Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

Providing AIM in a Timely Manner Accommodating Students with Print-Retaled Disabilities.



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 Books or computer?





Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Technical Assistance project will support educators who don’t have the time or resources to provide student mandated access to print-based instructional materials. Such access is guaranteed in federal education statutes, such as IDEA and NCLB. ALLTECH can support you with AIM and NIMAS in the following ways:

  • Coordination of textbook acquisition from the State's NIMAC "authorized user"

  • Acquisition and implementation of individual or institutional subscriptions to

  • Coordinate District/student AIM-related materials and activities

  • Coordinate paperwork (subscription forms)

  • Organize individual student ID's

  • Download digital books/burn audio CDs

  • Distribute with copyright laws intact

  • Provide professional development to staff regarding tools to access digital text

Provide individual training/support to students who have print disabilities and use AIM

Digital Text, Scanning, and Copyright Law

Digital text is all around us, and enriches our abilities to access information (e.g., Web site resources and library databases) and communicate with one another (e.g., e-mail and word processing). Digital text is "malleable," and can be transformed into other types of media (Rose & Meyer, 1996). For instance, text in digital form can be converted into:

  • Braille
  • Synthesized speech
  • Digital audio books
  • Large print

Imagine how text in digital formats might transform learning experiences for students. Digital text provides support for students with learning and reading disabilities; enables individuals who read at beginner literacy levels to access text; and supports the preferences of a wide range of students. For example, text-to-speech can be used by students who have specific learning disabilities in reading, and can support students who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by focusing on the text, and drawing the students' attention to it. Other students who do not have identified disabilities utilize the technology simply because they are engaged by it.

In addition to e-mail and prepared word processing documents, digital text can be accessed by purchasing electronic textbooks, downloading from the World Wide Web, and scanning existing print materials into electronic files.

Electronic Textbooks

Commercial resources are available online from which textbooks in digital format can be downloaded. At netLibrary [], users can browse an e-book online, check out and read an e-book online, or download and read an e-book offline. The collection includes popular titles, trade books, and college textbooks in digital format. Interestingly, netLibrary detects if you are logging in from a university server and reconfigures its home page to offer customized resources. WizeUp Digital Textbooks [] works with leading publishing companies to create digitally enhanced versions of college textbooks. Interactive features of their textbooks include search tools, and the ability to import notes and hyperlinks. Allyn & Bacon Interactive Edition [] combines textbook and multimedia, including video, audio, Web links, and other activities on CD-ROM. National Academy Press [] offers over 1500 research and primary source materials.

E-Text Collections on the World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is host to a growing number of "electronic books" in the form of e-books and e-text. Additionally, Web-based collections and digital libraries are provided by many libraries, universities, and educational organizations, allowing access to a wide variety of resources, from children's books to government documents. enables book scans to be shared, thereby leveraging the collections of thousands of individuals who regularly scan books, eliminating significant duplication of effort. takes advantage of a special exemption in the U.S. copyright law that permits the reproduction of publications into specialized formats for persons with disabilities. For books that are in the public domain, membership is not required. For books that are copyrighted, an annual membership fee is charged.

Converting Traditional Print to Digital Format

If a specific book or text is not available on the Web, readers can create a digital version of the traditional print copy using a scanner and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. This can be laborious, but advances in scanning technology have improved the process, and made the necessary hardware and software more affordable.

Scanner types include:

  • Flatbed (scans text from books)
  • Single page (receives individual pages that are fed through)
  • Handheld (is passed over text repeatedly)
  • Self-feeding (scans multiple pages/double-sided)

When scanning text, the computer creates a picture of the text, which must then be converted to digital text through the use of OCR software. OCR software looks at the pattern of dots in the picture of the text, and "recognizes" the letters. Once the recognition process is finished, the pattern of dots is converted to digital text. Users can then have the text spoken back in a synthetic voice or saved to a computer.

Copyright and Fair Use

In 1996, Congress passed a copyright exemption that eliminated the need to receive permission from publishers before reproducing text in digital format for the use of individuals who have disabilities. For more information about copyright exemptions, refer to the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office:

Please contact ALLTECH for more information. We look forward to working with you!


Need more information? Visit Maine-AIM hwere you'll find oodles and oodles of great information!


Students gathered around books

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