The Student Disability Center (SDC) provides accessible text accommodations to students with visual impairments, learning disabilities, or other cognitive or physical limitations that significantly affect their ability to read and/or comprehend print material. Accessible text accommodations include the conversion of print material into a format that is more accessible to a student’s limitations in order to provide adequate access to information. Due to limitations in resources and/or technology, it may not be possible to convert all print material into the most preferred format for access.
Eligibility and Approval
Eligibility for this service is determined by an assessment of a student’s individual needs by an SDC accommodations specialist or other appropriate SDC staff. The effects or limitations, of the disability will support the need for accessible text services as assessed and verified by an SDC Specialist or other appropriate SDC staff.
Accessible text accommodations may be requested by a student and/or be recommended by an SDC specialist or other appropriate SDC staff member as an appropriate accommodation after an assessment of their needs. All students who request accessible text accommodations for the first time must meet with an SDC specialist or other appropriate SDC staff for approval. A referral from an SDC specialist to the Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) will also be necessary in order to assess a student’s particular format needs.
Once approved and/or assessed by the ATRC, accessible text accommodations must be requested by a student each semester to continue this accommodation. The initial student request for accessible text accommodations should be submitted through the Accessible Text Request Form or through email to the coordinator of accessible text accommodations or other appropriate SDC staff as part of each semester’s accommodation request process.
Provision of Accommodations
When first approved for accessible text services, students must meet with the ATRC for an assessment of appropriate technology and format as part of this accommodation. The student must then meet with the SDC coordinator of accessible text accommodations for orientation to student options and responsibilities in securing accessible text. If a student is unfamiliar with accessible text methodology, they will be encouraged to try at least one method as an accommodation for one book to determine if the method chosen is appropriate before all print material is converted.
The student and the SDC coordinator of accessible text accommodations collaborate to determine the most effective conversion for the student to have access to print material, taking into account the recommendations from the ATRC, type of material to be converted and the resources available to support the conversion.
The process for converting text into accessible formats requires the student to actively participate in the process. Both students and the SDC have specific responsibilities as part of this collaboration.
Students requesting accessible text formats are responsible for, but not limited to, the following:
- Submitting requests in a timely manner (recommended three weeks before the start of the semester.
- Students may need to contact each of their instructors to discuss accessible text needs for each course.
- Identify required textbooks
- According to copyright laws, textbook purchase is required for each request. Proof of purchase will be requested.
- Informing the SDC coordinator of accessible text accommodations of any problems in receiving converted material.
The SDC coordinator of accessible text accommodations is responsible for:
- Monitoring the progress of all formatted material
- Notifying the student if significant delays occur
If needed, the SDC coordinator of accessible text accommodations will also work in conjunction with any faculty member who may play a significant role in providing print material for conversion to facilitate the process.
Options for Conversion
The most common conversion of print is to a digital (PDF) file. The text is scanned and converted to a digital file that is accessed through a text-to-speech software. Books may be unbound through the Morgan Library for no charge as part of the scanning process. This step is coordinated through the SDC coordinator of accessible text accommodations. Students must purchase any books that will be converted. All books will be rebound in a usable manner and returned to the student once the conversion process is complete.
An SDC staff member will check with the online database to see if an already converted copy is available. If it is, the student’s book will not need to be unbound and will be returned to the student. If the book is not available, the student’s book will then be unbound, scanned, and converted. Once the book has been scanned and converted to a digital file, the file will be transferred to a flash drive or sent via Microsoft OneDrive/Google Drive in the format determined by the ATRC.
Other Conversion Needs
The SDC will convert print material to Braille on a limited basis. Requests for Braille materials must be made directly with the SDC coordinator of accessible text accommodations. Converting materials to Braille can be a time-consuming process, depending upon the type of text, the conversion may require 2 to 4 weeks (e.g., math/music requires 3 to 4 weeks, text handouts 2-3 weeks).
Size and Tactile Representation:
Some print material may need to be enlarged or embossed to provide effective access. Any requests for enlarging, embossing, or other conversions necessary to allow access to print material should be made directly to the SDC coordinator of accessible text accommodations.
Requesting Print Material in an Accessible Format
All requests for accessible text formats must be made in a timely manner. Requests received prior to the beginning of a particular semester will have priority over those that come in after the first day of class. Requests made during the semester (after the first two weeks) will be completed as time and staff allow. Priority is given to requests by students who are blind/low vision as this is the primary means to access print material. Beyond this priority, other materials are converted based on a first come, first serve basis.
Any book that is needing to be converted to auditory output or Braille should be requested as soon as the student knows it is needed. This time frame usually coincides with the registration period. Once the course and section number of a class are known, information about the particular textbooks that will be needed can be obtained from the University Bookstore or from the professor teaching the course, in most cases. All conversion requests for books will need the following information:
- Title of book
- Full name of the author(s)
- Copyright date or edition
- ISBN #
Exceptions to the above policies may be made based on individual student need and circumstances only through the approval of the SDC director. Exceptions may be requested from the SDC director by the student, SDC specialists, and/or coordinator of accessible text accommodations.