In 2002, the Kentucky Senate passed Senate Bill 243, which required that any publisher of a textbook adopted for use in K-12 public schools provide those textbooks in an accessible electronic format in order to assist schools in meeting their obligation to provide equal access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities. SB 243 also established the need for facilitating the timely delivery of accessible materials to schools.
· To serve as a state repository for accessible materials
· To disseminate accessible materials to authorized users
· To develop and implement effective tracking systems to maximize copyright protection
· To provide training and technical assistance to member agency staff on accessible technology tools and use of accessible content
· To prepare and provide of NIMAS files to student-ready format
· To assist with awareness efforts and development of materials to increase consumer understanding and use of accessible digital materials
Between 2003 and 2010, the KAMD filled requests for approximately 2,000 digital textbooks, issuing approximately 275 new files each academic year. On average, these textbooks reach nearly 70 school districts each year.
In July 2006, Kentucky’s vision of increasing “the availability and timely delivery of print instructional materials in accessible formats to blind or other persons with print disabilities in elementary and secondary schools” (34 CFR Part 300, National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard; Final Rule, FR Doc. 06–6340 Filed 7-18-06) was realized when the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) was published in the Federal Register at the Library of Congress by the U. S. Office of Special Education (OSEP). With this official posting of the NIMAS, accessible instructional materials have become part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). For more information on the NIMAS standard, go to http://nimas.cast.org/about/nimas.
Eligibility to Receive Digital Textbooks
Since each state is required to provide oversight regarding the distribution and use of these digital files, the Kentucky Accessible Materials Database (KAMD) provides K-12 Kentucky public schools a way to find out what instructional materials are available in digital format, and allows schools to order the digital materials for use by qualified students with disabilities. In addition to the review and distribution of these digital textbooks, the KAMD provides training and technical assistance to publishers and schools regarding file preparation and the use of accessible instructional materials in the classroom.
Qualified students with disabilities are those who meet the definition as described by the Library of Congress and referenced in IDEA 2004:
From Federal Register 34 CFR Parts 300 and 301, p. 46621, published August 14, 2006:
The Library of Congress regulations (36 CFR 701.6(b)(1)) related to the Act to Provide Books for the Adult Blind (approved March 3, 1931, 2 U.S.C. 135a) provide that blind persons or other persons with print disabilities include:
(i) Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses, or whose widest diameter if visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.
(ii) Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material.
(iii) Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations.
(iv) Persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner.
Competent authority is defined in 36 CFR 701.6(b)(2) as follows:
(i) In cases of blindness, visual disability, or physical limitations ‘‘competent authority’’ is defined to include doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, ophthalmologists, optometrists, registered nurses, therapists, professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, case workers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents).
(ii) In the case of a reading disability from organic dysfunction, competent authority is defined as doctors of medicine who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines.
You will find this federal regulation translated into table form below.
In the left hand column, you will find a list of disability types which may impact a student’s access to the general curriculum. The center column indicates whether that particular disability type may qualify a student to receive a digital textbook. The right hand column defines the “Competent Authority” that must certify that a student possesses that particular disability type before a digital textbook can be issued.
Overview of Federal Regulations Determining Student Eligibility for Digital Textbooks