[Athen] (no subject)

Gaeir Dietrich gdietrich at htctu.net
Thu Dec 8 14:04:42 PST 2011

Hi all!

Please forgive cross-posts/reposts. Attached is the final report of the AIM
Commission. Negotiating the writing of this report was an intense, at times
overwhelming, effort. The commission achieved consensus on the report, with
every member signing off on it. What this means is that everyone compromised
so that all voices were included. Many advocates would have liked stronger
language; many in industry leaders would have liked less forceful language.
We tried to find a middle road that all could agree to.

In the final analysis of expert testimony and public comment, what stands
out clearly is that accessibility cannot be accomplished by one individual,
one institution, or even one industry. Full inclusion for every American
will come only when we as a society make accessibility a consideration at
every step of the process: from including accessibility as part of the
curriculum when educating the next generation of engineers, computer
scientists, and Web designers; to designing accessibility into hardware; to
developing production software that prompts for accessibility; to creating
software that operates with assistive technology; to providing mechanisms
for capturing data about accessibility; to ensuring that accessible media
can be easily searched for and found. We need every link in the chain to be
strong in order to forge opportunity for success.

What can you do? Now that the report has been released, you can contact your
U.S. senator and U.S. representatives and let them know your views. This
document is a starting point; what is done with this document will depend on
the democratic process. So if you wish to, let your voice be heard and
become part of that process.

Gaeir Dietrich

AIM Commission Chair



The Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) in
Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities released today a
report <http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/aim/publications.html>
providing Congress with vital recommendations for improving the ability of
postsecondary students with disabilities to obtain accessible instructional
materials in a timely and cost-effective manner.

"The AIM Commission's report sheds light on the hurdles students with
disabilities too often face in accessing and completing higher education
courses," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Their
recommendations will help our colleges and universities offer more effective
resources that meet the needs of all students and provide students with
disabilities the 21st century learning tools they need to be successful."

Established by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, the commission
brought together government leaders, representatives from the publishing
industry, individuals with print disabilities, representatives from two- and
four-year institutions of higher education, leaders in accessible
technology, and other stakeholders.

Over the course of 14 months, commission members studied the current state
of accessible materials for students with disabilities in postsecondary
education. Comprised of various stakeholders, including students with
disabilities, members of the publishing community, higher education
personnel, and content experts in the fields of disability and technology,
the commission offered diverse perspectives on the state of accessible
instructional materials across postsecondary campuses nationwide.

The commission's study found that:

* Students with disabilities, and most notably students with print
disabilities, often experience a variety of challenges that result from
inaccessible learning materials and/or their delivery systems.

* Disability resource service providers and other university
personnel often must engage in labor-intensive practices to provide
accessible instructional materials to students with disabilities.

* Textbook publishers and a number of electronic text vendors are
moving to incorporate accessibility into their products, but many products
are still inaccessible to students with disabilities who have difficulties
accessing printed text.

* Opportunities for capacity building within postsecondary
educational institutions are essential for improving the ability of these
institutions to provide accessible instructional materials to students with

The commission members reached consensus on 18 recommendations to address
the findings of its study. Recommendations include:

* Congress should authorize the United States Access Board to
establish guidelines for accessible instructional materials that will be
used by government, in the private sector, and in postsecondary academic

* Congress should consider incentives to accelerate innovation in
accessibility by publishers and producers of course materials, hardware, and
software by offering support and inducements for the production, sale, and
consumption of accessible instructional materials and delivery systems.

* The commission recommends that federally sponsored projects and
programs encourage and support systematic faculty and staff professional
development with respect to selection, production, and delivery of
high-quality accessible instruction materials to meet the needs of students
with disabilities in postsecondary settings.

Dr. Alexa Posny, assistant secretary of the Office of Special Education and
Rehabilitative Services notes, "Given the growing population of students
with disabilities pursuing higher education, this report will be a valuable
resource in improving our ability to better serve students with disabilities
while also helping more students' complete postsecondary programs."

A complete list of the commission's recommendations is available at

For more on the Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials
(AIM) in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities, visit


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