OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY
descriptions. As a modification, the teacher creates separate audio descriptions
for each video clip that narrate what is taking place in the video, and places
them in a separate section of the online course. The online course includes
links that enable persons who use screen readers to bypass the video clips
completely and instead listen to the audio descriptions. Here, the use of
detailed audio descriptions that are a part of the online course would provide
students with disabilities access to the same opportunities and benefits in
an equally effective and equally integrated manner. Schools should also think
about whether other accommodations may be needed to provide equal access.
For example, a student who uses a screen reader may need extra time to take
an online examination because it may take time for the screen reader to process
information displayed on a screen and provide that information to the student.
- Are there circumstances under which it would be appropriate for a school to provide traditional alternative media, such as books on tape, to a student who is blind or has low vision?
- If a student who is blind or has low vision makes a request for a particular emerging technology, and that technology currently is not used for all students, must the school provide it?
A: Yes. Traditional alternative media can still be used as an accommodation under appropriate circumstances. For example, if a school provides printed books to students in a class, books on tape may be an appropriate accommodation for a blind student. The DCL does not require schools to use emerging technology. If, however, a school chooses to provide emerging technology and proposes traditional alternative media as an accommodation or modification to provide equal access to the educational opportunities and benefits provided to all students, the alternative media must provide access to the benefits of technology in an equally effective and equally integrated manner. Some forms of emerging technology may readily offer students educational opportunities and benefits that traditional alternative media cannot replicate.
A: Not necessarily, because such decisions are individualized. The DCL does not change the requirements and processes by which elementary and secondary schools must provide a free appropriate public education, or FAPE, to students with disabilities; nor does the DCL change the processes by which postsecondary schools provide academic adjustments and auxiliary aids to students with disabilities. Rather, the DCL discusses the issue of how Section 504 and the ADA apply if schools choose to incorporate emerging technology into their instruction or other programs or activities for all students.At the elementary and secondary school levels, if parents believe that their child with a disability requires a particular emerging technology as part of the child’s right to FAPE, even though that technology currently is not used for all students, an individualized decision about providing a specific technology should be made through the processes