Supporting Students With Print Disabilities
In DR offices across the country a typical workflow for generating accessible instructional materials generally follows these steps:
- Each semester, students notify DR that they wish to use the services for accessible instructional materials and provide information about the courses they are taking.
- DR researches which materials need to be provided in alternative form and check to see if accessible versions are available. If a ready version is unavailable, DR searches for a version that can be easily modified.
- If an electronic copy of a text is unavailable or of very poor quality, or if the publisher does not respond, a school will obtain a print copy and scan it, often resorting to cutting the binding of the text to obtain a good scan. The scan is run through optical character recognition (OCR) software and then further modified.
- Each student is served individually, so the processing of the digital file will depend on the needed output for the student. In some institutions, DR has established standard file formats from which students can choose. Other institutions will adapt their work to the student’s preferences. For example, a blind student may want some text in braille but other text provided in a structured Microsoft Word document. A student with a reading disorder may want text-based electronic files to be accessed through text-to-speech software or they may want an MP3 version so they can focus on listening. External service providers may be needed to work on some projects (such as braille and video captioning) and subject experts may be needed for some materials (e.g., interpreting graphs for a prose description).
- When the copy is ready, the file is distributed to the student.
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