Monday, April 14, 2008

Access to Materials for Print Disabilities - Copyright and Legal Definitions

In continuing the topic of electronic books, I am going to attempt to tackle a somewhat confusing topic. The topic is access to electronic text materials, who gets them and how they qualify.

IDEA, section 300.172 requires that textbooks and related core instructional materials be provided to students with print disabilities. They are to have them in specialized formats and in a timely manner. Timely manner is perceived to be when the other students receive instructional materials and the specialized format can be braille, audio, digital text or large print. Students with print disabilities are to receive these materials to gain the information needed to complete tasks, master IEP goals and reach curriculum standards.

Chafee Ammendment and Disabilities Defined:
Under the Chafee ammendment to the copyright law in 1931, students with print disabilities are those who have been certified by a "comptent authority" as unable to read printed materials because of a visual impairment or blindness, physical limitations or an organic dysfunction.
Blind is defined as having a visual acuity of 20/200 or less and those whose visual disability with correction prevents the reading of standard printed material.
Other persons with print disabilities is defined as those who are unable to read or use standard printed materials as a result of a physical limitation or resulting form organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent the reading of printed materials in a normal manner.
Competent Authority:
The list is long as to who is designated competent to make a diagnosis for qualification. It ranges from M.D.'s in medicine, osteopathy, opthamology, optometry, registered nurses, therapists, and institutions and public welfare agencies. In absence of these, it states that certification may be made by professional librarians or by any person acceptable to the Library of Congress. See an attorney if you are wanting legal advice on who should qualify in your situation as competent if it varies from qualifications listed in these ammendments.

I have been at several state-wide sessions to discuss the implications of the NIMAS formatting of text materials and how foks qualify. NIMAS is the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard. You can read an overview on NIMAS at the U.S. Dept. of Education site under IDEA HERE. The site lists some legal definitions, but it basically spells out that states needed to provide a standard format NIMAS for those with print disabilities starting in July of 2006.
Publishers of textbooks have been demanding strict protection of any files of their current textbook series. The files have to be administerd by NIMAC the access center for NIMAS, and given out on a case by case qualification basis through an approved state agency that administrates the flow of files to indentified individuals. In Oregon, that identified agency is
The Oregon Textbook and Media Center, housed at Willamette ESD. The American Foundation for the Blind lists a directory by state for these centers. You can look up your instructional resource center for the blind and visually impaired here: (AFB Centers Directory) They also list some nice information about NIMAS and frequently asked questions and self study tool, etc.

I have more to share on this that has to do with and some companion services as well as formats and readers. Also a great resource article link for parents. I think that will be continued tomorrow since this is probably enough information overload for one day!

I would like to acknowledge Gayle Bowser, now retired, but the developer and presenter on a lot of the information I shared today. She is a gold-mine of information and her clear thought processes have helped us sort this out and explore it's implications. I would like to have her on a podcast or the talk radio show to discuss this with us. I'll have to work on that one.

All the best to you!



ATMac said...

Looks like a wonderfully useful post but 99% of it is specific to USA residents. For the rest of us, it would be nice to be told up the top that you're writing about USA-specific stuff ... I must admit the "assumption of Americanness" on the net gets pretty annoying at times! And I know you're open to questioning your own assumptions, so I'm just letting you know.

Hope you got my email about the carnival.

Best Wishes,
Ricky Buchanan

Sangrail said...

Do you know anything about the legalities of making audio versions of texts (that don't have existing audio versions), for students with disabilities?

I'm with an organisation that has a study course, involving recommended reading - but there's no audio versions of the texts available, and we have some members with print disabilities.

We've had a couple of people suggest that they are willing to voice record the books (which is a big undertaking!) as they go through it themselves.

Basically, we're just wanting to find resources to check that it is legal to do this if the person receiving the audio version has a legal print copy, and has a medically (or librarian??) recognised print disability.