Special Education Services
(Updated February 2014)
The U.S. Congress adopted the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. NIMAS legislates that one standard is to be used in translating educational materials into an electronic format. The National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) provides a central depository for those materials from which states then designate Authorized Users (AUs) as contacts for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to be able to access materials for those students who may be blind or visually impaired or have a print disability.
Illinois follows statutory and regulatory requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) and Section 300.172 of the IDEA Regulations. There are currently no additional state statutes or regulations. The Illinois State Board of Education, Department of Special Education and Support Services is the administrator for adherence to the NIMAS. We are also responsible for determining the NIMAC users for the state. Any district/teacher that needs materials from the NIMAC for their students who are blind/visually impaired or have a print disability may contact one of the four state-approved Authorized Users listed below.NIMAS Guidance Document
For Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired the Illinois Authorized User is:
The Illinois Instructional Materials Center is located at 1850 West Roosevelt, Chicago, Illinois 60608. They can be reached via phone at 312/666-1331 ext. 3079 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The purpose of the Illinois Instructional Materials Center is to purchase and distribute on a statewide basis Braille and large-print books, adapted materials, and assistive technology equipment for students with visual disabilities. They serve elementary, secondary, and post-secondary students with visual impairments.
For Students Who Have a Print Disability the Illinois Authorized User is:
Infinitec is located at 7550 W 183rd Street, Tinley Park, IL 60477 and is affiliated with United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago. They can be reached via phone at 708-444-8460 ext 261 or it is preferable that you contact Steve Clements with your NIMAS request via e-mail at email@example.com.
Infinitec provides access to NIMAS files for K-12 students throughout the state. In addition, for members of the Infinitec AT coalition, Infinitec administers "InfiniTEXT", an online repository containing electronic versions of thousands of common textbooks and other instructional materials.
For Students Who Have a Print Disability or are Blind/Visually Impaired the Illinois Authorized Users are:
Learning Ally (formally known as Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D), is located at 20 Roszel Road, Princeton, NJ 08540. In Illinois, please contact Lindsey Novak, the Illinois program manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, (847) 494-0887 or (800) 221-4792 for more information about state access.
Learning Ally is the world’s largest collection of human-voice recorded audiobooks in the world, with more than 80,000 titles, including core curriculum textbooks, fiction, literature, recreational reading material, as well as state-of-the-art assistive technology. Designed to help students with blindness, low vision, learning disability or physical handicap succeed in the classroom and beyond, Learning Ally converts printed educational materials into recordings, computerized documents and other accessible formats (e.g., digital audio textbooks with navigation features) to ensure equal curriculum access for all students.
The Illinois State Board of Education has provided a limited number of grants for Illinois public K-12 schools to receive Learning Ally access. The grant provides unlimited access to human-voice recorded audiobooks, Learning Ally’s online student management portal, and play-back technology for PK-12th grade public schools. Please visit www.learningally.org/illinois for more information about the grant or to fill out an application.
Bookshare is located at 480 South California Avenue, Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94306. They can be reached via phone at 650-644-3411 or via email at email@example.com.
Bookshare® is an online library of digital books for people with print disabilities. It operates under an exception to U.S. copyright law which allows copyrighted digital books to be made available to people with qualifying disabilities. In addition, many publishers and authors have volunteered to provide Bookshare with access to their works. By requiring individuals to register as Members and provide a Proof of Disability, Bookshare ensures that only qualified individuals use the service. For more information, see http://www.bookshare.org.
Illinois Assistive Technology Center is located at 1 West Old State Capitol Plaza, Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701. Illinois residents may call toll free at 800-852-5110. They can be also reached via phone at 217-522-7985 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OSEP Letter Regarding NIMAS
“The purpose of this letter is to address the use of the most recent version of the Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Structure Guidelines. The most recent version of the MathML guidelines is MathML3. These guidelines reflect the most effective method of providing accessible print instructional materials involving mathematical and scientific content to students who are blind or who have print disabilities, and do not conflict with the minimum requirements in the NIMAS.”
“As classrooms start to incorporate more digital technology, it becomes increasingly important that materials used in the classroom are designed to be useable by all students from the start. This requires adjustments in the way materials are purchased, and that, in turn, will drive the availability of more flexible and accessible learning materials in the marketplace. We (National Center on Accessible Learning Materials) are launching the PALM Initiative (Purchase Accessible Learning Materials) to ensure this change happens as soon as possible.
“The AIM Navigator is an interactive tool that facilitates the process of decision-making around accessible instructional materials for an individual student. The four major decision points in the process include 1) determination of need, 2) selection of format(s), 3) acquisition of format(s), and 4) selection of supports for use. The AIM Navigator also includes a robust set of guiding questions and useful references and resources specifically related to each decision point. Different scaffolds of support are built in so that teams can access information at the level needed to assist them in making informed, accurate decisions.”
“The AIM Explorer is a free simulation that combines grade-leveled digital text with access features common to most text readers and other supported reading software. Magnification, custom text and background colors, text-to-speech (synthetic and human), text highlighting, and layout options are presented in a logical sequence to help struggling readers decide which of these supports might help them to access and understand text.”
AIM for Families
“Welcome to AIM for Families. Here are answers to a range of questions you may have about how accessible instructional materials (AIM) can help your child. We have also identified specific AIM Center resources and tools we believe are most useful for families.”