Qualify for Bookshare October 31 2014, 0 Comments

by Glen Wagner

Question mark iconWho Qualifies?

As mentioned in our recent blog, Bookshare Accessible Online Library, people who experience print disabilities may qualify for an incredible library of electronic publications that can be read through a wide variety of reading devices and software.  But what are the qualifications?  What documentation is required?  How do I sign up? We hope to shed light on these questions and help you become a member and gain access to the material you've always wanted to read.

Print disability iconWhat Is a Print Disability?

Quite simply a print disability is a condition, physical or cognitive, that inhibits a person from reading printed text. Bookshare classifies qualifications into three broad categories: visual impairments, physical disabilities, and learning disabilities.

The simplest example is someone who is blind and cannot see the print. In this case, a BRF file may be used to feed a braille reader that allows the person to read the electronic text. Or a person may have a physical injury that has impaired their ability to decode letters. Text-To-Speech may be a good solution for this individual. Learning disabilities also qualify so long as the disability inhibits the reading process, so those with dyslexia would meet that criteria; however, other learning disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) do not qualify unless it is confirmed through a Competent Authority to impair reading printed text.

The following are brief definitions for each category of print disability and the types of Competent Authorities Bookshare suggests who can properly diagnose and document your disability.

Visual Impairment IconVisual Impairments

A person who is blind or has low vision and who is unable to read standard print. Legal blindness is a standard built into the law.

Examples of Competent Authorities:

  • family doctor, ophthalmologist, or optometrist
  • teacher of the visually impaired or special education teacher
  • National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, or similar government body outside the U.S.

Physical disability iconPhysical Disabilities

A person with a physical disability so long as the physical disability significantly interferes with reading.

Examples of Competent Authorities:

  • family doctor or other medical professional
  • physical therapist
  • resource specialist or special education teacher

Learning disability iconLearning Disabilities

A person with a learning disability so long as the learning disability significantly interferes with reading.

Examples of Competent Authorities:

  • neurologist, psychiatrist, or learning disability specialist
  • special education teacher or school psychologist
  • clinical psychologist with a background in learning disabilities

Certified iconWhat is a Competent Authority?

In the case of Bookshare, a Competent Authority is a professional with the proper credentials in the appropriate area of disability that can diagnose and document your condition as a print disability.

ID iconI Think I Qualify, How Do I Sign-Up?

Before taking the steps to register, make sure you have been tested by a Competent Authority and have their documentation of disability.

There are two ways you can register for Bookshare - as an individual or through your registered school or organization.  If you will be registering through a school or other organization, talk to them first since they may have unique requirements for the registration process and how you should document your disability.

If you are an individual, Click Here and follow the guidance from the Bookshare website.  If you have further questions, review the Bookshare FAQs or Support.