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​​​Obtaining Accessible Instructional Materials for Students with Blindness, Vision Impairments, or Print Disabilities

The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) is a provision of the reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 (also known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, or IDEIA) at 34 CFR 300.172.  NIMAS requires that one standard be used for translating K-12 printed instructional materials into accessible formats for students with blindness, vision impairment, or print disabilities.

The federally-funded National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) is a central repository for K-12 printed instructional materials in the NIMAS standard. These NIMAS files are submitted by publishers to the NIMAC when requested by school districts purchasing educational materials. Each state coordinating with the NIMAC may assign up to five (5) Authorized Users (AUs) who are able to access these NIMAS files in the NIMAC system and, sometimes with the assistance of an Accessible Media Producer (AMP), convert these files into accessible formats for students with blindness, visual impairments, or print disabilities. The Authorized Users (AUs) serve as a point of contact for school districts seeking printed instructional materials in accessible formats for their students.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Special Education Services Division has chosen to coordinate with NIMAC to ensure Illinois’ school districts are able to obtain print materials in accessible formats for students with blindness, visual impairments, and print disabilities. ISBE determines Authorized Users (AUs) to work directly with Illinois’ districts to obtain these materials. More in-depth information about the process of obtaining accessible printed materials through NIMAC, Illinois’ Authorized Users (AUs), and Frequently Asked Questions about NIMAS and NIMAC is contained in the guidance document below.

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