Special Education

Helpful questions to consider before talking to a publisher

Helpful questions to consider before talking to a publisher - Word (31 KB)

Developed by Chuck Hitchcock, Chief Officer, Policy and Technology; Director, NIMAS Technical Assistance Center
Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)external link

Please respond to the following questions:
The State and/or Local Education Agency are also required to ensure that students with print disabilities who may not qualify for specialized formats are provided with accessible instructional materials. Preference may be given to publishers that are able to provide instructional materials in both print and accessible digital formats to include all of the materials text and images. Please respond to the following questions:

  1. Are you able to provide fully accessible* digital formats for purchase?
  2. Which digital formats are available for purchase (e.g. html, tagged PDF, etc.)?
  3. How are they delivered (on CD, by download, by Web access, etc.)?
  4. Do any of the accessible formats include additional learner supports**?
  5. Do you offer a recommended player for your digital formats?
  6. Is the user interface of the player accessible?
  7. If the instructional materials are not available as accessible digital formats, do you provide permission for them to be scanned and converted to live text with optical character recognition software so that they may be made available to students with print disabilities?

What is meant by “fully accessible”?

  • All text is digital and can be read with text-to-speech, modified with regard to font size and navigated by unit, chapter, section and page number (or other appropriate segments).
  • Images include alternative text and long descriptions when appropriate.
  • Math equations are provided as images with alt text or in the content file using MathML.
  • Content reading order, levels and headings are determined by publisher tagging.

** What is meant by “additional learner supports”?

  • Table of contents with links to appropriate location with the body of the text.
  • Vocabulary supports with links to a glossary.
  • Comprehension supports such as prompts and scaffolds for applying reading strategies.
  • Optional highlighting of critical features such as big ideas within the content.
  • Opportunities to interact with the content.
  • Embedded prompts, hints and models to support responding by learners.
Last Updated: March 17, 2014