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Fall 2002 Table of Contents
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Instructional Materials Accessibility Act Update

By Mary Ann Siller, Co-Chair, National Education Program,

American Foundation for the Blind

Editor s Note: It is possible that by the time this newsletter is published, much will have happened with this legislation. To stay current on the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act, you may want to visit American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) at http://www.afb.org/textbooks.asp.

National legislation that defines timely access to print media for children who are blind or print disabled is being debated on Capitol Hill. This legislation is called the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act (IMAA), and the bill numbers for the IMAA are HR 4582 and S2246.

The Senate had planned to move the bill out of the committee on July 31, 2002. However, it was pulled and it has not been added to the schedule, as of yet. The blindness field and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) are continuing to work through the questions and concerns, but time is running out.

Hurdle # 1

Recently, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) expressed reservations with key areas of the IMAA. Areas of concern included:

Advocates feel that both provisions should remain in the IMAA.

Hurdle #2

It is also apparent that the state and federal education officials are not fully aware of the problems that blind and visually impaired students regularly confront in getting access to their school books in a timely fashion. Officials need to better understand these problems in order to make a decision on whether to support the IMAA.

If you have an opinion on this legislation and want your voice to be heard, you may wish to:

AFB keeps track of opinions expressed about relevant legislation. Please send a copy of your letters to Mary Ann Siller at 214-352-3214 (fax) or siller@afb.net.

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Last Revision: August 29, 2003