Future Reflections  Winter/Spring 2007

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Textbooks on Time--Federal Fact Sheet

From the Editor: Federal documents can be intimating to first-time readers. Filled with an alphabet-soup of acronyms, every other sentence seems to end with references to section such-and-such or so-and-so. But if you think of them like the yapping dog whose bark is worse than his bite, you will discover that with a little patience and persistence, these documents are not as difficult to understand as appearances might suggest. Effective advocacy begins with accurate information, and for parents or other advocates of blind students, there really is no substitute for the information to be gained from documents written and released by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. If your child or student has suffered from late or delayed textbooks over the years, then the following document is worth spending some time reading and digesting. In the fall, we hope to publish a follow-up article with specific suggestions or a checklist about what parents and other advocates can do to monitor this process.

But, first things first. The following fact sheet is available on the new Web site for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEPs) at <http://idea.ed.gov/explore/home>. Go to the side bar entitled “Browse Major Topics” and click on “National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).” Other topics in this series of fact sheets are also available on this Web site. Information about the newly established National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) is available on the Web site, <http://nimac.us/>. The NIMAC is administered by the American Printing House for the Blind. Here, now, is the federal fact sheet about NIMAS and NIMAC:

IDEA—Reauthorized Statute
National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

The reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law on December 3, 2004, by President George W. Bush. The provisions of the Act became effective on July 1, 2005, with the exception of some of the elements pertaining to the definition of a “highly qualified teacher” that took effect upon the signing of the Act. The final NIMAS was published on July 19, 2006 (71 FR 41084) and was included as Appendix C to Part 300--National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard--published on August 14, 2006. This is one in a series of documents, prepared by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education that covers a variety of high-interest topics and brings together the regulatory requirements related to those topics to support constituents in preparing to implement the new regulations. This document addresses statutory and final regulatory requirements regarding NIMAS.

IDEA Regulations

1. Provides definitions related to purchase of and access to instructional materials.

2. Requires the adoption of NIMAS.

3. Establishes SEA rights and responsibilities.

4. Establishes requirements for the preparation and delivery of files.

5. Requires collaboration with State agencies providing assistive technology programs.

6. Establishes responsibilities of LEAs for purchase of instructional materials.

Under sections 612(a)(23)(A) and 674(e)(4) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, the Secretary of Education establishes the NIMAS. Under section 674(e)(4) of the Act, the NIMAS applies to print instructional materials published after July 19, 2006. The purpose of the NIMAS is to help increase the availability and timely delivery of print instructional materials in accessible formats to blind or other persons with print disabilities in elementary and secondary schools.

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