Trying to find software in France to help my son with note taking in school

My son is 13, in mainstream school here. It is becoming clear that his writing, which he has always struggled with, is not going to improve with age. He finds it very awkward, it slows him down, making it very difficult to keep up with the rest of the class, often his AVS (personal aid) has to complete the notes. As is so often the case here, the teachers, although keen to help, do not have much experience with kids with special needs. They agree that some kind of learning aid, tablet, WP or laptop may help and are happy for him to use it in class. But they have no idea what to use and will not make any changes in class, it will very much be us fitting in to the existing structure. He is supported by the MDPH, so any extras will be funded. If anybody has any experience with any types of software or WP's. To note, he has no problem with comprehension, or spelling, grammar etc, it is simply putting the pen to paper that he has difficulty with. I have managed to find quite a lot on line but they are English, we would of course need a French program. Any help/advise would be hugely appreciated. As I am sure all parents of kids with learning difficulties will agree, it can be really tough here.

you could look for schools with a ULIS centre, they have one to one teaching in suppport whilst letting them participate in mainstream education

you can get an ergotherapeute to help him learn to use a pc. if he is already under the MDPH this shouldn't be a problem. Try having a chat with either the Assistante sociale or the nurse at school - there is also the CMP that might be able to help

Most English educational software is written for Windows as that is still the most affordable option for British schools. More and more schools have been using iPods and iPads in recent years, encouraged by the option of inexpensive or free Apps.

Worth having a look at the tools Apple offers on its various platforms. There is a pretty comprehensive page on their website at (change "uk" to "fr" for the French version). This covers dictation, assistive touch, and much much more, for Mac, iOS (iPad) and others. There is also a section on Third Party Apps, which are very extensive, and another section on resources, which is also wide-ranging. Apple has been at the forefront of Education for years (is the top technology vendor in Education in Europe), and has a long pedigree in special needs education as well. This means that it also has probably the widest range of third party educational software.

Have you looked at Mind Mapping software e.g. FreeMind but there are many others, some can be shared across the internet, some can be organised in levels i.e. sub maps

There is also dictation software e.g. Dragon Speech Recognition Software but these can be expensive

Thank you. I did have a good chat yesterday with the Occupational Therapist. He will start with her next week and she seemed to be pretty clued up on what is available for children like my son and importantly what is funded by the local authorities. So hopefully she will be able to provide us with some support.

Hello karen,

I have about 13 or so years experience teaching Art & design in Special needs in the Uk, but I also used to help out in the literacy programme.....Periodically, the companies who produce the computers and software related to teaching Special needs children hold exhibitions up and down the UK, to highlight their latest innovations and to get orders from schools and local might find something like this useful (if it exists) in France ?

Similarly, contacting a few Special needs schools here in France as they would have contacts with the IT providers and should be able to help.

This a link to a North American site addressing the problem (looks good) ....and it must be possible to acquire these aids geared up for a multi-national clientelle.....(think Canada...French Canadians)..

Keep Googling...there is a lot of stuff out there...

Hope this helps.

OK so quite different to the UK then. Something to consider.

Yes well we have just got 2 Kurdish refugees from Syria in mainstream Lycée,who don't speak a word of French or English, and they get precisely 2 hours a week of French-as-a-foreign-language teaching so luckily I have one in 2° so I teach him English in Arabic & I have his sister in 1° for TPE & do that in Arabic as well, she isn't actually eligible for FLE even though she sits in on her brother's sessions, because she already has the Syrian equivalent of the Bac but as she can't speak any French, higher education isn't looking good. We are supposed to deal with it. I am seething with rage because I don't think you can take people in if you aren't going to provide the means to give them a level playing-field and shall be writing to the minister about it seeing she's my boss but I expect I'm going to get the same answer I got asking the same questions in Conseil Pédagogique this evening (I have just got home) ie bugger all. Rant over.

Catholic (private) schools here have less religion in them than state schools in the UK. The only reason they are denominational is because they offer some form of religious instruction to those who want it, which state schools don't. There is absolutely no obligation even to have been baptised, let alone be a Catholic or any sort of churchgoer, in my experience. Just encouraging your children not to be active, vocal atheists in class* is enough and in the case of my children's primaire, wasn't a problem either. I told my children that religion might indeed be superstition and mediaeval mumbo-jumbo but it still provided the cultural framework for the civilisation they happened to be growing up in and that as a matter of acquiring culture générale they would put up with it, also that sociologically & philiosophically it was interesting. (my children went to Catholic primaire, they were and still are highly vocal, active atheists).

* ie just being a bit tactful.

Yep I understand that Karen, my kids only went to non denominational junior and grammar school in UK. Them and my husband all non believers also, never been a problem for me, although my neighbour used to take them to Sunday School with her at a Baptist Church - it gave me Sunday morning off! One of my daughters-in-law (also raised as a Catholic) sent their 3 kids to Catholic primary school, Her wish, perhaps it had a better overall educational reputation but Only 1 grandchild passed 11+ and went on to Grammar School. Dont forget though that religious education (in UK anyway, don’t know about here) is not just about whether we believe in God or not, it’s also about ethics moral values and lessons to be learnt, so many examples in The Parables. I never was taught anything similar in other than a religious community. Which is why I tried to live my life according to the Ten Commandments and to put others before myself!
I’m not including you or anyone else here, but we see so many examples on UK news or documentaries where that doesn’t happen so much. The news always seems to be about the wrongdoers, rarely about the good kids, whether religious or not. Sorry I e gone really off topic now, and wish you both well with your sons new school and education.

I Hope you and your your son find a good school and your son gets on with the help of the new programme. I also watched the video link. Very information if not totally comprehensible in French for me.


And I think in all honesty even if we could get in, the answer would be no, as a non believer I would not be comfortable sending my kids to a religious school of any denomination.

I think part of the entry requirement (as it is in Catholic schools in the UK) would be that you are actually a Catholic tho, even if not practicing. My kids have never even stepped foot in a church for anything other than the odd wedding, certainly not taken Holy Communion, been christened etc. I don't think we'd even get past the first post.

Karen, France is a Catholic country,just like England’s main denomination is Church of England. All the churches here in various parts I’ve lived, are also Catholic, doesn’t mean everyone is a practising Catholic though. I guess that might also apply in Schools, if RI is a subject, it may well cover other religious denominations as well or just stay with Catholicism. Would it be a problem for you if your son attended a ‘Catholic’ school, as long as his other essential subjects are well taught and understood. I went to 4 Catholic and 3 non denomination schools in Scotland and England. No wonder I missed out on a lot going to that many! With hindsight I think I would have benefitted more from being at one or two schools only, closer to home and having the opportunity to make some lifetime friends, important as well I think!

Thank you Marie Clare for this link. It has lead me to some excellent software. Although he is not dyslexic as such, he certainly shares some characteristics. The software at its base uses Onenote but with so much more. Looking at the video on you tube, I was crying with relief watching it. I can't wait till he comes home so that I can show him !! For anyone with kids having difficulty with note taking, writing, the huge amount of paper/books/ etc I can imagine this would be a life saver.

Thanks I've contacted Headway.

They all seem to be Catholic ?? There are a few near ish to us but we are not Catholic.