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How to Create a Productive Study Environment for Students with ADHD and Other Special Needs

One of the most important things you can do to help students succeed in school is to create a productive study environment.

However, when it comes to managing students with mental health needs, it becomes a  bit more complicated. The ultimate goal is to still create a productive study environment, but also one that meets the unique needs of your students.

Special Education: The Challenging Route

There are challenges that come with special education. However, it is possible to overcome these challenges with dedication and hard work. One of the biggest challenges may be finding the right resources and information, as well as keeping up to date with the latest changes in legislation.

Special Education Teacher

A special education teacher’s job is to teach children with special needs. Special education teachers work with students with various disabilities, including mental health disorders, autism, hearing impairments, and physical disabilities.

Special education teachers typically have a bachelor’s degree in special education or a related field. Some states require special education teachers to be certified in order to teach in public schools.

Special education teachers typically work in schools, but they may also work in hospitals or other settings. They may work with students who are in regular classes, or they may teach special education classes.

Special education teachers need to be patient and understanding. They also need to be able to adapt their teaching methods to meet the needs of their students.

Tactics and Strategies to Make the Best Out of the Study Environment for Special Education

It is challenging but not impossible and the most important thing is that you believe in their success and that they feel that.

Here are some tips that can help you along the way.

Make Sure the Space is Comfortable and Free of Distractions

This means ensuring that the room is at a comfortable temperature, there is no excessive noise, and there are no bright lights or other distractions.

Create a Routine and Stick to It

Having a set schedule can help students with mental health needs feel more in control and less overwhelmed. Try sticking to the same general routine each day, including regular study times and breaks.

Encourage Breaks and Physical Activity

It’s essential to take breaks throughout the day, and students with mental health needs may need more frequent or longer breaks than others. Physical activity can also help reduce stress and improve focus, so encourage your students to take a few minutes to move around every hour or so.

Be Flexible

Not every day is going to be perfect, and that’s OK. Be flexible in your expectations and try to go with the flow as much as possible.

Encourage Healthy Coping Mechanisms

If students are feeling overwhelmed, help them identify healthy coping mechanisms that can help them relax and refocus. This might include deep breathing exercises, visualization, or journaling.

It’s important to remember that every student is different and what works for one may not work for another. Just do your best to create a supportive and inclusive space where all students can thrive.

Students with ADHD and Studying Environment

For students with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), having an effective studying environment is essential to success. The surroundings should be comfortable, distraction-free, and organized. A study space that meets these criteria can help students with ADHD focus and stay on task.

Make It Comfortable

A comfortable study space will help a student with ADHD feel relaxed and ready to learn. The space should be at a comfortable temperature and have good lighting. Students should also have comfortable chairs that support the back and allow for movement.

Make It Distraction-Free

A distraction-free study space is essential for a student with ADHD. There should be no television, music, or other distractions in the room. Students should also have a way to minimize distractions from outside the space, such as by using a white noise machine or earplugs.

Make It Organized

An organized study space can help students with ADHD stay on task and find what they need. The space should be clear of clutter and have everything students need, such as pens, paper, and textbooks. Students should also have a system for organizing their materials, such as color-coding or using labeled folders.

A study space that meets these criteria can help students with ADHD focus and learn effectively. Creating an effective study environment is a critical step in helping students with ADHD succeed.

Use Movement

teacher using whiteboardFocus on reading, underlining, and writing in margins, emphasizing stimulation and conversation (reciting information out loud), to stay alert while teaching students.

This will help students keep their minds fresh, and less likely to space out or tune you out. You can also try using a whiteboard or chalkboard to write down key points so they have something else to focus on other than you.

Keep up with Their Pace

Try to review their notes as soon as possible after each class and review any areas they may have struggled with. If necessary, break down the material into smaller chunks and have them focus on one thing at a time.

Keep Your Attention High

Be attentive to your students, and keep a close eye on their body language. If they start to look restless, take a break or change the activity. Let them move around as much as possible, and give them opportunities to stand up and stretch.

Prevent Procrastination

Keep up with the work to prevent their procrastination. A student with ADHD may struggle to keep up with the work, not because they’re not smart enough, but because they have trouble focusing. It will make a big difference if you can help them stay on top of their work. Try to be understanding if they fall behind, and help them catch up as best you can.

Give It a Break!

Encourage students to take breaks, and give them time to move around. It’s important for students with ADHD to get up and move around frequently so they don’t become too overwhelmed or bogged down. Breaks will help them refocus and come back to their work refreshed.

Space Out the Sessions

If possible, space out the studying sessions instead of trying to finish lessons all in one go. This will help students’ brains take little breathers in between and come back more focused each time. You can also try setting a timer for each task and take breaks in between for them to move around and let their minds wander a bit.

Allow for More Time

Allow them a little more time to finish their assignments and try not to pile on too much work at once. Another thing you can do is try breaking down the material into smaller manageable chunks for them to focus on one thing at a time instead of being overwhelmed by it all.

Ask for Help

Use tutor’s help when necessary so they can understand the material better and to help keep the students’ attention on the task at hand.

Have Patience

Finally, be patient with your students. They are trying their best, and with your help, they will be successful. Always try to explain things in different ways until they get it.

SQ4R method, Survey Question Read, Rite (write), Recite, Review

The SQ4R method is an effective way for ADHD students to study. This guide will help teachers implement the SQ4R method in their classrooms.

The SQ4R method is a reading comprehension strategy that can be used with any type of reading material. The aim of the SQ4R method is to help students understand and remember what they read.

The SQ4R method involves the following steps:

S – Survey the material by skimming it and looking at the headings.

Q – Question the material by making up questions about what you have read.

R – Read the material carefully.

R – Rite (write) summaries of what you have read.

R – Recite the material out loud.

R – Review the material periodically.

How can the SQ4R method be used in the classroom?

The SQ4R method can be used with any type of reading material, such as textbook chapters, articles, or short stories. It can be used with any level of reader, from struggling readers to advanced readers.

When using the SQ4R method with a class, it is essential to model each step for the students. Then, give the students time to work on their own. Finally, lead a class discussion to check for understanding.

What are the benefits of using the SQ4R method?

The SQ4R method has many benefits. It helps students to:

  • Understand and remember what they read
  • Develop reading comprehension skills
  • Improve their writing skills
  • Become more independent learners

Here are some tips for using the SQ4R method:

  • Make sure to model each step of the process for students.
  • Give students enough time to work on their own.
  • Check for understanding by leading a class discussion.
  • Be patient and keep the process fun!

Rewarding Experience of Teaching

Seeing the progress your students make, even in small increments, can be incredibly gratifying. It is also satisfying to know that you are helping these students to develop critical coping and social skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

While it can be challenging at times, working with students with mental needs can be a very rewarding experience.



young woman headshot of authorAbout the Author: Norma Spencer: Norma is a writer with a Ph.D. in Business Administration (Management). At the moment of writing this bio, Norma is in Germany, planning to spend at least a few more years in Europe in the coming years.

July is BIPOC Mental Health Month

Observed each July and formerly recognized as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, BIPOC Mental Health Month highlights the unique mental health challenges and needs of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). Please join us in recognizing the struggles of BIPOC and bringing awareness to the need for adequate, accessible, culturally relevant mental health treatment, care, and services.

www.rtor.org and its sponsor Laurel House are committed to the advancement of racial equity and social justice and to making mental health services available to all.

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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