While working with children in a school setting for over a decade, pediatric occupational therapist and child development expert Cris Rowan observed that learning difficulties weren’t necessarily relevant to a child’s intelligence, but more relevant to that child’s ability to stay focused and alert. Rowan observed that many children’s energies were either too charged, or alternatively too “zoned out” to be able to listen or learn. Rowan also noticed that many children were experiencing difficulty printing, which is the foundation for literacy in all subjects. Extensive research review by Rowan indicated that many of children’s school performance issues were related to increased use of TV, videogames, internet, cell phones and tablets. As child developmental delays and behavior disorders continued to escalate, Rowan stepped away from the school setting and developed Zone’in Programs Inc. home to Zone’in Products, Workshops, and Training.
In order to help these children, Rowan has designed Zone’in, Move’in, Unplug’in and Live’in educational programs, which address attention, printing and reading, and technology balance. Zone’in optimizes sensory processing, attention, learning and listening ability by helping children to understand more about their body energy, and how to get their energy “Zone’in to Learn. Move’in is a board game and computer program that provides a fine motor assessment and intervention for sensory and motor impairments, and improves printing and reading skill. Unplug’in is a developmental tool that builds performance skills in the Me, We, Earth and Spirit dimensions, essential for balancing technology with life. The Live’in Resource Guide offers schools and homes a comprehensive plan to “reduce the use”, with tools and techniques to manage balanced technology.
Rowan has also designed a series of seminars called the Foundation Series Workshops to educate teachers, therapists and parents regarding the damaging effects of technology on child development, and provides strategies and techniques to help children optimize learning, behavior and academic performance. Rowan’s Foundation Series Workshops have proved so successful, that she is now training other pediatric occupational therapists through her recently established Zone’in Training Programs.
Cris Rowan is an outspoken critic on the impact of technology on human development, behavior, and productivity, and is passionate about changing the ways in which humans use and interact with technology. Cris has developed a concept termed Balanced Technology Management (BTM) where humans strive to manage balance between healthy activity and technology. Cris has implemented BTM initiatives in six sectors: parents, teachers, health professionals, government, researchers, and even technology production corporations. She works globally and locally, and has cross culture relevance from indigenous and developing communities. Cris is a visionary, who clearly sees that the ways in which humans are using technology are not sustainable, and the time to act is now. Activist, advocate, author, and prolific speaker, Cris helps people move from the virtual, back into the real world.
A frequent guest on radio, TV, and featured in CBC TV’s Doc Zone documentary “Are We Digital Dummies”, Cris speaks passionately about how technology is eroding children’s foundations for development and learning, as well as negatively impacting on human health and productivity in the workplace. Working as an occupational therapist for 26 years, Cris has witnessed dramatic changes in how children play, resulting in rising levels of obesity and developmental delay, as well as social and mental disorders. Worker health has reached an all-time low, with mental illness and use of psychotropic medications affecting over half of the worker population. Through her academic research review and clinical work, Cris has first-hand knowledge and understanding of how technology has caused profound changes in human development, behavior, ability to pay attention and learn, and achieve health and productivity in workplace settings.
Cris resides in Sechelt, on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, and has a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and is a SIPT certified sensory integration specialist. Cris is a member in good standing with the British Columbia College of Occupational Therapists, and an Approved Provider with the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, and Autism Community Training, and consequently is authorized to provide Continuing Education Units for professionals who attend her workshops. For the past 20 years, Cris has specialized in pediatric rehabilitation and workplace ergonomics, and has worked for over a decade in the Sunshine Coast School District in British Columbia.
Cris is CEO of Zone’in Programs Inc. offering products, workshops, consultation, and training to enhance human health and productivity. Cris designed Zone’in, Move’in, Unplug’in, and Live’in educational products for elementary children to address the rise in developmental delays, behavior disorders, and technology overuse. Cris has performed over 250 Foundation Series Workshops on topics such as sensory integration and attention, motor development and literacy, attachment formation and addictions, early intervention, technology overuse, media literacy programs, school environmental design for the 21st century, ergonomics, and human productivity for teachers, parents and health professionals, and businesses throughout the world. Cris has recently created Zone’in Training Programs to train other pediatric occupational therapists to deliver these integral workshops in their own community. Cris is an expert reviewer for the Canadian Family Physician Journal, sits on the newly formed Institute for Digital Media and Child Development, authors the monthly Zone’in Development Series Newsletter, and is author of the following initiatives: Unplug – Don’t Drug, Creating Sustainable Futures Program, and Linking Corporations to Community. Cris is author of her new comprehensive and research referenced book Virtual Child – The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children, now available in Chinese and Spanish versions.
Cris has two children; Matt who is finishing an MSc in Sustainable Resource Development, with an interest in tidal power, and Katie who is finishing a business degree and is an accomplished equestrian and fashion designer. She loves the outdoors and travel, and Cris avidly pursues kayaking, hiking, swimming, reading, and gardening. Cris works in First Nations communities throughout British Columbia providing both clinical and workshop services, as well as program planning to enhance child health, and recently completed Crash-N-Bump, a weekly gym-based program for children. Cris has helped hundreds of thousands parents, teachers, health professionals, media, researchers, government officials, and technology designers negotiate the maze of balanced technology management. Through her products, workshop/webinars, consultation services, and training programs, Cris is truly a light in the area of improving human health and connectedness.