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Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) are specialized formats of fully accessible textbooks and other curriculum materials that can be used by and with students who are struggling readers or otherwise unable to access printed text. Fully accessible means:

  • All text is digital and can be read with text-to-speech, modified with regard to font size, and navigated by unit, chapter, section, and page number (or other appropriate segments).
  • Images include alternative text and long descriptions when appropriate (alternative text is a replacement for an image that serves the same purpose as the image itself. It is read by a screen reader in place of the image).
  • Math equations are provided as images with alternative text or in the content file using MathML.
  • Content reading order, levels, and headings are determined by publisher tagging.
  • Text can be converted into Braille.

excerpted form: Diedrich, Jeff. "Students Can Benefit From Accessible                      
Instructional Materials (AIM)." Focus on Results 7.2 (2009)Web. 14 Apr 2010                      
 link to full article: Students Can Benefit from Accessible Instructional Materials                   .

 It's the Law! Under IDEA 2004, State and Local Education Agencies are required to ensure that specialized formats of textbooks and related core instructional materials are provided to students with print disabilities in a timely manner.

IDEA 2004             

Benefits of Accessible Instructional Materials: Besides complying with the law the law, having access to appropriate Accessible Instructional Materials has many benefits. With easy access to AIM...

  • more students can independently learn from text
  • student literacy is enhanced
  • teachers can spend more time teaching and less time adapting materials.

Acquiring Accessible Instructional Materials:

This first step is determining if a student may benefit: The student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team should review the student’s evaluation information and present levels of achievement to determine whether the student has a disability-related problem using print-based core instructional materials. Once a student is deemed in need of AIM, school districts are required to provide AIM. The path to acquire AIM depends on several factors.

Determining Student Eligibility: Not all students will be eligible for or benefit from accessible instructional materials. Roughly speaking, two to three percent of the student population will be eligible to receive AIM under the Copyright Act of 1931 as Amended. Additional students may require AIM to make progress in the general education curriculum and will need to seek solutions through different routes, including commercial options such as purchasing accessible text directly from the publisher.

What else can we do to ensure access to AIM for our students who need it? If a district has chosen to coordinate with the NIMAS, they are expected to include language in their contracts with publishers to have them submit NIMAS files to NIMAC as part of the transaction for all printed materials purchased (see boxed item below for sample language for purchase orders).

excerpted form: Diedrich, Jeff. "Students Can Benefit From Accessible         
Instructional Materials (AIM)." Focus on Results 7.2 (2009)Web. 14 Apr 2010         
 link to full article: Students Can Benefit from Accessible Instructional Materials.      

Resources FAQ's Links

MITS Decision Making Team Brochure

MITS Administrators Brochure

Sample Purchase Oder Contract Language     



Michigan's Integrated Technology Supports: MITS

National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials


Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic