Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education: New Recommendations to Congress

On December 6, 2011 The Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities, authorized by Congress reported that recommendations to Congress have been made that will provide for direction and result in breaking the barriers to existing instruction for students with disabilities.  These recommendations mark gains in equalizing opportunities for students with print disabilities.

Laura Kaloi, the Public Policy Director of the National Center for Learning Disabilities stated, “While acknowledging the complex and real barriers facing schools, publishers and most important, students in accessing instructional materials, the report makes it clear that students with disabilities should not be denied the opportunity to fully benefit from a postsecondary education. Barriers to existing instructional materials should be removed or surmounted. Future instructional materials can and must be designed to meet the needs of all students, including students with disabilities. The prosperity of our nation and its people depends on full inclusion and full access.”

Recommendations from the Commission include using the information developed in the study to:

  1. Inform Federal regulations and legislation
  2. Support model programs that improve quality and efficiency of the delivery of instructional materials
  3. Identify best practices for collecting, maintaining, processing and disseminating materials in specialized formats making sure costs are comparable to materials produced for non disabled students
  4. To improve effective use of such materials by faculty and staff while complying with applicable copyright law
  5. Modify definitions of: instructional materials, authorized entities, and eligible students

Click here to view the full report and statement by James H. Wendorf, Executive Director of the National Commission on Learning Disabilities.

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