About

Dr. Laura RiffelLead by Dr. Laura Riffel, Behavior Doctor Seminars provides training and educational materials to help professionals, educators and family members communicate more effectively with people of differing ability levels.

With more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Riffel has trained thousands of teachers, parents, counselors, psychologists, administrators, and bus drivers how to make data based decisions as a way to change behavior.  Her trainings are filled with humor and make data collection easy to understand and use in any setting.

Laura served as the webmaster for the National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports sponsored by the Office of Special Education Programs (www.pbis.org) from 1999-2012. She travels the world presenting on Functional Behavior Assessment and Writing Effective Behavioral Plans as a private consultant.  She also presents on Positive Interventions and Effective Strategies for classroom teachers, autism, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, and learning disabilities.

The Turning Point

In the early 1970’s, Dr. Riffel began her career as a volunteer at the School for the Blind, which led to her interest in special education. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kansas State University with a minor in special education. Her master’s degrees were in: 1) special education with an area of concentration on learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities; 2) special education consulting; and 3) personal counseling. Her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas is in Cognitive and Multiple Disabilities, Families and Policy, with a minor in research. Dr. Riffel has had the opportunity to teach the following students:

  • Inclusive classrooms in Kindergarten, First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth grades.
  • Resource and self-contained classrooms in learning disabilities, emotional behavior disorders, mild intellectual disabilities, moderate intellectual disabilities, severe and profound intellectual disabilities and medically fragile students. (Elementary and Middle School levels)
  • Students who were deaf using Signing Exact English (SEE II) in an inclusive setting where all students and teachers were taught to use sign language as they spoke.
  • District tutor for adjudicated youth; teaching middle and high school grades at detention facilities.
  • Director of a statewide program for behavioral intervention planning serving 500 students per year
  • Director of a day program for students with significant behavioral needs

Previously, Dr. Riffel enjoyed teaching at the college level at the University of Kansas, Georgia State University, and the University of Central Oklahoma. She taught the following courses: Families and Quality of Life, Applied Behavior Analysis for Classroom Teachers, and Managing Classroom Behavior.

Training Hits Home

Laura Riffel and her husband, Tom, lived with Jay Turnbull as his housemate and friend for almost a decade. Jay was 41 years old and had autism, intellectual disabilities, bi-polar condition, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Jay passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack on January 7, 2009.  He taught them the value of life for individuals with disabilities and his friendship is dearly missed.

 

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