The Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Consortium was a fifteen state collaborative led by CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) initiated in October, 2007 and concluded at the end of 2009. The AIM Consortium was funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education to work collaboratively toward the development and implementation of high quality sustainable systems and services that ensure timely provision of textbooks and related core instructional materials in specialized formats (for example, audio, Braille, e-text, large print) to the estimated approximately 1.3 million K–12 students with print disabilities within its member states.
The fifteen member states in the AIM Consortium included Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming; and key personnel at CAST included Chuck Hitchcock and Skip Stahl as Co-Project Directors, David Rose as Principal Investigator (PI), and Joy Zabala as Project Manager. Glinda Hill, the OSEP Project Officer for the AIM Consortium, contributed to the work of CAST and member states as an expert in disability, disability policy, education, and accessibility.
The AIM Consortium worked toward three overarching goals.
- To facilitate the development of state systems for increasing the awareness and timely provision of accessible instructional materials via NIMAS/NIMAC for qualifying students and by other means for non-qualifying students
- To ensure that state systems for the identification, acquisition, and use of accessible instructional materials employ high quality procedures and practices
- To produce related products and services scalable and made available to all states, OAs, and FAS, thus contributing to improving outcomes for all students with disabilities
In order to accomplish these goals, activities were conducted in three categories.
- Central services coordinated by CAST to support the efforts of the 15 AIM Consortium states by providing professional development, consultation, and awareness building; budget and project oversight; facilitation of all Consortium activities; and central administrative management.
- Focused state activities conducted by each state to raise awareness and develop a customized system aligned to state policies, practices, and initiatives to ensure the timely delivery of accessible instructional materials
- Best practices products and services developed for distribution to all states, outlying areas, and freely associated states to increase each entity’s ability to select, acquire, and use high-quality accessible instructional materials that contribute to improving results for children and youth with disabilities
Working in cooperation with NIMAS-related projects funded by OSEP, the AIM Consortium supported 1) increased awareness of key stakeholders of the benefits and availability of accessible instructional materials; 2) the equitable identification of students with disabilities who need accessible instructional materials for participation and achievement in the general curriculum; 3) the accurate selection of specialized formats, supports, and services that address the needs of identified students; 4) the development of systems for acquisition to improve availability and timely delivery of accessible materials; and 5) professional development and training that enables effective use of specialized formats by students, educators, and families.
The work begun and lessons learned by the AIM Consortium are integrated into the continuing work of the National Center for Accessible Instructional Materials. The products produced by the AIM Consortium are available to all states and interested parties in the AIM products section of this site.