Guidance and Gizmos
Assistive technology (AT) can help ADHD or LD students circumvent weaknesses and, because ADDers often have an intuitive grasp of technology, increase their self-reliance in the classroom. AT can be written into a child's IEP, and schools may be able to provide access to basic equipment. Otherwise, except where noted, all of the following are available at office-supply or electronics stores.
Dictating notes into a handheld tape recorder is an AD/HD-friendly alternative to the often frustrating process of taking notes in class. And because many students find that words flow more easily from the mouth than the pen, they use a tape recorder to brainstorm their own ideas for a project or an essay.
Because many PDAs (personal digital assistants) now have calculator, calendar, alarm, and even voice recording capabilities, it's possible to keep track of class schedules and project deadlines, set medication reminders, take notes, store contact information, and get help with math homework all with one device. Once students start using PDAs on a daily basis, they often wonder how they ever did without.
Books on audiotape or CD
Some individuals with ADHD have an easier time absorbing the spoken, rather than the written word. Others find that listening to the book while reading along helps them stay focused. BORROW FROM rfbd.org (Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic), or BUY FROM audible.com.
Students no longer have to worry about slow or messy handwriting, whether in class or on the go. With built-in spell-checks, even spelling is no longer a hurdle. These lightweight keyboards have enough memory to save several pages of writing, and you can plug them into a computer to save to your hard drive and to print. BUY FROM alphasmart.com; quickpad.com; and perfectsolutions.com.
For children with ADHD or LD who have trouble organizing thoughts in a sequential, written form, mind-mapping (aka graphic organizing, visual thinking) software or devices provide the freedom to express ideas in a visual format, record them as they come, and link them together later to create an outline. BUY FROM inspiration.com (Kidspiration for grades K-5, or Inspiration for grades 6-12.).
Alarms that beep or vibrate periodically can provide the gentle reminder a student needs to stay on track while studying, or cue him that it's time to leave for class.