New Regulations for Accessibility
of Instructional Materials
Students who are blind, visually impaired or have print disabilities experience a barrier to learning - inaccessible materials - when core curriculum textbooks presented in print are the primary learning resource. Students who cannot see the words on a page, cannot hold a book or turn its pages, cannot decode the text or cannot comprehend the syntax that supports the written word may each experience different challenges, and they may each require different supports to extract meaning from information that is “book bound” - but the barrier for each is the same.
In July 2004 a National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) for students with sensory and other print disabilities was endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education. In July 2005, when the reauthorization of IDEA takes effect, a National Instructional Materials Access Center will be established at the American Printing House for the Blind. Publishers will be required to provide electronic files of instructional materials, such as textbooks, so they can be more easily converted to Braille, text-to-speech, and other accessible formats. It is expected that this mandate will solve the problem experienced by many students with disabilities of obtaining textbooks in electronic format.
The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard Report is available at the CAST website, www.cast.org/ncac/