University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)


AIM - Rules & Regulations

Why Provide Accessible Instructional Materials To Children With Print Disabilities?  - Understanding the Regulations:

Federal statutes, including Civil Rights legislation, and statutes in several states, have created compelling mandates for states and districts to ensure that students with disabilities access, participate, and achieve in the general educational curriculum. It can be difficult to find the state and federal regulations pertaining to assistive technology and Accessible instructional materials, since they are imbedded in various larger regulations. To facilitate the process of finding the AT/AIM regulations, we have extracted all of the AT & AIM regulations and they are listed below.

Vermont Department of Education - State Board of Education Manual of Rules and Practices (PDF)

What does the Chaffee Amendment say about Accessible Instructional materials?
The Library of Congress regulations (36 CFR 701.10(b)(1)) related to the Act to Provide Books for the Adult Blind (approved March 3, 1931, 2 U.S.C. 135a) include:
  • "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."
  • "Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material."
  • "Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations."
  • "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 701.10(b)(2) as follows:
  • "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)."
  • "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."
Specialized formats has the meaning given the term in section 121(d)(4) of title 17, United States Code:
  • "Braille, audio, or digital text which is exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities."
  • "With respect to print instructional materials, includes large print formats when such materials are distributed exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities."
What does the United States Department of Education IDEA 2004 law say about Accessible Instructional Materials?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 in its National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard-related sections requires that State Education Agencies (SEAs) and/or Local Education Agencies (LEAs) "will provide instructional materials to blind persons or other persons with print disabilities in a timely manner" (Part B, Sec. 612(a)(23)(B) and Sec. 613(a)(6)(B)).

Part D, Sec. 674(e)(3)(A) of the same act refers to the Library of Congress regulations (36 CFR 701.10(b)(1)) related to An Act to Provide Books for the Adult Blind (approved March 3, 1931, 2 U.S.C. 135a) to provide a definition for "blind or other persons with print disabilities."

Federal Regulations note that not all students unable to use standard print materials will be eligible for material available from the NIMAS/NIMAC initiative, nevertheless...
"...nothing in this section would relieve an SEA (or LEA) of its responsibility to ensure that children with disabilities who need instructional materials in accessible formats, but who do not fall within the category of children for whom the SEA may receive assistance from NIMAC, receive those instructional materials in a timely manner. Timely access to appropriate and accessible instructional materials is an inherent component of public agencies' obligations under the Act to ensure that FAPE is available for children with disabilities and that they participate in the general education curriculum as specified in their IEPs." (Section § 300.172(b)(3))"
What does Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 say about Accessible Instructional Materials?
A. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of physical or mental disability (29 U.S.C. 794):
"No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States ... shall, solely by reason of his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance..."
The Section 504 regulation applies to all recipients of this funding, including:
  • "a department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a state or of a local government";
  • "the entity of such state or local government that distributes such assistance and each such department or agency (and each other state or local government entity) to which the assistance is extended, in the case of assistance to a state or local government"; or
  • "a local educational agency (as defined in section 2891(12) of title 20), system of vocational education, or other school system".
Funding recipients must provide "auxiliary aids to qualified students who have disabilities" and the Office of Civil Rights, United States Department of Education, has determined that Section 504 at 34 C.F.R. § 35.160 (Communication):
" this context to mean the transfer of information, including (but not limited to) the verbal presentation of a lecturer, the printed text of a book, and the resources of the Internet. In construing the conditions under which communication is "as effective as" that provided to non-disabled persons, on several occasions OCR has regarded the three basic components of effectiveness as timeliness of delivery, accuracy of the translation, and provision in a manner and medium appropriate to the significance of the message and the abilities of the individual with the disability." (OCR Letter, UC Fullerton, Docket Number 09-03-2166, 2003)
B. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12131 et seq.) also prohibits discrimination by state and local government agencies on the basis of disability. The requirements regarding the provision of auxiliary aids and services described in the Section 504 regulation are adopted in the general non-discrimination provisions of the Title II regulation (see 28 CFR Part 35).

Last modified August 24 2009 10:28 AM

Contact UVM © 2018 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131