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Typewell - Support Center

Information for Parents and Educators

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2015 02:03PM MST

This information will help you decide if TypeWell would be a good system for your child/student.


How can the TypeWell transcription system help my deaf/hard of hearing child/student?

Deaf and hard of hearing students, especially those in mainstream classes, can miss a lot of the information provided. Hearing aids can help, but their benefit is limited by distance. FM systems can overcome the problem of distance, but only for the one person using the microphone. It is difficult to pass the mic from teacher to students and back again, and this is often forgotten in the flow of class interaction.

A transcription system can put the ideas presented by the teacher as well as other students right before the eyes of your child/student. He or she can read from a computer screen or mobile device what is being said, and keep up with the what is happening. With a meaning-for-meaning transcription system like TypeWell, a student can have much greater access to the same information content that is available to other students in the class.

Can the TypeWell system help other students in addition to those who have hearing difficulties?

The TypeWell Transcription system can potentially help any person who has difficulty achieving full access to communication and notes. Students who have learning difficulties can often benefit from the in class display because the information on the computer screen stays in view for a minute or more, allowing time for reading and processing information that otherwise might go by too quickly. Students with learning problems often have difficulty taking their own notes. The educational notes produced by a TypeWell transcriber could be a learning boon for such students.

Students with visual impairments can view the information on the computer screen in a large font. The notes can also be put through a Braille writer or text reader to make them accessible to such students.

Students with severe physical impairments cannot take their own notes. Many of these students could use and learn from the notes produced by a TypeWell transcriber.

What is Communication Access?

"Communication access" refers to the information presented "as it happens" to the student on the computer screen. This information is a meaning-for-meaning transcription of what the teacher and students are saying. The phrase "communication access" comes from the laws (ADA, IDEA, Section 504) that assure communication access to persons with disabilities. Many TypeWell transcribers capture what is said nearly verbatim. The information captured is very detailed, and includes teacher lecture, comments by other students, jokes, off-point stories told by the teacher, etc. The information left out in the meaning-for-meaning transcript includes false starts, mispeaks and repetitions.

For a more detailed comparison of meaning-for-meaning vs. verbatim transcribing — including a brief video demonstration — see our Meaning-for-Meaning Overview.

How detailed is the TypeWell printed transcript?

One of the well-liked features of the TypeWell system is the educationally sound notes produced by the transcriber. While the meaning of things said during class is presented in communication access during class, the notes would be too long and overwhelming for many students when all that information is presented in note form. Thus, TypeWell transcribers working with students in secondary school are taught to edit the communication access file to remove educationally-irrelevant information. This includes things like behavior control comments by the teacher, directions given that are no longer needed (such as directions given for an in-class test), redundant comments, etc.

Some parents and teachers prefer that this kind of information be retained in the notes. Whether or not to retain this information is a topic parents would be able to discuss with the transcriber's supervisor and the child's teacher. Remember, this kind of information is presented during class, as it happens. It is only removed later, in the printed notes. The notes are also organized in ways that promote learning, such as listing related items and highlighting assignments and important points.

The complexity of the language and content of edited class notes can be adjusted by the TypeWell transcriber to meet the needs of the students served. Decisions about these levels are made by the school supervisor and the served student, in conjunction with the parents when appropriate.

In what kinds of classes is TypeWell an appropriate system?

Classes in which the teacher talks a lot, such as lecture classes, are ideal for transcription services. Classes with a lot of discussion are also good candidates IF the transcriber can sit where he or she can easily hear students speaking, and IF the students are encouraged to speak clearly and individually.

Math and science classes can be more of a challenge to a transcriber, and often require additional techniques to capture formulas (such as handwritten adjuncts to the typed notes). Certain high level classes, such as post-secondary Law and Medicine, often require verbatim access.

The TypeWell system is a meaning-for-meaning system. This means the transcriber does not type every word that is said, but rather condenses and rewords, while maintaining the full meaning intended by the speaker. Many TypeWell transcribers do transcribe nearly verbatim what is said by teachers and students. However, false starts, immediate repetitions, etc. are left out.

High level college classes, and some students, might be better served by a word-for-word transcription service, such as that provided by commercial stenographic services (i.e., CART). The downside of transcriptions from stenographic services is their sheer length and level of detail. A stenographic verbatim captioning of an hour class can generate as many as 20 pages of notes. All spoken information is included, regardless of its educational relevance. Many students are overwhelmed by this much paper and the sheer number of words to comb through. However, the needs of individual students and schools differ.

What will my child/student have to do to benefit from TypeWell?

In order to benefit from the transcription service, your child/student will have to check the computer screen during class to get information he or she misses otherwise. Your child/student will also have to pick up the notes in a timely fashion, keep the notes organized by class and date in a notebook, and study the notes as needed.

Young students (e.g., elementary & middle school; some junior high students) may need support from teachers and parents to learn the skills to use transcription services optimally. It may take several months or even a year for a young student to develop the necessary learning strategies to make full use of the support available from the TypeWell system. The best way to get to that point is for everyone on the team -- resource teacher or itinerant teacher, therapists, parents, the transcriber, the student -- to be consistent in their guidance and expectations.

What can I do to help my child/student benefit from TypeWell?

You can show your support for the student's use of the system, especially the class notes. Parents can help their son or daughter to use the notes in ways that foster good learning. The service coordinator can be a resource for strategies to accomplish this. You can be in touch with the service coordinator about issues related to the communication access or the notes. A collaborative team approach is the most productive support strategy to develop.

Students do not automatically know how to use the computer display during class to follow the lecture and discussion. Likewise, students often need to learn how to use notes as effective learning tools. They are helped to learn strategies for doing these things by the service coordinator and/or one of their support teachers. Parents can support these good learning strategies, in conjunction with the service coordinator.

How can the school begin using the TypeWell system?

If you think the TypeWell system would help your child/student learn, you can either contact us directly for more information, or talk with a supervisor or service coordinator, who can then contact us.

Please email us if you would like hard copies of these brochures to share with your school or parents:


What does the Law say about transcription services for students?

Laws in both the United States and Canada address the rights of individuals to have access to the communication around them. Two US laws that relate to the provision of support services for students are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

You may be interested in:
    Laws pertaining to communication access

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