For students with print-based disabilities, access to accessible educational materials is crucial to be able to fully participate in courses. Yet, producing alternate formats, such as braille or large print, to best suit individual needs can be time consuming, expensive and is often beyond campus staff and faculty’s training.

The Alternate Text Production Center (ATPC), based at the San Bernardino Community College District, assists colleges in meeting this need. It provides free, on-demand alternate media production services. Funded from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (Chancellor’s Office) statewide Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) program, the ATPC offers services for the creation of electronic text files, electronic braille files, books and documents, large print and tactile graphics.

Ensuring individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in community college programs and activities is an obligation shared by campus administrators, staff and faculty. The first step toward meeting this shared obligation is ensuring all technology and required instructional materials are accessible to all students. Various statewide grants provide aid through free tools and professional development, such as those offered by the CCC Accessibility Center, as well as student-centered services including the ATPC.

When it comes to alternate media, braille transcription is by far the most requested service. It is one of the most expensive formats to produce and is usually needed in a hurry, said Jeff Baugher, Director of the ATPC. “Braille text transcription can cost thousands of dollars. Transcribing math texts can cost up to $50,000.”

Whether for braille or other alternate media, the ATPC is designed to work under tight deadlines. Requests are handled on a first-come, first-served basis with fulfillment in as few as four days, Baugher noted. However, to ensure a request can be fulfilled in a timely manner, it is recommended to contact the center as soon as a specific need is identified. 

“If you know you will have a student who is blind next semester, start working on their accommodations this semester,” Baugher suggested.

Alternate media requests may be submitted electronically on the ATPC website or via email. Additional alternate media guidelines, practices, resources and training are provided through the CCC Accessibility Center. Visit now to learn more.

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