AIM to AEM

The Maine Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Program is now the Maine Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Program.

Accessible Educational Materials logoAlthough the Program’s mission is essentially the same, we have broadened our work to include a wider view. In the initial stages of the program, we focused on AIM, specifically the “specialized formats (Braille, large print, digital audio and electronic text)” identified in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA04). Over the years, the Program has expanded to provide training and technical assistance on materials and communications used in schools including accessible digital documents and web sites. We have also expanded to provide assistance to colleges and universities and those offering services to people with disabilities in the workplace.

In summer of 2017, the Maine Department of Education revised section 3D (Considerations – Including Special Factors) of the official Individualized Education Program (IEP) form replacing AIM with AEM. While not changing IEP Teams’ obligations to consider Assistive Technology and AEM when developing the IEP, the terminology on the form is now consistent with this broadened view.

As we move forward, the Maine AEM Program will continue to provide training and technical assistance on issues related to the selection, acquisition and use of specialized formatted educational materials.

 

AEM Webinar for Pre-Service Teachers

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials logo

From the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials…

Pre-service Teachers: Are You Ready for Accessible Educational Materials?

Friday, September 29, 2017 
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT

Whether you’re preparing to be a general or special educator, the students of your future will need accessible educational materials (AEM), a provision of IDEA 2004. In this webinar, you’ll learn what accessibility means, who needs AEM, and how AEM is provided to learners. Most importantly, we’ll share strategies for how you can start preparing now to be AEM ready for your first class of learners. Tweet us your burning questions ahead of the webinar by tagging us @AEM_Center and using the hashtag #PreService

Presenters

Cynthia Curry
Richard Jackson

Use this link for more information and to register…

 

14 Million Digital Books Available To Print Disabled Users

electronic books on various devicesMore than 14 million digital books will soon be made available to blind and print-disabled users, thanks to a new collaboration involving the National Federation of the Blind and the HathiTrust Digital Library, a digital repository hosted at the University of Michigan.

When launched, the program will dramatically increase the availability of books for users who are blind or print-disabled. According to the NFB, currently less than 5 percent of all published works are estimated to be available to the blind, most of which are popular titles.

Over the coming year, NFB and HathiTrust will collaborate to plan and implement these services. User eligibility will be determined by criteria used by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and similar services authorized under U.S. law.

According to Furlough, HathiTrust currently provides a similar service to qualified print-disabled students at its member schools. The new program will expand this service to allow similarly qualified users not affiliated with HathiTrust schools access to full-text works in the HathiTrust collection.

NFB and HathiTrust, like the federally operated National Library Service, will lawfully and securely make books available to qualified people in the U.S. who have print disabilities.

Read the entire press release to learn more about this announcement…

President Signs Dyslexia Bill Into Law

On February 18, 2016, President Obama signed to law the bipartisan Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act (READ Act) (H.R. 3033). The READ Act, introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), supports important research to further our understanding of dyslexia, including better methods for early detection and teacher training.

From news release from the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Committee:

Dyslexia affects an estimated 8.5 million school children and one in six Americans in some form. The House passed the READ Act last October with unanimous support and earlier this month approved a Senate amendment, sending the bill to the president’s desk for his signature.

Chairman Smith: ‘Today we can help millions of Americans have a brighter and more prosperous future. Despite the prevalence of dyslexia, many Americans remain undiagnosed, untreated and silently struggle at school or work.  We need to enable those with dyslexia to achieve their maximum potential. I am glad that the House and Senate were able to work together and send the president a good bipartisan bill to help accomplish this goal.’

The READ Act requires the president’s annual budget request to Congress to include the Research in Disabilities Education program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). As amended, the bill requires the NSF to devote at least $2.5 million annually to dyslexia research, which would focus on best practices in the following areas:

  • Early identification of children and students with dyslexia
  • Professional development about dyslexia for teachers and administrators
  • Curricula development and evidence-based educational tools for children with dyslexia

The READ Act authorizes dyslexia research projects using funds appropriated for the National Science Foundation. The bill would also authorize $2.5 million for research focused on other learning disabilities, including those which are also associated with dyslexia.

Chairman Smith introduced the READ Act with Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), who are co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus. The Caucus is comprised of over 100 Members of Congress and is dedicated to increasing public awareness about dyslexia and ensuring that all students have equal educational opportunities.

More information…

Original Pub Date:

02/19/2016