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. 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? 
    1. 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?
    1. 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.

Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

To every current and former Black PATINS staff, intern, stakeholder, collaborator, friend, and your families, your lives matter. We share in the immeasurable hurt, anger, and grief from the horrific treatment and death of George Floyd, and with every new name surfacing from the past and in the days since we are newly horrified. Behind every attack on Black lives in our country's timeline, there exists a name, a face, grieving loved ones, and lost opportunities at the hand of hatred.

The PATINS mission is to support all Indiana public schools in creating and sustaining an equitable learning environment for every student. We know that injustices need to be addressed in speaking out, stepping up, and being a part of the solution even though the conversation is difficult, the resistance surrounds you, and chains from the past seem impossible to break. We see you, we support you, and we stand by you in this battle. We have specific work to do on ourselves and we know that immediate and deliberate action is the only way to facilitate positive change for our Indiana Black students, who have long been underserved within the education system, evidenced by Black Indiana students passing English/Language Arts assessment at a significantly lower rate than their White peers (Achievement Report from SBOE) and the 2019 Nation’s Report Card (NAEP), which indicates a disparity of 28 points in reading between Black and White Indiana students. This matters because the link between reading and juvenile detention and later incarceration is directly correlated. 34% of Indiana’s incarcerated population is Black, while only 9% of Indiana’s total population is Black ( 34% of Indiana inmates are also functionally illiterate (Indiana Dept. of Correction).

PATINS is asking every Indiana educator to impact these outcomes by implementing the science of reading, accessible materials, appropriate accommodations, and universally designed learning spaces to ensure that our Black Indiana students experience equitable access to effective and systematic instruction.

PATINS is committed to being anti-racist. As a collective staff, PATINS is actively addressing any implicit bias that may be evident in our services and perspectives through intentional reflection, training, and study. We are also addressing the disparity in literacy outcomes through dedicated weekly meetings, which drives all of our work, services, and products. We are determined to add opportunities in places where they have been unjustly taken from Black students. Through this work, it is our goal to identify best practices for promoting literacy as one means to the end of systemic racism and cultural divide.

ICAM and Learning Ally in Indiana

As of July 1, 2020, Learning Ally will no longer honor the contract with the ICAM (Indiana Center for Accessible Materials).
This decision was not made by the ICAM. Learning Ally has decided to change its business model, which does not allow the ICAM to continue to offer this service. You may reference 

this letter 

(opens to PDF document) from Dr. Nancy Holsapple, Indiana Director of Special Education, and Daniel McNulty, PATINS Project Director, to further explain this interruption of services. Please 

contact Daniel McNulty or an ICAM Staff member 

if you have any questions or concerns.

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, 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 (opens to PDF document) for guidance.


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