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The following information is a "sample" list of products and/or resources related to (and often resulting from) activities of the American Foundation for the Blind Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum and its 44 organizational partners. The Communication and Collaboration Work Group encourages the reader to submit suggestions for additions/corrections to this list. Please contact Mary Ann Siller at or Marie Amerson at with your comments. Also, be sure to periodically check the following web sites for updates about new products/resources:

Accessible Textbooks and Instructional Materials: A Tool Kit from the AFB Solutions Forum

This is a collection of articles and information from various stakeholders in the Solutions Forum. The Tool Kit is designed to provide documents which may be reproduced and shared to increase knowledge about the issues and potential solutions relevant to instructional materials accessibility for students with visual impairments. The 296-page Tool Kit is in its second printing. It is available in print in a 3-ring binder and on a PC-formatted CD-ROM that contains a print-ready format and accessible HTML.

Source: Contact Mary Ann Siller, American Foundation for the Blind, 260 Treadway Plaza, Dallas, TX 75235;

NOTE: Several of the following entries in this list are included in the Tool Kit.

AFB Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum: Background and History

This is a chronological history of the efforts to ensure "the right book at the right time⬠for students who are blind or have low vision.

Source: AFB Solutions Forum Tool Kit,;

Accessible Textbooks: A Glossary of Commonly Used Terms

A document providing explanation of acronyms and terms related to the AFB Solutions Forum.

Source: (Communication & Collaboration Work Group) or

Alphabet Soup: Common Acronyms Used When Speaking About Accessible Textbooks

A list of terms and organizations often referred to in discussions about instructional materials accessibility.

Source: AFB Solutions Forum Tool Kit; and (Communication and Collaboration Work Group)

Instructional Materials Accessibility Act: Section-by-Section Analysis; Summary of Key Areas of the IMAA

Various pieces of information are available on national legislation introduced to address the need for accessible textbooks for students who are blind, have low vision or are print disabled.

Source: Tool Kit;;; (Legislation and Policy-Making Work Group);

IMAA - Frequently Asked Questions

This 2003 document provides information which advocates can use when communicating with their U.S. Representative or Senators to answer questions about the need for key principles of the IMAA to be included in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Source: (Legislative and Policy-Making Work Group) and AFB Solutions Forum Tool Kit

Call to Action Packet: AFB and Verizon National Campaign for Literacy, Textbooks, Transcribers and Technology

The packet includes an advocacy video, sample letters, poster, bookmarks, policy papers, and other information to highlight this three-year national public education campaign.

Source: Go to then the Bookstore and free materials or contact Mary Ann Siller at to request copies of the packet.

Get Caught Reading Posters

From a campaign to highlight the joy of reading, these posters feature celebrities who have been caught reading, including Erik Weihenmayer and Patty Duke with a young friend reading braille.

Source: then the bookstore and free materials or

Production of Braille Textbooks

This is a fact sheet prepared in June 2000 which outlines the steps for braille transcription using publishers' electronic files.

Source: AFB Solutions Forum Tool Kit, (Production Process Work Group)

National Training Manual on How to Work with Publishers' Files

A training seminar was developed for braille transcribers to learn about working with publishers' electronic files. The next phase will be a web-based, self-paced seminar on the American Foundation for the Blind's web site.

Source: to be available June 2004 at

Community College Courses for the Braille Textbook Transcriber Career

A series of college courses are being developed in partnership with AFB, Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas, and the Texas Education Agency to train people to become braille textbook transcribers. This is a 39 hour certificate program.

Survey on the Training and Availability of Braille Transcribers

Information and summary is provided on one of three national surveys conducted in 2000 by the AFB Solutions Forum.

Source: (Training and Other Needs Work Group);

Survey of Multimedia Presentations for Students with Visual Impairments

Information and summary is provided on one of three national surveys conducted in 2000 by the AFB Solutions Forum.

Source: (Electronic Files & Research Work Group)

Survey on the Production of Textbooks and Instructional Materials

Information and summary is provided on one of three national surveys conducted in 2000 by the AFB Solutions Forum.

Source: (Production Process Work Group)

Basic Principles for Preparing Tactile Graphics; Deciding Whether to Create a Tactile Graphic

This document provides a checklist and information to assist in the process of preparing tactile graphics.

Source: (Electronic Files & Research Work Group) and


Resources for Preparing Quality Tactile Graphics; Types and Producers of Tactile Graphics

This document includes information about organizations and agencies which produce tactile graphics or provide service in this area.

Source: (Electronic Files & Research Work Group) and

Web Site Resources for Education

A sample list of web resources compiled for the AFB Solutions Forum.

Source: AFB Solutions Forum Tool Kit

Organizational Contact List

This 2003 list provides contact information for individuals involved in the AFB Solutions Forum and/or organizations which would be of interest to forum participants.

Source: AFB Solutions Forum Tool Kit; and TSBVI AFB Toolkit

Conversion Vendors

A list of vendors who contacted the Association of American Publishers in 2003 saying they have experience in converting files to various platforms. The list was not verified for quality of services, so potential users must make their own decisions if the vendors are appropriate.

Source: AFB Solutions Forum Tool Kit

Joint Technology Task Force

The Association of American Publishers, AFB Solutions Forum, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic and other stakeholders formed the Joint Technology Task Force in 2000 and defined two primary goals: Analyzing the American National Standards Institute and National Information Standards Organization (ANSI/NISO) XML (Extensible Markup Language) file format to determine its suitability for converting textbook content into braille and other accessible formats; and through training promote and demonstrate the efficiency and benefits of using publishers' files in ANSI/NISO XML format.

Source: AFB Solutions Forum Tool Kit and

ASCII: An Outdated File Development System

This is a document that describes the file format system of ASCII and why it is not satisfactory to use in the production of textbooks in the 21st Century.

Source: AFB Solutions Forum Tool Kit; and (Electronic Files and Research Work Group)

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard

Technical Panel and Upcoming Report

The traditional print-based materials that dominate classrooms raise barriers for many students with disabilities. Because textbooks and instructional materials are not often on time or in the appropriate medium, students with disabilities are not given a full array of opportunities to access, participate and progress in the general education curriculum.

In October 2002, a supplemental award was extended to the National Center on Accessing the Curriculum (NCAC) at the Center for Applied Special Technologies (CAST) by U.S. Department of Education. Collaborative partners included the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the Department of Commerce.

A technical panel was formed and charged with providing the Secretary of Education with a set of technical specifications to facilitate the efficient delivery of accessible instructional materials, a timeline for the implementation of the proposed standard and process for assessing the success of standard implementation. A key component outlined in the work of the panel was to ensure that students with disabilities are provided with equivalent access to instructional materials at the same time as their non-disabled peers.

The forty member technical panel represented the interests of disability advocates, publishers, assistive technology developers, producers of curriculum materials for students with special needs, data transformation experts, and state representatives.

The technical panel began its work in January 2003 and a full report will be given to the Secretary of Education in the fall of 2003.