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.
The Center for Technical Assistance in Excellence for Special Education (TAESE), in partnership with ADE/ESS, is pleased to offer Saturday Mornings with the NRCP for free to all paraeducators, teachers, and administrators working in Arizona public education agencies.