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Online Learning and ADHD

Students with ADHD and Executive Functioning deficits will likely find online learning particularly challenging. Anything that requires self-directed learning will be exacerbated with an ADHD diagnosis and usually online learning requires a high degree of self-regulation. As it looks like online learning will be woven into the fabric of "normal" schooling, we will continually provide tips and tricks for finding success in a challenging (and changing) environment. Here are some questions to ask yourself:


Where should I study? Shaping your environment is easier than shaping your behavior. You should spend some time getting to know yourself as a learner. Where do you find it easiest to work? Where are you most motivated to work? Where are you most productive? What things do you need around you? You shouldn't force yourself into an environment that other people want you to be in. Listen to your body and listen to your mind - whatever comes naturally is probably a good fit.


What do I need in my environment? Some people need ambient noise; other people find it distracting. Make sure you have the technology and peripherals you need to be efficient (like a second monitor, full size keyboard, wireless mouse, and a printer). Remove distractions (like social media, TVs, video games) from your work environment.


What are my preferred learning styles? Some people are auditory learners. Some are visual. Some are tactile. (And the list goes on...) You need to understand your learning styles and communicate them to your school and teachers. You might need the teacher to help provide lesson recordings, or to have the school provide notes in different formats. There are many accommodations and tools available for you - but you need to have a sense of what works for you.


Self-advocacy was hard in school. How do I do it online? In school, you used to be able to raise a hand or go to the teacher after class. Now, you have to figure out how to save your questions, remember to follow up, and go through the process of contacting your teacher and getting support. The amount of steps and time it takes to get support just went through the roof! You will need to develop new processes to remember to do this and to follow through.


What if I need even more help? Find a tutor who can explain the concepts and not just help complete homework. Find someone that you mesh well with and who can teach towards your learning styles. Also check out free resources (like Khan Academy) for video lessons and practice problems. If your teacher is not providing enough practice, there are tons of free and subscription-based services.


What can I do if I feel overwhelmed? Print everything out! Paper is your friend. Get all of your assignments and notes on paper next to you. A lot of students resist this in the age of laptops and tablets. Trust us - it helps! And, find a thought partner who can help you talk through where you might be getting stuck.


If you need tips for online learning success, call us any time for a free chat! We are happy to provide advice! (214) 444-3431.

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