013: Why Your Child Gets Angry and What You Can Do About It, with Sarah Wayland, Ph.D.

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hosted by Penny Williams

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On this episode of the podcast, I talk with Sarah Wayland, Ph.D., a Consultant and Special Needs Care Navigator, of Guiding Exceptional Parents. Sarah and I have known each other for several years, after meeting at the Happy Mama Retreat. She truly understands kids with ADHD and autism and always offers great insights in informed and compassionate parenting.

My favorite topic to turn to Sarah about is the idea that “behavior is communication.” She and I are both huge fans of Ross Greene's work, where he outlines this concept and much more.

This is Part 2 of a 4-part series on behavior as communication that I'm doing with Sarah on the podcast. I'm super excited about it! Part 1 was episode 003: What Your Child's Behavior is Actually Telling You. If you haven't listened to it yet, you definitely should, but you don't have to listen to it before this episode.

On this show, Sarah and I discuss why kids with ADHD get angry, and what parents can do about it. We discuss emotions, developmental age/delay, meeting your child where they are, and handling big emotions and intense kids. There are a lot of really powerful insights on behavior, deciphering what it really means, and having a positive affect on it going forward.


Some of the resources may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

50 Insightful Reasons for Troublesome Behavior in Kids with Autism (and ADHD) — the chart that Sarah made describing the behavior you see and what is likely going on under the surface. Free download of this chart too.

Ross Greene's ALSUP to identify problem areas and lagging skills: http://www.livesinthebalance.org/sites/default/files/ALSUP216.pdf.

Resource to teach self-regulation skills and emotional awareness: Survival to Success Accelerator™

Dealing Constructively with Big Emotions in the moment:

    • Show Empathy
    • Stop talking
    • Address the emotions, not the words

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My Guest


After a long career as research psychologist studying spoken language, Sarah Wayland became a Special Needs Care Navigator with the goal of ensuring that no parent ever felt as lost and confused as she and her husband did when embarking on their journey as parents of two exceptional children with special needs.

Nothing gives her more joy than teaching parents about effective strategies for raising their challenging children, and working with individual clients as an RDI consultant. Sarah works to give other families what RDI and parenting classes gave her family: Hope.

In addition to teaching and working with individual clients, Sarah is co-editor of the book – Technology Tools for Students with Autism, and has written articles for the 2e NewsletterWashington Parent Magazine, the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, and Expert Beacon. You can learn more and connect with Sarah at www.guidingexceptionalparents.com.


Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That's what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

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Quick Start: 3 High-Impact Actions to Transform Behavior

Transforming negative or unwanted behavior is a long and complex process. HOWEVER, there are a few actions you can take right now that will provide a big impact. These 3 high-impact strategies address foundational aspects of behavior, empowering you to help your child feel better so they can do better.



Makes time visual for those with time blindness.


Blends gaming with off-screen activities to teach coping skills through play.


Manage chores and routines while building self-confidence and independence.


A chair that gives kids a sensory hug.

About the show...

I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

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