President George W. Bush signed into law the new Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) at the end of 2004. Several changes were implemented through this reauthorized legislation that had a positive impact on how and when blind students throughout the country receive their textbooks in the accessible formats they need, including braille and large print.
Of particular significance, a National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) has been established in Louisville, Kentucky, at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). The NIMAC will receive and catalog publishers' electronic files of print instructional materials in a standard format: the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). The NIMAS was developed by experts across the country for this specific purpose. The center provides these standardized files to authorized textbook providers, who will then produce textbooks for blind and visually impaired students across the country. The combination of a standard format and a central repository significantly expedites the time frame in which textbooks are delivered to students who need them in the classroom.
APH is working with the U.S. Department of Education, the Association of American Publishers, and many other organizations that produce textbooks and advocate on behalf of the blind and visually impaired to continue development of the National Instructional Materials Access Center, and to ensure that appropriate federal funding is available. Click this link to visit the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) website: http://www.nimac.us.