Evidence Based Practice or Practice Based on Evidence?
The Zones of Regulation is a framework for thinking and a treatment approach that is based on immense evidence in the fields of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit disorders (ADD/HD) and social-emotional theories. Cited as a "promising practice" by Attention Magazine (October, 2012), The Zones integrates Systemizing Theory, Central Coherence Theory and Cognitive Behavior Management. It ties in Social Thinking®, Visual Supports and is a Self-Management approach. Some of these evidence based practices are developmental in nature, while others are related to learning-styles, concepts or characteristics important to a specific special needs population. Currently The Zones is a Practice Based on Evidence versus an Evidence Based Practice, however, there are studies in the process gathering quantitative data. Please see the Literature Review on the Research tab for further explanation on how best practices were infused into The Zones and citations, as well as learn about research inquiries into The Zones.
If we want more evidence based practice, we need more evidence based on actual practice (Green, 2008). Dr. Pamala Crooke lectured at the Social Thinking Providers Conference (2015) that clinical expertise, combined with stakeholder input (parents, teachers, students) combined with best available research certainly accounts for evidence. She went on to point out there is an ongoing loop of practice informing theory informing practice, informing theory, etc... Knowledge gained from research guides practice and likewise feedback from clinical practice will in turn create ongoing changes to theory and our base of knowledge. The Zones is in this interim for now, based on research and translating theoretical concepts into a conceptual framework with strategies to implement to create change. The creation of The Zones was based off my clinical expertise, seeing a need in the field to teach skills in the realm of self-regulation in a way students could connect to and apply the concepts, all while layering together many theories, best practices and evidence as the foundation to inform and build The Zones' framework and lessons. Since originally creating the curriculum for my Masters of Education capstone, I had the incredible opportunity to get the book published by Think Social Publishing (www.socialthinking.com) and the book has taken off, adopted by graduate programs around North America as part of the training for graduating clinicians, as well as is infused into the school systems, including many of the major cites in the US and Canada, some even on a school or district wide level. This does not happen unless there is a positive effective that has people buzzing and spreading the word. I hope that this helps to create conversation around different lens we can look through to guide our practice.