Accessible Educational Materials in the IEP (AIM)
Why include AIM in the IEP? Accessible educational materials that are provided to a student with a print disability are an essential component of the obligation of schools to ensure students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). AIM is critical to participation in the general education for these students. The U.S. Department of Education has stated that AIM be available in a timely manner; Iowa Administrative Code defines timely manner as “at the same time as peers” receive their learning materials. It is important for IEP teams to specify a student’s need for AIM in the IEP.
AIM can be integrated into the language of the IEP in a number of locations. The following information can guide IEP teams, though there is no specific requirement in IDEA as to where AIM should be documented in an IEP. (References to locations in the IEP are specific to Iowa’s web IEP.)
- In Iowa’s web IEP, Special Considerations are represented on Page B. Several of these considerations are important for AIM.
- Students who are blind or have other visual impairments and need Braille or Large Print specialized formats need instruction and access to these materials.
- Students who are deaf or hard of hearing, may be identified in the special factor for Communication.
- For all students, the IEP team must consider whether assistive technology devices or services are needed to access, participate and progress in the general education curriculum.
- Also on Page B-Considerations, Iowa has an item specifically prompting consideration of AIM. The question “Does this student need Accessible Instructional Materials?” is represented by a Yes/No check box. Best practice would direct the IEP team to use the AIM Decision-Making Process tool (link to infographic) to gather data to make that determination.
- Other Information Critical to the IEP is a location where AIM documentation can be placed so that the IEP reader has a snapshot of why the student needs Accessible Instructional Materials.
- IEPs include a description of the student’s present level of academic achievement and functional performance. This section should include information about AIM’s impact on how the student accesses, interacts with, and progresses in the general education curriculum.
- Specificity about the services that connect to AIM are detailed on the Services page under the Activities tab.
- Accessible Instructional Materials. Information should include the specialized format that is needed, how it will be acquired by the district, and that it will be available at the same time as peers get their learning materials.
- Assistive Technology Devices. If AT is used to make materials accessible for the student’s disability-related needs and is provided by the school district, that AT will be described in general terms by feature rather than naming a brand of device. E.g. “Student uses text reader technology on a district-owned computer. Features of the text reader include text to speech, highlighted text as it is read and high contrast font and background colors to improve visual accessibility.”
- Support to School Personnel. This could represent time allocated for training, problem-solving and other supports to the staff.
- (Page G) Accessibility tools such as text to speech or magnification may be used for district-wide assessments.
Accessible Educational Materials and the IEP - A guide from CAST about where AEM can be represented in the IEP.