Public education agencies (PEAs) are required by state and federal statute to provide accessible instructional materials in a timely manner to students with print disabilities. In 2006, a National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) was finalized to provide consistency in the electronic source files used to produce these accessible materials. Later that year, the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Center (NIMAC) began operations. The NIMAC is designed to aid schools in the provision of accessible materials by acting as a central repository for NIMAS files. Files are placed in the NIMAC by textbook publishers as a condition of purchase contracts for materials adopted by the PEAs. PEAs must decide to opt-in or opt-out of utilizing the NIMAC. However, choosing to opt-out does not relieve the PEA of its obligation to provide accessible instructional materials in a timely manner. Files placed in the NIMAC may only be used to produce accessible instructional materials for students with individualized education programs (IEPs) who meet the criteria of a person with a visual impairment or print disability as defined in a 1931 federal law (2 U.S.C. 135a; 46 Stat. 1487) commonly known as the Chaffee Amendment. While anyone may search the NIMAC, only authorized users may request or download files. In Arizona, the Arizona Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services (ADE/ESS) is the only authorized user. Schools wishing to access a NIMAC file submit a request to ADE/ESS which then authorizes a download and assigns the file to an Accessible Media Producer for the creation of the accessible instructional material in whatever format is required.
Watch this video by Simply Said, a video by the PACER Center that explains AEM.
ADE/ESS is acutely aware of the shortage of qualified special education teachers and related service providers across Arizona. ESS has multiple activities and programs to support PEAs to confront this shortage every school year. The ESS Recruitment and Retention team has created Developing a Grow Your Own Program: A Guide for Special Education Administrators as a reference as you consider developing and implementing a Grow Your Own program as part of your own recruitment and retention efforts.
The ADE/ESS Assistive Technology (AT) team is excited to announce the 2022–2023 National Presenter Series with Kelli Suding, MEd. This workshop is designed for special educators and related service providers.
“Assistive Technology Integration for All Students”