Meet the Authors
Meet the Authors
Leah Kuypers is the author of the book released in 2011 called The Zones of Regulation. Below are five questions we have asked Leah regarding her personal history, inspiration for the book, how it stands out from other emotional regulating curriculum and how to contact her.
Q: Where are you from originally? Where did you attend school? What professions have you had in the past and what is your current profession?
A: I was born in Rochester MN and grew up in River Falls, WI, which is just outside of St. Paul, MN. I received my bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of WI- Madison. I first started working as a pediatric OT in private practice focusing on sensory integration and later moved into the public schools. After getting married, my husband and I relocated to Minneapolis, MN where I worked for several years as an OT and later as an Autism Resource Specialist in School Districts 917 and 196.
Kristen Wilson & Elizabeth Sautter
Whole Body Listensing Larry began his life as a tongue depressor – which is appropriate because two innovative speech language pathologists, Kristen Wilson and Elizabeth Sautter, created him. Larry is now teaching kids how to use their hands, feet, eyes - their whole bodies - to better engage with those around them.
"Larry was a character – a puppet sort of thing – who taught the lessons we developed." The first "Larry" was "a random picture cartoon picture of a little boy – colored in different parts – who knew and could talk about Whole Body Listening... an important concept that is an expansion upon listen with your eyes."
Elizabeth Delsandro, M.S., CCC-SLP
Liz is the author of We Can Make It Better! A Strategy to Motivate and Engage Young Learners in Social Problem-Solving Through Flexible Stories. She describes how this dynamic and engaging teaching approach came about: "As a speech-language pathologist in the Iowa public schools during the 2006-2007 school year, I supported an elementary program for children with high-functioning autism and Asperger syndrome and another one for children with behavior challenges. I was constantly reminded of how children with social learning problems have difficulty negotiating everyday social interactions, such as playing on the playground at recess, standing in line, eating in the cafeteria and having a simple conversation. I was looking for additional ways to provide engaging and safe learning experiences with a focus on social problem-solving.
Stephanie Madrigal, M.A., CCC-SLP
Steph "Superflex" Madrigal - long known for the engaging rapport and creative approaches with clients - super-powerfully transformed (with Michelle) these traits into the Superflex superhero curriculum. She relates how Superflex came to be: "...I had to work on my own rigid thinking in trying to work with one of my students! I began working with a student, Eric, individually, because he was so rigid and did not have the skills to work in a group setting. As I quickly realized, he and I were going nowhere fast. He had difficulty following anyone else’s plans and had huge meltdowns when things did not go his way. So after a couple of weeks of banging my head against the wall because I could not figure out a way to reach him, I remembered that he liked Superheroes. Hmmm… do I stick to my own ideas and lessons that I had already outlined for his treatment?
Pamela Crooke, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Pam "Social Detective" Crooke is a senior therapist at Social Thinking and a faculty member at San José State University in San José, CA. She is known for utilizing engaging language and visuals in her Social Thinking books that students just "get". She authored, with Michelle, Socially Curious and Curiously Social, an anime-illustrated guidebook for teenagers and young adults with Asperger's, ADHD, nonverbal learning disorders and undiagnosed social learning challenges. She also authored You Are a Social Detective!, a comic book curriculum that introduces Social Thinking to younger students - and she directed its translation into French and Spanish. "Detective" is a fun and inspiring way to introduce Social Thinking not only to students but also to the full team working with them (from general education teacher to grandparent!) - so that everyone involved can help each student figure out the clues of the often mysterious social world. Detective is also a jumping off point for the Superflex curriculum because it explicitly teaches the Social Thinking Vocabulary, providing the "pre-training" workouts needed so that Superflex can build his full powers. And Pam has also just published an interactive anime-illustrated book for middle school aged students, Social Fortune or Social Fate...
Michelle Garcia Winner, M.A., CCC-SLP
Social Thinking® was born out of necessity - as a way to reach the many students who need to know more than what "social skill" to use: they need to know why they should even bother.
Michelle developed Social Thinking for the treatment of individuals with social-cognitive challenges, including those with diagnoses of high-functioning autism, Asperger syndrome, ADHD and nonverbal learning disorder (NLD). She first began teaching her approach in 1995 to brighter students when she worked as a speech-language pathologist for a high school district. Twelve years later, she received an award of Special Congressional Recognition for her development and ongoing innovation of this treatment approach. At the about the same time, the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders published research supporting her methods for the treatment of students with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism.
Michelle's work illuminates the often elusive, intangible thinking behind social interaction, the intuitive capacity that most people learn from infancy onward and therefore take for granted but for students with HFA, Asperger's, ADHD and similar challenges has to be taught explicitly. She breaks "social" down to build it back up. Her practical strategies are used by parents, educators and service providers worldwide. These strategies teach the thinking required before the social skills can work - so that students and adults can better respond to the dynamic nature of the social world. Social Thinking affects academics, work and mental health. As a result, Social Thinking is increasingly used with students in mainstream classrooms and with adults in vocational and professional settings in the U.S. and abroad.