AIMing for Student Achievement! The IEP Team's Role in Providing Accessible Instructional Materials Joy Smiley Zabala, Ed.D., ATP Project Manager of The AIM Consortium at CAST in collaboration with Vicki Hershman Director of PATINS, Project Manager for ICAM
Big Ideas in this Session • An introduction to Accessible Instructional Materials in IDEA 2004 • NIMAS and NIMAC • Alternate Formats • Qualifying Disabilities • Competent Authorities • IEP Team Responsibilities • A Framework for iEP Team Decision-making • Resources
IDEA Section 300.172Accessible Instructional Materials • Provisions within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 require that textbooks and related core instructional materials be provided to students with print disabilities in specialized formats in a timely manner
National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) • The standard established by the secretary (of education) to be used by publishers in the preparation of electronic files suitable and used solely for efficient conversion into specialized formats for students with print disabilities
National Instructional Materials Access Center • Is a national repository (library) for NIMAS files • Receives and maintains a catalog of print instructional materials, including textbooks, prepared in NIMAS format • Provides access to core print instructional materials in accessible media, free of charge, to blind or other persons with print disabilities in elementary and secondary schools • Maintains procedures to protect against copyright to instructional materials
Frequently Asked Questions • What are core instructional materials? • What are specialized formats? • Why are specialized formats needed? • Which students with reading difficulties meet the criteria for print disabilities, as defined by the Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Law? • Who qualifies students as print disabled?
What are “Core Instructional Materials?” • Printed textbooks and related printed core materials published with the texts… • Written and published primarily for use in elementary and secondary school instruction • Required by state education agency or local education agency for use by students on the classroom
What are “Specialized Formats”? • Braille (Some states includes tactile graphics in this definition) • Audio • Digital text • Large print For use exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities
Why are specialized formats needed? • To provide students who are unable to obtain information through the use of traditional print materials with accessible materials appropriate to their individual needs • To enable students with print disabilities to gain the information they need to complete tasks, master IEP goals, and reach curricular standards
Do all students who have reading difficulties have print disabilities? • Students with “print disabilities” under the Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Law are those who have been certified by a competent authority as unable to read printed materials because of: • A visual impairment or blindness • Physical limitations • An organic dysfunction • Not all students with reading difficulties meet the criteria for “print disabilities” under the Chafee Amendment
Visual Impairment or Blindness • 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
Physical Limitations • Persons who are certified by a competent authority as having physical limitations that prevent the reading of standard printed material • Examples of may include: • Difficulty holding a book and turn pages • Difficulty visually tracking lines of print • Difficulty obtaining meaning from printed materials • Etc.
Competent Authorities for Blindness and Physical Disabilities • 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, teachers, and superintendents)
Organic Dysfunction • 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 Authorities for Organic Dysfunction • 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.
This brings up a question… What about students who are not certified as having a “print disability” but still have difficulty obtaining and using information from printed materials?
What IDEA 2004 says… The Final Regulations of IDEA 2004 require that state education agencies make provisions for providing accessible core instructional materials to students with disabilities • Who are not included under the definition of blind or other persons with print disabilities • When the materials are not producible from NIMAS files • In a timely manner… “at the same time as other children receive instructional materials” or however “timely manner” is defined by the state
IEP Team Responsibilities FIRST, the IEP Team determines if the student needs instructional materials in alternate formats… • Review the student’s evaluation information and present levels of achievement to determine whether the student has a disability-related difficulty with the task of gaining meaning from print-based core instructional materials used in the content areas • Determine whether the student been certified as having a print disability under the Chafee Amendment • If the student is not currently Chafee eligible, determine whether the student needs instructional materials in alternative formats
IEP Team Responsibilities • Determine the alternate formats needed by the student • Identify instruction, supports, services, and/or training will be needed by the student and others to use the materials effectively • Take steps to obtain and/or prepare alternate formats THEN, if the IEP Team determines that the student needs instructional materials in alternate formats, it must…
Using the SETT Framework to Guide IEP Team Decisions about Accessible Instructional Materials
The SETT Framework • The SETT Framework helps teams explore: • the Student’s needs and abilities • the Environments in which the student learns and grows, • the Tasks the student needs to do BEFORE trying to determine • theTools that are needed by the student (and others) to do the tasks in the environments where they need to be done
The SETT Framework • Has been used by IEP Teams to consider a student’s possible need for assistive technology devices and services during the development of the IEP • Can be used effectively to help IEP Teams to make decisions about accessible instructional material
Key questions when applying the SETT Framework to Accessible Instructional Materials • Does this STUDENT need instructional materials in alternate formats to access the curriculum and receive a free, appropriate, public education? • In which ENVIRONMENTSwill alternative materials be used? • For which TASKS will the student require materials in which alternate format? • What TOOLS will the student and others need? Formats? Teaching? Technology? Training? Accommodations? Modifications?
The Students Students who have difficulty making meaning from text to the extent of being print disabled
If the IEP Team determines that the student has a print disability… • Check to see if the student has been certified as having a print disability by a competent authority based on: • Blindness or visual impairment • Physical limitations that prevent the reading of standard printed material • Organic dysfunction of sufficient severity to prevent reading printed material in a normal manner
Students who are certified as Chafee Eligible • If the student has been previously certified as having a print disability and is eligible for alternate formats under the Chafee Amendment, The IEP Team: • Initiates steps for obtaining materials in the required formats through the state system that ensures the delivery of AIM in a timely manner • Determines how materials not available through the system will be obtained or developed in the alternate format in a timely manner • Identifies instruction, supports, services, and/or training will be needed by the student and others to use the materials effectively
Students who are not certified as Chafee eligible If the student has NOT been previously certified as eligible for alternate formats under the Chafee Amendment, the IEP Team: • Considers whether the student’s difficulties with print materials are due to lack of sufficient instruction or limited English proficiency • If the answer the answer to either of these is “yes”, specialized instruction may be more appropriate than materials in alternate format. (NOTE: some alternate format materials could be used temporarily as supports while the student is learning, but the procurement process would be different)
Students who are not certified as Chafee eligible If the student has NOT been previously certified as eligible for alternate formats under the Chafee Amendment, the IEP Team: • Proceeds with determining which materials are required and how to obtain them • Identifies instruction, supports, services, and/or training will be needed by the student and others to use the materials effectively
If the student is not certified as Chafee eligible • NIMAS files may not be accessed through the NIMAC • If the IEP Team determines that a student needs materials in an alternate format but the student is not Chafee-eligible the state system may be able to provide guidance on how to acquire the needed specialized formats if the materials are: • Available for purchase • Available from other libraries that allow access to students with IEPs who are not Chafee certified
Consider these possibilities… • Some interpretations of “physical disability” or “organic dysfunction” might include a broader range of students • In IDEA 2004, Specific learning disability is defined as “a disorder in oneor more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.” • Using the IDEA 2004 definition of specific learning disability, a strong case could be made that specific learning disabilities have a physical cause
If the student is not certified as Chafee eligible • If the IEP Team has determined that a student requires alternate formats, the possibility that the student could be certified as Chafee eligible should be pursued • If a link can be made between the definition of “learning disability and a physical disability, a competent authority may one of several district employees (see slide #13) • Only a doctor or medicine can certify a student as Chafee eligible under the “organic dysfunction” category • SEA or LEA officials may be able to provide information about the correct procedure for pursuing certification
Whether or not the student is Chafee eligible, the IEP Team must… Determine the alternate formats needed by the student Identify instruction, supports, services, and/or training will be needed by the student and others to use the materials effectively Take steps to obtain and/or prepare alternate formats
The Environments and Tasks One format does not fit all… Different alternate formats may be needed for different tasks in different environments
The Environments • When considering alternate formats,Environments include all in which making meaning from print is required in order to receive a free, appropriate, public education. For example, • Core academic classes • Community-based programs • Home
The Tasks When considering alternate formats, the TASKS include any task for which the student is required to gain meaning from print materials to participate and achieve. For example, • Gaining information from short text • Gaining information from large bodies of text • Producing text • Learning to use the format effectively (reading?)
The Tools Tools that are needed by the student (and others) to do the tasks in the environments where they need to be done Alternate Formats, Technology, Specialized Instruction, Training, Accommodations, etc.
Selecting Alternate Formats • When the IEP Team has decided that and alternative format is needed, they must decide which format would be most appropriate for the student • Braille (with tactile graphics) • Large Print • Audio • Digital
Braille • If the student is blind or visually impaired a certified teacher of the visually impaired should be involved in this decision • Review the results of the student’s functional vision evaluation, learning media assessment, and informal reading assessment to determine the most effective format for the student. Some students who are blind or visually impaired do not need braille • Input from an occupational therapist will be important if the student also has physical disabilities
Braille • Think about… • Instruction - braille instruction is critical until the student becomes fluent (generally over a period of several years) • Braille instruction must be provided by a teacher certified in that area • Supports – • Technology needed by the student for written output tasks – (report writing, note-taking, etc) • Portability for using text in multiple environments
Large Print • Review the results of the student’s functional vision evaluation and learning media assessment to determine the most effective format for the student • Document specifics of large print required • Most effective and efficient print size – 18-20 points are typical. Some need larger. • Most effective font –APHont or san serif are clearer • Level of contrast between print and background • Environmental lighting – glare, level of light
Large Print • Think about… • Instruction – probably minimal for this format other than instruction in reading skills similar to that provided to other students at the same level • Supports - • Assistive technology supports such as magnifiers and CCTVs that may be more needed if student needs print considerably larger than “standard” large print • Assistive technology may be more effective and efficient than making the print extremely large
Audio • Consider conducting a listening assessment • Think about… • Level of understanding and comprehension when text is read aloud • Length of time student can listen with understanding • How student will “take notes” on longer listening assignments • Instruction - How and by whom use of audio text will be taught • Supports - The software that will be required to convert NIMAS, the technology needed to play audio files
Digital • Digital text can simultaneously provide audio, video, and, if needed, large print. • Think about… • Provides support for gaining meaning from text AND increasing reading skills • Flexibility – changes in size, rate, contrast, etc • Supports - Technology that is required to use the text when and where it is needed – Hardware and software are typically required • Instruction and ongoing support
Documentation in the IEP • When a student with a disability does need a specialized format, the following information should be specified in the IEP • The specific format(s) to be provided • The services and/or assistive technology that the student needs to use the specialized format • The individual(s) responsible for providing the specialized format • Whether or not the format is required to be used in the student’s home or other setting for the student to receive a free, appropriate, public education
Obtaining Alternate Formats • If the student meets the criteria for eligibility for alternate formats under Chafee, check to be sure that the certificate is on file • If the IEP Team has determined that a student does not meet Chafee criteria but requires an alternate format, consider pursuing certification by a competent authority in according with district procedures • Follow state and district procedures to request the alternate format required • Obtain the needed materials in the requested format if available
Obtaining Alternate Formats • Not all materials used in instruction will be available in a NIMAS-created alternate format from the state system or other external source • For some printed materials it may be necessary to present some materials in other ways, such as: • Audio tapes/CD/etc. prepared by the teacher or others • Text read aloud to students • Digital versions created by scanning • Large print versions prepared by hand or through copy machine enlargement
In Summary The IEP Team determines if the student needs instructional materials in alternate formats by: • Reviewing the student’s evaluation information and present levels of achievement to determine whether the student has a disability-related difficulty with the task of gaining meaning from print-based core instructional materials used in the content areas • Determining whether the student been certified as having a print disability under the Chafee Amendment • If the student is not currently Chafee eligible, determining whether the student needs instructional materials in alternative formats