Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Students with Disabilities

Ventura College – Alternative Text Production Center

Mike Bastine, Director, 805-654-6396 or mbastine@atpc.net

Target population: The populations targeted by the ATPC are the students who face barriers to education including vision impairment, blindness, and learning disabilities such as dyslexia, and who are served by the California Community Colleges (Disabled Students Programs and Services) programs.

Goals: The ATPC is the only publicly funded, system-wide resource dedicated to serving the alternate text formatting needs of the largest post-secondary educational system in the world. ( www.atpcnet.net  ). CCC developed the ATPC to assist the Colleges in meeting the alternate text needs of their students with print-related disabilities. Alternate text includes Braille and tactile graphics, electronic text and large print. The ATPC completes all requests at no charge to the Colleges.

Description: The ATPC creates, or obtains from the publishers, an electronic file of books, course work etc. to transfer into MP3 files, large print texts, high-lighted texts, or Braille texts. California law AB 422, which became effective in January 2000, requires textbook publishers to supply California Colleges with the electronic files of their books at no cost when requested for students with print-related disabilities. It also encourages California Colleges to create a central repository of electronic files so the publisher can fill a request only once, so that files can be redistributed to any California College student with a print-related disability who needs it.

If the College has a Braille machine, the ATPC obtains the document/textbook from the publisher and then simply passes it on to the DSPS department. However, there are seven types of Braille and not all colleges can produce each type (i.e. math, science, foreign language, etc.). One page of math translated into Braille equals about 6-7 pages. A 500 pages textbook can cost up to $15,000!

Staffing: The ATPC is staffed by Mike Bastine and 3 full-time staff. Additionally, “an army” of volunteers and independent contractors, complement the ATPC’s efforts. The volunteers and contractors work to translate the texts and provide guidance.

Facilities, equipment, materials: A large number of physical tools are needed to assist in the development of electronic files (typically a CD) to download and send to DSPS Directors.

Costs, funding source: The ATPC is funded at $597,000 annually by the CCCCO. However, due to funding constraints, the level of funding has been static since 2001-2002 although the demand has gone up exponentially. The California Community College Chancellor’s Office acknowledges that there are not enough funds, and thus has authorized a waiting list be developed as of July 1, 2005 that will be available on a first-come first-serve basis.

Outreach and marketing: The California Community College Chancellor’s Office provides information to all the DSPS departments at each college. An ATPC website is maintained for information and access ( http://www.atpcnet.net  ). Due to limited resources, the ATPC is seeking to provide Braille Embossing fee-for-service jobs from non-California Community College learning institutions.

Evidence of effectiveness: The increase in requests coupled with the growing library, and the students and college testimonials all offer evidence of effectiveness

Suggestions for replication: As this service is a centralized system-wide program, replication of the program would be unnecessary. Adequate funding to meet the demand is difficult to obtain but crucial to success. Other fee-based translation companies exist but seldom in the areas of math, science, music, foreign language, and statistics. Thus allowing ATPC to serve all the ATP needs of other learning institutions would allow the ATPC to increase their fee base while better serving all of California’s students who learning or vision disabilities. The California Community Colleges should not consider the ATPC the sole provider of alternate text, but a resource. Colleges should continue to develop their capacities to scan material, to use Braille software, and to do Braille embossing.