October means it’s time for midterms. Parents, even if your kids aren’t out of high school and into college, they may still be studying a lot now that the school year is in full swing. I wanted to share a bit about study habits and what was helpful to me through school. First, I think it’s important to state that I was not diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in childhood. Subsequently, I never received any school-based services related to autism because I was diagnosed later in my teens.
However, I did receive a lot of support related to a learning disability diagnosed in kindergarten. It is common to see both learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) together.
As far as support in school, I was in both regular and special education services and a smaller study hall in both my middle and high school years due to a need for more 1:1 attention and difficulty passing the GQE (Graduation Qualifying Exam) now known as ILEARN. I also received extended time on tests, a scribe for essay tests, a notetaker in classes, and testing in a separate room, to name a few.
When it came to studying, here are some tricks that helped me make the most of school:
- Find a Space That Works for You
Growing up, I would often study in my bedroom. I had a desk with a calendar, pencils and highlighters in a cup, notebooks in a drawer, and my computer next to the desk. Every night, this is where I would go to do homework.
- Dry Erase Boards (or Lists) Can Make a Big Difference
When I was in college, I had a Dry Erase Board on my bedroom door. I would write down my assignments or important weekly tasks and erase each one as I completed them. Today, this habit has been replaced with a chalkboard that hangs on the wall as you walk into my apartment. This way, I don’t feel so overwhelmed. Other alternatives to this may be setting a reminder with SIRI or an Amazon Alexa device.
- Break Down the Big Stuff
Let’s say you have a seven-page paper due in ten days. Instead of trying to do it all at once, maybe try for a bit as you go along – two pages tonight, two pages the next, etc. so that you are giving yourself time to really develop the project and think clearly, and so that you are not as stressed. Don’t be afraid to step away from the laptop for an hour or so, either. Go for a walk, get some lunch, or read a magazine. Come back to your work later when you can focus.
- Decide if Music and Other Noise is a Distraction or a Plus
I can’t study or get work done with a lot of music on, but some people can. I need quiet. If I have music on, I may end up just singing songs and not getting anything accomplished.
- If This… Then This…
I like having something to look forward to. If I have a project to do that I need to get done and I don’t want to do it, I try to talk myself into working on it by saying “If you do X then you can do or have Y” and usually that helps.
I hope everyone has a productive study hall! Good luck with midterms if you find yourself or your loved one taking them shortly and have a great fall semester!
Nassim, A. (2022). Tips for Getting a Great Study Session In. Retrieved from https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/irca/articles/study-session-tips.html