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Special Education

IDEA - Reauthorized Statute

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

This is one in a series of documents, prepared by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education. This document addresses only the changes to the provisions of IDEA regarding NIMAS that took effect on July 1, 2005. It does not address any changes that may be made by the final regulations.

IDEA 2004:

  1. Adds definitions related to NIMAS.
    • "NIMAS." "NIMAS" has the meaning given the term in Section 674(e)(3)(B). NIMAS means the standard established by the secretary to be used in the preparation of electronic files suitable and used solely for efficient conversion into specialized formats. [612(a)(23)(E)(ii)]
    • "Specialized formats." "Specialized formats" has the meaning given the term in Section 674(e)(3)(D), which specifies that "specialized formats" has the meaning given the term in 17 U.S.C. Section 121(d)(3) [but the term is now in Section 121(d)(4)]. "Specialized formats" means Braille, audio or digital text which is exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities…. [612(a)(23)(E)(iii)]
    • "Print instructional materials." "Print instructional materials" means printed textbooks and related printed core materials that are written and published primarily for use in elementary school and secondary school instruction and are required by a state education agency (SEA) or local education agency (LEA) for use by students in the classroom. [674(e)(3)(C)]
    • "Blind or other persons with print disabilities." "Blind or other persons with print disabilities" means children served under IDEA and who may qualify in accordance with the act entitled "An Act to provide books for the adult blind," approved March 31, 1931 (2 U.S.C. 135a; 46 Stat. 1487) to receive books and other publications produced in specialized formats. [674(e)(3)(A)]
    • "National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC)." "NIMAC" means the center established pursuant to Section 674(e), which specifies that the secretary shall establish and support, through the American Printing House for the Blind, a center to be known as the NIMAC not later than one year after the date of enactment of IDEA 2004. [(674(e)(1), 612(a)(23)(E)(i)]


  2. Establishes the basis for adoption of NIMAS.
    The state adopts NIMAS for the purposes of providing instructional materials to blind persons or other persons with print disabilities in a timely manner after the publication of NIMAS in the Federal Register. [612(a)(23)(A)]

  3. Mandates access to instructional materials.
    • Nothing in Section 612(a)(23) shall be construed to require any state education agency (SEA) to coordinate with NIMAC. If an SEA chooses not to coordinate with NIMAC, such agency shall provide an assurance to the secretary that the agency will provide instructional materials to blind persons or other persons with print disabilities in a timely manner.
    • If an SEA chooses to coordinate with NIMAC, not later than two years after the date of enactment of IDEA 2004, the agency, as part of any print instructional materials adoption process, procurement contract, or other practice or instrument used for purchase of print instructional materials, shall enter into a written contract with the publisher of the print instructional materials to:
      • Require the publisher to prepare, and, on or before delivery of the print instructional materials, provide to NIMAC electronic files containing the contents of the print instructional materials using NIMAS; or
      • Purchase instructional materials from the publisher that are produced in, or may be rendered in, specialized formats.
      • [612(a)(23)(B)-(C)]


  4. Mandates collaboration with assistive technology programs.
    In carrying out Section 612(a)(23), the SEA, to the maximum extent possible, shall work collaboratively with the state agency responsible for assistive technology programs. [612(a)(23)(D)]

  5. Establishes a deadline regarding coordination with NIMAC.
    • Not later than two years after the date of the enactment of IDEA 2004, an LEA that chooses to coordinate with NIMAC, when purchasing print instructional materials, shall acquire the print instructional materials in the same manner and subject to the same conditions as an SEA acquires print instructional materials under Section 612(a)(23).
    • Nothing in Section 613(a)(6) shall be construed to require an LEA to coordinate with NIMAC. If an LEA chooses not to coordinate with NIMAC, the LEA shall provide an assurance to the SEA that the LEA will provide instructional materials to blind persons or other persons with print disabilities in a timely manner.
    [613(a)(6)(A)-(B)]

  6. Establishes the duties of NIMAC.
    The duties of NIMAC are the following:
    • To receive and maintain a catalog of print instructional materials prepared in NIMAS, as established by the secretary, made available to NIMAC by the textbook publishing industry, SEAs and LEAs;
    • To provide access to print instructional materials, including textbooks, in accessible media, free of charge, to blind or other persons with print disabilities in elementary schools and secondary schools in accordance with such terms and procedures as the NIMAC may prescribe; and
    To develop, adopt and publish procedures to protect against copyright infringement, with respect to the print instructional materials provided under Sections 612(a)(23) and 613(a)(6). [674(e)(2)]


Last Updated: May 16, 2006
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