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My son is in high school and has trouble being able to take notes while listening to lectures. The teacher said that maybe he could tape record the lessons, but then my son just has to listen to them again and it takes twice as long. Any ideas on what we can do so he doesn’t have to take all of these notes and listen at the same time?

It can be challenging for many students with disabilities to take notes while listening to teacher lectures or instruction. A couple of different options may be helpful for your son, depending on the resources available at your school and his teacher’s instructional style. If your son’s teacher regularly uses overheads or slide presentations, it may be helpful for your son to have access to the slides during the lecture. He can view the slides on a laptop and add his notes to them as the teacher presents information.


Another option if your son’s teacher doesn’t use slide presentations during lectures would be to ask the teacher to create electronic note-taking tools or graphic organizers for the lecture material. Depending on the specific content being covered, these could include partially completed outlines, concept maps, or story analysis webs. Your son could have these available on a laptop and fill them in as the teacher presents material. This article on Tech Tools for Students with Learning Disabilities(opens in a new window) offers some suggestions for students that may be helpful.

There are also several software options available for creating concept maps or online note taking. MindManager(opens in a new window) is a tool that allow users to create visual representations of information. Tools like this could be beneficial for writing activities or connecting concepts.

Online note taking software such as EverNote(opens in a new window) would allow your son to create searchable notes and diagrams using digital images, handwritten text from a tablet PC, text from websites or text from Word documents and PowerPoint presentations. If a laptop is unavailable for your son to use in the classroom, a portable note-taker might be a good solution. AlphaSmart(opens in a new window) makes portable note-taking device that was popular in schools; other options can be found on the TechMatrix(opens in a new window) website.

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