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National Center on Accessible Educational Materials for Learning

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For information about AEM Center resources to support educators in responding to school closures due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, please see Resources for Access and Distance Education.

Illustration of a series of media representing varied ways of feeling, seeing and hearing content

Project Name
National Center on Accessible Educational Materials for Learning (AEM Center)

Project Website
aem.cast.org

Description

Students with disabilities are increasingly spending most or all of their school day in general education classes (NCES, 2019). Accessible educational materials and technologies are essential to the independence, participation, and progress of these general education students who function in highly varied ways — physical, sensory, and learning.

To the AEM Center, accessibility means that individuals with disabilities — from early childhood through the workforce — have equal access to materials and technologies for reaching educational outcomes and advancing in employment. We work with states and districts to build capacity for developing and sustaining robust systems for providing accessible materials and technologies for all learners who need them.

The AEM Center provides three levels of technical assistance:

  • Universal technical assistance is available to everyone. You’ll find products and services on the AEM Center website. Webinars and conference presentations are listed on the AEM Center events page.
  • Targeted technical assistance describes the AEM Center's strategic collaborations to address problems of practice in early childhood programs, higher education, and workforce development. Supports for families are also a part of our targeted technical assistance.
  • Intensive technical assistance describes the AEM Center's capacity-building activities with a small cohort of states. This partnership is designed to produce practices that can be scaled nationally.

Featured Resources

  • AEM State Contacts and SEA Information directs you to the people and resources in your state or territory providing accessible materials and technologies for individuals who need them.
  • Designing for Accessibility with POUR explains four core principles of accessibility in plain language. Make sure the materials and technologies you create and use are Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.
  • Five Things Educators Can Do to Buy Accessible advances a market model for procuring accessible materials and technologies so that buying accessible requires nothing more than just buying.
  • The AEM Pilot is an interactive web-based tool that guides K–12 districts in becoming more inclusive learning spaces for students with disabilities by helping build background knowledge about AEM, conducting self-assessments, and monitoring continuous progress.
  • The AEM Navigator is a decision-making tool that facilitates the selection and use of accessible materials that originate in print.

Timeline

2019–2024

Funder

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs

Partners

State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)
Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME)

Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA)

Principal Investigator

Jose Blackorby, Ph.D.

Contact

Cynthia Curry, M.S.Ed. (project director)