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National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard

To:Superintendents and Administrators of Special Education
From:Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education
Date:August 2009


One of the topics addressed by IDEA is the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS), which is designed to streamline access to instructional materials for students who are blind or have other print disabilities.

Districts' Responsibilities

Each district has the option of participating in National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC). Whether a district does or does not participate in NIMAC, the district will be responsible for ensuring that each child who requires instructional materials in an alternate format will receive it in a timely manner. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recommends that districts choose to participate in the NIMAC, because this national effort will help guarantee timely provision of such materials to students.

For districts that choose to participate in NIMAC, contracts with publishers executed on and after December 3, 2006 for textbooks and other printed core materials must include a provision that requires the publisher to produce NIMAS files and send them to the NIMAC.

In lieu of, or in addition to choosing to participate in NIMAC, each LEA may contract with curriculum publishers directly to purchase accessible, student-ready versions. In most cases, however, you will find that publishers will not have such versions for sale.

Required Documentation

As you may know, our annual Grant Assurances Document includes a certification dealing with the NIMAS provisions of IDEA in "SECTION I" at I-5 on page 13. Your district needs to contact the Department if you do NOT want to coordinate with the NIMAC. Regardless of whether you opt out, you need to assure that your district will provide accessible instructional materials in a timely manner. For additional information, please see our NIMAS web page.

Last Updated: May 20, 2015
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