Appelstein Training Resources, LLC

Cue Success Stories

The following stories are true, though in most cases identifying factors have been changed for privacy.

If you try a cue and it works, please drop us a line at Let us know if we can add it to the list of cue success stories. Thanks!

Tap, Tap, Tap...

Reggie is a wonderful teen with a wee bit of a temper problem living at a residential center. His language can get rather expressive (If you catch my drift). To help him control his swearing and mean-spirited language, his therapist, Mary, gave him the following cue: “There’s no excuse for abuse.”

  • They came up with a rhythm:
  • There’s-No-excuse………..for a-Buse
  • Bump-Bahhh-da-dah……Bump Ba-Dah
  • There’s-No-excuse………..for a-Buse
  • Bump-Bahhh-da-dah……Bump Ba-Dahv

Over and over they practiced it. It started to make a difference. A few weeks into the practicing, Mary was startled to hear Reggie screaming from the Quiet Room (A setting kids are asked to visit when they need to cool down.)

Mary stopped what she was doing and headed for the room. On the way, she could hear Reggie swearing, threatening, and growing louder with each passing moment. Upon reaching the room, Mary got on her toes to look through the small, rectangular, plexi-glass pane to see how he was doing. Reggie’s back was to the door as he ranted and raved and kicked at the wall.

Reaching into her pocket, Mary extracted a pen and began tapping it lightly on the pane:

  • Bump-Bahhh-da-dah……Bump Ba-Dah
  • (There’s-No-Ex-cuse……For A-Buse)
  • Bump-Bahhh-dah-dah……Bump Ba-Dah
  • Bump-Bahhh-dah-dah……Bump Ba-Dah
  • Bump-Bahhh-dah-dah……Bump Ba-Dah
  • Bump-Bahhh-dah-dah……Bump Ba-Dah

All of a sudden, Reggie’s ranting and raving ceased, his body relaxed, and ever so slowly he turned to face Mary.

With a smile on his face, he recites: “There’s no excuse for abuse.”

Mary smiled and returned to her office. Within minutes Reggie was back with his group.

Words might be over-rated, eh?

Top of Page

Morning Glory!

At a recent conference held on an annual basis, two mothers approached me with the same question: Do you remember me?

I had spoken separately to both of them at last year’s event. I vaguely remembered the two women.

Mother Number One: “I told you that I was doing too much yelling in the morning. The before school period was loud, contentious, and hectic. When I returned home from last year’s conference, I had a meeting with my kids and I explained the cues. Together we came up with:

  • Don’t Yell, Gently Tell….
  • Don’t Yell, Gently Tell….

(With a smiling face)…The mornings are now dramatically better.”

Mother Number Two: “My daughter was having troubled getting to bed. You gave me:

  • “It all right…just sleep s-w-e-e-t-l-y through the night.”
  • “It all right…just sleep s-w-e-e-t-l-y through the night.”

Her sweet little daughter is now getting a good night’s rest!

Top of Page

It’s No Joking Matter

Here’s an excerpt from an email message I received from the Director of a psychiatric setting two days after conducting a workshop:

“Yvonne, one of our therapists on adolescent residential (you met her while here) came to share a new cue that is having fabulous results with a 13 year old resident, Dominique. Yvonne and this resident came up with

  • "It's not a joke, I won't provoke"
with outstanding results. After practicing it in many various rhythms and expressions with both Yvonne and the teaching staff, it has stuck. Yvonne heard her singing it when in her bedroom and her peers confirmed she has used it all day.

Top of Page

“What am I saying? I’m the Dude!”

A foster mother, Blanch, approached me at a recent conference and relayed a cue she and her foster son, Eli, developed to deal with his rudeness. Together, they came up with:

  • “Don’t talk rude, cause I’m the Dude!”

Within days, he started talking respectfully. Three or four months later, he was in a foul mood and began talking in a rude manner. Before Blanch could respond, Eli stopped mid-sentence and blurted out:

  • “What am I saying? I’m the Dude!”
  • >
  • ...A Dude who doesn’t talk crude…
  • Top of Page

    Handle with Care

    A mother told me she was having trouble interacting with her son before school days. He was occasionally being mean and disrespectful towards her. She came up with:

    • “Mom’s are rare, handle with care!”
    • “Mom’s are rare, handle with care!”

    The mornings improved…

    Top of Page

    Grandma Says...

    A grandmother and special education director for a mid-sized town in Massachusetts, learned about cueing at a November workshop. Three weeks later she visited her daughter’s house and was met by a veey distraught daughter:

    “Mom, just look at little Katie (the grand-daughter)”

    The little girl had a huge rash under her bottom lip. She was constantly sucking on it and all efforts to get her to stop and heal the rash had failed.

    Granny calmly approached the young girl, pointed at the rash, and chanted:

      “Grandma says NO, HO, HO, HO!”
      “Grandma says NO, HO, HO, HO!”

    Over and over the two practiced the cue.

    A week later the Grandmother visited her daughter’s house. She had forgotten about the rash. Upon entering, she is immediately met by a grand-daughter who has rushed to greet her. Proudly pointing to her lip, the little girl chants:

    • “Grandma says NO, HO, HO, HO!”
    • I guess that rash had to go, go, go!

    Top of Page

    Company is Nice

    An individual that works in the media business approached me recently and said he’s been helped by the following cue he developed:

    • If you talk in a mean tone, you’ll live alone.
    He’s getting along…

    Top of Page

    Teaching and Reaching!

    A few months ago, an elementary school teacher in Massachusetts converted all of her class rules into cues. She reported that her students “love the rhyming,” are behaving better, and “get on my case when I forget to use them.”

    Recently, this gem of an educator, emailed with even more exciting news:

    “I also have a student who we think might have Asberger’s, who is responding incredibly to some of the techniques you mentioned. Billy* now participates in class, openly jokes around and has gone from not doing any homework to having 100%.”

    This teacher’s class added six new cues to my list!

    * Name changed to protect confidentiality.

    Top of Page

    Don’t be Glib When it Comes to a Fib!

    A young second grader was “lying” incessantly in class. He felt bad that most of the other students came from more affluent homes, so he constantly made up stories about imaginary possessions: “We have a new Hummer.” “I just got another Xbox.”

    His teacher was concerned that these stories were beginning to interfere with the child’s peer relations. The teacher was instructed to reframe the “lying” as creative story-telling, and the student was encouraged to continue his creative expression (i.e. lying) – but one-on-one with the teacher. This is what we call the Hydraulic Squeeze. We “squeeze” an inappropriate behavior – after it has been reframed – into a benign place.

    I then asked the teacher to practice the following cue with the student:

    • "Say what’s true, fibs are through!"
    • "Say what’s true, fib’s are though!"

    We also attached a small incentive into the equation.

    Within 10 days the problem had disappeared.

    P.S. Kids hate to be called liars. It’s a BAD term. Here’s a better way to address a child who you believe is misrepresenting the facts: “Is it slightly possible that, by chance, what you just told me could maybe be a little less correct than what could have, possibly, perhaps just happened?”

    Top of Page

    Young or OLD, the Cues Take Hold

    A fifty-something woman was doing her best to help her aging mother. Unfortunately, her mom kept calling at all times of the day and night with medical concerns. The daughter had no life. She was being consumed by her mother’s needs and, as a good daughter, it was exceedingly hard to set limits and put it all in perspective.

    Hearing how stressed she had become, her brother – who knew about the cues – suggested that she make one up to handle the stress. After a few minutes, she decided to hear this line in her head every time mom called:

    “Dance like an Elf, Mom’s just being herself!”

    Within a few days she was feeling fine.

    Top of Page

    Granny is Uncanny

    Two weeks after attending an Appelstein Training Resources, LLC seminar, a special education director visited her young granddaughter who had an unsightly rash below her lip. Continually sucking on it had caused an uncomfortable skin condition.

    The grandmother approached the young girl, pointed at the rash, and said "Grandma says NO. Ho, Ho, Ho!"

    She had the girl repeat this saying over and over again. A week later, Grandma returned and was met at the door by her granddaughter, who gleefully pointed to her rash-less face and chanted, "Grandma says NO. Ho, Ho, Ho!"

    Top of Page

    Midwestern Dad Who's Feeling Glad!

    A father, youth care professional, and all around wonderful guy, wrote us the following message:

    • "I have had some great success "teaching with a phrase" with my son. Here are some of the ones I came up with for him:   For self-control and keeping his hands to himself:   "If I don't fight, I'll be all right."
    • For school behavior:   "Keep my cool and stay in school!"
    • As a reminder to take his reading book to study class:   "Here's by book, let's take a look."
    • As a reminder not to touch others between classes:   "Hands at my side improve my stride!"
    • To keep from responding to negative comments:   "If they 'yak,' I'll turn my back."
    • For making eye contact with teachers:   "Let me see, let me see - you're talking to me."
    • To remember to take notes in class:   "I won't frown cuz' I wrote it down."
    • For self-encouragement:   "My name is Nate...this day will be great!"

    Top of Page

    It’s Right Tonight!

    To his parents' dismay, fourth-grader Luke kept forgetting to put in his retainer at night. I asked him to repeat the following cue ten times:

    • “Putting in my retainer at night…is right!”

    A week later he saw me in the hallway and beamed. “Mr. A., I’ve gone seven days in a row without forgetting! My parents are thrilled.” He never forgot again.

    To this day, every time I see him I chant: “Putting in my retainer at night…” And he replies, “is right.” It’s our way of saying hello.

    Top of Page

    Never Bored with Mrs. Ford

    Mrs. Ford, an elementary school principal, was struggling to get her students to bring in their funds and remaining goods from a candy sale. She had pleaded with them for weeks to finish the task, to no avail. A few weeks after attending our training, she brought her students together and had them chant:

    • “Bringing in the money and candy will make Mrs. Ford fine and dandy!”

    87% of the money and candy were placed on her desk the next morning.

    Top of Page

    A Class I’d Pass!

    An entire fifth grade class was having trouble staying on task during key academic periods. Together they created the following cue to help them maintain their focus:

    • “Stay in town, Charlie Brown.”

    Their teacher reported marked improvement in attentiveness.

    Top of Page


    © 1993-2017 Appelstein Training Resources, LLC - All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy