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Learning Disability Online Resources

General Learning Disability Resources

Assistive Technology Resources


Digital Recorders

Digital recorders generally provide higher quality lecture recordings that cell phones or older tape recorders. When selecting a digital recorder, DSPS recommends considering the following features:
  • Important Features
    • Noise cancellation (removes background noise and the 'hiss' common with older tape recorders)
    • Voice-activated recording (records only when there is sound which reduces the recording size)
    • Variable speed playback (slow down important portions or quickly move through less important portions)
    • Folders (separately store recordings from each of your classes)
    • Indexing (bookmark important portions of the recording for quick access)
    • A-B repeat (specify portions of a recording you want to play back repeatedly--useful for memorization)
    • Headphone jack (allows private playback in public spaces such as libraries)
  • Helpful Features
    • USB connectivity (transfer recordings to your computer)
    • Long battery life (100+ hours) or support for rechargeable batteries
    • Lots of storage space (4+GB) or support for additional storage (e.g. micro SD slot)
    • Calendar search (allows you to locate recordings by browsing a visual calendar)
    • Compatibility with speech recognition tools (allows you to convert voice recordings into text documents)
The following digital recorders provide all of the important features listed above and are widely available at both online (e.g. Amazon) and local stores (e.g. Staples, Office Depot, Target).
Helpful tips for using digital recorders
  • Take advantage of the variable playback speed to efficiently review recordings.
  • Use the indexing feature to quickly navigate to important portions of the lecture.
  • Make sure that the recorder is set to the correct 'scene' mode (typically 'Lecture' or 'Conference' for classes and 'Dictation' for personal notes).
  • If recordings are too quiet or too loud, try adjusting the microphone sensitivity setting.
  • Always carry extra batteries.
  • Consider purchasing a protective case for your recorder.

Reading Tools

  • Kurzweil Education provides a variety of technology solutions that support student learning including:
    • Kurzweil 3000, a full-featured program that supports, reading, writing, and organizing information
    • Kurzweil 3000/firefly, a limited-feature version of Kurzweil that runs in a web browser (or as an app for iOS devices) and offers basic highlighting and text-to-speech support
    • Kurzweil 1000 a full-featured program that supports reading and writing for students with low vision or who are blind
  • TextAloud (Windows only), a powerful, easy-to-use commercial tool for converting text into audio files
  • Balabolka (Windows only), a free, easy-to-use tool for converting text into audio files

Mind Mapping/Notetaking Tools

  • Inspiration (Windows/Mac), a full-featured, commercial mind-mapping tool used by many colleges and universities
  • Blumind (Windows only), a free mind-mapping tool with a more limited range of features
  • Freemind (Windows/Mac), another free mind-mapping tool with many features but a somewhat more complex user interface


Speech Recognition Tools

Legislation Links


  • The California Community Colleges website includes links to dozens of sites, organizations, and resources on the California Community Colleges Homepage, Disabled Student Services page includes links to dozens of sites, organizations, and resources.
Santa Ana College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at: