What is True AIM?
The 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) included the requirement that students on IEPs with print disabilities receive their textbooks and core-related instructional materials in a timely manner. Students with disabilities on Section 504 plans are covered under the Copyright Act as amended (Chafee Amendment).
Who is Responsible?
School districts have the ultimate responsibility to provide learning materials that are accessible to all students with print disabilities. Core curriculum material and text books may need to be converted to these specialized formats (Braille, large print, audio, digital text). Specialized formats enable students with print disabilities to gain the information they need to complete tasks, master IEP or Section 504 goals, and reach curricular standards. Specialized formats are also provided to students who are unable to gain information from traditional print materials.
First Day of School
Expectation: In all schools around the country, when children enter the classroom on the first day of school, their textbooks are waiting for them. For students with print disabilities, there is no sharing or waiting for textbooks, learning can begin immediately. For the child with a print disability all of the needed books and materials are identified prior to the end of the previous school year and ordered in a timely manner. The complete texts are available in Braille, large print, audio, and digital text on the first day of school. The child with a print disability is given the same access to education as his/her classmates.
Reality: Children with print disabilities have historically been disenfranchised from having access to the general education curriculum and future employment because of a lack of access to printed materials. Reasons that this occurs are many. Typically states and local school districts do not have a system in place for choosing books sufficiently early or a system for producing accessible textbooks. Textbooks for mathematics, algebra, science, and social studies often contain many graphics which require careful consideration when adapting them to specialized formats (Braille, large print, audio, digital text).
In the long run, if it is a heavy year for complicated texts in science and math or if classroom teacher assignments are delayed or if class scheduling does not occur early in the school year, children with print disabilities will receive their print materials late, only in chapters, or not at all. When the textbooks and instructional materials arrive late, the student is not fully engaged in the general education curriculum and learning is delayed.
True AIM is the department's initiative to assist local school districts in getting accessible instructional materials to students with print disabilities in a timely manner - The First Day. Adapted from the American Foundation for the Blind Tool Kit