Sofia Tancredi

Photograph of a white woman with long brown hair smiling broadly.

Research interests: sensory neurodiversity, fidgeting and sensory regulation, movement and learning, embodied cognition, sensory dimensions of autism and ADHD, holistic education, individual differences, accessibility, Universal Design for Learning, design-based research, multimodal learning analytics.

I study the impact of sensory features of instruction on learning. My focus is on individual differences in sensory systems like the vestibular (balance and orientation) system, and accessibility for learners who for example might need a greater amount of stimulation to this system. This work is inspired by my career working with K-12 learners, particularly students identified as having challenges with learning, attention, and behavior in typical classroom contexts. I am currently in my third year in the joint doctoral program in Special Education at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University, where I am an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program fellow. 

Some current projects include:

(1) The Balance Number Line. This design based research project studies how learners with high vestibular (sense of balance) sensory needs construct mathematical concepts when vestibular behaviors like rocking are recruited as resources for mathematical learning. 

A wooden number line mounted on a stand in front of a wooden balance board. The number line has a black magnetic surface on its upper half, a strip of rainbow lights forming a horizontal line, and numbers along the bottom. The balance board consists of a flat surface with a rug and handles mounted on top of a curved piece of wood such that it can rock right to left.

The Balance Number Line.

This project is part of a larger project on Special Education Embodied Design (SpEED)

(2) The Sensory Behavior Measure. This research measure under development quantifies the intensity of sensory seeking by students in a given learning environment in order to inform research on sensory features of instruction.

Contact: sofiatancredi (at) berkeley (dot) edu 

Presentations and Publications

Tancredi, S., Chen, R. S. Y., Krause, C., & Siu, Y.–T. (under review). The need for SpEED: Reimagining accessibility through Special Education Embodied Design. In S.L. Macrine & J.M. Fugate (Eds.), Movement matters: How embodied cognition informs teaching and learning.  M.I.T. Press.  

Tancredi, S. M. (2020, March). Mathematical reasoning as sensory regulation: The Balance Number Line.  Poster presented at the annual Research Day, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, March 13, 2020. (Cancelled due to COVID-19)

Tancredi, S., Chen, R., & Krause, C. The need for SpEED: special education embodied design. Presentation and panel presented at UC-SpEDDR, UCLA, February 2, 2020.

Chen, R. & Tancredi, S. Centering disability and neurodiversity in embodied design. Presentation at the EMIC Synthesis and Design Workshop: The Future of Embodied Design for Mathematical Imagination and Cognition,  University of Wisconsin, Madison, May, 2019. 

Burgstahler, S., & Thompson, T. (Eds). (2019). Designing accessible cyberlearning: Current state and pathway forward. Seattle: University of Washington. 

Tancredi, S. Imagining Sensory-regulatory embodied mathematics design. Poster presented at the annual Graduate School of Education Research Day, University of California, Berkeley, April 2019.

Tancredi, S. Embodied cognition and educational design. Guest lecture for Introduction to Cognitive Science, University of California, Berkeley, April, 2019.

Tancredi, S. Sensory regulation and embodied design. Presentation at AccessCyberlearning Capacity Building Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, January, 2019.