Proposed Act Improves Access to Textbooks for K-12 Students with Visual Impairments

August 14, 2012
Austin, Texas

Contact:
Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556
Email: laura.shankland@sedl.org

The Instructional Materials Accessibility Act of 2002 (IMAA), proposed legislation that will improve access to textbooks for K-12 students who are blind or who have other print disabilities, was introduced in Congress on April 24. Higher education materials will be addressed at a later date.

The bipartisan legislation ensures that blind or other students with print disabilities in elementary and secondary schools receive instructional materials in an accessible medium at the same time as their non-disabled peers. The IMAA creates a system for acquiring and distributing these materials in specialized formats, which include Braille, synthesized speech, digital text, digital audio, and large print.

The proposed act requires publishers to submit an electronic file of all textbooks in a standardized, national electronic file format that will allow materials to be converted more easily into accessible formats. The IMAA establishes a central depository for these files and describes how state and local education agencies will be responsible for developing and implementing a statewide plan to utilize these files appropriately.

The IMAA was drafted collaboratively by the American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, American Printing House for the Blind, Association of American Publishers, Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, National Federation of the Blind, and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, in concert with several other national groups. For more information on IMAA, visit the American Foundation for the Blind Web site at http://63.240.118.132/info_document_view.asp?documentid=1704.