NIMAC/NIMAS Update

Individuals with print-based disabilities (e.g., vision impairments, physical disabilities, or learning disabilities) often encounter multiple challenges accessing the general education curriculum.  The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Center (NIMAC) and National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) were developed as part of the solution to “help increase the availability and timely delivery of print instructional materials in accessible formats to blind students or other students with print disabilities in elementary and secondary schools” (explained in Appendix C of Part 300 of the Individuals with Disability Education Act – IDEA).

Printed textbooks, workbooks and other core printed materials used in elementary and secondary schools need to be available in classrooms in a manner that is accessible to students with disabilities.  In Connecticut, the State Department of Education (CSDE) strongly suggests that each school district sign on to the NIMAC/NIMAS system for qualifying students they have or will potentially have enrolled and receiving a public education.

Ensuring accessible print materials begins when the school district contracts with publishers to order textbooks.  It becomes important to include the following language in the contract that will require the textbook publishing companies to make a NIMAS file set available to the NIMAC for each textbook ordered.

By agreeing to deliver the materials marked with “NIMAS” on this contract or purchase order, the publisher agrees to prepare and submit, on or before __/__/__, a NIMAS file set to the NIMAC that complies with the terms and procedures set forth by the NIMAC. Should the vendor be a distributor of the materials and not the publisher, the distributor agrees to immediately notify the publisher of its obligation to submit NIMAS file sets of the purchased products to the NIMAC. The files will be used for the production of alternative formats, as permitted under the law for students with print disabilities.

This is page __ of __ of this contract or purchase order.

When a qualifying student is identified, a step by step explanation for a district representative to navigate the process can be accessed on the State Department of Education website at http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=322684.

You may view further information on the NIMAS/NIMAC system along with Frequently Asked Questions at http://aim.cast.org/learn/policy/federal/faq.  Information regarding the Office of Special Education Programs’ (OSEP) interpretation of materials covered under NIMAS may also be reviewed at www.ctnimas.org.