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Simplified Qualification Process for AEM/NIMAS Files - Are Your Students Eligible?

The National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Print Disabled has issued new eligibility guidelines for their services. The guidelines have been revised to align with changes to copyright made by the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (MTIA).

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) requires students to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and a qualifying print disability in order to be eligible for materials produced from National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) file sets. For the qualifying print disability criterion, the legislation points to the NLS guidelines, thus the NIMAS eligibility criteria has changed.

All of the Indiana Center for Accessible Materials (ICAM) textbook materials created from NIMAS file sets will now be subject to the new guidelines outlining the pool of professionals who qualify to certify eligibility, which has been expanded to:

(2) Eligibility must be certified by one of the following: doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, ophthalmologist, optometrist, psychologist, registered nurse, therapist, and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or welfare agencies (such as an educator, a social worker, case worker, counselor, rehabilitation teacher, certified reading specialist, school psychologist, superintendent, or librarian).

Why is this change important?

Educators, school psychologists, certified reading specialists, and librarians are now among the professionals authorized to certify eligibility with reading disabilities. Please note that a medical doctor’s signature is no longer required to obtain NIMAS files/AEM for an eligible student. The wording on “Eligibility and Certification for Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) ICAM/IERC NIMAS Form 4” (fillable version | printable version) has been updated to reflect this change.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does this impact students with a 504 Plan?
    • Students with 504 Plans do not qualify for NIMAS files. The NIMAS regulations are part of the IDEA 2004 amendments. The ICAM was created to help Indiana LEAs meet those requirements. Schools must still provide FAPE to students who use a 504 plan, which is a civil rights law.

  2. Can a lone teacher now certify a student with a print disability and begin ordering AEM?
    • No, eligibility for AEM is still a Case Conference Committee decision. AEM must be ordered by one of the district’s active Digital Rights Managers (DRMs).

Should you have questions about students with print disabilities qualifying for AEM through the ICAM, please contact PATINS Director, Daniel McNulty or the ICAM Specialists.

Compliance Pointers on Computers and Other Assistive Technology Devices

As school resumes, please ensure that the needs of students for electronic devices or assistive technology are met. As schools offer a variety of instructional options (in-person learning, virtual or remote instruction, or blended), students may have new or additional needs for electronic devices or technology to enable them to participate in instruction and access instructional materials.

For technical assistance regarding assistive technology and/or professional development opportunities, please contact Daniel McNulty, Director of PATINS.

Outside Contractors & PATINS Services

It has come to our attention that some Indiana public LEA’s are utilizing outside contractors (both in-state and out-of-state) for the provision of services that can include blind and low vision, speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavior therapy, etc. PATINS values these service providers and the important work they are doing with Indiana students. However, please note that we must require that all requests for PATINS and ICAM direct services, such as borrowing from our Lending Library, requesting a training, or requesting Accessible Educational Materials from the ICAM, come to us directly from an Indiana public LEA employee for Indiana public school students. Please contact PATINS Director, Daniel McNulty with any questions you might have.

IRN Accommodations Statement

In light of concerns expressed by the educational community in Indiana and especially concerns noted on a Learning Connections thread, the Indiana Resource Network (IRN) members want to share the following information regarding accommodations and assessments.

Please read the IRN Accommodations Statement Sept 2018 for guidance.

Upcoming Statewide Trainings

15 Aug
I Love Data!
Date 08.15.2022 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
17 Aug
All Behavior is Communication
08.17.2022 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
23 Aug


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