Alternate format material (AFM) is an alternate version of traditional print material specifically designed to be accessible to students with print disabilities (e.g., partially sighted, blind, Specific Learning Disorder in reading, mobility disabilities that impact motor control).
Alternate formats include:
- Electronic (PDF, MS Word)
- Large print
- Coloured paper
Alternate formats are highly individualized, and thus each student’s needs, abilities, and preferences must be taken into account when determining appropriate formats.
Alternate Format Material Eligibility
Students must have a documented disability that would warrant alternate format.
As specified by Canadian copyright laws, to be eligible to receive educational print material in an alternate format (e.g., textbooks, course packs), students must purchase the paper copy of the textbooks and provide receipts as proof of purchase.
Requesting Alternate Format
Steps to receive Alternate Format Material
- Make an appointment with a Counsellor in Accessibility Services.
- Provide, to the Counsellor, documentation that confirms a disability and your need for alternate format material. See the information regarding RRC documentation guidelines
- If approved for AFM, you will then be referred to the RRC Assistive Technologist who will work with you to determine the appropriate form of alternate format material.
- Fill out and email the alternate format request form to Assistive Technologist Erika Skaftfeld at email@example.com, indicating the textbooks you require.
It can take several months for RRC to obtain alternate format material, and timelines are dependent on many variables (e.g., the format requested). Be sure to get your requests in as early as possible to ensure your alternate format is ready on time.
Due to the many variables involved in obtaining alternate format material, please keep in mind that these are estimated timelines.
PDF Document: 4 weeks
Books can take anywhere from one day to one month. On occasion, some publishers have take even longer.
Word Document: 4 to 8 weeks
Most publishers provide PDF files. Typically, Exam Accommodations and Assistive Technology receives the PDF file and converts it to a Word document “in-house.” Shorter, less complicated books can be produced fairly quickly (i.e., one day to one week) and more complicated books can take up to three months, depending on staff availability.
Audio: 3+ months
Converting e-text into an audio format (MP3) is typically a very lengthy process. As a result, other formats are considered first.
Braille: 6+ months
Braille requests are filled by an external organization. More complex textbooks (i.e., math or science books) typically take several months to be converted into this format.