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for the Blind

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NIMAS Guidelines Checklist: A Self-Study Tool

The following checklist has been formulated as a tool for reviewing a state or local district's current system of providing accessible textbooks and instructional materials to students who are blind or visually impaired. It is not a survey but a self-assessment tool to determine issues that need to be addressed in order to improve services to students. It can also be used to create a model profile of efficient systems that could be used as states and local districts begin implementing components of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), P.L. 108-446, regarding production and delivery of accessible textbooks and instructional materials.

Participants in the American Foundation for the Blind Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum identified the guidelines in this checklist. It is important to note that those participants all agreed that each state and local district is very different in:

  • how they provide services
  • how accessible instructional materials are funded
  • how guidelines and procedures are developed and implemented

The participants also agreed that each state or local district must have a system identified to ensure timely delivery of accessible textbooks and instructional materials.

This system provides guidance for implementing the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) established by the IDEA 2004 statute and the technical specification published in the Federal Register.

NIMAS, as defined in the checklist, is a collection of consistent and valid XML-based source files created by K-12 curriculum publishers. From these well-structured source files, accessible, alternate-format versions of textbooks and core instructional materials (i.e. braille, Digital Talking Book, etc.) can subsequently be created (

This NIMAS Guidelines Checklist may serve as a foundation for creating a report specific to your state or local district. The report can then be used to communicate with stakeholders about the services provided, improvements needed, or other important information to ensure that students with visual impairments have "the right book at the right time."

Please feel free to copy and use this checklist as an outline for creating a profile of your state or local district's efforts to provide accessible textbooks and instructional materials. Your committee may determine additional questions or issues specific to your situation. It is also suggested that you attach supporting documentation to clarify an answer or enhance the report being produced. If the AFB Solutions Forum can be of assistance to you in this process, please contact Mary Ann Siller, American Foundation for the Blind, 11030 Ables Lane, Dallas TX 75229, phone: 469-522-1803 or email at

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