About the AEM Center
For learners with sensory, physical, cognitive, or learning differences and their teachers, accessible educational materials (AEM) may open doors to teaching and learning that ordinary print-based materials have closed. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes a requirement that schools provide AEM in a timely manner to K–12 students who need them for participation and achievement. The AEM Center provides support for the use of AEM in early learning, K-12, higher education, and workplace settings. The AEM Center will also provide support for the development, selection, and use of accessible technologies.
AEM Center Products and Services
The AEM Center serves as a resource for stakeholders, including state- and district-level educators, parents, students, publishers, conversion houses, accessible media producers, and others interested in learning more about AEM and implementing AEM and accessible technologies. Our services and activities include the following:
- Developing and sustaining readily available information and tools to build the capacity of stakeholders to enhance both the effective provision and use of high quality AEM.
- Providing stakeholders with expert technical assistance and customized "just-in-time" consultation on major issues relevant to the timely provision and use of AEM.
- Collaborating with OSEP, AEM-related OSEP-funded projects, technical assistance and dissemination center networks, family centers, early childhood, post-secondary and workforce AEM providers to build capacity for and raise awareness about the timely provision and use of AEM to improve outcomes for learners with print-related disabilities.
The AEM Center, with the support of national experts, also maintains and advances the NIMAS Technical Specificationused by educational publishers to prepare filesets that are deposited in the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Center (NIMAC) at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH).
AEM Center Leadership
- Principal Investigator: Jose Blackorby, CAST
- Director: Cynthia Curry, CAST
- OSEP Project Officer: Tara Courchaine, Ed.D.
AEM Center Partners
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit membership association launched by state education agency leaders in 2001 to serve, support and represent their emerging interests and needs with respect to the use of technology for teaching, learning, and school operations.
The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) brings together makers, distributors, teachers and users of assistive technology, for all kinds of disabilities. It holds the annual ATIA Conference and maintains an online professional development community.
The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) is an independent, education nonprofit whose mission is to improve the practice of continuous learning, collaboration, and change in the education sector. ISKME is well-known for its pioneering open education initiatives.
AEM Center Advisory Committee
In order to receive guidance pertaining to accessible educational materials and technologies from experts in the field, the AEM Center has established an Advisory Committee to help guide the creation of resources, products and services that are impactful and usable across a variety of stakeholder settings. Advisory Committee members represent a range of Early Learning, K-12 and Postsecondary education, and Workforce Development constituents. They bring expertise in the development and maintenance of technical specifications, in the design and implementation of technical assistance, and on the relationship of educational materials and technologies to learning outcomes.
Advisory Committee Members
- Rene Averitt-Sanzone, Executive Director, Parents Place of Maryland
- Bryan Ayres, Accessibility Manager, K12 Inc.
- Jeff Diedrich, Director, Alt + Shift, Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education
- John Eisenberg, Executive Director, National Association of State Directors of Special Education
- Christine Fox, Deputy Executive Director, State Educational Technology Directors Association
- Nicole Gaines, Project Co-Director, National Instructional Materials Access Center
- Laura Gleneck, Project Manager, DEI Technical Assistance Team, National Disability Institute
- Alan Griffin, Curriculum Content Specialist, Utah State Office of Education
- Christine Jones, Associate Director of U.S. Education, Benetech
- Christina Kasprzak, Co-Director, Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
- Donna Lange, DeafTEC PI and Center Director and Associate Professor, RIT/NTID
- Jessica McKay, Assistive Technology Specialist, Ysleta ISD Special Education, Texas
- Martin McKay, CTO and Founder, Texthelp Ltd.
- Mark Nichols, Senior Director, Universal Design & Accessible Technologies, Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies, Virginia Tech
- Steve Noble, Accessibility Instructional Designer, Pearson
- Kristie Orr, Director, Disability Resources, Texas A&M University and President, Association on Higher Education And Disability
- Carolyn Phillips, Director, Center for Inclusive Design & Innovation, Georgia Tech
- Lauren Morando Rhim, Executive Director and Co-Founder, National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools
- Ben Williams, CEO, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity
- Jessica Wilson, Director of Communications & Dissemination, SPAN Parent Advocacy Network
- Linda Bastiani Wilson, Instructional Specialist, High Incidence Assistive Technology, Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland
- Kelly Wylie, Manager, Early Learning Facilities Regional Support, Santa Clara County Office of Education, California
- Ruth Ziolkowski, President, Don Johnston, Incorporated and Board of Directors, Assistive Technology Industry Association
AEM Center Staff
Technical Assistance Specialists
- Luis Pérez
- Janet Peters
- Alison Driscoll, Higher Education and Workforce
- Richard Ferrie (Contractor), Publishers & Developers and Standards
- Boris Goldowsky, Publishers & Developers and Standards
- Jess Gropen, Early Childhood
- Richard Jackson, K-12 and Higher Education
- Sam Johnston, Higher Education and Workforce
- Joanne Karger (Contractor), Standards
- Lynn McCormack, Publishers & Developers and Standards
- Skip Stahl, Publishers & Developers and Standards
- Joy Zabala, Early Childhood and K-12
- Leslie O’Callaghan
Programming and Design
- Boris Goldowsky
- Lynn McCormack
- Cassandra Sell
- Mindy Johnson
- Sherri Wilcauskas