LEAH KUYPERS, M.A.ED., OTR/L
Creator and author of The Zones of Regulation
As the creator and author of The Zones, Leah desires to provide others with information on a framework used to foster self regulation and emotional control. Her book, The Zones of Regulation (Think Social Publishing, 2011) has been enthusiastically received by educators, therapists and parents around the world. In addition to developing additional learning tools to supplement The Zones curriculum, she owns a small business, Kuypers Consulting, Inc., based out of Minneapolis, MN . She enjoys providing training and consultations to parents, schools and professionals by offering workshops on self-regulation and the Zones framework to groups locally, around the United States and internationally.
To date over 100,000 copies of The Zones of Regulation book have been sold and the framework has been implemented in districts around the world to support students' social emotional learning.
Please read the information below to find out more about Leah and her journey developing and implementing The Zones. Click on the button to see updated workshop schedules for Leah and our other Zones trainers.
The Zones of Regulation Core Materials
In 2001, Leah Kuypers, MA.Ed, OTR/L graduated from the University of Madison, WI with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. She began her professional career working in the public school setting in Chicago and the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. As an OT and Autism Resource Specialist she gained experience working with children of all ages and with many different disabilities and challenges. During this time Leah was the lead in her field, acting as a mentor to employees, and working toward incorporating strong communication and collaboration ties to best meet her students' needs. She provided consultations with teachers, gave training on topics related to autism and sensory regulation and created collaborative therapy groups for students, families, teachers, and other health professionals.
Throughout her years working in the schools, it became apparent to Leah that the students on her caseload all too frequently struggled with sensory regulation and emotional control. Over the next couple of years while working toward her Master of Arts in Education and Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders (Hamline University in St. Paul, MN) she came up with an idea (The Zones of Regulation) to help students learn how to self-regulate and become successful academically and socially in their environment. As she began putting practices into place with students, her colleagues started getting excited by what they were seeing - students engaged in learning. Leah kept pursuing as much continuing education as she could and applied what she learned to her caseload. It was during this period, as she completed her graduate capstone, that the first draft of The Zones of Regulation curriculum was created with the mentorship of Kari Dunn Buron, a leader in the field of ASD whom Leah highly admired.
Over the next year or two, Leah presented on The Zones at professional workshops and became closely linked to Michelle Garcia Winner, (Social Thinking). It was apparent that there was a connection with the Social Thinking concept that Michelle created and it's role in self-regulation. Leah was eager to work with her and Michelle became a strong supporter of The Zones , offering to publish her work.
In 2009, Leah moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she worked as an OTR/L at Communication Works, under the direction of Elizabeth Sautter, focusing on providing social learning and self-regulation groups and individual therapy. Leah was putting the finishing touches on the curriculum and started receiving requests to provide trainings on The Zones of Regulation Curriculum around North America. Two years later, The Zones of Regulation was published (2011, Social Thinking Publishing) with the close mentorship of Michelle Garcia Winner. The curriculum was well received by the community and Leah continued to gain recognition both nationally and internationally in her respective field.
After starting a family, Leah and her husband decided to make a move back to the Midwest and take a huge leap and go out on her own. In 2012 she started her own company, Kuypers Consulting, Inc. out of her home in Minneapolis, MN. As Leah’s company began to grow, it became a family business, with Leah bringing on her parents and sister, Molly Schock (operations manager) to help with the day-to-day operations and communications.
In 2013 , Leah was introduced to Sterling Selosoft, whom she went on to collaborate with to create the first The Zones of Regulation App. (2013, Selosoft, Inc.). The Zones of Regulation App was a recipient of the Mom’s Choice Award the next year. Taking the feedback from the first app of what additional feature the community wanted, Leah and Sterling came together again to create a second app, Exploring Emotions (2016, Selosoft, Inc.) to compliment the first app.
Beyond honored and delighted about The Zones framework being used more broadly around the world, Leah needed to problem solve how to meet the growing requests for trainings and development. She looked to Elizabeth Sautter, a highly regarded professional in the field and close friend/colleague and Emily Walz who has ample experience implementing The Zones in the classroom for the many years. These two experts not only help to deliver more trainings, but also as collaborative partners to team with her on developing more materials to teach and support The Zones. Elizabeth and Emily bring a depth of knowledge and experience and effectively deliver the same information as Leah on the Zones of Regulation during trainings. Leah continues to work collaboratively with them and is beyond grateful to have their support in disseminating The Zones framework.
On a personal note, Leah currently resides in Minneapolis, MN with her husband, son, daughter and dog. As a mother to a child with PANS/PANDAS (http://pandasnetwork.org/ ) , her passion to support children with self-regulation challenges has taken on a whole new light as she lives and breathes it from the role of a mother. To have fun and relax, Leah loves traveling, playing with her children, eating good food, hiking, skiing and most anything outdoors.