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Text in image: AEM & AIM

Whether you’re new to the AEM Center or have been following us for several years, you’ll notice that our website refers to both accessible educational materials (AEM) and accessible instructional materials (AIM). The work of the AEM Center builds on the work begun, lessons learned, and products developed by previous NIMAS/AIM projects at CAST. These projects specifically focused on mandates in IDEA related to the provision of specialized formats of printed materials to students with print disabilities in K-12 education and the implementation of the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). Currently, the work of the AEM Center has expanded beyond printed materials to include accessible digital materials and accessible technologies, as well as to include postsecondary education and workforce development. At the same time, many resources and products developed under the previous NIMAS/AIM projects remain relevant to the AEM Center’s mission. For that reason, you’ll find the terms AIM and AEM both used on our website; and, practically speaking, the terms are often used interchangeably by practitioners, SEAs and LEAs, and other agencies depending on their state or agency guidance. For example, the Texas Education Agency has a note to that effect on its website.

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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Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

Print-based educational materials converted into specialized formats, related to the requirements of the IDEA statute.

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National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

A technical standard used to produce XML-based source files for print-based educational materials.

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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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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Federal law governing rights of children with disabilities to receive free and appropriate public education in least restrictive environment.

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Print Disability

Blindness or other disability that prevents the effective use of printed materials.

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Accessible Technology

Technology that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Incorporates the principles of universal design.

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Local Education Agency (LEA)

Agency legally authorized to provide administrative control or direction of publically funded schools.

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