Accessible Instructional Materials:
Ensuring Access for Students with LD
Joanne Karger, J.D., Ed.D.
Published: October 4, 2010
Executive Summary for the Report (4-page PDF document)
Full Policy Report: (22-page PDF document)
This paper discusses the legal issues associated with the provision of accessible instructional materials to students with print disabilities. Part I examines the 1996 Chafee Amendment and the provisions establishing the NIMAS and the NIMAC that were incorporated into IDEA 2004 and its implementing regulations. Part I also reviews several policy letters from the Office of Special Education Programs (“OSEP”) of the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) that provide further guidance on the NIMAS/NIMAC process. Part II discusses the right of students with disabilities who need accessible instructional materials to receive these materials in a timely manner. This right is grounded in IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Finally, Part III analyzes two questions that continue to be debated in the context of the implementation of the NIMAS and the NIMAC: (1) Which students should be eligible to receive accessible instructional materials that have been developed from NIMAS files via the NIMAC, and (2) What kinds of digital text should constitute acceptable specialized formats under the NIMAS/NIMAC process?