For the blind and visually impaired new technology has literally opened up the doors to education. They can listen to a textbook on a computer or read it using refreshable braille. Yet students with print disabilities have had to wait six months or longer for an accessible textbook to be made available to them.
This is set to change, however, thanks to a reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA). The act, signed by President Bush on December 3, 2004 is geared to give students with visual disabilities the same access to educational materials as their sighted peers.
Key to the effectiveness of this act is the requirement of a standard national file format for the production of textbooks in electronic files. This will make conversion into accessible formats such as braille, large print or digital text much faster.
It is great to see that technology is being used to extend opportunities. Unfortunately Blogger is not Section 508 compliant, so only sighted people can read this.