The Effects of Mindfulness on Adolescents with Special Needs’ Readiness for Learning

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2022)
Title: The Effects of Mindfulness on Adolescents with Special Needs’ Readiness for Learning
Stream: Mind, Brain & Psychology: Human Emotional & Cognitive Development & Outcomes within Educational Contexts
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Jovial Teo, Association for Persons with Special Needs, Singapore
Wendy Yeo, Association for Persons with Special Needs, Singapore


Special needs educators, anecdotally, feedback that students demonstrated adverse learning behaviours and attitudes towards academic learning by adolescent age, compared to their peers, when they face severe learning challenges. With preliminary evidences supporting mindfulness-based programmes’ positive effects on academic functioning, this pilot study aims to investigate the effects of providing adolescent students with mindfulness tools and its impact on their learning in a school setting. The study employs single group pre-post no-control design. The students were screened with behavioural rubrics that examine attention, self-control, participation, and respect for others, as well as their phonological skills. Four students were shortlisted to attend a 13-session mindfulness held twice weekly for an hour. They practiced mindfulness activities for the first half of each session followed by activities on phonological awareness. Six applications of mindfulness: body, senses, breath, attention, thoughts, and emotions are covered. The students demonstrated improved attentional regulation, self-control, participation, and respect for peers and facilitators. Their abilities to perform phonological awareness activities also advanced. Post student attitudinal questionnaires reflect their focus in sessions, preferences, and likelihood to continue using mindfulness tools after the programme. This presentation will address whether mindfulness intervention is associated with improvements in various indices of student behaviour and learning via facilitators’ report and students’ self-evaluation. Implications of this study may contribute to the future use of mindfulness in class to promote learning. Inclusion of control group and larger sample size are needed for future studies.

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