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	  ...
Sensory	  Sensi-vity	  •  Greater	  CNS	  Arousal	     –  Show	  greater	  responsiveness	        to	  sensory	  s-muli	  ...
Sensory Sensitivity•  Anxiety                •    Relationship anxiety•  Social phobia          •    Behavioral inhibition...
Gifted StudentsHeightenedexperience of theirworldQualitativelydifferent experiencethan their age-peers
Gifted StudentsIntense sensitivityHeightenedemotional andbehavioralresponses
Sensory	  Sensi-vity	  of	  GiCed	  •  Tested	  giCed	  vs.	  normed	  sample	  on	  the	     Sensory	  Profile	  (Dunn,	  ...
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 theContrary…Bracken & Brown, 2006Cross, Cassady, Dixon, & Adams, 2008Grobman, 2006Martin, Burns, & Schonlau, 2...
Catalyst for…  Advanced Achievement      &   Creative Productivity
Characteris-cs	  of	  People	  with	    High	  Sensory	  Sensi-vity	                   •  Sense	  of	  being	  different	  ...
Characteris-cs	  of	  People	  with	    High	  Sensory	  Sensi-vity	                   •  Sense	  that	  difficul-es	       ...
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 Needed for Su...
Does sensory sensitivitypredict anxiety?Are there differencesbetween groups onmeasures of sensorysensitivity and anxiety?
Sample•    Summer Enrichment Programs = 4•    West Coast and East Coast•    n = 198•    Grades 3 through 13•    Ages 8-18
Data GatheredInstruments                      Demographics•  Revised Children’s     •  Age   Manifest Anxiety Scale       ...
Data GatheredRCMAS-2                    HSPS•  Total Anxiety (TOT)     •  Ease of Excitation•  Physiological Anxiety      ...
RCMAS-2                       Represents all of the measures as aTotal Anxiety    TOT                       combined score...
HSPSEase of             Becoming mentally overwhelmed by external              EOEExcitation          and internal demands...
Get My Geek On…•  Checked distribution•  Checked correlations  –  Moderate and significant•  Checked HSPS model fit using ...
Get My Geek On…•  Checked distribution•  Checked correlations  –  Moderate and significant•  Checked HSPS model fit using ...
Correlations      PSY   WOR   SOC   EOE   AES   LSTPSY   1WOR   .66   1SOC   .58   .76   1EOE   .52   .60   .47   1AES   ....
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 Sen...
1: Week-Long Residential
Group             Gifted     Description     Identification•    n = 49        •  Identified by school•    Grades 3-14     ...
Goals of Program 1•  Provide opportunity for gifted youth to:  –  Spend time with others who share their     characteristi...
2: Elementary Choice Regional School District and UniversityTeacher Preparation Program Partnership
Group             Gifted     Description     Identification•    n = 60        •  Identified by District•    Grades 5-6    ...
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 UniversityTeacher Preparation Program Partnership
Group             Gifted     Description     Identification•    n = 41        •  Identified by District•    Grades 7-9    ...
Goals of Program 3•  Mentor and train teachers to serve   gifted students in educational settings•  Provide gifted middle ...
4: STEM FocusFor Students from Economically Deprived        and Diverse Communities
Diverse Student Attributes•  Perform poorly in    •  Excel in math &   math & science          science•  Rarely take      ...
Goals of Program 4•  Motivate underrepresented students’   interests in learning by engaging them   in real-world, hands o...
Ethnic DiversityWhite                 41    44       30    0Asian                  1     6        6    0Black / African   ...
Ethnic DiversityWhite                 86%   73%      70%     0Asian                 2%    10%      14%     0Black / Africa...
Ethnic DiversityWhite                 86%   73%      70%     0Asian                 2%    10%      14%     0Black / Africa...
Group Comparisons•  Multivariate Analysis  –  Bonferroni adjustment•  Main Effects  –  Statistically significant differenc...
Physiological         .319   -2.12   -2.48   0AnxietyWorry                 2.17    -.48    -.62   0Social Anxiety        2...
What can we do tosupport those who haveheightened sensorysensitivities or sufferfrom 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…	  •  Remember	  to...
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• ...
Mindfulness:Practice of Being Present    Practice Daily  10-15      20-30     45-60 Minutes    Minutes   Minutes
Sensory	  Threshold	  Con-nuum	  Sensi-za-on	      Habitua-on	  
Someone HasSoiled the Air!                              Offensive	  S-muli	                •  Loud	  or	  sudden	  noises	 ...
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	  materi...
•  A	  controlled	  color	  vocabulary	  is	  essen-al	  in	     crea-ng	  a	  sense	  of	  place	  •  Low	  screeners	  p...
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 confus...
Great for some students…
Visual Order
Avoid hanging items from the CeilingCeiling height is ranked among top 3 architecturaldetails that influence psychological...
Both Well-Lit and Dimly-LitNotice the use of natural materials...
Glare Reduction with Visual Access
Brief	  Interac-ons	  with	  Nature	    •  Increase	  Cogni-ve	  Control	    •  Reduce	  Hos-lity,	  Aggression,	  and	   ...
Indoor Gardens…
Privacy provides the opportunity for…Retreat, Reflection, and Relaxation
The opportunity for recovery when onebecomes overstimulated by environment
As simple as a quiet corner…
Technology in Students’ HandsEmpowers students to feel more in control.
Thank You!
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
Sensory Sensitivities
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Sensory Sensitivities

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What is the relationship between heightened sensory sensitivity and anxiety in gifted students? How does heightened sensory sensitivity affect a gifted person’s experience of environmental stimuli? What cognitive and behavioral strategies can gifted students and adults use to manage their experience of offending stimuli? Join us in this interactive session as we: 1) Delve into the research about gifted students’ heightened sensory sensitivity and anxiety; 2) Address what the implications of the research are for parenting, counseling, classroom practice, and environmental design; and 3) Learn strategies for managing one’s personal response to offending environmental stimuli.

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Sensory Sensitivities

  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 •  Relationship anxiety•  Social phobia •  Behavioral inhibition•  Avoidant personality •  High stress levels disorder •  Ill-health
  6. 6. Gifted StudentsHeightenedexperience of theirworldQualitativelydifferent experiencethan their age-peers
  7. 7. Gifted StudentsIntense sensitivityHeightenedemotional andbehavioralresponses
  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 theContrary…Bracken & Brown, 2006Cross, Cassady, Dixon, & Adams, 2008Grobman, 2006Martin, Burns, & Schonlau, 2009Norman, Ramsay, Martray, & Roberts, 1999Reynolds & Bradley, 1983Richards, Encel, & Shute, 2003Zeidner & 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   overarousal   –  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 sensitivitypredict anxiety?Are there differencesbetween groups onmeasures of sensorysensitivity 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 GatheredInstruments Demographics•  Revised Children’s •  Age Manifest Anxiety Scale •  Grade (RCMAS-2) (Reynolds & Richmond, 2008) •  Gender •  Ethnic Background•  Highly Sensitive Person’s Scale (HSPS) (Aron & Aron, 1997)
  21. 21. Data GatheredRCMAS-2 HSPS•  Total Anxiety (TOT) •  Ease of Excitation•  Physiological Anxiety (EOE) (PHY) •  Aesthetic•  Worry (WOR) Sensitivity (AES)•  Social Anxiety (SOC) •  Low Sensory Threshold (LST)•  Inconsistent Responding•  Defensiveness
  22. 22. RCMAS-2 Represents all of the measures as aTotal Anxiety TOT combined score.Physiological Addresses somatic concerns PHYAnxiety (e.g. sleep difficulties, nausea, fatigue) Obsessive concerns. High score suggests one may be afraid, nervous, or in someWorry WOR manner oversensitive to environmental pressures.Social Anxiety SOC Anxiety in social and performance situations.
  23. 23. HSPSEase of Becoming mentally overwhelmed by external EOEExcitation and internal demands.Low Sensory Unpleasant sensory arousal to external LSTThreshold stimuli.Aesthetic AES Aesthetic awarenessSensitivity
  24. 24. Get My Geek On…•  Checked distribution•  Checked correlations –  Moderate and significant•  Checked HSPS model fit using CFA
  25. 25. Get My Geek On…•  Checked distribution•  Checked correlations –  Moderate and significant•  Checked HSPS model fit using CFA
  26. 26. Correlations PSY WOR SOC EOE AES LSTPSY 1WOR .66 1SOC .58 .76 1EOE .52 .60 .47 1AES .25 .34 .27 .54 1LST .47 .47 .36 .58 .42 1
  27. 27. Anxiety Moderately Problematic
  28. 28. Extremely Problematic
  29. 29. 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
  30. 30. Regression Analysis•  Low Sensory Threshold –  Significant (p ≤ .001) –  Additional 3% of the variance•  Aesthetic Sensitivity –  Not significant
  31. 31. 1: Week-Long Residential
  32. 32. Group Gifted Description Identification•  n = 49 •  Identified by school•  Grades 3-14 testing•  Ages 8-18 •  Private testing•  32 Males •  Characteristics of•  16 Females gifted students as identified by parents
  33. 33. 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
  34. 34. 2: Elementary Choice Regional School District and UniversityTeacher Preparation Program Partnership
  35. 35. Group Gifted Description Identification•  n = 60 •  Identified by District•  Grades 5-6 •  Screening Indicators:•  Ages 9-11 •  Teacher recommendations•  32 Males •  Parent referrals•  28 Females •  Standardized test scores •  Identified in another district •  Work samples
  36. 36. 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
  37. 37. 3: Middle School Choice Regional School District and UniversityTeacher Preparation Program Partnership
  38. 38. Group Gifted Description Identification•  n = 41 •  Identified by District•  Grades 7-9 •  Screening Indicators:•  Ages 11-13 •  Teacher recommendations•  19 Males •  Parent referrals•  22 Females •  Standardized test scores •  Identified in another district •  Work samples
  39. 39. 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
  40. 40. 4: STEM FocusFor Students from Economically Deprived and Diverse Communities
  41. 41. Diverse Student Attributes•  Perform poorly in •  Excel in math & math & science science•  Rarely take •  Need additional advanced courses support to enhance required to attend skills and interests in college STEM•  Have low literacy rates
  42. 42. 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
  43. 43. Ethnic DiversityWhite 41 44 30 0Asian 1 6 6 0Black / African 2 7 3 40AmericanHispanic / Latino / 1 1 1 1LatinaAmerican Indian / 0 0 1 2Alaska NativeOther 3 2 2 3
  44. 44. Ethnic DiversityWhite 86% 73% 70% 0Asian 2% 10% 14% 0Black / African 4% 12% 7% 87%AmericanHispanic / Latino / 2% 2% 2% 2%LatinaAmerican Indian / 0 0 2% 4%Alaska NativeOther 6% 3% 5% 7%
  45. 45. Ethnic DiversityWhite 86% 73% 70% 0Asian 2% 10% 14% 0Black / African 4% 12% 7% 87%AmericanHispanic / Latino / 2% 2% 2% 2%LatinaAmerican Indian / 0 0 2% 4%Alaska NativeOther 6% 3% 5% 7%
  46. 46. Group Comparisons•  Multivariate Analysis –  Bonferroni adjustment•  Main Effects –  Statistically significant differences between groups on Anxiety sub- scales (PSY, WOR, & SOC) –  Not so on Sensory Sensitivity
  47. 47. Physiological .319 -2.12 -2.48 0AnxietyWorry 2.17 -.48 -.62 0Social Anxiety 2.41 -.57 -.56 0Ease of Excitation .50 -.74 -.52 0Low Sensory 1.55 -.21 -.44 0ThresholdAesthetic 2.367 .85 .11 0Sensitivity
  48. 48. What can we do tosupport those who haveheightened sensorysensitivities or sufferfrom anxiety?
  49. 49. Support Autonomy•  Consider Individualized Learning Opportunities•  Encourage Them to Pursue OWN Interests•  Highlight Uniqueness without Comparison
  50. 50. •  Explicitly  teach  and  prac-ce   breathing  techniques  •  Focus  on  exhaling  •  Sigh…  •  Remember  to  breath  in  through   the  nose!  
  51. 51. Mindfulness:Practice of Being Present•  Pick a location•  Choose a seat
  52. 52. Mindfulness:Practice of Being Present•  Posture –  Relaxed and Upright –  A string? –  A tree?
  53. 53. Mindfulness:Practice of Being Present•  Wandering Mind? Bring it back.•  Watch the breath –  Baby Bear Attention –  Not “making” it happen but “letting” it happen
  54. 54. Mindfulness:Practice of Being Present•  Witness Thoughts•  Let Go – not of the thoughts, but rather the judgment•  Seeking acceptance of what is
  55. 55. Mindfulness:Practice of Being Present Practice Daily 10-15 20-30 45-60 Minutes Minutes Minutes
  56. 56. Sensory  Threshold  Con-nuum  Sensi-za-on   Habitua-on  
  57. 57. Someone HasSoiled the Air! Offensive  S-muli   •  Loud  or  sudden  noises   •  Strong  odors   –  Molds   –  Perfumes   •  Rough  textures  or  fabrics   –  Clothing  tags   •  Sharp  edges   –  Angular  furniture    
  58. 58. Avoid Perfume and Fragrant Lotion
  59. 59. Rugs and Fabric Wall Art Reduce Noise
  60. 60. Sharp Edges Activate the Amygdala…the part of the brain that registers threat
  61. 61. Offensive  S-muli  •  Visual  overload   –  Certain  color  satura-on   and  hue   –  Manmade  materials   –  Unorganized  space   –  Low  ceilings  •  Bright  Light   –  Glare   –  Fluorescent  ligh-ng  
  62. 62. •  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  
  63. 63. Provide a Cohesive Color Palette
  64. 64. White was rejected…
  65. 65. 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
  66. 66. Great for some students…
  67. 67. Visual Order
  68. 68. Avoid hanging items from the CeilingCeiling height is ranked among top 3 architecturaldetails that influence psychological well being.
  69. 69. Both Well-Lit and Dimly-LitNotice the use of natural materials...
  70. 70. Glare Reduction with Visual Access
  71. 71. Brief  Interac-ons  with  Nature   •  Increase  Cogni-ve  Control   •  Reduce  Hos-lity,  Aggression,  and   Violence   •  Assist  in  Recovery  from  Mental   Fa-gue  
  72. 72. Indoor Gardens…
  73. 73. Privacy provides the opportunity for…Retreat, Reflection, and Relaxation
  74. 74. The opportunity for recovery when onebecomes overstimulated by environment
  75. 75. As simple as a quiet corner…
  76. 76. Technology in Students’ HandsEmpowers students to feel more in control.
  77. 77. Thank You!

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