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AEM Navigator


Update on the AEM Navigator, June 2020 

Recent federal statutory developments have impacted the provision of accessible educational materials, specifically those sourced from NIMAS files. The following changes mean that certain aspects of the AEM Navigator are now outdated: 

  1. Definitions of key NIMAS-related terms have been updated. 
  2. The NIMAC is now permitted to accept NIMAS files sourced from digital instructional materials. 

First, as a result of changes to Copyright Law in response to the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, key NIMAS-related terms have been updated. See our recent announcement NIMAS Terms Clarified Post Marrakesh to learn about the new terms “eligible person” and “accessible format.” The definition of "eligible person” has implications for the guidance that the AEM Navigator provides for who can use materials created from NIMAS source files from the NIMAC. We are currently waiting on the Library of Congress for regulations that will update the process currently outlined in the AEM Navigator.  

Second, the U.S. Department of Education recently published a Notice of Interpretation in the Federal Register permitting the NIMAC to accept NIMAS files sourced from digital instructional materials. Previously, as reflected throughout the AEM Navigator, the NIMAC was permitted to accept NIMAS files from print instructional materials only. We are currently working with our stakeholders to develop new guidance and technical assistance to support educators with navigating a student’s need for accessible materials, whether those materials start as print or as digital.  

We look forward to providing you with a new version of the AEM Navigator. The timeline primarily depends on when the Library of Congress publishes procedures related to the new term “eligible person.”  While we don’t expect to be able to replace the AEM Navigator Online Tool due to the technology now being outdated, we will certainly build the best experience possible for you and your team. 

If you have questions or comments regarding upcoming changes to the AEM Navigator, please contact us at

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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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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National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC)

Central national repository established at American Printing House for the Blind to store, validate, maintain and disseminate NIMAS filesets.

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Print Instructional Materials

Printed materials written and published for use in elementary and secondary school instruction, required by a SEA or LEA for use by students in classroom.

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

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AEM Navigator Publication
The AEM Navigator Online Tool no longer exists. This downloadable AEM Publication contains the entire contents of the AEM Navigator and accompanying forms in a static, printable format. The included forms are also available as separate downloadable resources:

What is it?

The AEM Navigator is a tool that facilitates the process of decision-making around specialized formats of print instructional materials for an individual student. The four major decision points in the process include 1) determination of need, 2) selection of format(s), 3) acquisition of format(s), and 4) selection of supports for use.  The AEM Navigator also includes a robust set of guiding questions and useful references and resources specifically related to each decision point.  Different scaffolds of support are built in so that teams can access information at the level needed to assist them in making informed, accurate decisions.

The AEM Navigator is NOT a screening or diagnostic tool that results in a prescriptive report. Rather, it is a process facilitator that guides the work of a collaborative team as they work through the AEM-related needs of individual students.

As a team works through the AEM Navigator, a step-by-step series of decision options from which to select are presented and text boxes in which information, evidence, and rationales upon which decisions are based can be entered. All decisions and supporting information is saved to a Student Summary that can be edited, saved, and printed. The AEM Navigator also includes an optional, running to-do List where team members can record responsibilities that need to be accomplished to ensure that what is needed is available to the student when needed.

Who is it for?

The AEM Navigator is designed to be used by IEP teams and other collaborative teams that include students, family, and pertinent school personnel.

Individual Education Program (IEP)

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

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AIM Navigator logo

How does it work?

The AEM Navigator is a server-side application that requires connection to the Internet. There are two ways the AEM Navigator can be used.

Use Navigator with an email address associated with a student account
This option enables teams to work through the process, save, print all data, and retrieve all data at a later time. When this option is used, both student summaries and to-do lists are saved for later reference. All data is saved to a server and can be accessed at any time through a link sent to the associated email address. A team can re-enter the Navigator at any time to retrieve saved information, continue through the process, or edit a Student Summary and/or To Do List.

Use Navigator without an email address associated with a student account
This option enables teams to work through the process and collect all data to create a student summary and to-do list. A Student Summary and/or To Do List can be saved to a local computer or printed; however, when the browser is closed, information is not saved and cannot be retrieved.

AEM Navigator Accessibility

The AEM Navigator is designed to be fully accessible to people using a variety of assistive technologies. Elements on each of the AEM Navigator screens are accessible to screen readers.

Print Version

The print version of the AEM Navigator can be downloaded and then used as alternative to the online version when Internet connectivity is not available. It contains all of the information and resources in the online AEM Navigator including guiding questions, frequenty asked questions, resources, and references. Appendices include a worksheet and to-do list that can be used to document decisions as the team proceeds through the process. The worksheet and to-do list are also provided as separate documents for ease of printing.