The Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (WCBVI) Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Team has been experiencing a high volume of requests for research related to textbooks needed by Wisconsin students who are blind and visually impaired for the start of the 2022 school year. This is a reminder that we provide research and connect our Wisconsin Local Education Agencies (LEAs), Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired (TVIs), and Business Service Directors with vendors of specialized book formats. It may take a specialized textbook vendor up to a year or more to transcribe a newly adopted textbook into braille. We have also heard from our national specialized textbook vendors that procuring copies of existing braille or large print textbooks may take multiple months to process.
We wanted to share this news as it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, for many national vendors to fulfill last-minute requests for braille and large print. The fall is the best time for LEAs, Business Office Directors, Curriculum Directors, and TVIs to collaborate to make decisions about curricular needs for blind and visually impaired students for the start of the following school year. This planning will be critical to the LEA's Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) obligations regarding Accessible Educational Materials (AEM). Please ensure that you work with your textbook vendors related to the fiscal year, given that the start of the school fiscal year for the procurement of AEM needed for the fall of a school year may not provide enough time for the AEM to be on the desk of a student who is blind and visually impaired at the same time as their sighted peers. Please also revisit the 20.02 DPI AEM Bulletin.