Neurodivergent Tips from the D&C Community

Thank you to all the members of our community who contributed to this list. 


Generic Tips Which Apply to Multiple Diagnoses 

  • Add your accessibility requirements to your email footer:  e.g. I am disabled and can sometimes struggle in responding to emails, thank you for your patience. If I have not responded within 2 working days, I may have missed your message and require prompting through a secondary message. Thank you for your understanding
  • whiteboards can be really helpful for getting your ideas out or thinking through things. 
  • Goblin Tools is an amazing website that can help with breaking down tasks, formalising words etc.
  • Use Google to get text out of photos of handwritten notes, as a quicker way to digitise it. Can also be used to digitise textbook questions. 


ADHD Helpful Tips 

  • Use the second brain technique: jot down all of those interesting thoughts and questions you think of so badly you want to google, but will ultimately lead you down a rabbit hole, into a second brain doc. That way your working memory doesn’t have to try and retain everything and you don’t have to google it straight away so you won’t forget. It also helps manage the 1,000 tabs being open that represent a different thought that you don’t want to forget. 
  • Give one person close to you an automatic bypass on your phone so that every time it’s on silent and you can’t find it, it will always make a noise when they call it. 
  • Use the calendar apps ‘Structure’, or ‘Tiimo’ to help with time blindness as it will always tell you how many more minutes you have left of one task in your calendar before you have to start the next. 
  • Bring lots of snacks to keep motivated during tutes and classes. 
  • Stim toys are amazing and great.
  • Pomodoro Technique can be helpful to get into the swing of things. 
  • Use app limits on your apps, even though you may choose to ignore them, they help show you the passing of 15 minutes of time. 
  • Don’t try to be too restrictive, but if you can aim to reduce your screen time by two hours a day, you will have gained an entire month in the year worth of time to do things!
  • Only keep the bare minimum of money in your access account, so in the process of transferring the money to buy something, you may be able to put in perspective what you are doing, seeing your bank balance and realise that you’re being impulsive. It’s like a two-factor system.
  • Wait to say yes to big decisions once you have gotten home and are out of the moment, you may struggle to get the same level of motivation up or realise you will be overcommitting yourself. 
  • Have a first aid kit, sewing kit, spare cutlery, warm blanket, spare jacket, spare change of clothes, shoes, toothbrush, towel, lots of spare water bottles, pencil case, deodorant, and a packet of muesli bars in the car. Kmart has travel kits for example. When you forget the important things, or are running late and haven’t eaten, you will be all covered with your backups. 
  • Sign up for the ADHD focus group / shared experience group DSS have been running.
  • Pop to the Disability and Carers Lounge in the MSA if you are sensory-seeking to play with stim-toys or engage in crafts / Legos. 
  • Install the water reminder app to help forgetting to stay hydrated during the day. 
  • Find a body double and hold each other accountable, make them take your phone away from you and vice versa.
  • If you struggle to get out of bed in the mornings, set an early alarm, take your meds when you wake or have a coffee if you’re not medicated. Crawl back into bed for an hour and set an alarm. This will let the stimulant slowly wake you up and then when you get up you’ll feel more energised.
  • Airtag / tile everything. Game changer. 
  • Don’t force yourself into a rigid routine that does not work, if it pops into your mind, go ahead and do it. For example, if you forgot to brush your teeth in the morning, you don’t have to be annoyed with yourself and try harder the next day, brush them as soon as you remember, it’s better than a routine that is hit or miss. They only work for neurotypicals but are not the law, you can do things unconventionally & sometimes it will serve you better. 
  • ADHD chore charm bracelets are great if you really struggle to do daily morning tasks, which were first created by ADHDer Matilda Boseley 
  • Create different music playlists for different sensory needs. 
  • Turn your phone onto black and white mode in colour filters in settings  to make it less appealing / engaging when you’re trying to do assignment work, it will be easier to switch your phone off or to realise when you have picked it up to distract yourself. 
  • Use Monash blue maps (the ones on the blue structures around campus)
  • Wholefoods has couches to use when you need a rest. There are also resting rooms around campus and couches in the lounges. 
  • Use text-to-speech extensions / apps to help get through readings. E.g. NaturalReaders is a great free option. Microsoft Explore can also be used. There are paid options available such as Speechify. 
  • Microsoft Word has a read aloud option which can really help with editing


ASD Helpful Tips 

  • Noise-cancelling headphones or ear putty for going out and about are so helpful.
  • There is a Wellbeing Hub with sensory pods on campus to destimulate. DSS and DNC also have rest/calm areas. 
  • Stim toys can help with overstimulation 
  • Dark polarised glasses with thick rims that block light from the sides as well are so helpful in mitigating light sensitivity.
  • Print out little communication cards or a communication chart for if you are feeling overstimulated so that you can effectively communicate to those around you. 
  • Get a sunflower lanyard from D&C if you would like people to offer you help. 
  • Weighted blankets are so helpful for anxiety for me. 
  • Wear a comfort fabric you know you can rub or self-sooth with on days you are anxious about to help feel cosy and calm. 
  • Go on little unmasked adventures in public on your own or with a close friend to recharge yourself. 
  • Let a friend know if you are scared an environment will be hard for you to socialise in or will overstimulate you. They can talk through what you are to expect, ask or say things for you and you can develop an explicit action plan for what will happen if you’re finding things hard. They may also therefore anticipate leaving early due to overstimulation or see the signs. 
  • Creating ‘choice boards’ serve as inspiration filled with visuals or things you like and can be helpful when you are having difficulty making choices surrounding things like meal decisions
  • I put Peppermint Essential Oils on my wrists and smell it to try and mask out external smells when they are overwhelming me.
  • Tiimo, Structure, or Clean Dat are apps that can help you plan your day to a T. 
  • Chewlery necklaces are necklaces that you can chew as a Stim. 


Dyslexia/Dyscalculia helpful tips 

  • In accessibility settings on iPhones / Macs you can change the screen tint colour, this can help reduce the ‘dazzling’ black text on white background can do for some dyslexic readers. 
  • Putting text that has to be read quickly or out loud with little rehearsal, into ‘bionic text’ via the Bionic Text website can often make reading easier. 
  • Dictate your thoughts into dot points into Microsoft Word if you’re struggling to write, then come back. 
  • Have your uni textbook up and open a minimised Word Doc and dictate the notes you want to take to speed up your processing speed
  • Spaced practice is so vital. Reading for ten minutes at a time will be more effective in the long run. 
  • Encourage voice memos. 
  • Get a scribe through DSS for exams to read and write for you. 
  • Helperbird extension on chrome will turn websites into dyslexic fonts. 
  • A thesaurus can really help; to check you got the right word; or when you don’t know where to even start with trying to spell a particular word/spell check has no idea what you’re on about, you can type an easier to spell synonym then look for the word your after in the thesaurus. E.g. enormous might be difficult right now, so huge or big might be easier.


Spatial Dyspraxia Helpful Tips

  • asking for help or alternatives from your tutors for spatial tasks, and if you feel comfortable, flagging that you have spatial dyspraxia and the types of tasks you struggle with because of it. 
  • Some types of spatial tasks that can be made far easier with practice and gentle guidance, or that may simply be more time consuming for you, so allow yourself that extra time. 
  • For those with a friend who has spatial dyspraxia, try to have patience with them and help them when they ask for help on spatial tasks or spatial thinking.
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