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Acquiring AEMs

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Accessible Educational Material (AEM): The term Accessible Educational Materials (AEMs) is currently used and includes both printed and electronic text. It is important to note that not all electronic text is accessible to all. Often used interchangeably with AIM.

Accessible Instructional Material (AIM): The term for specialized formats which included alternate text produced from only printed materials. Often used interchangeably with AEM.

Alternative Format: Alternative materials address the same educational goals as the standard print document, but the content is modified (usually made less complex) so that the student can better understand it.

Specialized Format: Specialized formats include the same content as a printed textbook or other instructional material but change the way the content is presented to the student. No information is added or removed. This term is used in IDEA and in copyright law under the Chaffee Amendment. It is changed to Accessible Format under the Marrakesh Treaty. Specialized formats are braille, large print, audio, and digital.

Accessible Format: A term that is synonymous with Specialized Format.


There are four steps to ensure that students receive specialized formats through the GIMC.


Establish need for instructional materials in accessible formats and determine which type of specialized format(s) are needed by the student. Consider what supports are needed for effective use of the specialized formats by the student


Document the need for accessible formats in the student’s education plan, e.g., IEP or 504. Student’s that do not have a written plan may also benefit from materials presented in different ways, i.e. differentiated. The district or local school address these students in instructional frameworks such as Mutli-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) and are responsible for providing materials to meet the students’ educational needs.


Students who meet definition of print-impaired due to blindness, visual impairment, other-print impairment, or those who are physically impaired are certified by competent authorities (a list of competent authorities is documentation in the Policies of the GIMC webpage). Those students who are ineligible for certification but could benefit from differentiated instruction are given supports thorough their local district.


Register the student with the GIMC. The GIMC assists districts obtain AEMs for districts’ student when possible.

Electronic AEM Eligibility Questionnaires