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For Immediate Release 
Contact: Mary Ann Siller
214-352-7222 

http://www.afb.org/education.asp 

Children who are blind or visually impaired have the same right to a quality education as any other child. This right is guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Unfortunately, students who are blind or visually impaired routinely do not receive their classroom materials at the same time as their sighted classmates. Braille, large print, or audio recorded instructional materials often arrive long after classes begin or, too frequently, not at all. The challenge confronting these students is one of competing on a par with sighted classmates, but without the benefit of equal and timely access to textbooks or instructional materials.

In October 1998, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) initiated a national campaign to define the potential solutions to alleviate this challenge facing students with visual impairments. The AFB Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum, a collaborative national effort on the part of agencies and organizations that produce and distribute textbooks and other instructional materials, works to ensure equal access to instructional materials for students who are blind or visually impaired. AFB Solutions Forum participants include textbook publishers; educators; access technology specialists; producers of braille, large print and recorded textbooks; parents of children who are blind or visually impaired; and adults who are blind or visually impaired.

The AFB Solutions Forum is a direct result of the issues identified in the National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities. Goal # 7 of the National Agenda verifies that timely access to textbooks and instructional materials in the appropriate media is one of the eight most critical national issues affecting the education of students with visual impairments. With the technology available today, advance planning, and timely distribution of these tools for learning, barriers to a student's progress can be eliminated.

The AFB Solutions Forum will address:

  • Lack of standardization of electronic file formats provided by textbook publishers
  • Inaccessibility of multimedia textbooks, especially those delivered via the Internet and CD-ROM
  • Variation in state textbook regulations regarding accessible instructional materials
  • High expense of producing specialized materials and the lack of fiscal incentives to develop new technologies
  • Shortage of qualified braille transcribers and production resources
  • Communication and collaboration barriers, including duplication of efforts

"The AFB Solutions Forum is a critical step toward the elimination of the inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired," said AFB president Carl R. Augusto. "In making school materials accessible, it will help level the playing field for blind and visually impaired children so that they have the same opportunities to learn and succeed as their sighted classmates."

AFB Textbook and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum partners include:

  • Alternate Text Production Center of the California Community Colleges
  • American Council of the Blind (ACB)
  • American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
  • American Printing House for the Blind (APH)
  • Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)
  • Association of American Publishers (AAP)
  • Association of Instructional Resource Centers for the Visually Handicapped (AIRC)
  • Association of State Education Consultants for the Visually Impaired (ASECVI)
  • Braille Authority of North America (BANA)
  • Braille Institute of America, Inc
  • California Department of Education, Clearinghouse for Specialized Media and Technology
  • California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH)
  • Center for Applied Special Technology, Inc. (CAST)
  • Computer Application Specialties
  • Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Visual Impairments (CEC-DVI)
  • Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB)
  • Digital Audio-Based Information System Consortium (DAISY)
  • Duxbury Systems, Inc.
  • Glencoe/McGraw-Hill
  • Hadley School for the Blind (HSB)
  • Harcourt School Publishers
  • Helen Keller Services for the Blind
  • Houghton Mifflin Co.
  • Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)
  • Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired (LSVI)
  • Macmillan/McGraw-Hill
  • McDougal Littell
  • *National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, Inc. (NAPVI)
  • National Braille Association (NBA)
  • National Braille Press (NBP)
  • National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) at WGBH
  • New Mexico State University, Department of Mathematical Sciences
  • Northwest Vista College (San Antonio, Texas)
  • Pearson Education
  • Pearson Learning
  • Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D)
  • Scholastic Inc.
  • Scott Foresman
  • TechAdapt, Inc
  • Texas Education Agency (TEA)
  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
  • Visual Aid Volunteers (VAV)

The American Foundation for the Blind-the organization to which Helen Keller devoted more than 40 years of her life-is a national, nonprofit organization whose mission is to enable people who are blind or visually impaired to achieve equality of access and opportunity that will ensure freedom of choice in their lives. Headquartered in New York City, AFB maintains offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco, and a governmental relations office in Washington, DC.

###

October, 2001

Prepared by: AFB Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum Legislative and Policy-Making Work Group

Mark Richert and Mary Ann Siller

April 23, 2002

The purpose of the Act is to improve access to printed instructional materials used by elementary and secondary school students who are blind, as well as other students who have print disabilities. This will be achieved through the creation of a system for acquiring and distributing publishers' electronic files of textbooks and other instructional materials, so that these materials can be made available in braille, synthesized speech, digital text, digital audio, or large print.

National Standard for Electronic Files and Advisory Committee

 

Under the bill, the Secretary of Education in conjunction with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the Department of Commerce will adopt a national electronic file format standard to be used by publishers in the preparation of structured and fully marked-up electronic files suitable for efficient conversion into specialized formats, such as braille, synthesized speech, digital text, digital audio books, or large print. This standard will be based upon the recommendations of an advisory committee comprised of representatives of all relevant players in the publishing and specialized format production process, consumer groups, and many others. This standard will preempt previous state file format requirements, but it will only take effect two years after the standard is published as the final rule. These standards will be required by the bill to be in conformance with existing and emerging technologies and publishing methods. The emerging technology is building upon the American National Standards Institute/National Information Standards Organization (ANSI/NISO) tags in Extensible Markup Language (XML). However, progress must continue to be made to incorporate the ANSI/NISO format with XML. Doing so will ensure the highest degree of structure possible for the files which publishers will be required to prepare. In addition, the bill will mandate that, after two years from the publication of the final standards, any contracts or other mechanisms used by states and local education agencies in the acquisition of instructional materials must require publishers to transmit a compliant file to the national repository (see Role of the National Instructional Materials Access Center).

Finally, the bill will call for the U.S. Department of Education to publish the proposed standards in the Federal Register six months from the date of appointing the Advisory Committee. From the time the proposed standards appear in the Federal Register, the public will have one month to comment. The final rule will be given within two months from the end of the comment period.

The U.S. Department of Education will convene an advisory committee to help determine the specifications to be used by publishers in delivering electronic files. The Advisory Committee will be appointed three months from the date of enactment of the Act. It will consist of publishers of instructional materials, producers of adaptive technology and materials in specialized formats, representatives of blind consumer organizations, representatives of general and special education programs, developers of accessibility and publishing software and supporting technologies, representatives of information technology standards organizations, representatives of instructional materials resource centers with substantial experience in file format preparation with braille software conversion technology, and representatives of other agencies or organizations that the U.S. Department of Education determines to be appropriate.

Transition Period

The U.S. Department of Education will adopt the final standards identified by the Advisory Committee and publish those final standards in the Federal Register within one year of enactment of the Act. Three years from the date of enactment of the Act, the final standards will supercede any state or local laws or regulations calling upon publishers to provide files in different formats. This means that states will no longer be allowed to require publishers to produce on demand file formats other than the format standard published by the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to the publication of the standards, existing state requirements regarding file format will remain in effect. The new national file format standard will only take effect three years from the date of enactment of the Act. Basically, this means there will be two years from the final published rule of the standards for publishers to comply.

Role of the National Instructional Materials Access Center

Most jurisdictions, especially smaller jurisdictions and those which have no current legal requirements on publishers to provide electronic files, feel strongly that a national repository center is necessary as the only sure hope of prompt access to electronic data files. The value and necessity of a central clearinghouse entity to receive and maintain the publishers' electronic files is overwhelming. Publishers certainly will not want to be required to respond to requests for files from numerous individual state and local agencies. Congress especially will not look favorably at providing funding for such a system which is duplicating efforts.

Funds will be made available to the U.S. Department of Education to provide funding for the National Instructional Materials Access Center. Through a competitive award, the U.S. Department of Education will enter into contract to operate the Center with a nonprofit organization, or consortium of organizations, with substantial experience in the production of specialized formats within two years of the date of enactment of the Act. The contract will be renewed on a biannual basis. The Center will act as a national clearinghouse (repository) for the acquisition and distribution of instructional materials produced in electronic format. Three years after enactment of the Act, publishers’ new copyright files will be deposited in the Center.

The bill will define the Center to be responsible for approving authorized entities, assessing the needs of the authorized entities, retrieving files from publishers, cataloging and storage of the files, and prompt and efficient distribution of the files to authorized entities, among other areas. The bill will be careful to define authorized entities in the same way the term is defined by the Chafee amendment to the Copyright Act which eliminated the need for specialized format producers and others to obtain permission from copyright owners prior to the reproduction and distribution of their works. Under the amendment, an authorized entity is defined as a nonprofit organization or a governmental agency that has a primary mission to provide specialized services relating to training, education, or adaptive reading or information access needs of blind or other persons with disabilities. This definition is extremely broad and will guarantee the availability of publishers' standardized files to all parties with a primary mission to produce accessible materials.

State/Local Procedures to Ensure Equal Access to Textbooks and Instructional Materials

A provision in the Act describes how state and local education agencies receiving federal financial assistance under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will be responsible to develop and implement a statewide plan within two years of enactment of the Act. The statewide plan will ensure that printed instructional materials required for classroom use in elementary and secondary schools are made available in specialized formats to individuals with disabilities at the same time such materials are provided to individuals without such disabilities.

The statewide plan will be unique to each state. However, at a minimum the statewide plan shall designate the entity responsible for collecting and maintaining data of the students who are blind or others with print disabilities who require instructional materials in specialized formats; establish the methods and procedures by which these materials will be provided in the appropriate media/medium; identify the resources available for production of instructional materials in specialized formats; establish procedures that local education agencies and any other agency with responsibility for carrying out the education of children with disabilities will follow to ensure the timely delivery of instructional materials; provide assurances that contracts with publishers meet the requirements specified in the Act; and provide for periodic evaluation to determine if the instructional materials are being provided at the same time as students without disabilities receive their instructional materials.

It is suggested the statewide plan will designate the development of an advisory group; designate the entity responsible for collecting and maintaining data of the students who are blind or others with print disabilities who require instructional materials in specialized formats; establish the methods and procedures by which these materials will be provided in the appropriate media/medium; identify the resources available for production of instructional materials in specialized formats; establish procedures that local education agencies will follow to ensure the timely delivery of instructional materials; and provide for periodic evaluation to determine if the instructional materials are being provided at the same time as students without disabilities receive their instructional materials.

As part of any instructional materials adoption process, procurement contract, or other practice or instrument used for the purchase of instructional materials, state and local education agencies will ensure that there will be a written contract with publishers. This contract will define that publishers will provide electronic files of such materials in the national electronic file format, along with a print copy of such materials, and these files will be sent to the national repository (see Role of the National Instructional Materials Access Center).

In addition, the contract will specify the files must correspond to the most recent pupil edition and be sent in thirty days. If such materials are altered prior to use in the classroom and after the contract was ratified, a complete record of the changes and corrections will be sent to the Center. In the contractual agreement, the state or local educational agency may also request to directly obtain copies of the electronic files prepared and transmitted to the Center. This contractual agreement will take effect three years after the enactment of the Act.

As proposed, a jurisdiction's federal dollars will not be at risk simply because a particular student's book is not ready on the first day of class. However, the bill will, for the first time in our nation's history, require unequivocally that the federal government shall not offer federal financial sponsorship to states or agencies which do not work aggressively to ensure equal access to educational materials for blind or visually impaired children.

Definition of Instructional Materials

In the bill, the term "instructional materials" will mean written and published textbooks and related core materials (including those specific materials which shall be used by teachers for classroom instruction) required by a state or local education agency for use in elementary and secondary school instruction, including specifically requested teachers' editions of such materials.

The bill's coverage is limited strictly to printed instructional materials in K-12. This definition will include math and science materials (there is no distinction between literary and non-literary materials in this definition as there is in some definitions used by the states).

Finally, nothing in this definition, or in the text of the bill, can be used to argue that states are barred from enacting requirements on publishers regarding access to multimedia instructional materials, such as CD-ROMs or other non-print materials.

Grants for Capacity Building

This area will provide for grants to state or local educational agencies or nonprofit organizations with a primary mission to provide specialized services relating to training, education, or adaptive reading or the information access needs of blind persons or other persons with print disabilities. The grants will strengthen the technical assistance and training capacity across the United States.

Enforcement

The Act provides that the rights, remedies and procedures available to children and parents under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (as amended) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended) will also be available under this Act to children and parents aggrieved by violations of this Act by any state or local educational agency. Also, this Act does not limit any right, remedy, or procedure otherwise available under federal law which provided greater or equal protection for the rights of blind or other persons with print disabilities.

Relationship to Section 121 of the Copyright Act

These provisions clarify that, for purposes of the IMAA, a publisher's provision of print instructional materials to a State or local educational agency in the national electronic file format, and reproduction or distribution of such materials in a "large print" format by a government agency or nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to provide specialized services to blind persons or others with disabilities, will be considered noninfringing uses of such materials under the Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. Section 121.

Use of Funds

This provision requires that any funds made available under the IMAA must be used to supplement, rather than to supplant, any other funds available to carry out the requirements of the IMAA.

Research and Reports

This provision requires the Secretary to research the effect of the IMAA on the timely delivery of accessible instructional materials to the students who require them, and to report to the appropriate Congressional committees on the results of such research no later than three (3) years after enactment.

Time Line

  • Legislation signed into law
  • 3 months from date of enactment: Appointment of Advisory Committee
  • 6 months from date of appointing the Advisory Committee: Proposed standards published in the Federal Register
  • 1 year from enactment of the Act: Final file format standards are established
  • 2 years from date of enactment: Access Center is established
  • 2 years from date of enactment: States must have a writtenstatewide plan in place
  • 3 years from date of enactment: Publishers must comply with NIST standards

March 3, 2003

  • Alternate Text Production Center of the California Community Colleges
  • American Council of the Blind (ACB)
  • American Foundation for the Blind, Inc. (AFB)
  • American Printing House for the Blind (APH)
  • Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)
  • Association of American Publishers (AAP)
  • Association of Instructional Resource Centers for the Visually Handicapped (AIRC)
  • Association of State Education Consultants for the Visually Impaired (ASECVI)
  • Braille Authority of North America (BANA)
  • Braille Institute of America, Inc
  • California Department of Education, Clearinghouse for Specialized Media and Technology
  • California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH)
  • Center for Applied Special Technology, Inc. (CAST)
  • Computer Application Specialties
  • Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Visual Impairments (CEC-DVI)
  • Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB)
  • Digital Audio-Based Information System Consortium (DAISY)
  • Duxbury Systems, Inc.
  • Hadley School for the Blind (HSB)
  • Helen Keller Services for the Blind
  • Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired (LSVI)
  • National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, Inc.(NAPVI)
  • National Braille Association (NBA)
  • National Braille Press (NBP)
  • National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) at WGBH
  • National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
  • New Mexico State University, Department of Mathematical Sciences
  • Northwest Vista College (San Antonio, Texas)
  • Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D)
  • TechAdapt, Inc.
  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
  • Visual Aid Volunteers (VAV)

State and national agencies who are politically unable to endorse federal legislation, but who are in favor of the IMAA:

  • Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)
  • Texas Education Agency (TEA)

Presented to the AFB Textbook and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum Meeting

Louisville, Kentucky

October 11, 2000

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Survey Information

A. Development and Distribution of Survey

B. Definitions

C. Acronyms 

III. Major Impressions 

IV. Demographics


Introduction

Recognizing that timely provision of textbooks and instructional materials in the appropriate accessible media continues to be a major problem confronting students who are blind or visually impaired in America's classrooms, the American Foundation for the Blind formed the Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum.The AFB Solutions Forum is represented by agencies and organizations involved in the production and distribution of textbooks and instructional materials and has as its goal the development of a coordinated action plan for assuring equality of access to instructional materials for students who are blind or visually impaired.

The AFB Textbook and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum is directly related to Goal #7 of the National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities (Corn, Hatlen, Huebner, Ryan, & Siller, 1995). This goal is one of eight goals that is being addressed at national, state and local levels. Goal 7 reads:

Access to developmental and educational services will include an assurance that instructional materials are available to students in the appropriate media and at the same time as their sighted peers.

The AFB Textbook and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum addresses the following foci:

  • Lack of standardization of electronic file formats provided by textbook publishers
  • Inaccessibility of multimedia textbooks, especially those delivered via the Internet and CD-Rom
  • Variation in state textbook regulations for accessible instructional materials
  • Inconsistent interpretation of copyright law provisions
  • High expense of producing specialized materials and the lack of fiscal incentives to develop new technologies
  • Shortage of qualified Braille transcribers and production resources
  • Communication and collaboration barriers, including duplication of efforts

The Production Work Group is one of five work groups that addresses different issues related to Goal 7. The other work groups include Electronic Files and Research and Development, Legislative and Policy Making; Training and Other Needs; and Communication and Collaboration.

The focus of the Production Work Group is to identify the processes involved in the production and dissemination of textbooks and instructional materials in specialized media needed by students who are visually impaired. The Production Work Group seeks to identify the processes involved in the production and delivery of textbooks and instructional materials in specialized media needed by students who are visually impaired.

The Production Survey was developed to provide a national overview of processes used by states for the production and delivery of materials in specialized media. It was anticipated that data could be used to assist in recommending guidelines and strategies for acceptable quality Braille transcriptions; determining appropriate adaptations of materials for producing Braille and large print textbooks to ensure they are educationally sound for visually impaired students; and eliminating duplication of efforts.

The Production Survey has six sections: demographics, organizational structure, current sources of textbooks and instructional materials, features of specialized material acquisition, contract for and production of textbooks and instructional materials, delivery of textbooks and instructional materials, and evaluation of services.

This survey pertains to textbooks and alternate media with accompanying instructional/ancillary materials such as workbooks that support the textbook, as well as state adopted tests. It does not include the day-to-day educational materials that are produced within schools and school districts such as teacher-made tests.

Data are provided based on the researchers' judgment about whether the number of states, percentage of respondents, or other information would be most useful for readers. When percentages are given, they are given for those respondents who answered the specific question, this would also represent the number of states as one response was provided by each state. When the number of states responding to a particular question is very small or when the number responding is of interest, the exact number is given (e.g., n=5).

Means are provided for many items as they help to illustrate the "picture" of the status and needs for production of specialized media in the country as a whole. However, the reader should always give due consideration to the range of responses. While all states contribute to overall means, some states' responses may begin with 0. Hence, some states may not have a foundation on which to build production facilities.

This is an executive summary, emphasizing the findings of this survey. It is recommended that data from this survey be considered along with findings from other surveys of the AFB Textbook and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum. As time and resources are available, the researchers welcome requests for additional data or presentation of data in different formats.

Within the next few months, manuscripts will be developed for submission to professional journals. At that time, a more thorough discussion of the findings will be available.

Survey Information

Development and Distribution of Surveys

During an initial meeting of the Production Work Group on October 14, 1998 a significant issue was identified concerning the production resources in states for producing, acquiring and distributing specialized textbooks and instructional materials.Subsequent to this meeting a teleconference was scheduled to develop an action plan. During this teleconference in January 1999, the Production Work Group determined that a survey should be developed to provide information related to how production processes are handled in the country.

February 1999

National representatives from AIRCVH and AFB Solutions Forum members, Alicia McAninch from New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped and Tony King from the Wisconsin Educational Service Center took the lead in organizing this national effort with Mary Ann Siller. AFB Solutions Forum coordinator. Using several issues that had been delineated by the Association ofInstructional Materials Centers for the Visually Handicapped (AIRCVH) the survey was developed.

March 6-7, 1999

At the AFB Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute (JLTLI) in Washington, D.C., the 125 education participants were asked to provide comments regarding the first draft of the survey.

July 1999

The Production Work Group continued developing the core list of questions through e-mail and teleconference and gave feedback to Larry Brown and Mary Ann Siller.

August 1999

In August 1999 stakeholders were tentatively identified in each state who would be asked to coordinate his/her state's responses to the survey. Larry Brown and Suzanne Dalton from the Florida Instructional Materials Center developed two lists of people, those who would receive the survey and those who would receive the cover letter only.

October 21, 1999

The AFB Solutions Forum met in Louisville, KY, prior to the American Printing House for the BlindÌs Annual Meeting. Meeting participants were asked to comment on the current draft of the survey. During both the Association of Instructional Resource Centers for the Visually Handicapped (AIRCVH) meeting and the Association of State Education Consultants for the Visually Impaired meeting, the survey was discussed. Alicia McAninch, Tony King and Mary Ann Sillerwere the discussion leaders at these meetings.

November 1, 1999

The work group determined that in most cases the AIRCVH representative would be the lead person asked to coordinate the responses for his or her state. In other states the state consultant for the visually impaired or other individual in a leadership capacity was asked to coordinate the responses for the state. In addition, as appropriate, additional individuals in leadership positions received a copy of the cover letter. Therefore, while one state response was expected for each of the 50 states, it was vital to have input to these responses from key individuals.

A pilot of the survey was initiated and sent to the AIRCVH representative in Massachusetts, Florida, Colorado, and Utah.

December 1999

Drs Anne Corn and Robert Wall of Vanderbilt University received a contract to assist with further development of the survey, to conduct the statistical analyses, and to prepare the executive summary.

January 19, 2000

Dr. Corn and Dr. Wall reviewed all information from the pilot surveys and additional ideas from the work group to suggest the appropriate set of questions for the final survey. They further developed the surveys which were returned to the work group for comments. Work group members were asked to specifically consider such components of the survey as wording, length, and mode of response.

March 2, 2000

Prior to the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute in Dallas, Texas, the AFB Solutions Forum met. This national meeting provided yet another opportunity for feedback from the experts.

A pilot of the revised survey was sent to Florida, Oregon, Indiana, Utah. Their comments were reviewed by Dr. Corn, Dr. Wall and Mary Ann Siller for inclusion in the survey.

April 10, 2000

The survey and cover letters were mailed with a return date of May 4.

May - August 2000

Dr. Wall began to enter data as surveys were returned. Calls and e-mail messages to the key contact person in each state who had not returned a survey were made by Mary Ann Siller and Jan Brooks, secretary, AFB Southwest. On July 26, 34 states had returned the survey. On August 23, it was decided the analysis must begin and additional calls to states with outstanding surveys were stopped.

August 10, 2000

As the analysis phase was entered, the AFB Solutions Forum was asked to identify the most critical sets of questions to be analyzed. This list guided the development of the executive summary.

Definitions

Acquisition
obtaining available books and/or accompanying instructional materials that are available without fee (e.g., borrowed books from other states, from APH, etc.)
Contract production
a process for transcribing and producing books and materials that is carried out through a separate center where the contracting state sets the standards. This may include the use of Request for Proposal (RFP), contracts, purchase orders or other means for purchasing services.
Delivery (dissemination)
distribution of books and materials from originating source to the student
Instructional materials (ancillary materials)
prepared materials that are used in support of a textbook, such as workbooks, but not teacher-made materials
Purchase
purchase of existing books and materials through vendors or other states
State Vision Consultant
one individual generally employed by a state's Department of Education with primary responsibility for education programs for students with visual impairments within that state
Textbook
any book used in a classroom as a vehicle on instruction/learning
Textbook Adoption
a state selects textbooks that will be used within a state, limiting which textbooks may be ordered by individual school districts

Acronyms

AIRCVH Association of Instructional Resource Centers for the Visually Handicapped

APH American Printing House for the Blind

IMC Instructional Materials Center

IRC Instructional Resource Center

Note: for purposes of this report, all Instructional Media Centers (IMC) and Instructional Resource Centers (IRC) will be referred to with the acronym IRC. Respondents tended to use these terms interchangeably in their answers.

Major Impressions

  1. On the average, legally blind students outnumber low vision students about 2:1. Yet large print or enhanced print readers outnumber Braille readers about 4.5:1. Of those who require an enlarged image (e.g., large print, optical device), only 8.01% use optical devices.
  2. Centralized systems for ordering, production, delivery and other aspects of providing specialized materials was generally seen as the most positive feature of states' successful processes.
  3. States are using APH more for instructional materials than for large print or Braille texts. The primary source of Braille and large print materials comes from state production and acquisition from vendors other than APH. Across states, RFB&D is the major source for audio materials.
  4. When evaluating use of sources, states generally note a lack of funding, a need for more staff, and a desire for a more centralized system of operation.
  5. All factors listed as possibly important in influencing the purchase and acquisition of
  6. Braille, large print, and audio materials, were deemed to be, at least, somewhat important. The most important factor for Braille was for the quality of Braille output; for large print the most important factors were the quality of print, the quality of maps and pictures, and the speed of delivery; and for audio materials the most important factors were speed of delivery, availability from RFB&D, and the quality of the recording.
  7. For Braille and large print, 2/3 of the materials are produced or contracted for within the state.
  8. Almost all (>90%) of Braille and large print materials are produced from paper copies and are produced into paper copies.
  9. Technology used in production tends to be the use of computers to input Braille but not more internet based processes such as downloading files from publishers, text being sent directly to students, etc.
  10. States recognize a need for more transcribers but also realize that there is a lack of funds and a lack of recognition of "braillist" as a bona fide job description. This may be why so many states (40%) cite a need for more volunteers.
  11. In the production of large print, a lack of funds seems to be the major barrier to acquiring the technology (color copier) necessary for the desired quality of output.
  12. A large majority of states are not addressing the issue of using technology to increase the efficiency of their delivery systems.
  13. A large percentage of materials (>80%) are being delivered on time. This is in contrast to large systemic problems noted by respondents in many questions. This might indicate a situation where the current performance of the system is being evaluated based on the observed need. If a superior system were to suddenly be put in place, we theorize that the expressed need would rise to fit the increased capacity of the system. Still, 1 in every 5 children are currently not receiving their materials in a timely fashion.
  14. Lack of funds also appears to drive dissatisfaction with the delivery of materials. States indicate that being able to produce more of their own materials would enhance the efficiency of a centralized delivery system.
  15. Although states express a desire for an increase in their ability to produce materials themselves, they also express a desire to increase the scope and capacity of APH.

Demographics

Respondents

42 states responded to this survey.

The director of the state IRC completed a majority of the surveys (21/42).

nalogo

August 27, 2007

Hello Colleagues:

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is pleased to offer braille translation software training with NIMAS updates on November 28 and 29, 2007 at St. Petersburg College in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The training will be held prior to the Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference (GITWL).  The November training will be provided by experts in braille software development and braille transcribing.  The training sessions are designed to help  people who currently transcribe instructional materials into braille learn more about the new updates associated with NIMAS and the three braille translation software programs.  The November training will be a train-the-trainer approach for national capacity building.  All  sessions will be held at St. Petersburg College.   You may apply online at  www.afb.org/nimas.asp.   Once you receive e-mail confirmation from AFB (after September 14, 2007), you will be asked to send your payment to AFB.  The address will be given in the email.  

For more information about the hotel and Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, visit http://www.gettingintouchwithliteracy.com.

 We hope to hear from many states.  Please pass this note to other colleagues.  If you have questions, contact  me at 

Thank you,

Mary Ann


Introduction 

The AFB Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum addresses one of the most serious issues affecting the education of students with visual impairments today. Despite everyone's best efforts and advancements in technology, many visually impaired students do not receive textbooks and other instructional materials in braille, large print, audio or other needed special media at the same time as their sighted classmates.

The AFB Solutions Forum is a collaborative national effort represented by agencies and organizations involved in the production and distribution of textbooks and instructional materials. Textbook publishers, producers of specialized media, assistive technology specialists, educators, Instructional Materials Resource Centers, parents, consumers, and others are examining the multifaceted process of producing and delivering educational materials in accessible media to students who are blind or visually impaired. The AFB Solutions Forum is a direct result of issues identified in Goal #7 of the National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including those with Multiple Disabilities.

The goal of the AFB Solutions Forum is to develop a coordinated action plan for assuring equality of access to instructional materials for students who are blind or visually impaired. Five work groups have taken the initiative to improve the delivery of textbooks in the appropriate media. Information posted on the AFB Solutions Forum Web page of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI ) Website highlights the activities of the following five work groups: Electronic Files, Legislation, Production, Training and Other Needs, and Communication and Collaboration. Additional information may be found on the web site of the American Foundation for the Blind at http://www.afb.org/info_document_view.asp?documentid=1331.  


AFB Solutions Forum Coordinator:

Mary Ann Siller
American Foundation for the Blind
Project Manager
Professional Development Department
11030 Ables Lane
Dallas, Texas 75229
469-522-1803 or

General Information


Working Groups

October 9, 2002
Louisville, Kentucky

The annual fall meeting of the AFB Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum met in Louisville, Kentucky, on Wednesday, October 9, 2002. Mary Ann Siller (AFB Solutions Forum Project Director) opened the session. A full afternoon was planned and participants enthusiastically embraced the agenda. The agenda included updates about critical issues and work group breakout sessions. The Legislative and Policy-Making, Electronic Files, Training, and Production work groups met in small groups. The Communication and Collaboration Work Group had representatives in each group.

The AFB Solutions Forum Textbooks and Instructional Materials Tool Kit

The AFB Solutions Forum Tool Kit was presented to the group by Marie Amerson (Communication and Collaboration Work Group Facilitator). This outstanding resource has been made possible by the generous support of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind and the Communication and Collaboration Work Group. The 230 + page portfolio is an outstanding resource and is intended to be used by publishers, state education personnel, textbook administrators and others to provide information about the issues, solutions and resources associated with access and timely delivery of textbooks and instructional materials for visually impaired students. Several copies have already been distributed and production of additional copies is expected to be completed by December 2002. All participants at the meeting wanted their own copy of the Tool Kit. If you did not attend the meeting on October 9 and want the Tool Kit, please e-mail Mary Ann at . In addition, the Communication and Collaboration Work Group members asked constituents to send names and addresses of key state/community leaders who should receive the Tool Kit. Marie asked for the names to be sent to Mary Ann Siller at . It was noted that all materials in the portfolio may be copied and distributed as needed. Consideration will also be given to providing all of the content of the portfolio in electronic format, including possibly through the AFB Solutions Forum Web sites.

AFB Training Series for Braille Transcribers

Training for braille transcribers in the use of publishers’ electronic files has been a key program activity of the Electronic Files and Training Work Groups. Betsy Burnham (National Braille Association/APH and project leader) spoke about the training manual that was developed in the last year by key experts knowledgeable with the braille translation software and publishers’ files and the series of pilot workshops given throughout the country. The braille transcribers writing the content included Susan Christensen, Joanna Venneri, Diane Spence, and Betsy Burnham. To date, seventy-five braille transcribers have received the training and the technical assistance that accompanied the training. An additional session was held on October, 12 and 13 for the Association of Instructional Resource Centers’ braille transcribers. Thirty-eight attended the session. Thirty-eight states have been represented in the year-long training segments. Plans are being made by AFB to incorporate the manual into a self-paced, web-based training program on AFB’s Web site.

The AFB and Verizon National Campaign for Literacy, Textbooks, Transcribers and Technology

The new public awareness campaign for the Solutions Forum was highlighted by Mary Ann. The AFB and Verizon National Campaign for Literacy, Textbooks, Transcribers and Technology is a three-year campaign to provide broad public awareness of the importance of timely access to textbooks and instructional materials for blind and low-vision students and to promote the new technology-based career—braille textbook transcriber. Verizon’s significant commitment will bring these key issues into the public domain and provide an important platform for change. The Campaign spokesperson and Verizon Literacy Champion is Erik Weihenmayer and features the theme, “Literacy lets you reach the summit of your dreams.”

A letter of support from First Lady Laura Bush was read and the AFB-Verizon advocacy video was shown.

The kickoff was on October 3 in Washington, D.C. The first phase of the campaign is the “Call to Action.” Become a spokesperson and advocate for the hiring of braille textbook transcribers to state elected and appointed officials, agency directors and state board of education members. A campaign packet includes a Verizon Literacy poster, advocacy video, bookmark, Touch the Top of the World by Erik Weihenmayer, and briefing papers. All participants wanted the Call to Action packet. If you did not attend the October 9 meeting and want the packet, e-mail Mary Ann at . These will begin to be mailed in December 2002.

Among other direct activities, the campaign will include placing the Verizon Literacy Champion poster in Verizon phone stores across the United States, targeting the national media, developing additional videos and public service announcements, working with national and state leaders to replicate the college curriculum in other states, and working with state and federal policymakers and advocates to make sure braille textbook transcribers are part of employment options throughout the United States.

The AFB Solutions Forum is sensitive to the concern that volunteer transcribers have been and continue to be an important part of the solution of getting accessible educational materials to students. It was noted that the new braille textbook transcriber career is building a defined future for braille transcribing and addressing a clear need to increase the capacity of production and delivery of textbooks and instructional materials while eliminating the shortage of braille transcribers. This will build a base for all print materials to be accessible in braille, including the critical need for college students to have well formatted accessible materials.

IMAA

The IMAA’s recent developments were reviewed by Mark Richert (Legislative Facilitator and Executive Director--AER) and Paul Schroeder (Vice President for Governmental Relations--AFB). Unfortunately, in spite of great effort on the part of the blindness field, the IMAA legislation did not pass this year.

Because of the outstanding work of the advocates in the AFB Solutions Forum to reach out to citizens throughout the United States and the dedication of the core legislative team (AAP, ACB, AER, AFB, APH, NFB, RFB&D), we had approximately 90 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 22 cosponsors in the Senate. The Solutions Forum and the field of blindness were extremely responsive to the numerous requests by the core group to mobilize their constituents on this issue. Everyone’s tireless efforts and dedication were recognized.

In spite of strong support of cosponsors in the House and Senate, the IMAA did not move out of committee this year. However, the core legislative team will work with the lead sponsors (Dodd and Petri) to consider appropriate options for achieving the requirements contained in the IMAA in the next Congressional session.

After concerns about IMAA were expressed by the Department of Education, representatives of the legislative core group met several times from August to October 2, 2002 with DOE officials, including Dr. Robert Pasternack, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). DOE staff as well as House Committee staff expressed opposition to IMAA’s establishment of a new federal program. The central repository and to preempt any state law (even for the narrow purpose of imposing a file format requirement) were issues that they were questioning. In addition, Dr. Pasternack initially indicated that he was not convinced that textbooks and instructional materials were significantly being delayed or not in the primary learning medium of the student. Finally, Dr. Pasternack seemed to take the view that the electronic file format standard developed under the IMAA should be broadly applicable for all students with disabilities.

At a meeting in early October, Assistant Secretary Pasternack told the core legislative group that they had decided to provide funding to an entity to develop a “voluntary” technical file format standard appropriate for universal design. The Center for Applied Special Technologies (CAST) is the organization being given the grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Skip Stahl, co-director, Universal Learning Center with CAST, sent information to Mary Ann to be read at the Solutions Forum meeting about the grant from the U.S. Department of Education. CAST is an AFB Solutions Forum partner. The following two paragraphs are from CAST.

The U.S. Department of Education, through its Office of Special Education Programs in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, has awarded funds to the National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum (BCAC) at CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) in Wakefield, Massachusetts, to establish a voluntary national standard for accessible digital instructional materials for K-12 students with disabilities.

CAST, in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the Department of Commerce, will convene an advisory panel of publishers, disability advocates, assistive technology developers, producers of curriculum materials for students with special needs, data transformation experts, and state representatives. During FY 2002 this panel will identify a set of technical specifications to facilitate the efficient delivery of accessible instructional materials, a time line for the implementation of the proposed standards, and a process for assessing the success of standards implementation. The Secretary of Education will publish the proposed standards in the Federal Register for public comment.

Although this initiative with CAST will help to define a single electronic file format, the AFB Solutions Forum and core legislative group will continue to call for national legislation for a mandatory standard file format, national repository of publishers’ files, guidelines to states and grants for capacity building. In response to a question about individual states adopting a standard electronic file format to be required from publishers, it was noted that the IMAA core group and the AFB Solutions Forum have agreed that a national solution is necessary.

It is expected that the key groups in the AFB Solutions Forum and core legislative group will be represented on the advisory panel. The AFB Solutions Forum has made recommendations to CAST as to the key groups needed in the process, including braille transcribers, instructional materials centers, braille software developers, braille production centers, consumers, parents, and educators who should be on the panel.

In spite of the negative-sounding news, Mark and Paul suggested that it is important to recognize the “wins” within the IMAA effort. We will be in a much stronger position next year as a result of all the advocacy work on the IMAA. It is likely that IMAA-based requirements will be attached to IDEA next year and that may be good for the effort.

It will be important to find NEW ways to vocalize the problems associated with accessible educational materials, as well as what efforts are currently in place to ensure that students do not have more problems with accessible textbooks. Continued dialogue with the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), local state departments of education, legislators, and the U.S. Department of Education will be important. As noted by Paul, Mark and Mary Ann, it is also important that we “don’t give up hope.” As we proceed in 2003, go to www.afb.org/textbooks.asp for updated information about the IMAA.

As part of the effort to achieve the goals of the IMAA in 2003, it is important for us to improve our efforts in communicating the problems in access to instructional materials to the media. We need a stronger effort to develop media stories about accessible educational materials within local communities. As stories are placed, please make sure that copies are sent to the AFB Solutions Forum—send them to Mary Ann at AFB, 260 Treadway Plaza, Dallas, Texas 75235 or by fax at 214-352-3214.

IMAA---Guidelines to Help States

Concern about the requirement of a “state plan” for the implementation of IMAA was discussed. It was suggested that alternate wording for this requirement should be explored. The full AFB Solutions Forum worked on developing a list of features which might be considered critical for such a plan. The legislative work group expanded on these efforts later in the afternoon. The legislative work group suggested that rather than asking for a “state plan,” states would be required to develop implementation strategies or an implementation model. Strategies suggested by Solutions Forum participants were incorporated into a model developed in the work group with much of the information falling into one of four categories: coordination, information dissemination, funding, or enforcement. The legislative work group also discussed updating the IMAA 2002 FAQ fact sheet. Paul and Mark agreed to take the lead on this task.

Electronic Files Work Group

The Electronic Files Work Group, led by Jim Allan (facilitator) and Lucia Hasty reviewed information for a tactile graphics fact sheet. Several efforts are underway by various entities to develop standards for tactile graphics. It was decided to condense suggested statements to provide a 2-4 page document that could be used by transcribers, publishers, educators, and others to better understand standards of tactile graphics and resources that are available.

Training and Production Work Groups

The Training and Production Work Groups met together under the leadership of Lorri Quigley and Larry Brown (facilitators). The group first tackled the development of information for a recruitment brochure for the braille textbook transcriber career. The group addressed several questions, including:

  1. What are the rewards you receive from doing your job (as a braille transcriber)?
  2. Why do you think it is important to establish a formal college program and career for braille textbook transcribing?
  3. How do you think your contributions as a braille transcriber affect the education of blind and low-vision school children?
  4. What skills are performed by a braille transcriber?

As the group brainstormed possible points to be used in response to those questions, information was discussed as it was posted on the screen. The group indicated that a recruitment brochure will need to answer questions such as “What is braille?” and “What is a transcriber?” as well as provide information about prospective employers/job opportunities, key abilities needed by a transcriber, technical skills needed, flexibility/ability to work from home, and potential to transfer skills to mainstream activities (i.e. publisher’s tasks related to file preparation). The group also noted that information about the current availability of braille books, the impact of a lack of accessible materials on students, and realistic time lines about the career should be included. Format for the recruitment brochure should include sample braille and consideration should be given to alternate recruiting formats (video, CD, posters). Distribution of recruitment materials could include having transcribers and blind people attend career days/job fairs.

It was suggested that a video describing the process from print to braille textbook would be helpful and would highlight the important role of a braille textbook transcriber. The idea of a video showing the process was also discussed by the legislative work group who suggested two components: one showing the process without publishers’ files, noting Day #1 for this, Day #2, on through Day #50 or whatever until the book is in the student’s hands; the other component would use the same format to show the process when publishers’ files are available for the book requested.

The Training and Production Work Groups also developed information for an advocacy paper to support braille textbook production. Suggested points include: explaining the impact on students when they don’t have accessible materials on time; the importance of accessible materials as it relates to “Reading First” and “No Child Left Behind;” show visually impaired students reading as they are involved in activities such as scouting or other after-school programs; advocate for images of visually impaired students reading to be included on Web sites related to “No Child Left Behind;” note the importance of early literacy activities; and the opportunity for children to read and reread books. The following statement was also included: “braille is literacy, literacy is knowledge, and knowledge is power.”

As always, the AFB Solutions Forum work groups accomplished a great deal. Work group leaders met later with Mary Ann Siller to discuss results of the individual work groups and to identify next steps to finish the tasks. One important activity will be dissemination of information from the Solutions Forum and the continuation of telling the story of why this issue is so important to students who are visually impaired. If you have a contact with professional journals, local news media, legislative staff, and others, please contact Mary Ann Siller or Marie Amerson at for information on how you can help tell the story and promote the work of the AFB Solutions Forum.

The work groups will complete their projects addressed at the fall meeting and noted in the annual plan for 2002-2003 through e-mail and conference calls. To review the numerous activities identified by each group, go to www.afb.org/education.asp. At this time, the next formal in-person meeting will be in October 2003 in Louisville, Kentucky. For updated information, go to www.afb.org/education.asp.

Copyright 1999 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved.
Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, September 1999, pp. 606-611.

Mary Ann Siller and Susan Spungin

Recognizing that timely provision of textbooks and instructional materials in accessible media continues to be a major problem, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has formed the Textbook and Instructional Materials AFB Solutions Forum. This collaborative national effort involves representatives of textbook publishers, producers of specialized media, educators, parents, assistive technology specialists, and others. Since its inception at the American Printing House for the Blind's Annual Meeting in October 1998, much progress had been made toward the goal of promoting the availability of textbooks and instructional materials in accessible formats for all students who are visually impaired.

The AFB Solutions Forum is directly related to Goal 7 of the National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities. The National Agenda identified timely access to textbooks and instructional materials in the appropriate media as one of the eight most critical national issues affecting the education of students with visual impairments.

Providing overall coordination to the AFB Solutions Forum are Dr. Susan Jay Spungin, AFB vice president for education and international programs, and Mary Ann Siller, national program associate for education. Structured around a framework of five work groups, participants have formulated action plans for resolving issues and concerns, many of which are interrelated. The five work groups are: Electronic Files/Research and Development, Legislation and Policy Making, Production Process, Training and Related Needs, and Communication and Collaboration.

JVIB readers will be kept abreast of the forum's progress via regular updates detailing the activities and outcomes of these work groups. You may be asked to respond to surveys designed to elicit ideas and information from individuals directly involved and affected by the multifaceted process of production and delivery of instructional materials in accessible media. Whether or not you receive a survey or questionnaire, your input and feedback would be both welcomed and valued.

Information regarding ongoing activities is available from the AFB Solutions Forum coordinators: Mary Ann Siller (phone 214-352-7222). E-mail address is: ) or Susan Jay Spungin (phone 212-502-7631). E-mail address is: ). Information is also available from the Web sites of the American Foundation for the Blind . Web site address is: www.afb.org.

American Foundation for the Blind Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum

National Instructional Materials Access Center Opens!

At 12:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 3, 2006, the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) began operations at the American Printing House for the Blind!!
The mission of the NIMAC is to serve as the national repository of publishers' electronic files of print instructional materials in the National Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) format. The NIMAC is the conduit through which the NIMAS files are made available to authorized users, who can then convert them into accessible textbooks for elementary or secondary school students with qualifying disabilities.
The NIMAC was established through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004, and it is funded by the United States Department of Education's Office of Special Education Projects.
More information about NIMAS and NIMAC is available here:


http://www.nimac.us/
http://nimas.cast.org/


National Instructional Materials Access Center
1839 Frankfort Ave. Louisville, KY 40206-0085
Ph.: (502) 899-2230
Web site: http://www.nimac.us
Email:
Nicole Gaines
NIMAC Manager
American Printing House for the Blind
Phone (502) 899-2338
Fax (502) 899-2363

FACILITATOR:
Dr. Jim Allan
Statewide Accessibility Specialist
TX School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 West 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756
Phone: 512-206-9315
Fax: 512-206-9264
E-mail:

Ms. Christine Anderson
Director of Resource Services
American Printing House for the Blind P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
Phone: 502-899-2338
Fax: 502-899-2363
E-mail:

Mr. Lars Anderson
Region 5 Representative
National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, Inc.
2110 Holly Hill Lane
Carrollton, TX 75007
Phone: 972-492-4246 (h)
972-952-4958 (w)
Fax: 972-952-4275
E-mail:

Ms. Mary Lou Beals
Scott Foresman
1900 East Lake Avenue
Glenview, IL 60025
Phone: 847-486-2221
Fax: 847-486-3911
E-mail:

Ms. Barbara Beitz
McDougal Littell
909 Davis Street
Evanston IL 60202
Phone: 847-424-3159
Fax: 847-424-3943
E-mail:

Ms. Irene Belinsky
Pearson Learning
299 Jefferson Rd.
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Phone: 917-739-8298
E-mail:

Frederick (Rick) Bowes, III
Electronic Publishing Associates
PO Box 1637
Duxbury, MA 02331-1637
Phone: 781-934-7432
Fax: 208-728-7917
E-mail:

Mr. Rod Brawley
Clearinghouse for Specialized Media and Technology
California Department of Education
560 J Street, Suite 390
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-5103
Fax: 916-323-9732
E-mail:

Mr. Larry Brown
Representing Association of Instructional Resource Centers for the Visually Handicapped (AIRCVH)
Oregon Textbook and Media Center
Kuenzi Hall Room B6
999 Locust St NE
Salem, OR 97303
Phone: 503-763-2413
Fax: 503-763-2979
E-mail:

Ms. Susan Christensen
N3292 Darling Rd.
Bangor, WI 54614
Phone: 608-486-2216
Fax: 608-486-4446
E-mail:

Mr. Patrick Connolly
Pearson Education
Prentice Hall
160 Gould St.
Needham Heights, MA 02494
Phone: 781-455-1327
E-mail:

Ms. Julie Copty
Assistant Director, School Division
Association of American Publishers
50 F Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: 202-220-4548
Fax: 202-347-3690
E-mail:

Ms. Lisa Porter Corsetti
McDougal Littell
222 Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 617-351-3253
Fax: 617-351-1210
E-mail:

Ms. Eileen Curran
Director of Operations
National Braille Press
88 Stephen Street
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 617-266-6160 ext 17
Fax: 617-437-0456
E-mail:

Ms. Debbie Davis
Director of Marketing
Visual Aid Volunteers
617 State St.
Garland, TX 75040
Phone: 972-272-1615
Fax: 972-276-2839
E-mail:

Ms. Inge Durre
Foundation for Blind Children
Arizona Instructional Resource Center
1235 E. Harmont Dr.
Phoenix, AZ 85020
Phone: 602-678-5816
Fax: 602-678-5819
E-mail:

Ms. Maria Delgado
Database Field Representative
American Printing House for the Blind
P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 402206-0085
Phone: 502-899-2340
E-mail:

Mr. Warren Figueiredo
705 Maximilian Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802-6313
Phone: 225-387-8623
E-mail:

Ms. Dena Greene
McGraw Hill School Division
2 Penn Plaza 21st Fl
New York, NY 10121
Phone: 212-904-5229
Fax:
E-mail:

Whitney Gregory
Director of Braille Production
Visual Aid Volunteers
617 State St.
Garland, TX 75040
Phone: 972-272-1615
Fax: 972-276-2839
E-mail:

Ms. Lucia Hasty
Colorado Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Handicapped
1015 High Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: 719-578-2195
Fax: 719-578-2207
E-mail:

Dr. Phil Hatlen
Representing Council of Schools for the Blind
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 West 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756
Phone: 512-454-8631
Fax: 512-206-9453
E-mail:

Ms. Betty Hersey
Executive Director
Reading & Radio Resource
3001 Bookhout
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: 214-871-7669
E-mail:

Mr. Larry Hillman
Globe Fearon
One Lake St.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Phone: 201-236-5814
Fax: 201-236-6566
E-mail:

Judie K. Kelly
Supervising Program Specialist
Program for Students with Visual Impairments
4435 Ute Drive, B-6
San Diego, CA 92117
Phone: 858-490-8456
FAX: 858-490-8459
Email:

Mr. George Kerscher
Senior Officer
Accessible Information
Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic
1203 Pineview Drive
Missoula, Montana 59802
Phone: 406-549-4687
Fax: 406-549-6723
E-mail:

Mr. Larry Koons
Scholastic, Inc.
524 Broadway, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10012
Phone: 212-965-7215
Fax: 212-965-7270
E-mail:

Ms. Jane Thompson
Director
Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration
American Printing House for the Blind P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
Phone: 502-895-2405 #370
Fax: 502-899-2334
E-mail:

Theresa Maggiore
39 Pilgrim Road
Medford, MA 02155
Phone: 617 320-6671
Fax: 781-874-0216
E-mail:

Ms. Loretta Marion
Scholastic, Inc.
524 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
Phone: 212-965-7268
E-mail:

Ms. Deanna Marotz
Textbook Administration Agency
Texas Education Agency
1701 North Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701-1494
Phone: 512-463-9612
Fax: 512-463-8728
E-mail:

Mr. Chuck Mayo
Program Administrator
Textbook Administration Division
Texas Education Agency
1701 North Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701-1494
Phone: 512-463-9601
Fax: 512-475-3612
E-mail:

Mr. Alex Mlawsky
Glencoe/McGraw-Hill
8787 Orion Place
Columbus, OH 43240-4027
Phone: 614-430-4383
Fax: 614-430-4400
E-mail:

Ms. Brunhilde Merk-Adam
2501 Pheasant Run
Ortonville, MI 48462
Phone: 248-36-8615
E-mail:

Mr. Bill McCann
Dancing Dots
1754 Quarry Lane
P.O. Box 927
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0927
Phone: 610-783-6692
Fax: 610-783-6732
E-mail:

Mr. Pearce McNulty
Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 617-351-5504
Fax: 617-351-1128
E-mail:

Mr. Michael Moodie
Research and Development Officer
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress
1291 Taylor Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20542
Phone: 202-707-5108
Fax: 202-707-1690
E-mail:

Mr. Steve Noble
Policy Analyst
Kentucky Assistive Technology Service
Network
Charles McDowell Center
8412 Westport Road
Louisville, KY 40242
Phone: 502-327-0022 X268
Fax: 502-327-9974
E-mail:

Ms. Susan Osterhaus
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 West 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756
Phone: 512-206-9305
Fax: 512-206-9453
E-mail:

Ms. Karen Poppe
Tactile Graphics Project Leader
American Printing House for the Blind
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
Phone: 502-899-2322
E-mail:

Dr. James Pritchett
Project Manager, Digital Audio
Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic
20 Roszel Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: 609-243-7608
Fax: 609-452-2585
E-mail:

Ms. Penny Reeder
American Council of the Blind
1155 15th St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: 202-467-5081
Fax: 202-467-5085
E-mail:

Mr. David Rosenthal
Macmilan/McGraw-Hill
2 Penn Plaza 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10121-2298
Phone: 212-904-3373
Fax: 212-904-3222
E-mail:

Ms. Madeleine Rothberg
Project Director
National Center for Accessible Media
WGBH
125 Western Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02134
Phone: 617-300-2492 (direct voice)
617-300-3400 (main NCAM)
Fax: 617-300-1035
Email:

Ms. Vivian Seki
Instructor
Northwest Vista College
3535 North Ellison Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251-4217
Phone: 210-348-2083
Fax: 210-348-2004
E-mail:

Ms. Kathlean Shannon
Sr. Production Manager
Text Processing Graphic Services
Harcourt School Publishers
6277 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32887
Phone: 407-345-3877
Fax: 407-352-8831
E-mail:

Ms. Susan Shorey
Vice President
McDougal Littell
1500 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201
Phone: 847-424-3161
Fax: 847-869-2598
E-mail:

Ms. Lorraine Simonello
Manager - Text Processing
Harcourt School Publishers
6277 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32887
Phone: 407-345-3458
Fax: 407-352-8831
E-mail:

Mr. Larry Skutchan
Director of Technology Research Projects
American Printing House for the Blind P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
Phone: 502-899-2314
Fax: 502-899-2334
E-mail:

Pete Smith, Ph.D.
Center for Distance Education
P.O. Box 19104
University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, TX 76019
Phone: 817-272-5729
Fax: 817-272-5728
E-mail:

Ms. Diane Spence
Director of Braille Services
Education Service Center, Region IV
7145 West Tidwell
Houston, TX 77092
Phone: 713-744-8145
Fax: 713-744-8148
E-mail:

Mr. Skip Stahl
Co-Director, Universal Learning Center
Center for Applied Special Technology, Inc.
40 Harvard Mills Square
Suite 3
Wakefield, MA 01880-3233
Phone: 781-245-5212
Fax: 781-245-5212
E-mail:

Mr. Robert Stepp
Computer Application Specialities Company
5446 S. 32nd Street
Lincoln, NE 68516
Phone: 402-423-4782
Fax: 402-423-5154
E-mail:

Mr. Joe Sullivan
President
Duxbury Systems, Inc.
270 Littleton Rd. Unit 6
Westford, MA 01886
Phone: 978-692-3000 ext 308
Fax: 978-692-7912
E-mail:

David Sweeney
Adaptive Technology Services
Texas A&M University
Department of Student Life
1257 TAMU
Colllege Station, Texas 77843-1257
Phone: 979-847-9596
Fax: 979-458-1214
E-mail:

Ms. Dawn Turco
Sr. Vice President
Educational Operations
Hadley School for the Blind
700 Elm St.
Winnetka, IL 60093
Phone: 847-446-8111
Fax: 847446-0855
E-mail:

Ms. Carole Uettwiller
Vice President
Director of Design Production
Harcourt Brace & Company
6277 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32887
Phone: 407-345-3510
Fax: 407-345-4030
Email:

Ms. Joanna E. Venneri
1070 Church St. #208
San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone: 415-648-5680
Fax: 415-648-5680
E-mail:

Ms. Sharon von See
TechAdapt, Inc.
1017 Fairhaven Drive
Garland, TX 75040
Phone: 214-264-8895 (w)
972-414-2651 (h)
Fax: 772-679-6358
E-mail:

Mr. Bob Walling
Educational Service Center Region XX
1314 Hines Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78208
Phone:800-514-9310
Fax: 210-370-5696
E-mail:

Mr. Chris Weaver
New Mexico State University
Mathematics Accessible to VI Students
Department of Mathematical Sciences
MSC 3MB
P.O. Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003
Phone: 505-646-2664
Fax: 505-646-1064
E-mail:

Mr. McKinley Williams
Pearson Education
299 Jefferson Rd.
Parsipanny, NJ 07054
Phone: 973-739-8278
Fax: 973-739-8057
E-mail:

LEGISLATIVE & POLICYMAKING WORK GROUP MEMBERSHIP

FACILITATOR:
Mr. Mark Richert
Director, AFB Public Policy Center
820 First Street, NE, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20002
Tel: (202) 408-0200
Fax: (202) 289-7880
E-mail:

Dr. Jim Allan
Statewide Technology Specialist and Webmaster
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 West 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756
Phone: 512-206-9315
Fax: 512-206-9264
E-mail:

Ms. Sharon Berry
Special Education Supervisor
Arkansas School for the Blind
2600 West Markham Stree
Little Rock, AR 72205
Phone: 501-296-1812
E-mail:

Ms. Melanie Brunson
American Council of the Blind
1155 15th St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: 202-467-5081
Fax: 202-467-5085
E-mail:

Ms. Julie Copty
Assistant Director, School Division
Association of American Publishers
50 F Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: 202-220-4548
Fax: 202-347-3690
E-mail:

Ms. Jackie Denk
Kansas Instructional Resource Center
1100 State Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66102-4486
Phone: 913-281-3308 ext#5
Fax: 913-281-3104
E-mail:

Mr. Steve Driesler
Executive Director, School Division
Association of American Publishers
50 F Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: 202-220-4549
Fax: 202-347-3690
E-mail:

Mr. Warren Figueiredo
705 Maximilian Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802-6313
Phone: 225-387-8623
E-mail:

Jim Hill
Arkansas School for the Blind
2600 W. Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
E-mail:

Mr. Gary Mudd
Vice President
Governmental Relations
American Printing House for the Blind P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
Phone: 502-899-2308
Fax: 502-895-1509
E-mail:

Ms. Dee Konczal
Project Manager
Alternate Textbook Production Center
71-A-Day Road
Ventura, CA 93003
Phone: 805-654-6396 or 800-858-9984
Fax: 805-648-8944
E-mail:

Ms. Joy Relton
Governmental Relations
American Foundation for the Blind
820 First Street, N.E., Suite 400
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: 202-408-0200
Fax: 202-289-7880
E-mail:

Mr. Paul Schroeder
Vice President
Governmental Relations
American Foundation for the Blind
820 First Street, N.E., Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20002
Phone: 202-408-0200
Fax: 202-289-7880
E-mail:

Ms. Mary Ann Siller
Director, National Education Program
American Foundation for the Blind
260 Treadway Plaza
Dallas, Texas 75235
Phone: 214-352-7222, ext 15
Fax: 214-352-3214
E-mail:

Dr. Susan Spungin
Vice President of Education and International Programs
American Foundation for the Blind
11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-502-7631
Fax: 212-502-7777
E-mail:

Ms. Helen Tinkle
Arkansas School for the Blind
2600 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
Phone: 501-296-1812
E-mail:

Julie V. Urban
9715 N 58th Dr
Glendale, AZ 85302
E-mail:

Ms. Mary Weeks
Arkansas School for the Blind
2600 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
Phone: 501-296-1812
E-mail:

Ms. Linda Williams
Arkansas School for the Blind
2600 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
Phone: 501-296-1812
E-mail:

Ms. Mary Zabelski
Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired
1850 West Roosevelt Rd.
Chicago, IL 60608
Phone: 312-997-3675
Fax: 312-243-8539
E-mail:
Representing National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, Inc. (NAPVI)

PRODUCTION PROCESS WORK GROUP MEMBERSHIP

FACILITATOR:
Ms. Lorri Quigley
Director
Educational Resource Center (ERC)
742 Harrison Boulevard
Ogden, UT 84404
Phone: 801-629-4810
Fax: 801-629-4896
E-mail:

Ms. Karen Barrett
Director, Braille Library
Helen Keller Services for the Blind
One Helen Keller Way
Hempstead, NY 11550
Phone: 516-485-1234 ext 246
Fax: 516-538-6785
E-mail:

Ms. Carrie M. Brasier
Director
Vision Resources Library
3 Randolph St.
Canton, MA 02021
Phone: 800-827-7772
Fax: 781-575-9601
E-mail:

Ms. Betsy Burnham
ATIC Manager & Trainer
American Printing House for the Blind 9531 Hickory Falls Way
Baltimore, MD 21236
Phone: 502-895-2405 ext 378 or 410-256-8842 (w/h)
Fax: 410-256-7789
E-mail: (w) 
  (h)

Ms. Eileen Curran
Director of Operations
National Braille Press
88 Stephen Street
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 617-266-6160 ext 17
Fax: 617-437-0456
E-mail:

Ms. Suzanne Dalton
Florida Instructional Materials/Visually Impaired
4210 West Bay Villa Avenue
Tampa, FL 33611-1206
Phone: 813-837-7826
Fax: 813-837-7979
E-mail:

Ms. Debbie Davis
Director of Marketing
Visual Aid Volunteers
617 State St.
Garland, TX 75040
Phone: 972-272-1615
Fax: 972-276-2839
E-mail:

Mr. Jim Downs
Georgia Insturctional Materials Center
528 Forest Parkway, Suite C
Forest Park, GA 30297
Phone: 404-362-2024
Fax: 404-608-2559
E-mail:

Ms. Inge Durre
Foundation for Blind Children
Arizona Instructional Resource Center
1235 E. Harmont Dr.
Phoenix, AZ 85020
Phone: 602-678-5816
Fax: 602-678-5819
E-mail:

Whitney Gregory
Director of Braille Production
Visual Aid Volunteers
617 State St.
Garland, TX 75040
Phone: 972-272-1615
Fax: 972-276-2839
E-mail:

Ms. Dotta Hassman
Iowa Braille School
1002 G Avenue
Vinton, IA 52349
Phone: 319-472-5221 ext. 1233
E-mail:

Ms. Natalie Hilzen
Director and Editor-inChief
AFB Press
American Foundation for the Blind
11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-502-7653
Fax: 212-502-7774
E-mail:

Ms. Jayne Langston
Senior Word Processor
Text & Graphic Services
Harcourt Brace & Company
6277 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32887
Phone: 407-345-3575
Fax: 407-345-4030
E-mail:

Ms. Alicia McAninch
P.O. Box 4143
Alamogordo, NM 88310
Phone: 505-437-3505 (w)
505 437-0632 (h)
Fax: 505-439-4411
E-mail:

Ms. Cathy Nadberazny
Pennsylvania Training & Technical Assistance Network
Program Manager, Production Services
6340 Flank Dr., Suite 600
Harrisburg, PA 17112
Phone: 717-541-4960 Ext 3317
Fax: 717-541-4968
E-mail:

Nancy Niebrugge
Director of Braille Publishing
Braille Institute Press
741 North Vermont Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Phone: 323-663-1111, ext 3165
E-mail:

Ms. Debbie Park
Project Coordinator
Text & Graphic Services
Harcourt Brace & Company
6277 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32887
Phone: 407-345-3835
Fax: 407-345-4030
E-mail:

Ms. Judi Piscitello
TVI, COMS
Assistant, Training of Special Educators
NYS Resource Center for Visually Impaired
2A Richmond Avenue
Batavia, NY 14020
Phone: 585-343-8100 ext 427
Fax: 585-343-3711
E-mail:

Ms. Kay Ratzlaff
Florida Instructional Materials Center
for the Visually Impaired
5002 North Lois Avenue
Tampa, FL 33614-6549
Phone: 813-872-5281
Fax: 813-872-5284
E-mail:

Dr. Ellyn Ross
Representing Council for Exceptional Children
Division on Visual Impairments (DVI)
Pennsylvania Training & Technical Assistance Network
6340 Flank Drive, Suite 600
Harrisburg, PA 17112-2764
Phone: 717-541-4960 ext 3002
Fax: 717-541-4968
E-mail:

Ms. Madeleine Rothberg
Project Director
National Center for Accessible Media
WGBH
125 Western Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02134
Phone: 617-300-2492 (direct voice)
617-300-3400 (main NCAM)
Fax: 617-300-1035
E-mail:

Mr. Larry Skutchan
Director of Technology Research Projects
American Printing House for the Blind P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
Phone: 502-899-2314
Fax: 502-899-2334
E-mail:

Ms. Judy Trudelle
Florida Instructional Materials Center
for the Visually Impaired
5002 North Lois Avenue
Tampa, FL 33614-6549
Phone: 813-872-5281
Fax: 813-872-5284
E-mail:

Ms. Carole Uettwiller
Vice President
Director of Design Production
Harcourt Brace & Coompany
6277 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32887
Phone: 407-345-3510
Fax: 407-345-4030
E-mail:

Mr. Bob Walling
Educational Service Center Region XX
1314 Hines Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78208
Phone: 210-370-5678
Fax: 210-370-5696
E-mail:

TRAINING AND OTHER NEEDS WORK GROUP MEMBERSHIP

FACILITATOR:
Mr. Larry Brown
Representing Association of Instructional Resource Centers for the Visually Handicapped (AIRCVH)
9735 SW Vista Pl
Portland, OR 97225
Phone: 503-297-7450 (daytime messages)
E-mail:

Ms. Marie Amerson
210 Plantation Drive,
Macon GA 31211
Phone: 478-746-5697
E-mail:
Representing the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)

Ms. Colleen Arrey
Director of Alternative Programs
Northwest Vista College
3535 North Ellison Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251-4217
Phone: 210-348-2083
Fax: 210-348-2004
E-mail:

Ms. Betsy Burnham
ATIC Manager & Trainer
American Printing House for the Blind 9531 Hickory Falls Way
Baltimore, MD 21236
Phone: 502-895-2405 ext 378 or 410-256-8842 (w/h)
Fax: 410-256-7789
E-mail:
  (h)

Ms. Susan Christensen
N3292 Darling Rd.
Bangor, WI 54614
Phone: 608-486-2216
Fax: 608-486-4446
E-mail:

Dr. Anne Corn
Professor of Special Education, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Peabody College
PO Box 328
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-322-2249
Fax: 615-343-1570
E-mail:

Ms. Frances Mary D'Andrea
American Foundation for the Blind
100 Peachtree Street, Suite 620
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-525-4845
Fax: 404-659-6957
E-mail:

Ms. Mary Ann Damm
Representing National Braille Association
1142 Waban Hill
Madison, WI 53711
Phone: 608-273-0536
Fax:
E-mail:

Ms. Suzanne DeFord
3218 Bluffview
Garland, TX 75043
Phone: 972-240-6811
Fax: 972-303-2433
E-mail:

Mr. Jim Downs
Georgia Instructional Materials Center
528 Forest Parkway, Suite
Forest Park, GA 30297
Phone: 404-362-2024
Fax: 404-608-2559
E-mail:

Ms. Susan Escobar
Northwest Vista College
3535 North Ellison Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251-4217
Phone: 210-348-2352
Fax: 210-348-2161
E-mail:

Dr. Jo-Carol Fabianke
Vice President
Northwest Vista College
3535 North Ellison Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251-4217
Phone: 210-348-2006
Fax: 210-348-2064
E-mail:

Ms. Bev Helland
10168 Amber Trail
Edgerton, WI 53534
Pager Daytime: 608-550-4487
608-884-4955 (h)
Fax: 608-829-1501
E-mail:

Mr. Hohn C. Jarboe
Elementary Principal
Arkansas School for the Blind
5409 Randolph
North Little Rock, AR 72116
Phone: 501-295-1810 (w)
501-771-2310 (h)
E-Mail:

Ms. Teresa Kruta
300 NE 18
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: 405-521-3514 (w) or 405-286-3509 (h)
Fax: 405-521-4033
E-mail:

Ms. Paula Mauro
Assistant Coordinator
ORCLISH
470 Glenmont Avenue
Columbus, OH 43213-3292
Phone: 614-262-6131
800-672-5474
Fax: 614-262-1070
E-mail:

Ms. Mary Nelle McLennan
Executive Advisor to the President - American Printing House for the Blind 1536 Broad Hill Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Phone: 412-367-9085
E-mail:

Ms. Brunhilde Merk-Adam
2501 Pheasant Run
Ortonville, MI 48462
Phone: 248-36-8615
E-mail:

Ms. Carol Mendela
Connecticut Board of Education & Services for the Blind
184 Windsor Ave.
Windsor, CT 06095
Phone: 860-602-4170
Fax: 860-602-4030
E-mail:  

Ms. Marty Murrell
Representing Association of State Education Consultants for the Visually Impaired
Texas Education Agency
1701 N. Congress
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-463-9362
Fax: 512-463-9560
E-mail:

Ms. Beverly Pfister
N2723 Lake Point Dr.
Lodi, WI 53555
Phone: 608-592-4889
Fax:
E-mail:

Ms. Kay Ratzlaff
Florida Instructional Materials Center
for the Visually Impaired
5002 North Lois Avenue
Tampa, FL 33614-6549
Phone: 813-872-5281
Fax: 813-872-5284
E-mail:

Ms. Sue Reilly
San Diego City Schools
Center for Student Support and Special Education Services
4350 Mount Everest Blvd., Room B2
San Diego, CA 92117
Phone: 619-725-7697
Fax: 619-725-5689
E-mail:

Ms. Vivian Seki
Instructor
Northwest Vista College
3535 North Ellison Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251-4217
Phone: 210-348-2083
Fax: 210-348-2004
E-mail:

Ms. Diane Spence
Director of Braille Services
Education Service Center, Region IV
7145 West Tidwell
Houston, TX 77092
Phone: 713-744-8145
Fax: 713-744-8148
E-mail:

Ms. Mary Lou Stark
Braille Development Section
National Library Service f/t Blind and
Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20542
Phone: 202-707-9302
Fax: 202-707-0712
E-mail:

Ms. Judy Trudelle
Florida Instructional Materials Center
for the Visually Impaired
5002 North Lois Avenue
Tampa, FL 33614-6549
Phone: 813-872-5281
Fax: 813-872-5284
E-mail:

Dr. Rob Wall
Western Michigan University
Department of Blind Rehabilitation and Low Vision Studies
1903 West Michigan
Mailstop 5218
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
phone: 269-387-3072
E-mail:

Mr. Bob Walling
Educational Service Center Region XX
1314 Hines Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78208
Phone: 210-370-5678
Fax: 210-370-5696
E-mail:

COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION WORK GROUP MEMBERSHIP

FACILITATOR:
Ms. Marie Amerson
210 Plantation Drive,
Macon GA 31211
Phone: 478-746-5697
E-mail:
Representing the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)

Dr. Carol Allman
Consultant
American Printing House for the Blind 236 Aerie Hill
Tallahassee, FL 323123
Phone: 850-893-4086
Fax: 850-893-5059
E-mail:

Ms. Katie Blough
Vice President
Association of American Publishers
71 5th Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003-3004
Phone: 212-255-0200 Ext 263
Fax: 212-255-7007
E-mail:

Mr. Bob Brasher
Vice President of Products and Services
American Printing House for the Blind
1839 Frankfort Ave.
P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
Phone: 502-899-2369
Fax: 502-899-2363
E-mail:

Ms. Sue Crawford
American Council of the Blind
1906 Rockwood
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 202-467-5081
301-562-2057 (h)
Fax:
E-mail:

Ms. Teri Elise Goldstein
Representing National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, Inc.
15917 Bridgewater Lane
Tampa, FL 33624
Phone: 813-221-8733 (w)
813-264-0847 (h)
Fax: 813-264-0847
E-mail:

Barbara Henderson
Test and Assessment Project Leader
Accessible Tests Department
American Printing House for the Blind
1839 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
Phone: 502-899-2328
Fax: 502-899-2269
E-mail:

Mr. Steve Kohn
Verizon
Strategic Alliances-Education & Disabilities Initiatives
23 Norman Lane
Darien, CT 06820
Phone: 212-395-2255
E-mail:

Ms. Dee Konczal
Project Manager
Alternate Textbook Production Center
71 Day Road
Ventura, CA 93003
Phone: 805-654-6396
Fax: 805-648-8944
E-mail:

Ms. Carol McCarroll
Tennessee Resource Center for the Visually Impaired
115 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Nashville, TN 37214
Phone: 615-231-7406
Fax: 615-231-7307
E-mail:

Ms. Barbara McCarthy
c/o Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired
395 Azalea Avenue
Richmond, VA 23227-3623
Phone: 804-371-3661
Fax: 804-371-3328
E-mail:
Representing Association of Instructional Resource Centers for the Visually Impaired

Ms. Brunhilde Merk-Adam
2501 Pheasant Run
Ortonville, MI 48462
Phone: 248-36-8615
E-mail:

Ms. Penny Reeder
American Council of the Blind
1155 15th St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: 202-467-5081
Fax: 202-467-5085
E-mail:

Dr. Ellyn Ross
Representing Council for Exceptional Children
Division on Visual Impairments (DVI)
Pennsylvania Training & Technical Assistance Network
6340 Flank Drive, Suite 600
Harrisburg, PA 17112-2764
Phone: 717-541-4960 ext 3002
Fax: 717-541-4968
E-mail:

Ms. Mary Ann Siller
Director, National Education Program Associate in Education
American Foundation for the Blind
260 Treadway Plaza
Dallas, Texas 75235
Phone: 214-352-7222, ext 15
Fax: 214-352-3214
E-mail:

Mr. Ian Stewart
Coordinator of Programs in Orientation and Mobility
University of Arizona
Department of SERSP
P.O. Box 210069
Tucson, AZ 85721-0069
Phone: 520-621-3887
Fax: 520-621-3821
E-mail:

American Foundation for the Blind Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum

Paper Presented at March, 2001, CSUN, by Jim Allan.

Joint Technology Task Force - History 

Collaborative project between American Association of Publishers, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, and American Foundation for the Blind. Initial Meeting - June 15, 2000. 

Participants

American Association of Publishers, Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic, American Foundation for the Blind, Duxbury Systems, American Printing House for the Blind, Library of Congress - National Library Service, Computer Applications Specialties Company, Texas Education Agency, Harcourt-Brace, McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin, Addison Wesley, Scholastic, National Braille Press, ESC 4 & 20, and others...

Goal

Ensure students with disabilities receive instructional materials (textbooks) at the same time as their non-disabled peers.

The goals of the new task force include analyzing the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) XML (Extensible Markup Language) file format to determine its suitability for converting textbook content into braille and other accessible formats and promoting and demonstrating to accessible book producers the efficiency and benefits of using publisher files in NISO XML format.

Problem

Original documents created in Word. Publishers develop presentation files in Quark (mostly) or Pagemaker. Changes are made until press time. These files not easily converted to usable braille translation files. Currently, files are converted into ASCII file. Publishers do not use ASCII in publishing process, hence conversion takes 60-90 days. Braille producers then take 60-90 days to convert ASCII (with proper formatting) into braille.

Publishers want to re-purpose content for different media streams: paper, web based, e-book, braille, etc. Quark/Pagemaker files are not suitable for this task (although software is beginning to change). 

Solutions (work to date)

Joint Technology Task Force formed to. Explore potential use of XML, specifically DIASY/NISO Digital Talking Book 3.0 Document Type Definition. Test using XML for production of files for braille translators in transition period. Publishers moving toward creating content in XML as day to day file format. Goal: publishers provide XML (DAISY/NISO)  file (can be created faster than ASCII file) which is easily usable by braille producers and students receive braille and digital talking books faster.

Why XML?

XML- eXtensible Markup Language. - allows creation of own special purpose tags. It is flexible and separates content from presentation. Allows for special tags, such as side bars, headings, etc. Allows creation of presentation rules for media output (large prints, synthetic speech, digital talking book, braille, etc.) from the same content.

Current Tasks

Conversion Processes Being Explored

  1. Utopia. The ideal is automated conversion from Quark to DTB 3.0 with minimal intervention.
    •  Not all Quark files are equal. K-12 books are "high format." All publishers use different tag sets, even within the same publishing house.
    • 20-60% of a book is imported art (i.e. Illustrator) with embedded text. Software is in development to extract text from image. Currently must be rekeyed. 
  2. Reality Version 1: paper to DTB 3.0 DTD - send of conversion house (usually off-shore) book is rekeyed to specified DTD.
    • no electronic file (seems to be cost effective and working) 
  3. Reality Version 2: electronic file conversion to DTB 3.0 DTD
    • extract text (ASCII),  then send off shore to be marked up in DTD. Must supply proofs to check print vs. XML structure created.
      • 20-60% of a book is imported art (i.e. Illustrator) with embedded text.  Image files sent off-shore for rekeying. 
    • Quark to RTF conversion. Send off-shore to have RTF converted to DTB 3.0 DTD. Used elementary science book, 2 chapters (60 pages), took 30 days. Communication, first time process, understanding DTD and task took time. 
  4. Reality Version 3: transformation of publisher DTD to DTB 3.0 DTD
    • no report yet.
    • Possible problem: style sheet generated content. 

Current Testing Process

  1. Publishers send files to RFBD - validity and well-formed check
  2. RFBD check against paper copy (feedback loop with publishers)
    • is tag set (DTD) complete and correct
    • are conversion houses tagging appropriately
  3. RFBD send file to braille producers
  4. Braille producers using Duxbury and Braille2000 (in development) for braille formatting of file. 
  5. Braille producers check braille output against paper copy. Translation software translates text easily, interprets XML for appropriate formatting. Translation software is very dependent upon how well and which conventions were used in the XML markup. If tagging was done correctly and tagging is correctly interpreted by translation software, then braille formatting is pretty accurate. (feedback loop with RFBD and braille translation software manufacturers)
    • is braille translation software making proper use of tags
    • are tags used consistently
    • tweaking rules for formatting.

Status

  1. Not as easy to do as first conceived in June 2000
  2. Conversion houses not as fast as stated (new process for all involved)
  3. Cost determination for conversion still uncertain (process still too new)
  4. STILL HOPE that technology will ease/speed production process of files and braille
  5. Developing matrix of subjects vs. grade levels vs. conversion process (no time line)
  6. ALL COMMITTED to more testing, more feedback, more learning, more... 
    • already  updated the DTBook3 DTD based on things we learned in early in-house tests with the Duxbury import facility. Notably, DTD now allows entries in a table of contents to be subdivided into that entry's components, i.e., the entry itself ("chapter 12") and the corresponding page number. That way, the braille software can format each entry properly, inserting guide dots, etc. 
    • Added an attribute called "showin." that can be used to mark sections of a document (a transcriber's note, for example) and specify that it show only in a braille version. A different wording of the note could be tagged to appear only in a large print edition.

Examples of textbook pages

Resources