Definition

In general, AEM refers to accessible, specialized formats such as Braille, large print, audio, and digital text. In digital form, AIM can be: read with text-to-speech software; modified with regard to font size; navigated by unit, chapter, section, and page number, etc.

  • Images include alternative text and long descriptions when appropriate.
  • Math equations are provided as images with text descriptions.
  • Order of content, levels, and headings are appropriately formatted
(What You Need to Know About National Educational Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) and Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) A GUIDE FOR ADMINISTRATORS, 2009)

If the student is making adequate progress and spending reasonable amounts of time on tasks that require obtaining information from print using standard print-based educational materials, then the team can determine that there is no need for specialized formats. Data and information can be collected through:

  • Informal observations by teachers and parents
  • Interviews with students, parents and teachers
  • Classroom-based assessments
  • Curriculum-based assessments
  • Academic progress
  • State-wide and district-wide assessment results

If the student with a disability on an IEP is able to understand the content presented in textbooks and other related core educational materials that are used by other students across the curriculum, but is unable to read or use them, the student will need another way to get the information contained in the print materials. In this case, the student may need specialized formats of the curricular materials (AEM Navigator, 2010).

The main indicator would be that the student understands the content of print materials when the information is presented in another format. For example, if printed material is read aloud to the student, the student understands and can use the information (AEM Navigator, 2010).

Local Education Agencies (LEAs) must take all reasonable steps to provide print educational materials in accessible formats to children with disabilities at the same time as other children receive those materials.

AEM Center (2010). Navigator. Retrieved on July 27, 2010 http://demo.cast.org/navigator/page/l32

Iowa State Department of Education (2009). What You Need to Know about National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) and Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) A GUIDE FOR ADMINISTRATORS. Retrieved on July 28, 2010 from http://trueaim.iowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=7

What is the AEM Learning Community?

What are educational materials?

IDEA 2004 [674(e)(3)(C)] defines "print educational materials" as printed “textbooks and related printed core materials that are written and published primarily for use in elementary school and secondary school instruction and are required by a State education agency or local education agency for use by students in a classroom” (AEM Navigator, 2010).

Documents

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    What are Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

    In general, AIM refers to accessible, specialized formats such as Braille, large print, audio, and digital text. In digital form, AIM can be: read with text-to-speech software; modified with regard to font size; navigated by unit, chapter, section, and page number, etc.

    • Images include alternative text and long descriptions when appropriate.
    • Math equations are provided as images with text descriptions.
    • Order of content, levels, and headings are appropriately formatted

    ( What You Need to Know About National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) and Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) A GUIDE FOR ADMINISTRATORS, 2009)

    What information or data would indicate that the student can use the standard print-based instructional materials?

    If the student is making adequate progress and spending reasonable amounts of time on tasks that require obtaining information from print using standard print-based instructional materials, then the team can determine that there is no need for specialized formats. Data and information can be collected through:

    • Informal observations by teachers and parents
    • Interviews with students, parents and teachers
    • Classroom-based assessments
    • Curriculum-based assessments
    • Academic progress
    • State-wide and district-wide assessment results

    (AIM Navigator, 2010)

    Who Needs AIM?

    If the student with a disability on an IEP is able to understand the content presented in textbooks and other related core instructional materials that are used by other students across the curriculum, but is unable to read or use them, the student will need another way to get the information contained in the print materials. In this case, the student may need specialized formats of the curricular materials (AIM Navigator, 2010).

    Is there a general indicator that the student could use or learn to use a specialized format effectively?

    The main indicator would be that the student understands the content of print materials when the information is presented in another format. For example, if printed material is read aloud to the student, the student understands and can use the information (AIM Navigator, 2010).

    What is the timely manner in which the students receive their accessible instructional materials?

    Local Education Agencies (LEAs) must take all reasonable steps to provide print instructional materials in accessible formats to children with disabilities at the same time as other children receive those materials.

    AIM Center (2010). Navigator. Retrieved on July 27, 2010 http://demo.cast.org/navigator/page/l32

    Iowa State Department of Education (2009). What You Need to Know about National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) and Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) A GUIDE FOR ADMINISTRATORS. Retrieved on July 28, 2010 from http://trueaim.iowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=7

    FAQ

    If the student is able to understand the content presented in textbooks and other related core instructional materials that are used by other students across the curriculum, but is unable to read or use them, the student will need another way to get the information contained in the print materials. In this case, the student may need specialized formats of the curricular materials.

    Specialized formats are Braille, large print, audio and digital text. The formats are defined in IDEA [674(e) (3) (D) and in Copyright Law contained in Title 17 of the United States Code.

    If the student is making adequate progress and spending reasonable amounts of time on tasks that require obtaining information from print using standard print-based instructional materials, then the team can determine that there is no need for specialized formats. Data and information can be collected through:

    Paragraph Answer

    • Informal observations by teachers and parents
    • Interviews with students, parents and teachers
    • Classroom-based assessments
    • Curriculum-based assessments
    • Academic progress
    • State-wide and district-wide assessment results

    The main indicator would be that the student understands the content of print materials when the information is presented in another format. For example, if printed material is read aloud to the student, the student understands and can use the information.

    A specialized format of a print-based material includes exactly the same information as the printed material. The specialized format does not change the content, only the way in which the content is presented to the student. The specialized format neither adds nor changes any information. An alternative material may address the same goals, but the content of the material is modified or changed in some way – usually made less complex – so that it can be understood by the student.

    The textbooks and related printed materials that are used in each of the student’s classes should be listed by title and publisher. It is also very helpful to have the ISBN number that will be needed to search for the material in the format needed by the student.:

    IDEA 2004 defines "print instructional materials" as printed “textbooks and related printed core materials that are written and published primarily for use in elementary school and secondary school instruction and are required by a State education agency or local education agency for use by students in a classroom” (IDEA [674(e)(3)(C)]).

    As stated above, these materials are “written and published primarily for use in elementary and secondary school instruction and are required by a State education agency or local education agency for use by students in a classroom.” They are generally thought to be the materials that are published and packaged as accompaniments to a textbook (e.g., workbook, reproducible supplementary materials, etc.)

    The Library of Congress regulations (36 CFR 701.10(b) (1)) (http://www.loc.gov/nls/sec701.html) related to the Act to Provide Books for the Adult Blind (approved March 3, 1931, 2 U.S.C. 135a) provide that blind persons or other persons with print disabilities include:

    • Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses, or whose widest diameter if visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees."
    • "Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material."
    • "Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations."
    • "Persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner."

    When the team has identified the important factors about the student, the environments where the student needs access to print, the tasks the student is expected to accomplish, and the specific print materials in the curriculum, team members can then match the identified student needs to the features of the various technology tools that might be used to deliver the specialized format.

    The provision of accessible instructional materials via appropriate technology enables students to develop literacy skills, access information, communicate independently and efficiently, and participate in all educational activities.

    The TechMatrix is a valuable resource for matching student needs with the features of available technology.

    Trainings

    Training and technical assistance are available free of charge for Idaho educators and families through the Idaho Assistive Technology Project. Please contact Dan Dyer, Training Coordinator, at 208-364-4561 or dyer@uidaho.edu for assistance. In addition, many training and tutorials are available nationwide.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Policy

    Online Resources

    Technology Quick Guides and Video Tutorials
    HIAT – Montgomery County Public Schools has many wonderful assistive technology Quick Guides and video tutorials including text reading software such as Kurzweil, Natural Reader, Read:Outloud, Bookshare, etc.

    Bookshare Tutorials
    Michigan’s Integrated Technology Supports, has put together  Bookshare tutorials

     

    Bookshare Trainings
    Bookshare offers a range of training opportunities, including on-demand webinars and Quick Guides 

    The Moving Forward with Technology Webinar Series
    This is an outreach collaboration between Don Johnston Incorporated and the Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd), a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Trainings and resource guides on general assistive technology located on the Idaho Training Clearinghouse AT Electronic Learning Community.

    Information on IDEA, AEM, and NIMAS is available from OSEP.

    Test your knowledge of copyright law by taking this quick copyright quiz


    Resource Links

    Assistive Technology Electronic Learning Community
    General assistive technology information, resources, and on-demand trainings on the Idaho Training Clearinghouse.

    Audible
    Source of human narrated digital audiobooks for purchase by anyone

    Bookshare
    Online e-text library Public domain materials available for all and copyrighted trade books and textbooks available for copyright exempt individuals.

    Idaho Assistive Technology Project
    AEM technical assistance, assistive technology assessments, trainings, information, and referral available

    Idaho Educational Services for the Blind and the Deaf Accessible Instructional Materials Library
    Acquires, maintains, and distributes AIM for Idaho Students

    Kindle Books
    Downloadable e-text from Amazon.com which can be read with text-to-speech on newest Kindle Reader or software and accessed from PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android device, or Blackberry. Caution: Books will indicate if they are speech enabled or not.

    Librophile
    Virtual bookshelves and index of public domain and for-purchase e-audio and e-text

    National Center on Accessible Educational Materials
    Resource to state- and district-level educators, parents, publishers, conversion house, accessible media producers, and others interested in learning more about implementing AIM.

    Learning Ally
    Making reading accessible for all.

    Listing of Accessible Books and E-Texts

    Acquisition and Distribution of Accessible Educational Materials

    Once a school team has determined that a student needs educational materials in specialized formats, and has selected the specific format(s) needed (i.e., Braille, digital text, audio or large print), the next step is to determine how to acquire the materials. Because of unique characteristics of the systems available, the best way to approach the acquisition of AEM is systematically.

    Addressing the following questions is a good way to begin the process of acquiring AEM for a student.

    Is the material:

    • Under copyright? (e.g., a textbook or contemporary novel)
    • In the public domain? (e.g., classic novels by Mark Twain, Jane Austen, or works by Shakespeare)
    • Teacher-created? (e.g., handouts in print format)
    • What is the specialized format required? (i.e., Braille, digital text, audio, or large print)
    • Under what law(s) is the student being served? (i.e., IDEA 04 or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act)

    With the answers to questions such as these, the team working with the student can determine the most efficient way to obtain access to the materials without violating the rights of copyright holders.

    • Directly from the book publisher, if available
    • Through a local or regional provider of services
    • Through a search of an online national repository and subsequent production from an Accessible Media Producer (AMP)
    • Through a search of Web-based public domain non-copyright materials
    • Through a process of scanning the documents locally and converting them in to AEM to convert them to the necessary specialized format

    The choice of method for acquiring AEM will depend on whether or not the student is copyright exempt:

    Possible Sources of AEM for Students who are determined to be copyright exempt

    Possible Sources of AEM for Students who have a print disability but not determined copyright exempt

    • APH repository - Provides a nation-wide search for accessible materials.
    • Librophile - Searches across several databases for e-text and digital audio books.
    • Bookshare - Contains public domain as well as copyright exempt collections.
    • Internet library - Digital books.
    • Itunes - Large collection of digital audio books. Access ibooks using iphone/ipad and voiceover.
    • Public Libraries - Contact your public library for specifics about availability of e-books and digital audio.
    • Storyline Online - Online picture books read by members of the Screen Actors Guild.
    • Tar Heel Reader - Free, easy-to-read, accessible, simple books created by volunteers.
    • Disney Digital Books - Online digital  picture books. Requires subscription.

    AEM Tools

    The assistive technology products listed on the AEM website are compiled only as a representative sample of what is available. Please consult the Idaho Assistive Technology project at (800) 432-8324 for specific recommendations. The choice of which technology to use with each student is largely dependent on that student’s individual needs. The inclusion of any product is not intended as an endorsement. Most new computer/tablet/phone devices have built in text-to-speech features. As a general rule, students with print disabilities need additional software supports beyond the built-in accessibility features found on such devices.

    Text Reading Software
    Product Free Less $100 More Expensive
    Free Natural Reader and Natural Reader
    A basic program to enable reading anywhere on your computer.
    X X
    D-Speech
    Fast and flexible program fro reading and producing MP3 audio files.
    X
    Amis
    DAISY playback software (experimental).
    X
    TextAloud
    Provides a word processor and toolbar for creating and reading. Save your work as an MP3 file.
    X
    eClipseReader
    DAISY playback software supporting propriatary digital rights management.
    X X
    Snap and Read
    Select any text displayed on a computer to hear it read aloud.
    X
    Read & Write Gold
    An integrated reading and writing suite for students with learning disabilities.
    X
    Read Outloud
    Reads DAISY and NIMAS files and can convert to other formats.
    X
    Read Outloud Bookshare Edition (free for members) Reads DAISY and NIMAS files and can convert to other formats. X
    Bookshare Web Reader Allows individual members to read books directly from their web-browser.
    WYNN Wizard/WYNN Reader
    WYNN provides scanning reading and study tools in a very easy to learn and use package.
    Supports DAISY and NIMAS files.
    X
    Kurzweil
    Both Kurzweil 1000 and 3000 support NIMAS and DAISY playback and Optical Character Recognition.
    X
    Text Reading Apps
    Product Free Less $100 More Expensive
    Read2Go for iPad
    App that gives direct access to Bookshare books on the iPad.
    X
    GoRead for Android
    App that gives direct access to Bookshare books on most Android devices.
    X
    Text Reading Devices
    Product Free Less $100 More Expensive
    Computers for Kids
    Refurbished computers available free for Idaho students with disabilities.
    X
    Classmate Reader
    Portable digital audio book player which reads aloud and simultaneously displays and highlights text.
    X
    Victor Reader
    DAISY MP3 player optimized for use by individuals with visual impairments.
    X
    Tablets/Smart-Phones
    Can be used to read text. May require 3rd party software. Not fully accessible. Contact the Idaho Assistive Technology Project for more information.
    X X

    Contact Us

    Janice Carson


    Director and AEM State Lead
    Idaho Assistive Technology Project
    University of Idaho Center on Disabilities and Human Development
    1187 Alturas Drive, Moscow, Idaho 83843-8331
    800-432-8324
    janicec@uidaho.edu

    Dan Dyer


    Education Coordinator
    Idaho Assistive Technology
    Resource Center - UI Couer d’Alene
    1031 N Academic Way, Room 130D, Couer d’Alene, ID 83814
    dyer@uidaho.edu
    IATPlogo

    Idaho Assistive Technology Project


    Center on Disabilities and Human Development
    1187 Alturas Drive
    Moscow, ID 83843