‘Timely Manner’ for Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) Section 300.172 addresses access to instructional and educational materials in a timely manner by individuals who are blind or have other print-related disabilities through the establishment of the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) and the adoption of the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).

Connecticut has adopted the NIMAS standard, and in a recent AEM – Topic Brief defines timely manner as “all reasonable efforts will be made by the local education agency (LEA) to ensure that accessible educational materials (AEM) are provided to children with disabilities who need accessible formats of educational materials at the same time as other children receiving their educational materials”.

If a student is identified by the planning and placement team (PPT) as having a print-related disability (e.g., blindness, visual impairment, physical limitations and specific learning disability in reading), which impacts the student’s ability to access curriculum, then the PPT may determine, as the competent authority, that the student qualifies to receive AEM produced in specialized formats as delineated on the individualized education program (IEP) through an accessible media producer and/or the NIMAC.

A helpful AEM – Flowchart with AEM – Scenarios that indicate how to determine the need for AEM, and sources which may be acquired in order to allow the student access to AEM in a timely manner, are available on the Connecticut State Department of Education website under NIMAS/NIMAC (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=322684).

If you have questions related to AEM and the NIMAS/NIMAC process, please contact Thomas Boudreau, Bureau of Special Education, at 860-713-6925 or thomas.boudreau@ct.gov.