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Welcome to AFMNL!

Welcome to the Alternate Format Materials Library at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (AFMNL). This library provides on-line and off-line alternate format materials to Newfoundland and Labrador students unable to use traditional print material.

Please take a few minutes to read this welcome page. It contains valuable information on the services offered by AFMNL. In addition, further information and online resources pertaining to alternate format materials, copyright legislation and use of this website can be found at The Learning Center.. Inquiries regarding AFMNL should be directed to

The entire catalogue of authorized learning resources in alternate format offered by AFMNL can be viewed by selecting the “Browse Content Listing” menu option on the left of your screen. A username and password is required to access and download the resources. Schools servicing students who require alternate format materials may apply to AFMNL for access to these materials.

Teachers working with students who have been approved for access to AFMNL can also access certain features of the digital repository. Teachers permitted access are set up as AFMNL Advisors. For further information on this process, please see "Student and Teacher Access to the Digital Repository" and "Student and Teacher Approval to Access AFMNL"

To download the AFMNL student and advisor applications, and order forms for each grade level, please click here.

If you have received a user name and password to access AFMNL’s Digital Repository, please click on the Login menu option on the left of the screen to access the library.

Starting in September 2015, regular online problem-solving and information sessions for teachers will be available through the Learning Centre; please consult the Learning Centre for dates and information on how to access these sessions.

Alternate Format Materials

Many students with disabilities encounter barriers with traditional print materials. Students with certain disabilities (known as perceptual disabilities) may not be able to use textbooks, class handouts, and other materials in their original format and instead the materials need to be provided in an alternate format. Some examples of alternate format materials (AFM) include Braille, audio books, and digital versions of books that can be read by text to voice software.

Perceptual Disabilities

Only students with disabilities related to manipulating, seeing or reading text (referred to as “perceptual disabilities” in Canadian copyright legislation), or individuals working on behalf of these students, are eligible to access Alternate Format Materials.

A perceptual disability is defined as a disability that prevents or inhibits a person from reading... a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work in its original format, and includes a disability resulting from:

  1. severe or total impairment of sight... or the inability to focus or move one’s eyes,
  2. the inability to hold or manipulate a book, or
  3. an impairment relating to comprehension.

(Canadian Copyright Act Section 32:

AFM Role Descriptions of Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA), AFMNL and Schools

The Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA) services students in Newfoundland and Labrador who have “severe or total impairment of sight . . . or the inability to focus or move one’s eyes”. Applications for AFM for students who are blind or visually impaired are submitted to APSEA by the Itinerant Teacher for the Visually Impaired, as APSEA provides this service for BVI students.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, through AFMNL, provides service to students unable “to hold or manipulate a book” and students with “an impairment relating to comprehension”. AFMNL provides these students access to authorized curriculum resources in alternate format through a traditional off-line library (CDs mailed to schools) and an on-line digital repository (materials accessed on the web in formats such as MP3 and PDF).

Schools are responsible for submitting applications for student and teacher access to AFMNL each school year, coordinating AFM delivery to approved students in the school, and ensuring copyright legislation is understood and enforced. In addition, they are responsible for providing alternate format resources of tests, hand-outs, worksheets and other supplementary materials that are not part of the authorized curriculum. If these materials are created as electronic files (using a computer) then these electronic files can generally be read by students using most types of text-to-voice software.

Digital Repository

A digital repository is a collection of digital alternate format materials accessible to approved users. The goal of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Digital Repository of Alternate Format Materials is to provide students with perceptual disabilities in Newfoundland and Labrador with high quality digital alternate format materials based on the provincial curriculum. The Digital Repository improves access to digital learning resources and reduces the need for school staff to create alternate format materials.

Student and Teacher Access to the Digital Repository

An approved student can access materials on the digital repository that have been requested by his or her school. An individual student password is needed to access these materials and is provided to the approved student by AFMNL via the school.

Teachers working with students who have been approved for access to AFMNL can also apply to be granted access to certain features of the digital repository. Please see “Student and Teacher Approval to Access the AFMNL” below for more details.

Teachers do not provide students with access to the digital repository. The school’s responsibility to the student in relation to the digital repository includes completing an application form and submitting it to AFMNL, providing the username and password to the approved student, and instructing and assisting the approved student in the use of the digital repository.

Student and Teacher Approval to Access AFMNL

Eligibility for student access the AFMNL is determined by the school guidance counselor or district educational psychologist and the student’s program planning team. The school guidance counselor or district educational psychologist determines if the student has an exceptionality (as defined by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development) and a perceptual disability (as defined by the Canadian Copyright Act). In addition, the student’s Program Planning Team determines whether or not the student requires the accommodation of alternate format materials. Once these criteria have been met, the school may submit an application to AFMNL for access to resources in the library. An application must be submitted for each school year that the student requires alternate format materials.

Each school appoints a Contact Teacher in both the sending and receiving school (if applicable) for each student applying for AFM. The Contact Teacher is the person that AFMNL will contact if further information is required pertaining to the application and is also the recipient of the student’s AFMNL username and password and/or off-line shipment.

Contact Teachers may apply for access to certain features of the AFMNL website to help them manage student accounts. Once approved, the teacher will be set up as an AFM Advisor and provided a username and password. Upon login to the AFMNL Digital Repository, he/she will have access to a list of all currently approved students in the school and will be able to add resources to student profiles and reset student passwords. An application for teacher access must be submitted to AFMNL each school year.

More information

Further information on AFMNL is available from the General Public, Principal, and Student User Guides and from “The Learning Center”, an on-line professional learning center containing information on alternate format materials and the Department of Education’s Alternate Format Materials Library.

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