About True AIM
What is True AIM?
True AIM is the Iowa Department of Education’s resource for educational stakeholders to learn about accessible learning materials and the impact AIM can have for students with print disabilities.
The 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) included the requirement that students on IEPs with print disabilities that prevent them from accessing text in a traditional manner, receive their textbooks and core-related instructional materials in an accessible format in a timely manner. Students with disabilities on Section 504 plans are covered under the Copyright Act as amended (Chafee Amendment) so that those students with print disabilities who are on 504 Plans can receive their learning materials in an accessible format. Iowa Code for Special Education further details Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) for students in Iowa.
True AIM takes into consideration changes and amendments to thinking about AIM that have occurred since the 2006 regulations to implement IDEA 2004. In the past ten years, there has been an evolution in knowledge and perception of who can benefit from accessibility in our country and in our schools. There has been an explosion in technology that provides more flexibility and features that bring accessibility options to students that were beyond the scope of our thought ten years ago. While the Iowa Code reference remains AIM, nationally, this term has been reconfigured to Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) (Insert link to OSEP info in Legal Requirements section on expanding AIM to AEM) which refers to print- and technology-based learning materials. AIM will be used throughout this site and will refer to print- and technology-based learning materials used as general education curriculum by Iowa students.
Who is Responsible for AIM in the Schools?
School districts have the ultimate responsibility to provide learning materials that are accessible to all students with print disabilities. Core curriculum material and textbooks that are in a traditional hard copy may need to be converted to specialized formats: Braille, large print, audio, digital text. These alternate formats enable students with print disabilities to gain the information they need to complete tasks, and access content necessary to make growth towards grade-level standards. In addition, digital learning materials, whether an online textbook, website, or material added by teachers to a learning management system, must be fully accessible to individuals with print disabilities. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are available on making digital content Perceivable Operable, Understandable and Robust.
Within the school system, multiple stakeholders have critical impact on the success of AIM acquisition and provision. Administrators provide support for the overall system. Technology experts provide critical skill and coordination in selecting accessible technologies as well as configuring the technology infrastructure to accommodate web-based AIM. Curriculum specialists are the conduit between learning materials publishers and the school to assure that purchases are fully accessible and that specialized formats can be accommodated. Special Education staff play an essential role in identifying and collecting convergent data to determine whether a student needs AIM. General Education teachers are on the front line in observing, assessing and interacting with students, seeing learning styles and needs that would benefit from additional support. Parents, who know their children best, can provide valuable insight for educators.