Group A Access:

Group A access is granted to students who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Blindness, defined as visual acuity (determined by a competent authority) of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or whose widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.
  • Visual disability (determined by a competent authority), with correction and regardless of optical measurement, prevents the reading of standard print material.
  • Unable to read or unable to use standard printed materials as a result of physical limitations.
  • Reading disability (determined by competent authority) resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent reading printed material in a normal manner.

Those qualified to certify access based on any of the first three criteria include doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, ophthalmologists, optometrists, teachers of the visually impaired, special education teachers, and physical therapists. With regard to the “reading disability” criterion, only doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy, who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines, may provide certification.

Group A students meet the long-standing eligibility requirements from the 1931 Act to Provide Books for the Adult Blind (Library of Congress). These students are sometimes referred to as “Chafee eligible”—referring to the copyright exemption law—or “NIMAS eligible,” referring to IDEA2004. Special education teachers, school psychologists, and other “competent authorities” may certify Group A students based upon the presence of a visual or physical impairment, but for students with learning disabilities to qualify for Group A access, a physician must attest to the organic basis of their print disability. Accessible materials for Group A students may be acquired from any available source, including the American Printing House for the Blind, RFB&D, Bookshare, the NIMAC, and any other "authorized entity." Group A students are not required to have a purchased book in their possession.

Group B Access:

Group B access requires certification of the student’s print disability by school-based “competent authorities” or educational teams. The print disability must be of such magnitude to require the use of accessible curriculum materials in order to meet requirements related to IDEA2004. A typical Group B student has a documented print disability, and an IEP team has determined that s/he needs accessible format materials in order to make adequate progress in the general education curriculum. Group B students are not eligible to use materials acquired from sources such as the NIMAC because that entity specifically requires that the Group A access criteria be met. Group B students MAY use accessible materials from commercial or publisher sources, or from other authorized entities such as Bookshare.org or RFB&D. The BEST source of accessible materials for Group B students is from publishers, and this should always be the first option pursued by schools. When materials are not available from the publisher, accessible materials may need to be secured from other sources or created by authorized entities. When using accessible materials that have been scanned or otherwise created, Group B students must have a purchased book in their possession.