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Electronic tools to help read


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Hello! I am wondering if there are tools that you have used that can help my dyslexic student. The IEP specifies that the student gets teacher notes and audio for reading assignments but, that doesn't happen unless the student asks every time. The student is a HS freshman so we are at a point where we can't depend on the school to do the right thing anymore. We need to prepare for a world without accommodations.

So my question is, are there tools that will scan and read a paper document, take notes (not every word but can determine the important info) and be able to read the notes back? If you have experience with tools that have worked for you or someone you've worked with, I'd love to hear more. 


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First, you need to insist that the IEP be followed in terms of your student getting the teacher notes.  I don't know how it reads, but unless it states "upon request of the student," they should be provided automatically.  It doesn't matter that he's in high school now - not an excuse for not following the IEP.  Reach out to the case manager about this.  If it does state "upon request of the student," try to get the language changed, which may require data that he is not able to self-advocate yet.

But I understand that from a practical standpoint, it may not happen.  In that case, in most high school now, teacher notes are provided on Canvas or some other platform shared with students.  (I do realize there would still be the problem of reading those notes, which I will get into in the next paragraph.)  As far as tools for note-taking, if notes are on the whiteboard, ask for the accommodation of taking a picture of the notes.  If they are lectures, as for the accommodation of recording the lecture.  I don't know of any tool that will determine the important information from notes.

Does your student have access to text-to-speech?  That accommodation reads text to students and is very widely used by not only special education students, but all students.  You definitely need to ask for that accommodation, as well as training for your student on how to use it and how to use it without embarrassment (earbuds?).  You didn't mention this, but another common accommodation for dyslexic students is speech-to-text to help them with their writing.

There are tools (such as a C-pen) that will read a paper document back to a student.  Ask for such a tool to be included in his IEP accommodations.  But those would not have the ability to take notes and determine important information.  Maybe there is an AI program out there that could do this?

You may need to ask for an IEP meeting to discuss your concerns.   A dyslexic student should not be expected to take notes if the note-taking process is so difficult that it keeps him from accessing all the information that is being presented.  The IEP needs to be followed.  Tell the team what he is struggling with and ask what can be done.

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His civil rights are being violated given he is not being accommodated.  In addition, IDEA is being violated given the IEP isn't being followed.  You might want to file a state complaint if going up the chain of command hasn't helped.  In college, they take these things seriously.  Schools lose funding when they don't accommodate at the college level so there is no need to 'prepare for a world w/o accommodations'.

There is scan to text software.  Once it's text, there is text to talk software.  If he is going to be using this at school, it should be written into the IEP so it's not viewed as cheating.  Do verify that the IEP doesn't say 'when student requests'.  It shouldn't.  He needs this for every lecture & assignment.

In college, they pay a classmate for their notes so this is an accommodation for the future too.  (My daughter's friend got paid for making a copy of his notes and providing them to the disability office to forward to a classmate.)

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