Promoting Achievement through Technology and INstruction for all Students

ICAM Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the ICAM?

Indiana Center for Accessible Materials. The ICAM was created to help Indiana schools meet the NIMAS Regulations of the IDEA. The reauthorization of the IDEA was signed into law in 2004 by President George W. Bush and was implemented by July 19, 2006.

What is NIMAS and what does it have to do with print disabilities?

The National Instructional Material Accessibility Standard is a file standard that is used to create braille, large print, audio and digital formats, which are accessible formats for students with print disabilities. The IDEA 2004 added provisions for students with print disabilities; these are the NIMAS Regulations. NIMAS files are cataloged and stored at the NIMAC, the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Center, at Louisville, KY.

If the student has a print disability, an IEP that documents this, and confirmation by the competent authority, then we say they are Chafee qualified to use previously published work without seeking copyright protection. The Chafee Law has its roots in the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled Library of Congress.

What is included in the NIMAS Regulations?

Provisions in this law require state and local education agencies to ensure that printed textbooks and related core instructional materials are provided to students with documented print disabilities in accessible formats in a timely manner.

What is AEM?

According to the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (2023), Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) are defined as print- and technology-based educational materials, including printed and electronic textbooks and related core materials that are designed or enhanced in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of learner variability. Accessible formats provide the same information in another form to address the barriers text-based materials can present for some learners. Examples of accessible formats include audio, braille, large print, tactile graphics, and digital text conforming with accessibility standards.

The National Center on Accessible Educational Materials has also put together a guide that addresses questions that often arise about how accessible educational materials (AEM) might be included in Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). The two purposes of this guide are to (1) help families and educators understand the importance of including AEM in the IEPs of students who require them, and (2) to discuss locations in the IEP where it may be appropriate to refer to a student’s need for and use of AEM.

Who can use accessible formats created from NIMAS files?

According to the IDEA, a student must meet 2 criteria:

  1. The student must receive special education services under IDEA (have an IEP)
  2. The student must be Chafee-qualified, with documentation provided by a competent authority
What are Accessible Technologies?

According to the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials, "Accessible Technologies include any hardware devices or software programs that provide learners with access to the content contained in digital materials. In other words, technology can be both the learning materials and the systems that deliver them. Web-based applications, social media, video players, simulation programs, adaptive learning platforms, learning management systems, tablets, smartphones, and computer stations are all examples of technology-based delivery systems."

What is “Chafee qualified”?

The Chafee law essentially prescribes that individuals with documented print disabilities do not have to seek permission from publishers to reproduce materials for accessible formats. If there is documentation of a print disability issued by a competent authority, permission is granted. This Public Law was introduced by Senator John H. Chafee of Rhode Island, in July 1996.

What is a print disability?

A print disability means that a student cannot access standard print in a “normal” manner. The IDEA identifies 3 distinct ways that a student may qualify with a print disability: 1) student is blind or has low vision; 2) student has a physical disability that prevents them from managing a textbook, turning pages, etc., or has a lack of stamina for sitting up for required periods; 3) student has a reading disability that may affect their ability to decode, read with fluency, comprehend, or a combination of these, which renders them unable to read print to the same degree as a person without a reading disability. Dyslexia is the most frequently identified reading disability and is indicated on the IIEP as a SLD (Specific Learning Disability).

Who can sign Form 4: Eligibility and Certification for Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) as a Competent Authority? Updated 3/1/2021

Educators, school psychologists, and certified reading specialists are now among the professionals authorized to certify students with reading disabilities. In addition eligibility may also 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, caseworker, counselor, rehabilitation teacher, certified reading specialist, school psychologist, superintendent, or librarian).

Who can initiate the registration process for a DRM?

Only two people can initiate the registration process: the school superintendent or the superintendent’s appointed designee. Often, this will be the Special Education Director, or a building Principal. This may be an informal agreement, such as an email.

How do I begin my DRM training?

Once the ICAM receives the registration for a new DRM, that individual will receive a link to the ICAM New DRM Training and Orientation.

May I share my Login ID and Password with anyone else?

No. Copyright laws and student privacy issues mandate no sharing of logins or passwords as a legal and a security issue for the school corporation, the DRM, and the student.

What is a “timely manner”?

“Timely Manner” means that students who need accessible formats to access the general curriculum should receive their materials at the same time as typical students, per Article 7 of Indiana’s Special Education Rules. This requires planning ahead and anticipating possible delays. Of course, the unexpected may arise; the ICAM will work with the DRM to offset any necessary delays. Keep in mind that if the accessible format is a braille or large print edition not currently available, production may take up to 4 months.

Why is the book I need sometimes not available in an accessible format?

The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard became effective on August 18, 2006. If your school is using textbooks and/or supplemental materials produced before that date, they might not be available in an accessible format. Even for books produced after August 18, 2006, the school corporation must include an accessible format clause in the corporation’s contracts with publishers in order for it to be made available. Sample contract language for publishers may be copied and pasted into the contract.

What is an ISBN?

The International Standard Book Number, assigned to every publication for unique identification. Often you will see 2 ISBN’s for the same book; the thirteen digit ISBN that begins with 978 is the best search. When entering an ISBN in the ICAM ordering interface, please omit the hyphens.

What is the APH Order Number?

Like the ISBN, this is the unique identifier for items found in the American Printing House for the Blind catalog, such as tangible aids and equipment. When entering an APH Order Number into the ICAM, always use the hyphens.

Can a student qualify for accessible formats through the ICAM if they are a “struggling reader?”

We would like to say yes, but it’s not so simple.

The ICAM was created to assist Indiana public schools in meeting the NIMAS regulations. To qualify for ICAM services, 2 items are required, with embedded functions.

  1. The student must have a current IEP.
  2. The Case Conference must indicate in the IEP the presence of a print disability, which must be confirmed by a certified competent authority. In addition, the IEP must indicate that the student has at least 1 of the 13 disabilities recognized by the IDEA that impedes his or her learning. This will be the disability for which the student is receiving special education services.
Can a student receive special education services with a documented print disability?

Print Disability is not one of the 13 Disability Categories under IDEA. The term “print disability” refers to the functional ability of a student who qualifies for special education services due to 1.) low vision/blindness, 2.) physical disability or 3.) specific learning disability and for whom print is a barrier to learning.

The print disabilities are:

a) low vision/blindness, b) physical disability, and c) reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction.

Word for word, a and b are in the IDEA list. “Reading disability” is alluded to in the list, as Specific Learning Disability, and is indicated in the IEP with a qualifier: "Specific Learning Disability in the area of reading".

May my student with other types of disabilities receive AEM through the ICAM?

Students with any of the disabilities on the IDEA list may qualify for AEM through the ICAM. First on the list is Autism. A student with Autism is not automatically Chafee qualified or disqualified. However, if the Case Conference Committee (CCC) determines that print is a barrier to their learning with their peers, then they may be Chafee qualified. This goes for the other disabilities on the list as well.

So, a student is qualified for special education services by a disability recognized by the IDEA. Then, the CCC determines that print is a barrier to learning for the student and that by using the appropriate accessible format, the student can learn from the general curriculum.

Once a student has been identified with a print disability, then on the IEP, how should I answer the question, “Does this student require AEM?”

The answer to this question will always be “Yes.” A print disability and AEM will always work together. The CCC has tools to help determine which AEM may best benefit a student. To learn more about these tools, contact a PATINS Specialist.

The IEP says that my student has a print disability and will benefit from audiobooks. Isn't this giving them an unfair advantage over the other students?

The answer to this question will always be "No." Print is a barrier to their learning, hence the term “print disability.” Audiobooks remove the barrier and bring their reading up to grade level and beyond. Then, they can truly benefit from their education. This is called “Ear Reading.” You would no more take this away from a student than you would their prescription eyeglasses.

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