Vendor Tips on Accessible Procurement

Handouts Media

Presented at 2:15pm in WB I on Thursday, November 17, 2016.



  • Elizabeth Delfs, Pearson, Inc.
  • Richard Ferrie, Director, Global Policy, Pearson, Inc.
  • Jonathan Thurston, Head of Accessibility Product Development, Pearson, Inc.

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format:
  • Expertise Level: Not provided
  • Type of session: General Conference


Thoughtful procurement policies have moved the accessibility needle faster than ever. However, good procurement practice requires game players with information that enables effective negotiation, results in vendor partnerships and, most importantly, products usable by all students


The Office for Civil Rights has recognized the critical role that procurement plays in ensuring accessibility. Procurement requirements appear in all recent settlement agreements. For the first time, purchasing personnel, accessibility staff and vendors are facing each other at the table, largely unaware of each other's priorities, challenges and capabilities. Yet, the most valuable players at any negotiation table know that such knowledge is vital for achieving success. At this table, so too is knowledge of how the OCR applies legal guidelines. This session suggests components of an effective policy, including negotiation strategies for best possible outcomes for those with the highest stake in the outcome: Students with disabilities.


  1. Identify realistic pressure points that achieve results
  2. How to develop a successful policy, including equally effective alternative plans that reflect OCR guidelines
  3. Current legal developments impacting procurement policies

Disability Areas

Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Other, Vision

Topic Areas

Administrative/Campus Policy, Alternate Format, Legal, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Elizabeth Delfs

Elizabeth Delfs is a Vice President, Senior Counsel and Global Accessibility Head in the Legal Department at Pearson. She is an expert in the ADA and learning technology, procurement of accessible materials. She is the founder and director of Pearson's Disability Mentorship Program, in collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind.

Richard Ferrie

Rick Ferrie is a widely acknowledged expert in accessible instructional materials at a policy level. The Assoc. of American Publishers and other industry groups frequently seek his opinion, and he has also earned the long-term respect of the advocacy community. Rick was the first chairperson of the industry's Serving Students With Disabilities committee and served on the first national committee that ultimately produced the NIMAS standard in K-12.

Jonathan Thurston

Jonathan Thurston is the Head of Accessibility Product Management for Pearson Higher Education divisions. Prior to joining Pearson in 2015, Jonathan was an interactive designer and a digital media college professor before managing digital production, accessibility strategy and implementation, and the launch of EPUB 3 at two major publishing houses.