Our top tips for neurodiverse students 

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Health Assured team

24 January 2023

If you've been diagnosed with, or suspect you have a neurodiverse condition while at college or university, this article is for you. 

Estimates show one in five people are neurodivergent; this includes conditions such as Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia. You are not alone, and as we learn more about neurodiversity, we now understand that these conditions are simply normal variations of the human mind. These neurological variations causing people to think, learn and relate to others differently are to be expected and accepted as natural differences.

Having this awareness is a good thing, as it allows you to start to think about how these different ways of thinking impact your student life and consider things that might help you in your studies. You can find our top tips below...

Stay organised 

Keeping well organised can be key to succeeding in both your assignments and exams. Set a timeline for how long each section will take you. When you break things down into smaller chunks, they become more manageable—and you gain momentum.

If you’re revising for an exam, try to create different folders with sections for each topic. Segmenting topics in this way can help you break down various concepts into categories.

Set yourself focus time 

If you struggle to focus for extended periods, try to set allotted time where you cut out all distractions and home in on the task at hand. Trial different schedules and see what works for you. This could be 20 minutes of focus time and a 10-minute break. Or you could find that 40 minutes of focus time with a 20-minute break works better for you.

Ditch the distractions 

Try to make your space as distraction-free as possible. This means switching off electronics, decluttering your desk and putting your phone on do not disturb. The more you can limit the temptation of distraction, the better. Try your best to fully focus on the time you’ve allotted to work and enjoy a break before you get back to it.

Find out what support is available 

Most universities and colleges have student support services to help you get the most out of your studies. They might be able to provide equipment that aids you, discuss additional support and guide you with tips to help you throughout your studies. If you’re dealing with any difficult emotions like anxiety, low mood or frustration, they may also offer counselling support services you can access for free.

Use assistive technologies 

If you find writing or spelling difficult, it can be helpful to use tools to assist you. When using Word, you can now press the dictate button in the menu bar to speak directly into your microphone. This feature will type out the words for you. Many online articles will also now provide a spoken version alongside the written one, so look out for this when you’re doing research.

Look after your wellbeing 

You’re more equipped to take on the challenges of life when your wellbeing is in check. Look after yourself by ensuring you get enough sleep each night, stay hydrated and get moving. These three simple steps will boost your concentration, improve your mood and increase creativity.

Find out more about how neurodivergent individuals can get help in the workplace.

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