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Regardless of their limitations, individuals with disabilities can take advantage of an increasing number of tools to help them succeed both inside and outside the classroom or work environment. These include a variety of note-taking options, on-screen keyboards with math symbols, and talking calculators.

Note-Taking Options

Note-taking options can help those with short-term memory deficits or those who want a more efficient way to capture lecture or meeting content. These often come in the form of apps, smart pens or smart notebooks.

AudioNote: Allows you to link notes to the audio you recorded when taking them. Its transcription feature automatically turns any voice into a text-type memo note.

Bamboo: Bamboo smartpads transfer written notes and drawings into a digital format so you can edit and share them with others. Use symbols to automatically organize your work. Work with any paper using a ballpoint pen. Two models, Slate (coverless) and Folio (covered).

Livescribe Symphony: A smart pen that converts everything you hear, write or draw into a digital copy. Provides instant backdrop and easily shareable content. Simply tap on your notes to play back that exact moment. Recognizes multiple languages. Ideal for sharing ideas or collaborating with others. Compatible with iOS, Android, smartphones and tablets.

Otter: An AI-powered speech-to-text app that provides fast and accurate transcriptions, speaker identification, and management tools. Otter also enables users to edit and manage transcriptions within the app. Available on desktops, iOS and Android devices; there is a limited free plan for new users.

Rocketbook (formerly called Everlast): Rocketbooks provide a reusable surface that can be erased with water. Use the app to organize and store your written notes. Connects to cloud services. Several models including Core, Fusion and Mini.

Sonocent Audio Notetaker: Computer-based audio note-taker. Record, highlight and revisit content at your own pace. Organize recording of speech as color-coded audio chunks. This enables you to return to any part of the recording later. You can also capture photos, slides and text notes. Comes with a 30-day trial.

Sonocent Glean: Simplified, more user-friendly version of the Sonocent Audio Notetaker. iOS and Windows apps are available. Requires Google Chrome browser. Only imports PDFs and PowerPoints. Free trial period available.

Math Tools

MathType: Enables you to type or handwrite mathematical notation so you can easily include them in your documents and digital content. Customizable onscreen keyboard allows you to drag frequently used equations/expressions to the toolbar. Compatible with Windows, Microsoft Word, Google Docs and Dragon Naturally Speaking. Free 30-day trial available.

Talking Calculators

These products help those with vision problems balance their checkbooks, pay their bills, etc. Speech synthesizers read aloud each number, symbol or operation and "tell" you the answer to the math problem.

Independent Living Aids (ILA) Talking Calculators: Offers 10 models priced from $12 to $650.

Timers and "Talking" Watches

Talking watches announce the time when you push a button. More expensive models offer additional features, such as alarm sound options, stopwatch, military time, large numbers, different voices, etc. Timers can remind you to do weight shifts, take medication or help with bladder management.

Independent Living Aids (ILA) Talking Watches: Various models include such features as announcing the day and time, upcoming appointments, and daily reminders.

Gymboss: Repeating interval timer ideal for those with memory issues. Also includes beep and/or vibrating alarm options that can remind you to perform weight shifts and tell you when those weight shifts are completed.

LS&S (Learning, Sight & Sound) Talking Watches: Numerous varieties priced from under $10.

WatchMinder: Can be programmed to set up discreet vibrating reminders throughout the day. Helpful to those with short-term memory loss to remind them to take their medications or perform a weight shift.

Smart Watches

Apple Watch: Compatible with iPhones and voice controls with Siri. Make calls and send messages by voice controls or by tapping the watch. Three models are available:

  • Series 6: Features a blood oxygen sensor and app, an ECG app, and fall detection.
  • SE: Offers the same larger display size as the Series 6; has fall detection but lacks other health monitoring options.
  • Series 3: Budget model provides health monitoring options but lacks fall detection.

Samsung Smartwatches: Compatible with both Android and iOS. Works with Google Assistant voice commands to make calls and send messages. Several models are available:

  • Galaxy Watch: Has fall detection and heart rate monitoring.
  • Galaxy Watch Active: Sportier, lightweight versions of the Galaxy Watch. The Active models lack fall detection but have a wide variety of other health monitoring options.

The Tech Lab offers these resources for educational purposes and does not endorse any products, including those mentioned on this site. Many others are available. Please check online for additional manufacturers, products and user reviews.