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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.