Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted

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Information about Sensory Sensitivities: The Yoke of Being Gifted
Education

Published on March 9, 2014

Author: ahousand

Source: slideshare.net

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     •  Easily  over-­‐aroused  by   external  s-muli  

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  

Sensory Sensitivity •  Anxiety •  Social phobia •  Avoidant personality disorder •  •  •  •  Relationship anxiety Behavioral inhibition High stress levels Ill-health

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  (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    

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, & Schonlau, 2009 Norman, Ramsay, Martray, & Roberts, 1999 Reynolds & Bradley, 1983 Richards, Encel, & Shute, 2003 Zeidner & Shani-Zinovich, 2011

Catalyst for… Advanced Achievement & Creative Productivity

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  

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  

Why address sensory sensitivity?

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

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

Does sensory sensitivity predict anxiety? Are there differences between groups on measures of sensory sensitivity and anxiety?

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 & Richmond, 2008) •  Highly Sensitive Person’s Scale (HSPS) (Aron & Aron, 1997) •  Gender •  Ethnic Background

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

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.

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

Get My Geek On… •  Checked distribution •  Checked correlations –  Moderate and significant •  Checked HSPS model fit using CFA

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

Anxiety Moderately Problematic

Extremely Problematic

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

Regression Analysis •  Low Sensory Threshold –  Significant (p ≤ .001) –  Additional 3% of the variance •  Aesthetic Sensitivity –  Not significant

1: Week-Long Residential

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

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

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 District •  Screening Indicators: •  Teacher recommendations •  Parent referrals •  Standardized test scores •  Identified in another district •  Work samples

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

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 District •  Screening Indicators: •  Teacher recommendations •  Parent referrals •  Standardized test scores •  Identified in another district •  Work samples

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

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 •  Have low literacy rates •  Excel in math & science •  Need additional support to enhance skills and interests in STEM

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

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

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

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

Group Comparisons •  Multivariate Analysis –  Bonferroni adjustment •  Main Effects –  Statistically significant differences between groups on Anxiety subscales (PSY, WOR, & SOC) –  Not so on Sensory Sensitivity

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

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 Uniqueness without Comparison

•  Explicitly  teach  and  prac-ce   breathing  techniques   •  Focus  on  exhaling   •  Sigh…   •  Remember  to  breath  in  through   the  nose!  

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 “making” it happen but “letting” it happen

Mindfulness: Practice of Being Present •  Witness Thoughts •  Let Go – not of the thoughts, but rather the judgment •  Seeking acceptance of what is

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   –  Perfumes   •  Rough  textures  or  fabrics   –  Clothing  tags   •  Sharp  edges   –  Angular  furniture    

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  materials   –  Unorganized  space   –  Low  ceilings   •  Bright  Light   –  Glare   –  Fluorescent  ligh-ng  

•  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  

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 confusion and tension reported •  Lower performance for low screeners

Great for some students…

Visual Order

Avoid hanging items from the Ceiling Ceiling height is ranked among top 3 architectural details that influence psychological well being.

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,  and   Violence   •  Assist  in  Recovery  from  Mental   Fa-gue  

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!

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