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Campus Alert!

What is Alternate Media?

Alternate media allows access to those people who, due to a sensory or processing disability, cannot easily use the standard materials. We must be compatible with some legal issues from both federal law (Section 504, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Title II of ADA) and state law (Title 5, AB 422 and SB105) which require California's Community Colleges to provide access to all programs and activities in a manner that is accessible to people with disabilities.

The goal of providing Alternative Media is to give students and staff access to media in different formats to meet a variety of instructional needs. They can include, but not limited to Braille, large print, e-text, captioning, tactile graphics, accessible online teaching and learning, accessible college web sites, screen reader files, mp3 files, etc.


 How do I receive Alternative Media?

  1. Meet with a DSPS staff member to ensure that you're Student Educational Contract indicates that you would like receive Alternative Media.
  2. Meet with Alternative Media Access Specialist to discuss options.
  3. Fill out terms of use, request sheets, and drop off receipts for text books.

 Alternative Media: Terms of Use

  • Specialized format is for use by student with verified print disability only.
  • Any further reproduction or distribution of this material to anyone is an infringement of copyright law and individual may lose the ability to request any further books in alternate format.
  • Student has legal right to the alternative media only as long as they own the material it was created from. Student may be in violation of copyright laws if this is not the case.
  • Student will supply material to be formatted (at student's expense).
  • Request must be made at least 5 working days before pickup date and time and after receipt of requested media. The more complicated the transfer to alternate media, the longer the time required. We will need to see your course syllabus to determine the timeliness of alternate formats.
  • An entire book conversion may not be requested at one time, Special circumstances are considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Student must return request form to DSPS Office (Alternate Media).

Types of Alternate Formats


The use of electronic digital text (E-text) has emerged as a convenient and popular method of providing access for those who cannot use standard printed materials. Partially sighted individuals can use E-text by taking advantage of built-in options within many standard software applications (e.g. adjusting font size) or through the use of specialized screen magnification software. E-text can also be used with screen reading software to output the text to a speech synthesizer or refreshable braille display. The main advantage of E-text is that it can be easily stored, can be searched and indexed, and can be converted to large print or hard copy braille through use of a translation program. E-text exists in many formats such as Word, RTF, ASCII, PageMaker, Quark, TIFF, EPS, PDF, etc. We then take these formats and produce the format most suited for the client.

Audio Files

Providing materials in a recorded audio format is one method of making information accessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired. Many individuals with learning disabilities also use materials in audio format because they find it difficult to process printed information. Audio material is commonly recorded on cassette tapes, but it may also be stored on CD-ROM, DVD and the new format called DAISY. It is also possible to produce material in audio format by having E-text read with a speech synthesizer. A large number of literary works and standard college textbooks are already available in audio format from organizations such as Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D). The most common format is MP3 files, but can be customized to meet individual needs.


Kurzweil 3000™ is a comprehensive reading, writing and learning software solution for any struggling reader, including individuals with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, etc. Increased Reading Fluency - Educators and independent research have demonstrated that Kurzweil 3000 provides not only the tools students need to improve their reading speed and comprehension, but also the features that make it possible for them to learn and study independently.


- Screen Reading
- Speech options (reads out loud)
- Highlights words to follow along
- Built in dictionary
- Easy to use interface

Kurzweil Firefly

Firefly can be used with any computer that has an internet connection, and as an app for the IPad.

Features and Benefits:

• Read text by word, line, sentence or paragraph
• Customize reading to continuous, word by word or self-paced
• Increase or decrease size of display
• Look up definitions of words
• Translate Text
• Customize Reading Speed
• Choose from 4 different high quality voices
• Choose location of toolbar
• Cloud storage for digital files
• Flexible user management system
• Anytime, anywhere access via the Internet
• Elimination of installation, maintenance, and upgrade hurdles
• Operates equally well on Windows® and Macintosh® platforms
• Modern and engaging user interface
• Constantly improving solution with routine, hands-off updates
• Education-focused functionality set
• Accessible to students with physical limitations
• Access the same content with the right support tools for each learner
• Address high to low incidence needs with the combined use of Kurzweil 3000 and firefly
• Individualize interventions easily
• Deliver access to instructional materials anytime and anywhere
• Customize level of support
• Shared license management system with Kurzweil 3000 makes implementations seamless


DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) format is the new standard that is being adopted by the publishing community. DAISY allows the material to be locked down and copyright protected. DAISY also allows the material to be searched easily and quickly, allowing the user to navigate to a particular chapter, page, heading or sentence.

The DAISY format requires a particular type of small handheld player to use, and the DSPS department has those players available for loan to those that qualify.

Large Print

For those with sufficient vision, large print is often desirable. Although they are somewhat bulkier, materials in large print have all the advantages of regular print. They are relatively portable, require no special equipment, convey all the graphic and spatial information contained in the original, and can be easily referenced. Producing large print copies of materials is simple if the document is not too lengthy and is available in electronic text, although some reformatting may be necessary. However, relatively few textbooks are available in large print and those that are tend to be expensive. We have the ability to recreate your books in large print as needed.


Braille is a system of reading and writing for blind individuals. The basic unit is the braille cell. From these six raised dots you can get 64 possible combinations. There are many more imprint symbols than the 64 braille symbols. For example, most computer systems handle about 96 different imprint symbols. This problem is solved by using contractions, assigning more than one braille cell to represent certain imprint symbols, and in some cases, by using specialized codes for unique applications. Thus, learning to read and write braille requires considerable training and practice.

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