Prepping for School Exams – Help Your Child Develop Effective Study Habits

Autistic children or children with other developmental disabilities such as ADHD may find studying more challenging than their neurotypical peers. They may struggle with executive function skills that make learning easier, including organisation, working memory, inhibition of impulses, performance monitoring, and self-regulation. They may also experience nonverbal skill deficits, lack of focus, speech and language disorders, developmental delays, and narrow interests that make it difficult to engage in other areas of learning. 

Many autistic children have average or above-average intelligence, however, they may struggle with conventional learning strategies and techniques and require additional assistance to help with studying. It’s important to remain patient with your child as exams can be a stressful time, especially for autistic children and teens. 

With exam season just around the corner, we’ve put together some key tips to help your child develop effective study habits.

  1. Develop a Study Plan

Exams and assignments can be daunting, so it’s a good idea to break down each project into small blocks of revision that feel manageable for your child to prevent them from feeling overwhelmed.

Discuss which ways they would prefer to record their revision. This might be visually through mind maps and flowcharts, recording and listening to themselves reading their notes, or making a video about a specific topic. 

Together, develop a study plan for each class that details what, how, and when their study will take place and work with them to follow through with the plan.

2. Have a Designated Study Place

For autistic children, it can be challenging to focus in a changing environment or one that is over or under-stimulating. It’s a good idea for your child or teen to have a designated study space that is quiet and has the supplies they need, such as a home office. This allows them to be away from any distractions, and you can periodically check on them to ensure they are staying on task.

3. Use Creative and Unconventional Study Techniques

Effective studying doesn’t have to be limited to pen and paper, encourage your child or teen to explore alternative ways to study and make it fun!

Some creative ways to study may include listening to a recording of their notes while walking around their local neighbourhood, using coloured pens and highlighters, creating a short video to explain a topic, or drawing diagrams and illustrations on their notes. 

4. Use a Timer to Set Study Times

Many autistic children struggle with focusing for long periods of time. A good way to overcome this challenge while studying is to set a timer for a block of 20-30 minutes of study time, followed by a break for the same amount of time.

This can be adjusted to what best suits your child’s needs and preferences.

5. Take Practice Tests and Quizzes

For autistic children, unfamiliar experiences and environments can bring stress and anxiety. It’s important for them to feel prepared by taking a practice exam in an examination situation so they are familiar with how it works. If your child qualifies for using readers, scribes, or prompts they will need plenty of practice using them beforehand. These should be people they feel comfortable with and are consistent across all their exams.

Here at Freedom Social Skills, we provide a number of Social Skills Classes for children aged 3 – 18 years. 

Students learn new social skills through a variety of fun and engaging activities, including Minecraft Classes, Art Classes, Imaginative Playgroups, and more. These classes are run by our trained professional team of staff who confidently assist in the development of socialisation and communication skills.

Does this sound like something that could benefit your child?

Contact us today for a discussion.

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