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Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Basics for Families


PACER Center & National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials


PACER Center & National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials


Some students with disabilities have difficulty reading textbooks and other learning materials. For example, a student who is blind may not be able to see a book, and a student who has a physical disability may not be able to hold the book. To succeed in school, these students need learning materials in specialized formats. IDEA includes a requirement that schools provide accessible instructional materials (AIM) to elementary and secondary students with disabilities who need them. Families and other members of a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team use a decision-making process to decide whether the student needs AIM, what type of specialized formats the student might need, how to acquire the materials, and what supports the students needs to use AIM. The four types of specialized formats (braille, large print, audio, digital text) are discussed. Lastly, additional AIM resources are provided for more information.

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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Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

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

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Individual Education Program (IEP)

Written plan individually developed for students identified as having a disability under IDEA.

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Digital form or representation of a sound which may be used for non-visual access to text and images.

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Digital Text

Published material retrieved and read via a computer.

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Cite As

PACER Center & National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials. (2010). Accessible instructional materials (AIM) basics for families. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials. Retrieved [insert date] from