Accessible Instructional Materials


Accessible Instructional Materials

What are Accessible Instructional Materials (AIMS)/Accessible Educational Materials (AEMS)? 

Accessible Instructional Materials (AIMs)/Accessible Educational Materials (AEMs) are specialized formats of textbooks, workbooks, etc. that students use in the classroom to learn.  These formats do not change the content of the original printed material; instead, they allow the student to access the information another way that works better for those with visual impairments, blindness, or other print disabilities. They are considered accommodations for students with print disabilities, allowing them to hear the text read aloud (audio recording) or see and hear the text read with highlighting of the text on the computer (electronic text version).  These alternate formats may require Assistive Technology to be used by the student.

AIMs/AEMs are different from Alternate Formats.  Alternate Formats are created for students who would not understand the information as it is presented in the general curriculum.  Alternate format materials change the expectations of the student and are considered modifications, usually lowering the instructional  level or amount of information a student will learn. 

What does the law say about Accessible Instructional Materials?

IDEA states that State Educational Agencies (Georgia Department of Education) or Local Educational Agencies (local school districts) must provide accessible instructional materials to blind persons or other persons with print disabilities in a timely manner.  (Part B, Sec. 612(a)(23)(B) and Sec. 613(a)(6)(B)). 

Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 says that agencies that receive federal funding must provide “auxiliary aids to qualified students who have disabilities”, and the Office of Civil Rights, United States Department of Education, has determined that Section 504 at 34 C.F.R. 35.160 (Communication)…in this context to mean the transfer of information, including (but not limited to) the verbal presentation of a lecturer, the printed text of a book, and the resources of the Internet. 

The Chaffee Amendment is a 1996 Amendment to the copyright law (17 U.S.C. 121 [1]). This law enables nonprofit organizations or governmental agencies (including schools) to provide alternative accessible copies of previously published nondramatic literary works in specialized formats exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities.  Amended again in 2004 by IDEA to include large print textbooks.  The school must own the book in order to have a specialized format of the book!

Who is eligible for Accessible Instructional Materials?

Individuals who experience:

  • Blindness or visual impairment
  • Physical disability 
  • Organic brain dysfunction (These individuals must be certified by a “competent authority” such as a doctor of medicine or osteopathy in the case of organic brain dysfunction.  The certification is kept with the student’s records.  AIMs/AEMs cannot be requested without this certification.)

What formats are available in Georgia?

These formats are requested for an individual student with a documented disability from the Georgia Instructional Materials Center (GIMC) by the school district.  They must be requested well in advance to make sure that the materials are available to the student when they are needed for instruction.  GIMC checks for materials from and from Learning Ally, and, if the needed materials are not found, GIMC will produce the materials. 

How do I get AIMs/AEMs for my child?

The need for Accessible Instructional Materials/Accessible Educational Materials is an IEP team decision, dependent upon your child’s disability, strengths, needs and placement.  If your child is receiving services in the general education classroom and cannot read their instructional materials, ask about the provision of accessible materials.  If your child does not meet the qualifications for AIMs/AEMs, discuss other ways to give him/her access to educational materials in the classroom.