[blindkid] Elementary School iPad Experience

Pat Renfranz dblair2525 at msn.com
Thu Jan 31 02:59:32 UTC 2013

Hi Brandon,

For some info on NIMAS, search for "nfb books on time," and you will find an
article and Fact Sheet I helped to write (dated 2010 but the law has not
changed). Basically the path is as follows: textbook adopted in a state,
contract with publisher mandates NIMAS, publisher deposits NIMAS fileset
into the NIMAC, authorized user in the state accesses the file when an
eligible student needs it, file converted into type that can be used by
student, book produced for student.

On the aim.cast.org webpage, you can search for state-specific information.
The Idaho page lists some names and contact info that might help you get
started. In Utah, we have found it very helpful to have face-to-face
meetings with the staff who run the Utah Instructional Materials center.

One thing that I am not sure about is how the NIMAS/instructional materials
language in federal law applies to the digital texts and online materials
that students use routinely these days. IDEA refers specifically to "print
instructional materials." If a textbook is never printed out by the
educator, or, worse, if the content cannot be printed or converted to other
formats, does NIMAS apply?

The spirit of the law would make me say, "yes," especially when combined
with the OCR's Dear Colleague letter on use of technology in schools. I will
try to find out more, and will let you know. I have particular concerns when
it comes to math and diagrams.

Lastly, I am so sorry that you are having to scan or type in books; we've
had the frustration of doing that with no training, etc.... We have had
problems with workbooks in the past, especially math and language arts, but
the district's Braillist produces them now for the most part. However, we
make sure that the right person gets the workbook, or at least a reference
for it, the spring before a given school year starts, so that there is
sufficient time for someone to produce the work (in embossed Braille, for my
daughter). (In fact, all the books and materials your student will use in a
given year should be gathered as early as possible the year before.)

A couple things to try in the meantime:
Check the title, author, or ISBN on Bookshare and on the Louis database at
If the book (textbook or workbook) happens to be at Bookshare and if it is a
textbook, you will likely not be able to download it yourself. However,
whoever in Idaho is the "authorized user" for NIMAS should be able to
download it. 
On Louis, you will be able to find if some agency has ever produced the
book, and your district could order it.
I have found it helpful to not limit the search to a specific edition, i.e.,
to not search just by ISBN but rather also by individual author or title.
Sometimes an earlier edition will be available and can work just fine in a
pinch. Make certain you and the teachers involved get that particular
edition in print too, though. (We buy the cheapest, ugliest available
version from an online bookseller--it's faster than waiting for the district
to get us a copy.)

Hang in there!
Salt Lake City, UT
(we met at convention in Dallas--please say hi to Sarah and your girls for

On 1/29/13 12:48 PM, "Brandon and Sarah" <lanesims at gmail.com> wrote:

> This thread suddenly made me wonder, what does it take to get a voice
on the
> committee that makes text/e-text purchasing decisions for the
local district
> in order to assure that accessibility becomes and
remains a top
> priority?

Perhaps naively, I thought that all texts were required to
> coordinate
with NIMAC to provide accessible files of the text (NIMAS files)
> for
distibution to blind students. I really don't understand what all
> is
involved here and maybe I have it wrong...more research needed.

We've just
> begun to dabble in assistive tech for Emilia (3rd grade)
with a Brailliant,
> ipod, and Voiceover. So far, its been a lonely road
- no support from school
> staff to speak of yet. I started the year by
scanning from the inaccessible
> spelling/grammar workbook. I have
realized now that simply typing in the text
> is tedious, but actually
more efficient for most of the material. This is
> do-able in 3rd grade,
but will be less so in higher grades.

If anyone here
> knows more about NIMAS/NIMAC, please chime in.

Following is a snippet from an
> FAQ on NIMAC from the following
> website:

> on A-8: Instructional materials such as textbooks are typically
> through textbook purchasing offices at the SEA or LEA level.
Are these offices
> required to comply with NIMAS requirements in their
purchase of textbooks and
> other instructional materials?

Answer: If an SEA chooses to coordinate with
> the NIMAC, the SEA must,
as part of any print instructional materials adoption
> process,
procurement contract, or other practice or instrument used
> for
purchase of print instructional materials, enter into a written
> with the publisher of the print instructional materials to--
1) require the
> publisher to prepare and, on or before delivery of the
print instructional
> materials, provide to the NIMAC electronic files
containing the contents of
> the print instructional materials using the
NIMAS; or 2) ³purchase
> instructional materials from the publisher that
are produced in or may be
> rendered in specialized formats.²  (See 34
CFR §300.172(c) and 300.210(a).)
> The SEA must ensure that all public
agencies take all reasonable steps to
> provide instructional materials
in accessible formats to children with
> disabilities who need those
instructional materials at the same time as other
> children who receive
instructional materials (34 CFR §300.172(b)(4)).
> Therefore, SEAs
should inform all relevant offices and parties within the
> State,
including LEAs, of their obligation to meet the requirements for
> to instructional materials. For example, SEAs and LEAs should
> these requirements to textbook adoption committees, as
well as procurement and
> contracting offices.

> Lane

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