I think there are TWO issues being discussed here, both under the
guise of the word "qualification" when really only one of the issues
actually relates to qualification.
question was about qualification for Bookshare... and this is the place
where the word "qualification" can be accurately used because there ARE
qualifications for acquiring accessible materials from various sources,
including Bookshare and other accessible media producers (AMPs)
I was a bit unsure whether the second statement/question - "In this case the auditory comprehension alone was worse than reading comp...but together it was documented as improved ...would this then qualify the student?" - I wondered if the question was this
still about quaification for a SOURCE of AIM or if the question had
shifted to whether the student "qualifies" for (reframe: NEEDS!)
accessible instructional materials.
Wondering about this shift compelled me to write a bit about the "myth" and the "reality" of qualification.
The myth of "qualification":
Many people think that there is some way that a student must "qualify"
for accessible instructional materials. This is a myth in the same way
that "qualifying" for assistive technology is a myth.
The reality of need:
Both are related to NEED... so a re-framed question might be "Can the
student use typical printed-based instructional materials in order to
benefit from their instructional program and reach high levels of
achievement?... If the answer to this question is "NO", then the
question has two branches... "Would the identical content be useful to
the student if presented in a different format?" or "Is modified content
needed by this student?"
notice that there has been no mention of qualification at this point.
The problem with talking about "qualification" too early is that it
GREATLY increases the possibility that students who actually NEED and
could benefit from accessible versions of the print-based instructional
materials used by other students get passed over because they do not
"qualify" (for accessible materials from a particular source or
this point, I am going to shift my focus a bit to those students for
whom it has been determined to need the identical content presented in
some other way.
Once NEED has been established, it is time to determine which presentation formats
would be both useable by and beneficial for the student - braille?
large print? audio? digital. (I do not mean to gloss over this step, as
it can be quite complex, but it is not pertinent to this discussion
The reality of qualification: Once
it has been determined that the student needs print-based materials
used by other students in accessible formats and which of the formats
are needed for which materials, it is time to think about the sources of
materials that can be tapped for the particular student. THIS is the
place where the "qualification" of the individual student is both
appropriate and necessary.
There are five "broad brush" sources of AIM, several which have "rules" - qualifications - that must be followed.
Source: National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) The library of NIMAS source files created and deposited by publishers
Student must be served under IDEA (have an IEP) AND be certified by a
competent authority as having a print disability under copyright
Source: Accessible Media Producers (AMPS)
(There are many but the big federally-funded ones are American Printing
House for the Blind - funded by Congress - Recording for the Blind and
Dyslexic, and Bookshare - both funded by OSEP )
Qualification: Two collections. General collection open to all qualified individuals: Certified by a competent authority as having a print disability under copyright (different AMPS interpret this statutory requirement in different ways.) NIMAC-Sourced Collection that can only be acquired by schools: Same as the NIMAC.
Source: Materials available for purchase from commercial sources (the market model)
Qualification: No qualifications. Accessible materials purchased can be used with ANY student. (see Pearson HTML Books for an examples) Important
to keep in mind that if 100 students are to use the materials, then 100
copies must be purchased Also, it is important to ensure that any
digital versions acquired are ACCESSIBLE. For sources of materials that
are primarily supplemental trade books (not textbooks) other commercial
sources might include all of the folks (e.g. Amazon, Barnes and Noble)
who now sell digital versions of materials (which may or may NOT be
accessible) and Audible.com for audio versions.
Source: Free (most likely web-based)
qualifications. This is a great source for items without copyrights
and for books that are no longer under copyright and a terrific way to
obtain materials for trials with different formats.
Source: Do It Youself (The old standby of all us AT people!)
Qualification: It depends upon what the material IS and how it is copyrighted. This should be a LAST RESORT rather than a first resort.
Wow! The whole "qualification" issue obviously touches a nerve for me!
While this message is long, I hope it clarified a bit about where
qualification is important (where you GET- or acquire - the materials
that a student needs) and where it is dangerous (when confused with NEED
in order for the student to benefit from the educational program).
would also like to share a couple of excellent resources that go much
more deeply into this and other issues. If you have not already done
so, please visit the website of the National Center on Accessible
Instructional Materials at http://aim.cast.org
and go to the EXPERIENCE section where you will find information about
two tools that are DIRECTLY related to this discussion: The AIM Navigator
which is an online process facilitator that walks a team through
decision-making steps and provides multiple levels of unobtrusive
support if/when needed and the AIMing for Achievement DVD which
provides both information and wonderful illustrative vignettes about all
phases of the provision of accessible instructional materials.
Note that the NIMAS/AIM Coordinator has recently received multiple copies of the AIMing for Achievement DVD. Contact
the NIMAS/AIM Coordinator in your state to find out how to obtain a
copy. (If you do not know who your state's AIM/NIMAC Coordinator is,
they are listed at http://aim.cast.org/learn/policy/state/nimas_nimac_contacts) There is also information on the AIM Center website about how to purchase copies.
(The information in the DVD is provided free of charge, but there are
shipping and handling charges from the order fulfillment company.)
Also, please do not hesitate to contact me directly by email to firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything I can help you with.