How Does Bookshare’s Eligibility Categories Align with Education Law?

Bookshare’s eligibility categories are defined by copyright law, not education law. However, below are examples of how we might describe Bookshare’s eligibility criteria in terms more familiar to those who work in education.


If a student finds it difficult to process or comprehend words, see text in books or on a screen, or physically manage books or reading devices, Bookshare may be able to help. For a student to join Bookshare, an expert, or Competent Authority, must confirm that the student has a qualifying condition that significantly interferes with his or her ability to read or process printed text. Following are some indicators that a student might have a qualifying condition:

Specific Learning Disability (SLD) that Affects Reading,

  • A disorder in the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using written language, which manifests itself in the imperfect ability to read. Dyslexia is one example. Students in this category often have SLD on their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and/or have a diagnosed learning disability.

Examples of Competent Authorities for this Eligibility Category:

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

Need for Reading Accommodations

  • The student struggles with reading and does not respond to instructional interventions to improve reading. Students in this category are sometimes served under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Examples of Competent Authorities for this Eligibility Category:

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

Blindness or Visual Impairment,

  • Including low vision.

Examples of Competent Authorities for this Eligibility Category:

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

Physical Disability

  • A disability that hinders the student’s ability to hold a book, turn pages, move his or her head, or otherwise physically manage the activity of reading a book.

Examples of Competent Authorities for this Eligibility Category:

  • resource specialist
  • orientation and mobility specialist
  • special education teacher
  • physical therapist
  • librarian
  • family doctor or other medical professional
  • For more information on Bookshare qualifications, read these frequently asked qualifications questions