Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) and AT
Accessible educational materials (AEM) are materials that are designed or converted in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format (print, digital, graphic, audio, video). Students with vision impairments, physical disabilities, and/or reading disabilities from organic dysfunction may need AEM in order to receive FAPE or achieve “effective communication” under Title II. AT may be used and/or required to access AEM.
The following are some examples of features that can be changed to make educational materials more accessible for a student:
- Output - When using audio or text-to-speech (TTS), voices may be human or the rate at which the text is spoken may be changed as well as the pitch of the voice (when using synthesized). The text can also be manipulated by size, fonts, colors, and contrast.
- Navigation - Navigation features allow a student to move around the recorded speech and text files easily. Students may move through files by chapters, sections, pages, and paragraphs.
- Bookmarking, Highlighting, and Labeling - These features allow the student to denote important parts of the text and, again, navigate through the files easily.
Teams should also be aware of the PALM (Purchase Accessible Learning Materials) Initiative. As teachers, schools, and districts aim to incorporate technology into the classroom, it is increasingly important to make sure these technologies are accessible to all students. The PALM Initiative was created to help ensure that purchased technologies are inherently accessible for every student including those with disabilities.