collaborative Problem Solving® (CPS). Enamored with the approach, and knowing that its effectiveness increases when implemented with fidelity, Elisa made the decision to become CPS certified. She has completed her Tier I and Tier II training, and expects to be fully certified by June 2021.
Elisa's experience as a businesswoman, researcher, mother, advocate, and volunteer makes her well-suited for her position on HBCC's Board of Directors.
Coco is a speaker, parent educator, bilingual ADHD Coach, and the founder of Heart 4 Kids Coaching.
Most importantly, she is a mother to sons with ADHD and therefore passionate about making the road a little easier for other parents and kids with ADHD.
She is a certified ADHD Coach, a Certified CPS Provider, and a Professional member of CHADD. My unique approach helps families reduce conflict, increase cooperation and connection, and find success while living with ADHD.
For upwards of 20 years, Steve Cuffari is the mentor that moms and dads call on to make their parenting style warmer, easier, and more effective. He is the founder of In Touch Parenting, a company devoted to helping today’s busy parents calm the chaos, raise emotionally intelligent kids, and nurture families that thrive.
As a sought-after Marriage and Family Therapist Steve has been helping families relate better since 2000. As an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Vangaurd University.
As an Ordained Minister Steve also helps Christian parents develop an integrated approach to raising children: one that’s down to earth, practical, and carefully grounded in two domains—theology and the latest psychological research on the best parenting practices.
Steve has taken his in-depth knowledge into live parenting seminars which are quite popular because they are rich with humor, insightful stories, and experiential exercises that help you get and stay connected with your kids.
After enjoying several successful years as a thoroughbred jockey, Steve’s passion shifted from riding horses to helping parents fine-tune how they act, react, and interact with their children.
Steve enjoys surfing, mountain biking, basketball and travel in his spare time.