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Accessibility Policy

CAST is committed to ensuring that our sites are accessible and usable to everyone. Accessibility is a core component of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and it is referenced throughout the UDL Guidelines.

We strive to follow best practices based on federal requirements outlined in Section 508—the "Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards," authorized by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board—as well as recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

As a contribution to the community, we have developed Figuration, an openly licensed, feature-rich, responsive, mobile first, accessible, front-end framework to develop websites with usability and accessibility at their core from the start.

If you encounter a problem accessing aem.cast.org or would like to provide feedback, please get in touch with us using one of the following methods:

  • email: aem@cast.org
  • phone: (781) 245-2212
  • Mail: National Center on Accessible Educational Materials at CAST, Inc.
    40 Harvard Mills Square, Suite 3 | Wakefield, MA 01880-3233

Skip Navigation Link

Each page on the site begins with a "skip navigation" link. Choosing this link moves the user directly to the main content of the page, bypassing the long list of navigational links which appears on every page. This permits faster and easier navigation for people using screen readers, or for anyone using a keyboard rather than a mouse to navigate the site.

Site Layout

This site has been designed with existing accessibility recommendations and standards in mind. To ensure complete accessibility to all users, this site uses a three-column, flexible approach with all global navigation exposed. High-contrast dark text on a light background is used for better readability.

Site Documents

Our HTML web pages are our most accessible versions of content posted to the AEM Center site. We often provide Word and PDF formats in addition for print use. While our Word and PDF versions contain accessibility features, users may find the site’s HTML pages most convenient for a variety of access methods.

Alternative Text

All images on this site are accompanied by brief alt text that identifies the image or its function. If you are using a browser, alt text is visible to non-screen reader users only if the browser's automatic image loading feature is turned off. Long descriptions are provided for images where appropriate. If you find an image that is missing alt text, please let us know at aem@cast.org.

Captioning

AEM Center videos and webinar recordings are captioned to ensure accessibility and provide support for understanding to as many of our visitors as possible. Webinars are provided with live captioning available through the Zoom platform, and recordings are closed captioned prior to being posted to our YouTube channel. If you encounter a video that is missing captions, please let us know at aem@cast.org.  

Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks are written so that they make sense when read out of context by a screen reader.

Tables

Some layout tables are used on this site. However, all content makes sense when the page is linearized. Where tables are used for the presentation of data, table cells are associated with headers to facilitate navigation with screen readers. Also, data tables do not stand alone but are accompanied by additional content that provides information about the table.

Text to Speech Support

Our pages include text to speech support in the form of TextHelp’s SpeechStream Toolbar. In the navigation bar at the top of each page you will find a play button. Selecting the play button will start to read the contents of the page aloud, with word highlighting to help you track where you are on the page. You can also pre-select text on the page and select the play button to limit the read-aloud to the selected text. You can also pause (keeping track of where the reader left off) or stop the playback at any time.

Additional Technologies

The option to resize text is available in most browsers with a keyboard shortcut:

  • Control (or Command on the Mac) and + (Plus) to zoom in
  • Control (or Command on the Mac) and - (Minus) to zoom out
  • Control (or Command on the Mac) and 0 (Zero) to reset the zoom level to the default (100%).

You can also find these options in the browser's menus, usually under View. 

Should you need to use a more feature-rich screen reader to access our site, a number of free options are available:

  • VoiceOver is built-in on Mac computers and iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad
  • Narrator is built-in on Windows computers and tablets, and NVDA is available as a free download as well
  • ChromeVox is available on Chromebooks
  • TalkBack is built-in on Android phones and tablets, and a version of it is also available on Amazon’s Fire tablets (called VoiceView)

CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology)

Non-profit organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through research and development.

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Accessibility

Access for all people, including people with disabilities, to web environments.

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Technology

Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

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Accessibility Standards

Current or revised electronic and information technology accessibility standards developed under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

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Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Print- and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability.

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PDF (Portable Document Format)

Universal computer file type used to exchange and view documents on any computer with Adobe Acrobat or Foxit Reader software installed.

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Alt Tag (alternative text)

Brief description of a single image designed to be read by a screenreader as an alternative to the image.

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Text-to-Speech (TTS)

Artificial production of human speech, using special software and/or hardware.

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