In a postsecondary setting, who is responsible for providing Braille translation?
Providing Braille materials for students, faculty, and staff who request them and for whom this accommodation is considered reasonable is typically considered the responsibility of the postsecondary institution. Schools differ in processes established for creating Braille materials. In many schools, students who wish to request academic accommodations must register with a campus disability services office and provide proper documentation of their disabilities. This office determines which accommodations, if any, are reasonable for a particular student and, with permission from the student, provides appropriate information to faculty members involved. Similar processes exist for the provision of Braille documents for faculty and staff.
Because of the time it takes to produce materials in Braille, students who need this conversion are encouraged to notify professors as early as possible so that they can arrange for the disability services office to produce course materials in Braille. Students should report any problems in reaching a faculty member or in obtaining the needed materials to the disability service office so that they can intervene.
Some campuses have purchased Braille translating programs, such as Duxbury Braille Translator (DBT), and convert materials on campus. Other institutions work with an outside agency to have materials converted to Braille. Students should discuss testing arrangements with the disability service office as well. If the office will be administering the tests, scheduling a time to take the test may be necessary in order to make sure that a scribe (if needed) and/or room is available and all of the materials are ready. In addition, some schools provide software and equipment in open access computer labs so that students who are blind can even produce some of their own Braille documents (e.g., see the University of Washington's Access Technology Center).
For more information on rights and responsibilities of faculty, campus services, and students with disabilities consult Rights and Responsibilities.
Last update or review: January 22, 2013