Main content

Alert message

American Foundation for the Blind

Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum

NIMAS Guidelines Checklist: A Self-Study Tool

The following checklist has been formulated as a tool for reviewing a state or local district’s current system of providing accessible textbooks and instructional materials to students who are blind or visually impaired. It is not a survey but a self-assessment tool to determine issues that need to be addressed in order to improve services to students. It can also be used to create a model profile of efficient systems that could be used as states and local districts begin implementing components of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), P.L. 108-446, regarding production and delivery of accessible textbooks and instructional materials.

Participants in the AFB Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum identified the guidelines in this checklist. It is important to note that those participants all agreed that each state and local district is very different in:

  • how they provide services
  • how accessible instructional materials are funded
  • how guidelines and procedures are developed and implemented

The participants also agreed that each state or local district must have a system identified to ensure timely delivery of accessible textbooks and instructional materials.

This system provides guidance for implementing the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) established by the IDEA 2004 statute and the technical specification published in the Federal Register.

NIMAS, as defined in the checklist, is a collection of consistent and valid XML-based source files created by K-12 curriculum publishers. From these well-structured source files, accessible, alternate-format versions of textbooks and core instructional materials (i.e. braille, Digital Talking Book, etc.) can subsequently be created (www.afb.org/nimas.asp).

This NIMAS Guidelines Checklist may serve as a foundation for creating a report specific to your state or local district. The report can then be used to communicate with stakeholders about the services provided, improvements needed, or other important information to ensure that students with visual impairments have “the right book at the right time.”

Please feel free to copy and use this checklist as an outline for creating a profile of your state or local district’s efforts to provide accessible textbooks and instructional materials. Your committee may determine additional questions or issues specific to your situation. It is also suggested that you attach supporting documentation to clarify an answer or enhance the report being produced. If the AFB Solutions Forum can be of assistance to you in this process, please contact Mary Ann Siller, American Foundation for the Blind, 11030 Ables Lane, Dallas TX 75229, phone: 469-522-1803 or email at .

Coordinating Instructional Materials Accessibility

NIMAS Guidelines Checklist for: ___________________ (Name of State)

*NOTE: The following is based on current information and is subject to change pending publication of IDEA rules.

Guideline Checklist Items Comments

1. A procedure is in place to ensure delivery of accessible instructional materials to students with visual impairments at the same time those materials are made available to all students in the classroom.

YES - In addition to communicating information about your system to stakeholders in your state, please provide resource information to the AFB Solutions Forum or Instructional Resource Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (IRCBVI).

NO - Proceed through this worksheet for ideas on establishing such a system.

 

2. A stakeholder group has been identified to formulate strategies to coordinate print instructional materials for students with visual impairments or to review the current system in place and make appropriate recommendations.

YES - List the names, titles, and affiliations of members of this group.

NO - Identify key stakeholders who might serve on such a group. Potential candidates include: state Department of Education (DOE) personnel (vision consultant, state textbook coordinator, director of instructional materials center, etc.), member of legislative finance committee, local director of special education, general educator, parents, teachers of the visually impaired, braille transcribers (knowledgeable in all braille formats, including tactile graphics), persons knowledgeable about publishers' electronic files and other alternative formats.

 

3. Procedures for selecting and purchasing textbooks for all students are identified and communicated to appropriate stakeholders. Check all that apply.

- Statewide decision

- Local school system decision

-- Individual school decision

YES - Identify source for reviewing this information at the state level, local school system level, and individual school level.

NO - Identify a strategy for determining how decisions are made for selecting and purchasing textbooks at the state level, local school system level, and individual school level.

 

4. Selection of textbooks addresses the need for accessible copies, and procedures are in place to ensure that accessible textbooks are available for students who are blind or visually impaired.

YES - Identify process used for selection and purchase of textbooks.

NO - Consider whether assurance of accessible textbooks can be addressed through:

___ purchase contracts

___ other means

 

5. Timelines have been established for adoption, selection, purchase, and delivery of new textbooks so that accessible copies can be procured for delivery along with other print editions. For example, consideration is given to the amount of time needed for obtaining source files, transcribing, proofing, embossing, and delivering accessible materials.

YES - Identify those timelines at the state level, local school system level, and individual school level.

NO - Consult with publishers or your state's instructional materials center to determine appropriate timelines and disseminate the information at the state level, local school system level, and individual school level.

 

6. Information is published about the expected timelines for production and delivery of braille or other accessible media within the state.

YES - Identify the location where this information is published and how it is communicated to stakeholders.

NO - Identify procedures for publishing and disseminating this information.

 

7a. A central agency within the state acquires and disseminates accessible instructional materials to students who are blind or visually impaired.

YES - Identify the agency; provide contact information and details about using their services.

NO - If there are multiple agencies, see part b of this question.

 

7b. There are multiple agencies within the state that acquire and disseminate print instructional materials to students who are blind or visually impaired.

YES - Identify the agencies, provide contact information, the services they provide, how the services are funded (private/state funds), and other appropriate information.

NO - If there is a central agency, see part a of this question.

 

8. Appropriate information about fund source(s) for purchasing accessible educational materials is readily available to school personnel to enable them to determine how/where to order accessible textbooks and instructional materials.

YES - Identify method of determining and disseminating this information and identify different funding resources available at the state level, local school system level, and individual school level.

NO - Create a method for determining and disseminating this information.

 

9. Funds have been allocated at the appropriate administrative level to address the increased cost of accessible textbooks and educational materials.

YES - Provide clear documentation of the sources and processes (including timelines and contacts) for each budget cycle.

NO - Determine possible resources, contacts, processes, and timelines for the establishment of reliable fund streams.

 

10. Agencies have been identified to receive publishers' electronic files from the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) at American Printing House for the Blind (APH).

YES - Ensure documentation is in place, including contact information.

NO - Determine which agencies would be appropriate (single entity or a collaboration) and follow procedures to enable them to receive files from the access center.

 

11. State legislation or other regulations related to provision of braille that will affect the system for delivery of print instructional materials are in place.

YES - Identify state legislation or regulations and attach information created as a result of the legislation. Note the impact of 2004 IDEA reauthorization.

NO - Determine what other solutions can be pursued to achieve the same result (through contracts or other regulatory means).

 

12. Individual professionals serving students who are blind or visually impaired are knowledgeable about the system for acquiring print instructional materials.

YES - Identify in-service training or the location of the documents, URLs, or manuals that present this information.

NO - Determine the best method of communicating this information in your state. Options include in-service training, manuals, and URLs.

 

13. Information is available to appropriate stakeholders within the state to identify the agencies and organizations there involved in production of accessible educational materials.

YES - Identify the documents or resources that communicate this information and how it is disseminated.

NO - Identify approaches for communicating this information, particularly to new stakeholders.

 

14. Information is available to identify sources outside of the state from which accessible

instructional materials can be acquired.

YES - Identify the documents or access points where this information is available.

NO - Determine the need for individuals to access this information and, if appropriate, produce a document to communicate this to stakeholders.

 

15. Production facilities within the state collaborate to ensure that materials produced in accessible format are being made available to others for purchase or loan.

YES - Identify the production facilities within the state and their procedures that will facilitate this collaboration.

NO - Determine how this may be instituted so that students benefit without unnecessary duplication of resources.

 

16. Specific qualifications are available for producers of braille (including certified transcribers, proofreaders, tactile graphics experience, etc.) to ensure quality production of materials.

YES - Identify the policies or guidelines and necessary documentation.

NO - Determine the need/benefit of formulating policies or guidelines and documentation and proceed accordingly.

 

17. Procedures for submitting requests for print instructional materials ensure that the correct edition of a requested textbook is obtained. (International Standard Book Number [ISBN] matches the edition of the book needed, i.e., student edition and not the teacher edition, specific state's edition and not a generic edition, etc.)

YES - Identify procedures and documentation, including essential forms, that facilitate efficient and accurate orders for student instructional materials.

NO - Determine procedures for increasing efficient and accurate orders for student instructional materials. Forms and timelines may be a component of the activity.

Comments:

18. Guidelines exist to address the quality production of print instructional materials.

YES - Identify those guidelines and documentation.

NO - Determine the needs/benefit of creating guidelines and documentation and proceed accordingly.

 

19. Guidelines exist to address how graphics are included in print instructional materials.

YES - Identify those guidelines and documentation.

NO - Determine the needs/benefit of creating guidelines and documentation and proceed accordingly.

 

20. An evaluation process has been established to ensure that the system addressing accessibility of instructional materials continues to provide maximum benefit to students. Such a process may be a self-study, a committee or regulatory oversight study, or other evaluation at the state, local school system, or local school level.

YES - Identify the process and forms for this evaluation.

NO - Determine the need/benefit for evaluation of the acquisition process for student instructional materials and proceed accordingly.

 


GLOSSARY AND ABBREVIATIONS

American Foundation for the Blind Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum

www.afb.org/education.asp

www.tsbvi.edu/textbooks/afb/index.htm

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Solutions Forum is a national collaborative effort to ensure equal access to textbooks and instructional materials for students who are blind or visually impaired. AFB's organizational partners include the leading national organizations and associations in textbook publishing; education; literacy; access technology; production of braille, large-print, and recorded textbooks; and services for the blind and visually impaired. For additional information about the AFB Solutions Forum, contact Mary Ann Siller, 1030 Ables Lane, Dallas TX 75229, Phone: 469-522-1803or email at .

American Printing House for the Blind (APH)

www.aph.org

APH is a national nonprofit organization that promotes independence of blind and visually impaired persons by providing specialized materials, products, and services needed for education and life for people who are visually impaired.

An Authorized Entity

www.loc.gov/nls/reference/factsheets/copyright.html

Public Law 104-197: Under the Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill, H.R. 3754, Congress approved a measure, introduced by Senator John H. Chafee (R-R.I.) on July 29, 1996, that provides for an exemption affecting the NLS program. On September 16, 1996, the bill was signed into law by President Clinton. The amendment defines and limits "authorized entity" to "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."

Blind or Other Persons with Print Disabilities

These are defined as students served under IDEA 2004 and who may qualify in accordance with the Act entitled "An Act to Provide Books for the Adult Blind," approved March 3, 1931 (2 U.S.C. 135a; 46 Stat. 1487), to receive books and other publications produced in specialized formats.

Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Act

Allows an authorized entity to reproduce or distribute copies or recordings of a previously published, nondramatic literary work in specialized formats exclusively for use by persons who are blind or have other disabilities. Specialized formats mean braille, audio, or digital text exclusively for use by persons who are blind or have other disabilities. IDEA 2004 expands the definition of specialized formats initially developed in the Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Act with respect to print instructional materials to include large-print formats when such materials are distributed exclusively for use by persons who are blind or have other print disabilities

Instructional Resource Centers for the Blind and Visually Impaired (IRCBVI ) 

This is a collaborative group of people who work in or with media centers whose primary mission is to provide adapted materials for students who are blind or visually impaired in local school districts or special school settings. Additional services are often included. Members of the group have worked with the American Foundation for the Blind in the successful passage of parts of IDEA 2004 related to the needs of print-handicapped students to have their adapted instructional materials available at the same time as their sighted peers.

International Standard Book Number (ISBN )

This number is the unique identifier of each published book and most instructional materials. It is a 10-digit number located on the back of the book's title page, as is the copyright year and other publication information. It will have hyphens and may end with the letter x, which represents the digit 10. The ISBN clearly identifies each book as unique between the subtitles of a series, ancillary materials, or the teacher's edition and the student's text. It also identifies books as being "national" editions or "state-specific" editions. If your adoption has a different ISBN than the one being considered, the changes may be minimal or substantial. "Classroom-compatible" is a general term that may indicate the book will work for the student. It does not have a precise definition, so a comparison would be appropriate.

LOUIS Database at APH

www.aph.org/louis

Louis Database is a resource of books and accessible materials from 180 organizations and APHinstructional materials' files. The database assists educators, individuals who are blind or visually impaired, and administrators in locating books and materials in an efficient and timely manner.

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

NIMAS refers to a collection of consistent and valid XML-based source files created by K-12 curriculum publishers. From these well-structured source files, accessible, student-ready alternate-format versions of textbooks and core materials (i.e., braille, e-Text, Digital Talking Book, etc.) can subsequently be created and distributed to qualified students with disabilities. NIMAS is not a student-ready version.

The NIMAS Standard was achieved by consensus through the 40-member National File Format Technical Panel during the period January, 2003, to November, 2003. The standard was subsequently endorsed as a voluntary standard by the Secretary of Education on July 27th, 2004. However, IDEA 2004, P.L. 108-446, establishes NIMAS as a national standard and requires states and local districts to adopt NIMAS for providing textbooks and instructional materials to students who are blind or print-disabled.

The timeline for states or local districts to enter into a contract with publishers for the use and delivery of NIMAS files to the National Instructional Materials Access Center will be two years after the date of enactment of IDEA 2004.

National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC)

The NIMAC is a national file repository of NIMAS source files. In IDEA 2004, APH was designated to serve as the Access Center. The Secretary of Education will establish and support the Access Center at APH one year after enactment of IDEA 2004.

Print Instructional Materials

This term is defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004), P.L. 108-446, as printed textbooks and related printed core materials that are written and published primarily for use in elementary school and secondary school instruction. These materials are required by a state educational agency or local educational agency for use by students in the classroom.

Specialized Formats

Section 306 of the Copyright Act,121(d)(3) of Title 17, United States Code, defines this to include braille, audio, or digital text exclusively for use by persons who are blind or have other disabilities. Section 306 of the Copyright Act was amended by IDEA 2004 and print instructional materials now include large-print formats when such materials are distributed exclusively for use by persons who are blind or have other disabilities.

Tactile Graphics

Raised-line pictures, graphs or diagrams designed to be interpreted through touch.