AEM Connector
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In the News
Head shot of Joy Zabala.
Joy Zabala Receives 2016 OCALI Award
At this year's OCALICON Conference (November 14-18), OCALI formally recognized and acknowledged the impact, leadership, and accomplishments of individuals across the nation who help improve the outcomes for people with autism, sensory disabilities, and low-incidence disabilities. To this end, the recipients of the 2016 OCALI Awards were Jerry Whittaker, Jerod Smalley, Ohio Representative Jon Peterson, and AEM's very own Joy Zabala!
Candidates were evaluated for their personal achievements and accomplishments, leadership skills and abilities, innovative ideas, practices, and solutions, collaboration and mentoring efforts, and overall impact on their communities.  Congratulations, Joy!

Accessibility and Civil Rights  
In May, 2016, the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice published its intent to extend legal requirements for accessibility to all ADA Title II eligible institutions in its Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities notice (see ). The comment period for this rulemaking closed in October, 2016. The proposed rulemaking under Title II impacts public schools, colleges and universities and their use of web content. The technical accessibility standard, known as WCAG 2 Level AA ,  is proposed as the baseline  "because it includes criteria that provide more comprehensive Web accessibility to individuals with disabilities-including those with visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, developmental, learning, and neurological disabilities".  Additional implementation considerations are included in the proposal and this activity from the DOJ indicates a clear intention to require the use of accessible web content within state and local education settings in the near future.   
Upcoming Conference Presentations
ATIA 2017
On Thursday, January 17 at 2 p.m., Joy will be presenting Leveraging AEM Resources: Where to Get Help When You Need It! at the 2017 ATIA Conference in Orlando, FL.  Are you concerned about students who need  accessible  materials? Pondering the difference between accessible  print materials  and accessible digital materials? Not sure where to get help when you need it? If so, this session is for you! Join Joy for a guided tour of the tools, supports and services available from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials  (AEM Center). Find out about the 24/7 resources available on the AEM Center web site. Get up to date about technical assistance and learning opportunities that can help you in your efforts to learn, share and lead.
In addition to the AEM Center's presentations, ATIA includes an entire strand on accessibility and an all-day preconference session on accessibility presented by Donna McNear . According to the description, the preconference, entitled Accessible Content Management: Systematically Find, Deliver & Use Alternative Materials & Tools, will introduce an accessible content management tool and provide participants with an opportunity to apply the tool - as well as related UDL strategies - to their own curriculum and practice.
Sessions in the Accessibility Strand focus on the design and development of accessible technology as it relates to hardware, software, websites, mobile applications, proprietary applications, content, and documents. Topics in this strand may be of interest to developers, designers, testers, and others involved in the development life cycle, as well as managers, executives and administrators who support the implementation of accessibility and accessible/assistive technology. 

More ATIA!  Accessible Educational Materials: Town Hall Discussion
Join Joy Zabala: AEM Center, Rachel Herron: PATINS, Marsye Kaplan, Maryland DOE, and Christine Fox, SETDA at ATIA on January 19, 2017 from 8-9 a.m. for a highly interactive discussion between panelist and participants. Various state and group representatives will open a discussion about innovations, current trends and issues of importance regarding Accessible Educational Materials and Accessible a highly interactive discussion between panelist and participants. Various state and group representatives will open a discussion about innovations, current trends and issues of importance regarding Accessible Educational Materials and Accessible Technologies.  Register today!

FETC 2017
In keeping with the Orlando theme, Joy, along with Candice Dodson and Christine Fox, will be presenting FETC: Navigating the Shift: How to Obtain Accessible Education Materials for All Students  on Thursday, January 26 at 10 a.m. at the 37th National Future of Education Technology Conference in  Orlando.  Join this interactive session to learn how you can tap into the power of digital instructional materials to support teaching and learning for all students, including those with special needs. You'll learn how SETDA and  CAST  are collaborating to increase the awareness of the availability and use of  accessible  digital educational materials that benefit all learners. Christine Fox and Joy Zabala will identify best practices to leverage expertise to acquire accessible materials for teaching and learning, as well as how to navigate digital educational materials policies supporting K-12 students. You'll have the opportunity to explore multiple AEM and SETDA resources via your device that can help you successfully implement curricula that can be used by and with all students, including those who are unable to use read or use "standard" learning materials.
Upcoming AEM Center Webinars
Save the Dates!
  • Fitting AEM in Your Teacher Education Program - Wednesday, January 11, 2017 from 2-3 p.m. ET.  Register today!
  • A Tour of UDL and AEM Resources for Improving Postsecondary Learner Outcomes - Tuesday, January 24, 2017 from 2-3 p.m. ET.  Register today!

Be on the lookout for announcements from us next month regarding registration for additional webinars taking place in February!  Topics will include:
  • Teaching the Swipe Generation: Apps for Early Learning 
  • AEM to Improve Job Training and Workforce Development Programs  
And as always, feel free to visit the the AEM Events webpage on the AEM Center website for the latest information about AEM webinars and presentations.
Head shot of Joy Zabala.
TA Tips

H appy Holidays!
Wishing everyone safe, refreshing and happy holidays!  May your celebrations be filled with peace, love and joy!
We look forward to seeing you often in 2017, both online and in person.  
And don't forget! We are always here to help and only a fingertip away!  
Joy Zabala 
Co-Director, National Center on Accessible Educational Materials; Director of Technical Assistance, CAST