Assistance for Note-Taking - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Assistance for Note-Taking


I am fishing for information here - I have a 10th grader with ADHD who is terrible at taking notes. His handwriting is hard to read AND he has trouble paying attention to the lecture. I know there are devices out there to help kids take notes. My son prefers to write his notes instead of typing them. He usually takes them on his iPad. Does anyone know of any kind of support for precisely this? ty!

19 Replies

Thanks for the post to the group. In most middle and high school classes, if noted in the child's 504 plan they can ask for teachers to give children their lecture notes.

He should not be doing anything but listening and trying to comprehend the materials given. Another option is to have special paper (NCR) and have another student writes the notes and they share them ( top sheet for student writing, your son has bottom copy. In some colleges there are hired people to type out the notes and students pay to get an e-mail copy sent to them.

You can also ask for a laptop be given for him to type notes, but again this would have his attention on the note taking and not the listening. If he is listening and not in a classroom he could use a speech to text option on the device.

Hope this helps..

ty! I recently read an article about how interventions (teaching them to take notes) is more effective than accommodations. He is able to get notes from the teacher but I REALLY want him to learn or even get some assistance when taking notes. I think he CAN do it but he needs help. I know there are things out there to help them- Every day there is something else for me to worry about! ty for your replies!

Please see my response below re: dysgraphia. The problem is not likely effort but rather a disability. Think of it as trying to teach a deaf child to hear.

I hear you.. but both will suffer, he like many has an executive function issues, this is all about planning and organization. If you want nicely written notes then he will lose the lecture content. Note taking is really a skill that includes spelling, main idea, spacing on the page, hand writing.. etc..

I agree with ADHD_DAD, it's like wanting a deaf child to hear.

We all want our kids to take good notes, but having the teachers notes is a much better way to learn/study ( believe they are not going to write things down that kids don't really need to learn, so they can focus on what the teacher is saying.

I remember sitting in a lecture in college thinking "is this important to write down?".. I would have dreamed of getting the professors lecture notes. Also in most high school classes all of ( at least the good ones) post their lecture notes.

Good luck!

yes, I spoke with someone in the Learning Ctr and they said that teachers can post their notes on Google Classroom so I'm going that route. Someone also suggested Exec Func Coach. I have never considered that before but am wondering if that might be something I should consider. He def needs help with Ef's. what do you think?

Klmamma in reply to willandgrace

I completely disagree with the above. Taking notes was how I functioned, and still function. My husband as well.

My son colors and doodles during class and he absorbs every single word and concept. Look into those special notebooks on amazon. Your write in this notebook page but it's somehow digital and can be loaded into a drive after he's done and then he can move in to the next class.

My mom taught me shorthand in grade school and that helped immensely with speed and legibility.

Hello ADHD pupils like my son have difficulty paying attention but can often take more in than some other pupils. They can’t often focus. My son had to fidget with plasticine/clay bits and then later started origami. Even though he looked like he was not listening this improved things. Some even listen to music through headphones as well as listening to the teacher . If the teacher is part of the learning program than this works. They should always be in front of a class with no distractions around the walls near them. There is also a wobble seat which requires the sitter to shift slightly to keep balance. At that age they can’t ‘pay attention’ in the traditional way. Ensuring they are not told off or told ‘they could do better’ is important. Instead working out a pattern of working suited to the child and getting others around them to understand

BellisP in reply to BellisP

Another point is that ADHD students can seem to have terrible handwriting and struggle but when they improve they can improve rapidly but it’s in their own time. It takes masses more energy and thought processes for them and they can get tired. They are not doing ‘less’ they are thinking ‘more’. At one point in school I decided and fought for my son to drop one subject. In that class time he just took time to catch up, think and relax. All this subjects were too much at once. Later when much older and you do less subjects at school he then excelled.

BellisP in reply to BellisP

Also we had a specialist booked to see my son but it took months of waiting. That school wanted it as was saying he was so behind in reading and could not write. He was 10. By the time he was accessed at 11 he was found to have a reading age of 14 and a wide vocabulary beyond what he could write. The advisor told off the school as she said he had low self esteem and value brought on by being told he could do better’ when he had maxed out on trying.

His maths teacher had said he would not likely pass a maths exam and he was 12 at the time. That would make a child give up. But I berated that teacher and got him moved to another class. I had no expectations though but wanted him confident and happy. He got an A grade for his Maths and English Exams at 16.

willandgrace in reply to BellisP

ty! How old is your son now?

Hi. Dysgraphia can often accompany ADHD and can result in the problems you describe. While the issue was clear, adding the formal diagnosis helped us limit the push back from the public school about adding accommodations to assist. Before the formal diagnosis, we heard, "he's not trying hard enough," he's just refusing," etc. Sound familiar? After the diagnosis, we were able to add helpful accommodations including:

- Copy of teacher notes to be provided (had to say "Teacher notes" or the teachers would provide just sparse limited notes or bullet points rather than the detailed notes he was expected to take on his own)

-will be allowed to use phone to take picture of notes and to record upcoming assignments/tests/ projects

- Access to word processor will be allowed in all environments. Speech to text technology will be allowed where feasible-if not possible, grade or credit will not be reduced for poor handwriting.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck to you. Don't let the teachers convince you it is lack of effort or poor behavior by your child. You know the truth!

Try the Livescribe Pen and notebook on Amazon.

Klmamma in reply to Cherrice

This is what I was talking about above as well. Could not remember the name.

Whatever you decide I encourage you to write it your child's 504 so there are not issues with using it in school.

There are a variety of "stylist" pens that are universal that could assist on any touch screen ( like an Ipad) which has speech to text and text to speech.

Good luck

This has been an intersting topic to read through...thanks everyone. My son is an adult but as a child and teen would doodle and draw...and would retain everything he heard. Like Klmamma said. My son is 29 now and to this day he figits and wiggles and looks at his phone when I'm speaking which drives me insane sometimes but he tells me this is his mechanism for staying focused on what I'm saying.

i only wish! My does not absorb what he does not find interesting! And history is on his list of BORING THINGS, so he does not absorb without taking notes.

I understand. Different strategies work for different people. Hang in there. 😉

Typing. I have a son with dysgraphia and terrible handwriting..typing skills have really helped him. You can type much faster than you can write. Also get him interested in a hobby where he uses his hands. This will help his penmanship.

What hobbies have you found that help with dysgraphia that also hold his interest? Thank you.

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