angelahousand.com
Graduated and Got a Job…

Watson College of Education
Angela Housand, Ph.D.
housanda@uncw.edu
Sensory	
  
Processing	
  
Sensi-vity	
  
•  High	
  levels	
  of	
  sensi-vity	
  
to	
  subtle	
  s-muli	
  
	
  
•  Eas...
Sensory	
  Sensi-vity	
  
•  Greater	
  CNS	
  Arousal	
  
–  Show	
  greater	
  responsiveness	
  
to	
  sensory	
  s-mul...
Sensory Sensitivity
•  Anxiety
•  Social phobia
•  Avoidant personality
disorder

• 
• 
• 
• 

Relationship anxiety
Behavi...
Gifted Students
Heightened
experience of their
world
Qualitatively
different experience
than their age-peers
Gifted Students
Intense sensitivity
Heightened
emotional and
behavioral
responses
Sensory	
  Sensi-vity	
  of	
  GiCed	
  
•  Tested	
  giCed	
  vs.	
  normed	
  sample	
  on	
  the	
  
Sensory	
  Profile	...
Gifted Students
•  Anxiety
•  Social Phobia
•  Higher Stress Levels
•  Behavioral Inhibition
•  Ill-health
Gifted Students
•  Anxiety
•  Social Phobia
•  Higher Stress Levels
•  Behavioral Inhibition
•  Ill-health
Evidence to the
Contrary…
Bracken & Brown, 2006
Cross, Cassady, Dixon, & Adams, 2008
Grobman, 2006
Martin, Burns, & Schonl...
Catalyst for…
Advanced
Achievement
&
Creative
Productivity
Characteris-cs	
  of	
  People	
  with	
  
High	
  Sensory	
  Sensi-vity	
  
•  Sense	
  of	
  being	
  different	
  
•  Ne...
Characteris-cs	
  of	
  People	
  with	
  
High	
  Sensory	
  Sensi-vity	
  
•  Sense	
  that	
  difficul-es	
  
stemmed	
  ...
Why address sensory sensitivity?
Why address sensory sensitivity?
•  To reduce stressors
•  To positively enhance the experience of
the highly sensitive gi...
Unlocking	
  Emergent	
  Talent	
  
More	
  Than	
  Ability	
  is	
  Required:	
  
	
  Psychosocial Issues and Skills Need...
Does sensory sensitivity
predict anxiety?
Are there differences
between groups on
measures of sensory
sensitivity and anxi...
Sample
• 
• 
• 
• 
• 

Summer Enrichment Programs = 4
West Coast and East Coast
n = 198
Grades 3 through 13
Ages 8-18
Data Gathered
Instruments

Demographics

•  Revised Children’s
•  Age
Manifest Anxiety Scale
•  Grade
(RCMAS-2)
(Reynolds ...
Data Gathered
RCMAS-2

HSPS

•  Total Anxiety (TOT)
•  Physiological Anxiety
(PHY)
•  Worry (WOR)
•  Social Anxiety (SOC)
...
RCMAS-2
Total Anxiety

TOT

Represents all of the measures as a
combined score.

Physiological
Anxiety

PHY

Addresses som...
HSPS
Ease of
Excitation

EOE

Becoming mentally overwhelmed by external
and internal demands.

Low Sensory
Threshold

LST
...
Get My Geek On…
•  Checked distribution
•  Checked correlations
–  Moderate and significant

•  Checked HSPS model fit usi...
Correlations
PSY

WOR

SOC

EOE

AES

PSY

1

WOR

.66

1

SOC

.58

.76

1

EOE

.52

.60

.47

1

AES

.25

.34

.27

.5...
Anxiety Moderately Problematic
Extremely Problematic
Regression Analysis
•  Total Anxiety (TOT) as Dependent
•  Controlled for race, age, & gender
–  Not significant contribut...
Regression Analysis
•  Low Sensory Threshold
–  Significant (p ≤ .001)
–  Additional 3% of the variance

•  Aesthetic Sens...
1: Week-Long Residential
Group
Description
• 
• 
• 
• 
• 

n = 49
Grades 3-14
Ages 8-18
32 Males
16 Females

Gifted
Identification
•  Identified by...
Goals of Program 1
•  Provide opportunity for gifted youth to:
–  Spend time with others who share their
characteristics a...
2: Elementary Choice
Regional School District and University
Teacher Preparation Program Partnership
Group
Description
• 
• 
• 
• 
• 

n = 60
Grades 5-6
Ages 9-11
32 Males
28 Females

Gifted
Identification
•  Identified by ...
Goals of Program 2
•  Mentor and train teachers to serve
gifted students in educational settings
•  Provide gifted element...
3: Middle School Choice
Regional School District and University
Teacher Preparation Program Partnership
Group
Description
• 
• 
• 
• 
• 

n = 41
Grades 7-9
Ages 11-13
19 Males
22 Females

Gifted
Identification
•  Identified by...
Goals of Program 3
•  Mentor and train teachers to serve
gifted students in educational settings
•  Provide gifted middle ...
4: STEM Focus
For Students from Economically Deprived
and Diverse Communities
Diverse Student Attributes
•  Perform poorly in
math & science
•  Rarely take
advanced courses
required to attend
college
...
Goals of Program 4
•  Motivate underrepresented students’
interests in learning by engaging them
in real-world, hands on, ...
Ethnic Diversity

White

41

44

30

0

Asian

1

6

6

0

Black / African
American

2

7

3

40

Hispanic / Latino /
Lati...
Ethnic Diversity

White

86%

73%

70%

0

Asian

2%

10%

14%

0

Black / African
American

4%

12%

7%

87%

Hispanic / ...
Ethnic Diversity

White

86%

73%

70%

0

Asian

2%

10%

14%

0

Black / African
American

4%

12%

7%

87%

Hispanic / ...
Group Comparisons
•  Multivariate Analysis
–  Bonferroni adjustment

•  Main Effects
–  Statistically significant differen...
Physiological
Anxiety

.319

-2.12

-2.48

0

Worry

2.17

-.48

-.62

0

Social Anxiety

2.41

-.57

-.56

0

.50

-.74

...
What can we do to
support those who have
heightened sensory
sensitivities or suffer
from anxiety?
Support Autonomy
•  Consider Individualized
Learning Opportunities
•  Encourage Them to
Pursue OWN Interests
•  Highlight ...
•  Explicitly	
  teach	
  and	
  prac-ce	
  
breathing	
  techniques	
  
•  Focus	
  on	
  exhaling	
  
•  Sigh…	
  
•  Re...
Mindfulness:
Practice of Being Present
•  Pick a location
•  Choose a seat
Mindfulness:
Practice of Being Present
•  Posture
–  Relaxed and Upright
–  A string?
–  A tree?
Mindfulness:
Practice of Being Present
•  Wandering Mind? Bring it back.
•  Watch the breath
–  Baby Bear Attention
–  Not...
Mindfulness:
Practice of Being Present
•  Witness Thoughts
•  Let Go –
not of the thoughts,
but rather the judgment
•  See...
Mindfulness:
Practice of Being Present
Practice Daily
10-15
Minutes

20-30
Minutes

45-60
Minutes
Sensory	
  Threshold	
  Con-nuum	
  

Sensi-za-on	
  

Habitua-on	
  
Someone Has
Soiled the Air!

Offensive	
  S-muli	
  

•  Loud	
  or	
  sudden	
  noises	
  
•  Strong	
  odors	
  
–  Molds...
Avoid Perfume and Fragrant Lotion
Rugs and Fabric Wall Art Reduce Noise
Sharp Edges Activate the Amygdala

…the part of the brain that registers threat
Offensive	
  S-muli	
  
•  Visual	
  overload	
  
–  Certain	
  color	
  satura-on	
  
and	
  hue	
  
–  Manmade	
  materia...
•  A	
  controlled	
  color	
  vocabulary	
  is	
  essen-al	
  in	
  
crea-ng	
  a	
  sense	
  of	
  place	
  
•  Low	
  s...
Provide a Cohesive Color Palette
White was rejected…
Color: Red Hue
•  Workers in red offices reported more
feelings of dysphoria than workers in
blue offices
•  More confusio...
Great for some students…
Visual Order
Avoid hanging items from the Ceiling

Ceiling height is ranked among top 3 architectural
details that influence psychologi...
Both Well-Lit and Dimly-Lit

Notice the use of natural materials...
Glare Reduction with Visual Access
Brief	
  Interac-ons	
  with	
  Nature	
  
•  Increase	
  Cogni-ve	
  Control	
  
•  Reduce	
  Hos-lity,	
  Aggression,	
 ...
Indoor Gardens…
Privacy provides the opportunity for…

Retreat, Reflection, and Relaxation
The opportunity for recovery when one
becomes overstimulated by environment
As simple as a quiet corner…
Technology in Students’ Hands

Empowers students to feel more in control.
Thank You!
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
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Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted

  1. 1. angelahousand.com
  2. 2. Graduated and Got a Job… Watson College of Education Angela Housand, Ph.D. housanda@uncw.edu
  3. 3. Sensory   Processing   Sensi-vity   •  High  levels  of  sensi-vity   to  subtle  s-muli     •  Easily  over-­‐aroused  by   external  s-muli  
  4. 4. Sensory  Sensi-vity   •  Greater  CNS  Arousal   –  Show  greater  responsiveness   to  sensory  s-muli  in  all   sensory  modali-es   –  Emits  more  voluntary  motor   ac-vity   –  More  reac-ve  emo-onally   •  Might  also  explain   psychomotor  and  emo-onal   overexcitability  
  5. 5. Sensory Sensitivity •  Anxiety •  Social phobia •  Avoidant personality disorder •  •  •  •  Relationship anxiety Behavioral inhibition High stress levels Ill-health
  6. 6. Gifted Students Heightened experience of their world Qualitatively different experience than their age-peers
  7. 7. Gifted Students Intense sensitivity Heightened emotional and behavioral responses
  8. 8. Sensory  Sensi-vity  of  GiCed   •  Tested  giCed  vs.  normed  sample  on  the   Sensory  Profile  (Dunn,  1999)   •  Significant  differences  on  12  of  14  sensory   sec-ons  between  groups   •  GiCed  children  are  more  sensi-ve  to  their   physical  environment   •  More  affected  by  sensory  s-muli    
  9. 9. Gifted Students •  Anxiety •  Social Phobia •  Higher Stress Levels •  Behavioral Inhibition •  Ill-health
  10. 10. Gifted Students •  Anxiety •  Social Phobia •  Higher Stress Levels •  Behavioral Inhibition •  Ill-health
  11. 11. Evidence to the Contrary… Bracken & Brown, 2006 Cross, Cassady, Dixon, & Adams, 2008 Grobman, 2006 Martin, Burns, & Schonlau, 2009 Norman, Ramsay, Martray, & Roberts, 1999 Reynolds & Bradley, 1983 Richards, Encel, & Shute, 2003 Zeidner & Shani-Zinovich, 2011
  12. 12. Catalyst for… Advanced Achievement & Creative Productivity
  13. 13. Characteris-cs  of  People  with   High  Sensory  Sensi-vity   •  Sense  of  being  different   •  Need  to  take  frequent   breaks  during  busy  days   •  Conscious  arrangement   of  lives  to  reduce   s-mula-on  &  unwanted   surprise  
  14. 14. Characteris-cs  of  People  with   High  Sensory  Sensi-vity   •  Sense  that  difficul-es   stemmed  from  fear  of   failure  due  to  over-­‐ arousal   –  While  being  observed   –  Feeling  judged   –  During  compe--on  
  15. 15. Why address sensory sensitivity?
  16. 16. Why address sensory sensitivity? •  To reduce stressors •  To positively enhance the experience of the highly sensitive gifted individual •  To be responsive to unique needs •  To promote healthy working environments •  To increase the sustainability of focus and effort in productive endeavors
  17. 17. Unlocking  Emergent  Talent   More  Than  Ability  is  Required:    Psychosocial Issues and Skills Needed for Success The Important Role of Non-Cognitive Factors in High Achievement
  18. 18. Does sensory sensitivity predict anxiety? Are there differences between groups on measures of sensory sensitivity and anxiety?
  19. 19. Sample •  •  •  •  •  Summer Enrichment Programs = 4 West Coast and East Coast n = 198 Grades 3 through 13 Ages 8-18
  20. 20. Data Gathered Instruments Demographics •  Revised Children’s •  Age Manifest Anxiety Scale •  Grade (RCMAS-2) (Reynolds & Richmond, 2008) •  Highly Sensitive Person’s Scale (HSPS) (Aron & Aron, 1997) •  Gender •  Ethnic Background
  21. 21. Data Gathered RCMAS-2 HSPS •  Total Anxiety (TOT) •  Physiological Anxiety (PHY) •  Worry (WOR) •  Social Anxiety (SOC) •  Ease of Excitation (EOE) •  Aesthetic Sensitivity (AES) •  Low Sensory Threshold (LST) •  Inconsistent Responding •  Defensiveness
  22. 22. RCMAS-2 Total Anxiety TOT Represents all of the measures as a combined score. Physiological Anxiety PHY Addresses somatic concerns (e.g. sleep difficulties, nausea, fatigue) Worry WOR Obsessive concerns. High score suggests one may be afraid, nervous, or in some manner oversensitive to environmental pressures. Social Anxiety SOC Anxiety in social and performance situations.
  23. 23. HSPS Ease of Excitation EOE Becoming mentally overwhelmed by external and internal demands. Low Sensory Threshold LST Unpleasant sensory arousal to external stimuli. Aesthetic Sensitivity AES Aesthetic awareness
  24. 24. Get My Geek On… •  Checked distribution •  Checked correlations –  Moderate and significant •  Checked HSPS model fit using CFA
  25. 25. Correlations PSY WOR SOC EOE AES PSY 1 WOR .66 1 SOC .58 .76 1 EOE .52 .60 .47 1 AES .25 .34 .27 .54 1 LST .47 .47 .36 .58 .42 LST 1
  26. 26. Anxiety Moderately Problematic
  27. 27. Extremely Problematic
  28. 28. Regression Analysis •  Total Anxiety (TOT) as Dependent •  Controlled for race, age, & gender –  Not significant contributors •  Ease of Excitation –  Significant (p = .001) –  37% of the variance
  29. 29. Regression Analysis •  Low Sensory Threshold –  Significant (p ≤ .001) –  Additional 3% of the variance •  Aesthetic Sensitivity –  Not significant
  30. 30. 1: Week-Long Residential
  31. 31. Group Description •  •  •  •  •  n = 49 Grades 3-14 Ages 8-18 32 Males 16 Females Gifted Identification •  Identified by school testing •  Private testing •  Characteristics of gifted students as identified by parents
  32. 32. Goals of Program 1 •  Provide opportunity for gifted youth to: –  Spend time with others who share their characteristics and interests –  Interact with adults who understand them •  Allow gifted youth to: –  Be themselves –  Engage in interesting activities –  Connect with others
  33. 33. 2: Elementary Choice Regional School District and University Teacher Preparation Program Partnership
  34. 34. Group Description •  •  •  •  •  n = 60 Grades 5-6 Ages 9-11 32 Males 28 Females Gifted Identification •  Identified by District •  Screening Indicators: •  Teacher recommendations •  Parent referrals •  Standardized test scores •  Identified in another district •  Work samples
  35. 35. Goals of Program 2 •  Mentor and train teachers to serve gifted students in educational settings •  Provide gifted elementary students with academically rigorous enrichment learning opportunities •  Allow students to choose enrichment opportunity based on interest
  36. 36. 3: Middle School Choice Regional School District and University Teacher Preparation Program Partnership
  37. 37. Group Description •  •  •  •  •  n = 41 Grades 7-9 Ages 11-13 19 Males 22 Females Gifted Identification •  Identified by District •  Screening Indicators: •  Teacher recommendations •  Parent referrals •  Standardized test scores •  Identified in another district •  Work samples
  38. 38. Goals of Program 3 •  Mentor and train teachers to serve gifted students in educational settings •  Provide gifted middle school students with academically rigorous enrichment learning opportunities •  Allow students to choose enrichment opportunity based on interest
  39. 39. 4: STEM Focus For Students from Economically Deprived and Diverse Communities
  40. 40. Diverse Student Attributes •  Perform poorly in math & science •  Rarely take advanced courses required to attend college •  Have low literacy rates •  Excel in math & science •  Need additional support to enhance skills and interests in STEM
  41. 41. Goals of Program 4 •  Motivate underrepresented students’ interests in learning by engaging them in real-world, hands on, field experiences. •  Utilize technologies and books to help enhance students’ literacy skills. •  Spark interest in STEM
  42. 42. Ethnic Diversity White 41 44 30 0 Asian 1 6 6 0 Black / African American 2 7 3 40 Hispanic / Latino / Latina 1 1 1 1 American Indian / Alaska Native 0 0 1 2 Other 3 2 2 3
  43. 43. Ethnic Diversity White 86% 73% 70% 0 Asian 2% 10% 14% 0 Black / African American 4% 12% 7% 87% Hispanic / Latino / Latina 2% 2% 2% 2% American Indian / Alaska Native 0 0 2% 4% 6% 3% 5% 7% Other
  44. 44. Ethnic Diversity White 86% 73% 70% 0 Asian 2% 10% 14% 0 Black / African American 4% 12% 7% 87% Hispanic / Latino / Latina 2% 2% 2% 2% American Indian / Alaska Native 0 0 2% 4% 6% 3% 5% 7% Other
  45. 45. Group Comparisons •  Multivariate Analysis –  Bonferroni adjustment •  Main Effects –  Statistically significant differences between groups on Anxiety subscales (PSY, WOR, & SOC) –  Not so on Sensory Sensitivity
  46. 46. Physiological Anxiety .319 -2.12 -2.48 0 Worry 2.17 -.48 -.62 0 Social Anxiety 2.41 -.57 -.56 0 .50 -.74 -.52 0 1.55 -.21 -.44 0 2.367 .85 .11 0 Ease of Excitation Low Sensory Threshold Aesthetic Sensitivity
  47. 47. What can we do to support those who have heightened sensory sensitivities or suffer from anxiety?
  48. 48. Support Autonomy •  Consider Individualized Learning Opportunities •  Encourage Them to Pursue OWN Interests •  Highlight Uniqueness without Comparison
  49. 49. •  Explicitly  teach  and  prac-ce   breathing  techniques   •  Focus  on  exhaling   •  Sigh…   •  Remember  to  breath  in  through   the  nose!  
  50. 50. Mindfulness: Practice of Being Present •  Pick a location •  Choose a seat
  51. 51. Mindfulness: Practice of Being Present •  Posture –  Relaxed and Upright –  A string? –  A tree?
  52. 52. Mindfulness: Practice of Being Present •  Wandering Mind? Bring it back. •  Watch the breath –  Baby Bear Attention –  Not “making” it happen but “letting” it happen
  53. 53. Mindfulness: Practice of Being Present •  Witness Thoughts •  Let Go – not of the thoughts, but rather the judgment •  Seeking acceptance of what is
  54. 54. Mindfulness: Practice of Being Present Practice Daily 10-15 Minutes 20-30 Minutes 45-60 Minutes
  55. 55. Sensory  Threshold  Con-nuum   Sensi-za-on   Habitua-on  
  56. 56. Someone Has Soiled the Air! Offensive  S-muli   •  Loud  or  sudden  noises   •  Strong  odors   –  Molds   –  Perfumes   •  Rough  textures  or  fabrics   –  Clothing  tags   •  Sharp  edges   –  Angular  furniture    
  57. 57. Avoid Perfume and Fragrant Lotion
  58. 58. Rugs and Fabric Wall Art Reduce Noise
  59. 59. Sharp Edges Activate the Amygdala …the part of the brain that registers threat
  60. 60. Offensive  S-muli   •  Visual  overload   –  Certain  color  satura-on   and  hue   –  Manmade  materials   –  Unorganized  space   –  Low  ceilings   •  Bright  Light   –  Glare   –  Fluorescent  ligh-ng  
  61. 61. •  A  controlled  color  vocabulary  is  essen-al  in   crea-ng  a  sense  of  place   •  Low  screeners  perform  beaer  in  blue  work   spaces   •  Feelings  of  emo-onal  control  are  stronger  in   monochroma-c  spaces  than  in  vibrant  colorful   spaces   •  Mean  blood  pressure  readings  9%  lower  than   white  classroom  
  62. 62. Provide a Cohesive Color Palette
  63. 63. White was rejected…
  64. 64. Color: Red Hue •  Workers in red offices reported more feelings of dysphoria than workers in blue offices •  More confusion and tension reported •  Lower performance for low screeners
  65. 65. Great for some students…
  66. 66. Visual Order
  67. 67. Avoid hanging items from the Ceiling Ceiling height is ranked among top 3 architectural details that influence psychological well being.
  68. 68. Both Well-Lit and Dimly-Lit Notice the use of natural materials...
  69. 69. Glare Reduction with Visual Access
  70. 70. Brief  Interac-ons  with  Nature   •  Increase  Cogni-ve  Control   •  Reduce  Hos-lity,  Aggression,  and   Violence   •  Assist  in  Recovery  from  Mental   Fa-gue  
  71. 71. Indoor Gardens…
  72. 72. Privacy provides the opportunity for… Retreat, Reflection, and Relaxation
  73. 73. The opportunity for recovery when one becomes overstimulated by environment
  74. 74. As simple as a quiet corner…
  75. 75. Technology in Students’ Hands Empowers students to feel more in control.
  76. 76. Thank You!

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