[semester equivalent = 3.33 credits]



Michael Sedler



This course will investigate the multi-faceted aspects of high needs people and their behaviors.   In examining personality and behavior profiles, each participant will gain greater understanding of how to interact with such needy behaviors as a “grenade person” (explosive behavior), the “clingon” (the sponge type behavior), the “wall” (the poor listener), to name a few. The focus of the course will be to investigate our own personal patterns of behavior as well as the behaviors of others. It will help each educator as they work with both students and adults. Specific identifying attitudes and behaviors will be presented. In addition, participants will learn helpful strategies to minimize problematic behaviors, attitudes, and actions. This will be an enjoyable approach and will teach participants to identify behaviors prior to intervening.
This course is appropriate for all educators K-12.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

      1. Identified problem behaviors and their impact on others.
      2. Developed successful intervention approaches for the above identified behaviors.
      3. Written an effective behavior plan for students involving all significant systems that are  
          involved in the students’ life.
      4. Studied and analyzed behaviors and sequenced them according to their order of occurrence.
      5. Taught specific behavior reducing strategies to students and helped students to implement them
          with peers.
      6. Shared information with students and colleagues in a non-threatening manner.
      7. Effectively transferred programs and interventions across school, home, and community.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Each student will choose their own textbook for this course which allows for personal areas of focus within the course information.  At the end of the course manual is a bibliography of potential books.  However, feel free to pick one not on the the list that is compatible with this course.  

None. All reading is online.


A course manual may be downloaded, from the instructor’s website at without charge, once you have registered for this course. Click on classes, from there scroll down the page and click on the orange lettering ‘Manual’ next to the class “High Maintenance”. It will download as a PDF. While there is no fee for the manual, you may have to pay in order to order a book from the bibliography. Or, you may borrow one from a friend or check one out at the public library for free.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Read the Manual.

Read the entire manual and send a one page summary of what you hope to learn in this class. Everyone taking the class, including in groups, must complete this assignment. Download the current manual from my website.

Assignment #2: Read Chosen Book.

Read a book from the bibliography or one of student's choice. If taking this course in a group, each person should read a book.  Only one person needs to write a summary. 

Critique the book based on personal experiences and insights.  Write a 2-3 page paper.

Assignment #3: Completed Designated Pages in Manual

Complete the following activities:

Dealing with Difficult People (pgs. 26-27)
The Runaway Train  (p. 34)
Cutting the Cord of the Clingon (p. 44)

(Then, choose one of these pages and write a 2 page summary of your thoughts and insights on this topic).

Assignment #4: Observe Another Classroom.

Observe another classroom noting specific “high maintenance” behaviors and the implications  

in the classroom. Make a list of all behaviors that fall within the spectrum of this course. Share 

these with the teacher as well as ideas for interventions.  Write a 2 page summary.

Assignment #5: Outside Observation.

Observe “high maintenance” behaviors found outside of the school setting. Compare and contrast the behaviors found in the two different settings: school, non-school.  Write a 1 to 2 page summary.  

Assignment #6: Two Week Journaling.

Keep a written journal for 2 weeks. There should be a minimum of 3 entries per week.  Identify specific behaviors that you see in people that are discussed within the manual and your chosen textbook.   You may use your own personal experiences, behaviors observed in movies, on television or any other media device.  Turn in as an assignment.

Assignment #7: Analysis & Recommendations.

Have one other person (an educator, friend, family member) take one of the behavior tests within the manual. Discuss results and share intervention approaches.  Write a one page summary.

Assignment #8: Personal Reflections.

Examine your own characteristics and behavior.   Write a one (1) page reflection paper about your patterns and interactions in life.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #9: Research articles and literature.

Conduct additional reading and/or literature research and combine information from this in the preparation to share with another educator in the methods and information from this class. Write up the results in a 2-3 page paper.

Assignment #10: Lesson Development.

Assignment #10:  You must choose either “A” or “B”  (Required for 400 and 500 Level) 

Assignment #A:

Develop a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course.
Implement your lesson with students in your classroom.
Write a 2 page commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
Include any student feedback on your lesson.


Assignment #B: 

Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.

Develop a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
Write a 2 page summary concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher with one or more students.

Assignment #11: (500 level only)

In addition to the 400 level assignments complete one (1) of the following options:

Option A)  Mentor another individual in the concepts of this class. Have them share two or three key concepts that they would like to implement within their work or social setting.  Develop a plan for the implementation of these ideas.  (1-2 pages).


Option B)  Create a PowerPoint presentation for your staff based on this course and focused on perspectives or strategies you feel would be beneficial for your school. Minimum of 15 slides.  Save this as a pdf.


Option C)  Another assignment of your own design, with instructor prior approval.


Assignment #12: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mike Sedler, M.S.W., D. Min., brings over 40 year of educational experience as a special education director, social worker, behavior specialist and teacher to each of his classes.   He provides consultation and seminars throughout the United States and Canada for schools, agencies and businesses. He has a graduate degree in Social Work, a Doctoral degree in Ministry, a Counseling license, as well as his teaching certification. Mike has worked with children of all ages, specifically with children exhibiting behavioral challenges, mental health concerns, and characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  In addition, he taught general education classes in the elementary school and middle school arenas.   All of Mikeʼs classes are practical and “field tested” in schools and classrooms. Educators have found success in implementing Mikeʼs clear and concise approaches. All of his course material may be immediately implemented into a school or a home.



You may choose a book from this list or one of your own choosing that is compatible to this course.  Please let the instructor know if you choose a book that is not on this list.  Working With Difficult Personalities.  , 2017.   What causes conflict and ways we can reduce it.  (P-12).

Hall, Maria.  Setting Boundaries For Teenagers.  Independent, 2020.  Simple steps to helping teens be responsible.  (Grades 7-12).  Amazon Books. 

Hasson, Gill.   How to Deal With Difficult People.  Capstone Publishing, 2015.  Understanding problem people.  (P-adult).

Jackson, Jay.  Up To The Challenge.  Solution Tree Press, 2023.  Helping students with character development.  (P-12).  

Kerson, Tony.  How to Work With Anybody.  Independently Published, 2024.  Mastering communication with challenging people.  (P-adults).

McKinney, Terry.  Working with Porcupines. Meripoint Books, 2023.  24 strategies to work with difficult people.  (5- adults).

Mendler, Allen.  Motivating Students Who Don’t Care.  Solution Tree Press, 2021.  Ideas to help students learn to self-regulate, focus and achieve.  (grades P-12).

Munford, John.  How to Deal With Difficult People. Independently Published, 2022.  Discusses an array of difficult people.  (P-adult).

Ntung, Joseph.  Difficult Parents and How to Work With Them.  Joe Ntung Publishing, 2020.  Strategies to work with challenging parents. (Grades P-12.  

Parrott, Les. High Maintenance Relationships. Tyndale Press. 1997. Variety of high impact behaviors and strategies for working with them (grades K – 12; adult.)   Older book, but a classic.

Rey, Alex.  How to Deal with Challenging Behaviors in the Classroom.  Independent, 2021.  Essential ideas for promoting guidelines in schools.  Amazon books. 

Turner-Bumberry, Tracy.  2, 4. 6, 8 This Is How We Regulate.  PESI Publishing, 2018..  Activities to assist in teaching mindfulness and regulation (grades P-12).