Summer
2016


AEM Connector
finger on keyboard
Textbook, Resources, and Technology Ordering for Next Fall
Acquiring Accessible Materials
It's that time of year again. No, not just time for fun in the sun and vacations with the family. It's also time for textbook, resource, and technology ordering for next fall. But wait! Before you sign that purchase order and rush off to summer break, make sure you're also thinking about ordering specialized formats of print materials and double-checking the accessibility of digital materials.

The AEM Center has some fantastic resources to help:
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The Summer Slide in Reading Skills
Summer is a time when people of all ages often have increased opportunities to read for pleasure.  For individuals with print disabilities, this time can be used to great advantage.
  • Studies show many students lose approximately one month in reading skills, and experts report that the "summer slide" for students who read differently is even greater.
  • Reports indicate that reading even 20 minutes a day can reduce the summer slide.  
Fortunately, summer opportunities for reading are offered by many of the accessible media producers (AMPs) that provide reading materials in specialized formats for people with print disabilities. To learn more about AMPs, see the AEM Guide to AMPs .
  • Learning Ally has kicked off its "Summer Reading Together" program. This initiative is designed specifically for students with reading disabilities, such as dyslexia and blindness or visual impairment. The program features unique and engaging events that create a sense of fun, excitement, competition and support among students, their teachers, families and friends.
  • Bookshare's accessible online library is another excellent resource for students and adults who cannot read traditional print books due to disabilities like blindness, low vision, physical disabilities, and learning disabilities like dyslexia. Check out Bookshare's tips for giving students with print disabilities independent access to Bookshare over the summer. Have fun by joining the Bookshare Bingo summer reading program.
ISTE 2016 Highlights Accessible Materials and Technologies
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AEM-Related Events
If you're heading to ISTE 2016 in Denver, CO, at the end of the June, be sure to add the Inclusive Learning Network's AEM-related events to your calendar:
The AEM Team is on the Move!
Texas Assistive Technology Regional Conference
June 14 - Kirk Behnke and Diana Carl are presenting TATN Conference: AIM 2016 Update from a National, State and Regional Perspective . Join our distinguished panel for a lively discussion about the issues around accessible instructional materials (AIM), both at a policy and a practical level. Learn about what is happening at all levels and what you can do to facilitate getting accessible learning materials with broad usability into the hands of students who need them.

June 14 - Kirk Behnke and Diana Carl are presenting UDL, AEM, and AT: Complementary Supports for the Achievement of All Students. This session will Explore ways in which the principles of universal design for learning (UDL) are used in flexible, engaging learning environments that provide a foundation supporting improved participation and outcomes for ALL learners.
 
June 15 - Diana Carl is presenting Accessible Instructional Materials and Intensive Support. Texas is one of seven states receiving intensive technical assistance from the National Accessible Educational Materials Center for Learning. Come to this session to learn about systemic changes in Accessible Instructional Materials in Texas and see other examples from a variety of states.

Iowa Special Education Symposium: Pursuing the Promise
June 14 - Joy Zabala, AEM Center, and Maggie Pickett, Iowa Department of Education, are presenting She Said, She Said! Accessible Materials for Learning. In this session Joy and Maggie will provide administrators with national and state perspectives on challenges and opportunities related accessible educational materials and accessible technologies. This engaging session will be based on a series of myths related to the selection, acquisition, and use of accessible materials and technologies, as well as compliance and outcome realities related to each myth.

SETDA Emerging Technologies Forum Mindy Johnson headshot
June 25 - Mindy Johnson will be presenting at the SETDA Emerging Technologies Forum. The session will explore the question, "Why accessible?" and the relationships and intersections between accessibility, usability, and Universal Design for Learning. 
Upcoming AEM Related Webinars: Higher Ed and Workforce Prep
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AEMing Higher
Sam Catherine Johnston leads the AEM Team's connection to Higher Education and Workplace Preparation. In addition to providing technical assistance, Sam is a frequent a presenter at conferences and in webinars. Sam will be presenting three webinars in the month of June that specifically focus on the intersection of AEM and Learning .
  • The first one relates to the Department of Labor's Disability Employment Initiative with a focus on the integration of AEM and UDL in the public workforce preparation system's career pathways work.
  • Additionally, she will present a webinar to faculty and staff at Athabasca University on UDL and accessibility in online postsecondary education.
  • Her busy month concludes with a webinar for EDUCAUSE ELI on Universal Design for Learning in postsecondary education. 
Note: The above webinars are not open to the public. AEM-related information and resources pertaining to Higher Education & AEM and Workforce Preparation & AEM are available from the AEM Center's website.
 
Joy Zabala headshot
TA Tips
Ah, summer! A time we often think of as rest, relaxation and refreshment! But what summer really is for many educators and families is a time to learn as much as we can about ways to help students learn and grow! The AEM Center has many resources that can assist you in working with others to ensure that ALL students have accessible materials, accessible technologies, and the support services that can be used to increase participation and improve educational outcomes at all levels. Check out Quick Starts, the AEM in Action stories, and the information on Supporting Learners at all levels of the educational system.
 
And, always remember that we are here to help!
   
Joy Zabala 
Co-Director, National Center on Accessible Educational Materials; Director of Technical Assistance, CAST
jzabala@cast.org