Parents have the right to record any and all ARD/IEP meetings that we attend for our children in special education.  It amazes me how few parents who come to me for help with advocacy seem to know this.  Transcribing these recordings used to be a tedious chore, but technology has finally caught up to the need.  And that technology comes in the form of smart note ai software in an app called Otter.

There are a variety of reasons to record the meeting:

  • There is a lot of discussion, and you don’t remember conversations well
  • You are trying to improve your ARD meeting skills and want to listen back to see what you could have said differently
  • Promises made at the meeting often don’t make it into the paperwork, and you need to document that as well as prove what was actually promised
  • School staff is behaving poorly, and that behavior needs to be documented to be used as evidence in a level 1 district complaint, a TEA (Texas Education Agency) special education agency or a license complaint.

If you’ve never heard of Otter, go to the place where you get your apps from and download it right now.  You will thank me later.  The app has won a ton of recognition:

  • PC Magazine: 100 best apps pf 2018
  • Apple App Store: App of the Day 2019
  • Google Play: Best Daily Helper
  • Fast Company: Best New Apps of 2018

I originally found out about the app when I was looking for voice recognition software to assist my son in taking notes while in college.  Once I played around with it, I realized it was perfect for ARD meetings.

Billed as a smart note taking AI assistant, it comes pretty close to being everything you could need.  Place the device with the app in the center, and it will create a voice recording and transcript of the meeting.  It has other features too:

  • it has a search and find, edit and organize feature
  • you can share your audio & text files
  • it will sync audio, text, and images
  • you can organize various conversations in personal folders
  • It recognizes many unique speakers at the table. For one ARD I recorded, Otter distinguished between and kept track of 8 different speakers.

The basic free account gives you 600 minutes of recording time that you are allowed to store for 30 days.   After 30 days, the minutes are reset, and those recordings are destroyed.  You can export the audio and the text before that to your documents, so that you can keep it with your other ARD related documents.

One caveat:  If the discussion has a lot of specialized words, it may mis-transcribe them, so do double check the transcript for any of that–especially if a lot of acronyms or specialized diagnostic words have been used.

I am not an affiliate and make no money from sharing this information.

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