Accessing Notetaking Assistance

There are several reasons why taking detailed notes may be problematic for students with disabilities. Some students with learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder, students who are blind or with vision impairments, students who are deaf or hard of hearing, and students who experience hand dexterity problems may need to develop and utilize alternative strategies for taking notes. If taking class lecture notes is difficult for you based on your disability, the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) can help you discover and implement such alternative strategies.

RCPD can facilitate note-taking assistance in different ways depending on your individual needs. For many students it may involve identifying a classmate who is willing to share a copy of their notes. Instructors are instrumental in identifying an effective note-taker. Your RCPD Specialist can instruct you on appropriate ways to make this request of your instructor and assist you with self advocacy.

RCPD suggests that you purchase a supply of self-carboned notepaper. A colored folder with pockets is a good way to provide a supply of paper to your volunteer note-taker along with a ballpoint pen. You can obtain a brochure entitled “OK, I’ll Be Your Note-taker…What Does That Mean?” from your Disability Specialist to include in the folder. This brochure explains why you need to use someone else’s notes. It also provides several useful tips on making lecture notes usable for you and your note-taker.

Other methods employed to provide note-taking assistance involve the use of technology such as audio recording of lectures, or use of personal equipment such as notebook computers or other electronic note-taking devices. Many professors also use on-line classroom management systems and bulletins, where they post the documents needed for class, Power Point presentations, and course notes. Students are able to access course material through this on-line system. Your RCPD Specialist will discuss options that would be most appropriate for your needs.

No matter how you access your notes, one important point to remember is that receiving note-taking assistance does NOT relieve you from the responsibility of attending and actively participating in class.