About AIM-VA

Who can order from AIM-VA?

With AIM-VA's new ordering system, any teacher or school personnel (verified by a school email address) can become a Digital Rights Manager (DRM) and order accessible instructional materials for certified students . (Examples: Special Education Teacher, School Psychologist, Social Worker, or Case Manager).

What if I already have an account with one of AIM-VA's partners?

If you already have an account with one of AIM-VA’s partners you can still use that service just as before.

What is NIMAS - What is the NIMAC and what will it do?

The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) is a programming standard used by publishers to produce files that may be used by students with print disabilities.

The NIMAC which stands for the “National Instructional Materials Access Center”, is the central national repository established at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) that contains all NIMAS files. AIM-VA is able to search the NIMAC database and download NIMAS file(s). These files can be used to convert to alternative accessible instructional formats (i.e., HTML, RTF, DAISY, and e-Pub). To learn more about NIMAS please visit their website: http://nimas.cast.org/index.html .

What is the Chafee Amendment?

The Copyright Law of 1931as amended in 1996, is referred to as the Chafee Amendment. This Amendment grants permission for nonprofit organizations and government agencies to create alternate formats if their primary mission is to “provide specialized services relating to training, education, or adaptive reading or information access needs of blind or other persons with disabilities."
Library of Congress regulations (36 CFR 701.6(b)(1)) provides that "Blind persons or other persons with Print disabilities" include:
(i)    Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses, or whose widest diameter if visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees
(ii)   Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material
(iii) Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations
(iv) Persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner

 

For Educators

How will VA students get access to accessible instructional materials?

Before a school can request and receive materials from AIM-VA, the AIM Division Administrator must designate staff person(s) eligible to order and/or certify student eligibility through the AIM-VA ordering system. Once complete, school personnel responsible for the implementation of an eligible student’s IEP may order accessible instructional materials as an AIM-VA Digital Rights Manager (DRM). All DRMs are responsible for monitoring and documenting copyright compliance of these materials by certified students.

Once an order is placed, students can access their files from the My Books section of the AIM-VA webpage.

What happens when a student is finished using the materials from AIM-VA?

When a student has finished using their materials, the DRM must:

1) Indicate such within the manage orders section of the AIM-VA ordering system

2) Delete all AIM files from any electronic devices, thumb drives, computers, or tablets (This includes personal computers at the teacher’s and student’s home.)

3) Return any physical copy (i.e., large print books or CD) to the AIM-VA Center at George Mason University

What electronic formats can be read using Read OutLoud?

PDF: Fully Accessible, NIMAS, HTML, RTF, and DAISY

Can I get more than one format for a student?

Yes! Students have different needs in different situations using different tools and therefore multiple formats of the same book may be necessary.

Will AIM-VA provide any equipment?

No, AIM-VA provides access to Accessible Instructional Materials, not the equipment with which to access them.

How do I decide what format is best for my student?

The format that is best suited for your student should be discussed openly with their IEP team and is based on various formal and informal evaluations of the student. To assist the team with this task, AIM-VA has created an iOS app, that can help teachers navigate the AIM related needs of a student. A form the app was developed from can also be found online at http://aim.cast.org/navigator/page/ 

What if I make a mistake when ordering? How do I cancel it?

If you made a mistake in your order, or need to cancel your order for any other reason within 7 days, you can do so by:

1) clicking on Manage Orders under the home button on the navigation bar, locate the order you wish to cancel

2) click the blue ‘X’ button on the right of the title to cancel

Why can't a student with a 504 Plan receive AIM-VA materials?

Currently, the Commonwealth of Virginia requires an IEP in order to receive accessible instructional materials from AIM-VA. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued “Questions and Answers on the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)” on August 1, 2010.  This document specifically concludes that students who receive services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are not eligible to receive specialized formats from NIMAS-derived files through the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC).  OSERS’ Q&A document is available at:  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/nimas-qa.pdf.

What is an organic dysfunction?

An organic dysfunction means the cause of a disability must be physically based (not social, environmental, or based on educational deficiencies.) Examples of an organic dysfunction include: dyslexia, dyscalculia, or written expression disorder.

What is an STI number?

STI, or Student Testing Identification, is a number assigned by the Virginia Department of Education and can be found in the student’s file or by asking the school testing coordinator. 

I am a Division Administrator or Lead DRM (L-DRM). How do I add a staff member the AIM-VA so that they can access instructional materials for students?

Sign into www.aimva.org and click “Home” to take you to your Dashboard. On the left side of the screen, click on “Users” and select “Add User”.  Fill out the form with the new user’s contact details, indicate their DRM level and complete level preferences. 

I am a Certifying DRM (C-DRM), how do I certify orders?

Sign into www.aimva.org and on the left side of your Dashboard under the “Students” tab, select “Certify Students”.  There may be multiple student numbers in this screen awaiting certification.  Be sure students qualify to receive materials from AIM-VA, after which make sure all 3 boxes (IEP, medically eligible, and certify) are checked before clicking the blue ‘Certify’ button.

How do I transfer responsibility of books for a student from one DRM to another?

On the left side of the Dashboard under “Manage Orders,” select ‘Transfer Orders’ and complete the prompts for information.

How do I ship textbooks and trade books to AIM-VA to be processed?

1) From your Dashboard click “Manage Orders”

2) Click on the green button on the right; “ship books to AIMVA production”

3) Click on the boxes next to each order you would like to ship textbooks for in the column “generate production shipping label”

Note: be certain that all the books you indicated will fit within one box before finalizing the printing of this single UPS shipping label!
You will then be able to print out the UPS shipping label for the box you need to send to AIM-VA. 

How do I return accessible materials that I checked out from AIM?

1) From your Dashboard click “Manage Orders”
2) Click on the green button on the right; “generate return labels”
3) Click on the boxes next to each order you would like to return”

Note: be certain that all the accessible materials you indicated will fit within one box before finalizing the printing of this single UPS shipping label!
You will then be able to print out the UPS shipping label for the box you need to send to AIM-VA. 

How do I ship textbooks, trade books, or accessible materials to DBVI?

The process is the same as it is for shipping or returning materials to AIM-VA except that you select the DBVI button.

How do I order materials?

If the student has already been certified in the system:

1) Login via the https://portal.aimva.org/ website
2) From your Dashboard, click on the “Search for a book” icon
3) Enter the book in the search field either by title (for trade books) or ISBN (for textbooks)

 If you find the book you were looking for…

1) Select the “Order now” button
2) Follow the prompts requesting information regarding the student who needs the book being ordered
3) Select the “Order” button at the bottom of the screen to complete the request

If the system does not find the book you were looking for:

1) Select the “New Request” button
2) Complete the form provided and select “Submit”

If the student has not been added to the system:

1) Login and on the Dashboard under the “Students” tab, select “Add Student”
2) Enter the STI # at the prompt
3) Fill out the form by creating a username and password for the student

Select the blue Create button at the bottom of the form

DRM in your district will receive a notification that they need to certify this student.  You can go ahead and begin to place orders for the student while the certification process is being completed. 

How do I cancel an order when it is past the cancellation date?

Please contact the Help Desk (aimva@gmu.edu; toll-free 866-9261879).

How do I retain a large print book?

From your Dashboard, click the “Manage Orders” icon and find the book you wish to retain and select the “tool box” icon called “retain order”.  It will ask you for new student details (if this applies) and to then submit a new order form. 

Can PDFs or other electronic formats on CD be retained?

No, electronic formats cannot be retained. We ask that you return them and place new orders.

Where do I go to download electronic accessible materials from AIM-VA?

You can download PDF: Accessible, PDF: Fully Accessible, Word Document, RTF, HTML, Daisy, NIMAS and e-Pub formats from the Manage Orders section of your Dashboard simply by locating the book you wish to download and clicking the download icon to the right. 

Can I read electronic accessible instructional materials online through AIM-VA?

AIM-VA now provides the means to access e-Pub formats through its cloud called StreamIt! This feature will be available in the student’s personalized StreamIt! account.  As e-Pubs are ordered, they will instantly be made available for viewing if the files already exist in the AIM-VA library. If they do not, files will be created and uploaded into StreamIt! as soon as they are complete.

Note: if you wish to download the e-Pub, do so in your Manage Orders option. 

How do I know which books I need to return to you? In the past, AIM-VA has sent us end-of-year listings and compliance statements. 

Your Manage Orders screen will provide you all the information you need to either destroy or return accessible materials to AIM-VA at the end of each school year by June 30th.

What if I do not have a copy of the book to send for you to process my order?

AIM-VA requires a copy (preferably 2 copies) of the actual text for all New Book Orders to create a scan and process the order.  If a copy of the book cannot be sent, the order will be canceled. 

Remember, AIM-VA requires that students have a copy of the actual book assigned to them by the school, in accordance with an understanding with publishers, prior to any orders being processed for that book. If the student does not have a copy of the book assigned to them and an order is made, the DRM is violating the Copyright Law.

Who is the ‘competent authority’ to determine an organic dysfunction?

Doctors of medicine and Doctors of Osteopathy are deemed to be competent authorities under the Chafee Amendment when determining an organic dysfunction. They may also consult with colleagues in associated disciplines such as those associated with a student’s school. For forms and more information see: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2013/174-13a.pdf

What are the basic formats I can order?

Large Print, PDF: Accessible, Structured WORD, PDF: Fully Accessible, NIMAS, HTML, RTF, DAISY, e-Pub, Audio, Braille, and BRF.

What does creating an accessible format mean?

Creating an accessible format of printed materials means converting the contents of the printed materials into an alternate form that offers features proven accessible by individuals who have various print disabilities. Accessible formats allow a student access to the same content available in printed materials assigned to all students in a classroom. These formats do not modify the content.

Why are accessible instructional materials and formats needed?

Accessible instructional materials (AIM) from AIM-VA provide content to eligible students who otherwise cannot or have difficulty using printed information needed to complete educational tasks, master IEP goals, and reach curricular standards in the classroom. Provisions within IDEA 2004 require that textbooks and related core instructional materials be provided to students with print disabilities in specialized formats in a timely manner. AIM-VA offers a means to comply with this provision for eligible students.

What curriculum materials are offered in the NIMAC?

In accordance with IDEA 2004, publishers are required to provide their printed instructional materials (copyright 2006 and later) in a unique electronic format called NIMAS. Existing NIMAS files are made available to AIM-VA for use, conversion, and distribution to eligible students in Virginia.  Textbooks and other core materials not readily available in the NIMAC must be requested to be included by schools. AIM-VA does not have the authority to do so.

Are IEP Teams authorized to determine if a student requires accessible instructional materials?

Yes. The IEP Team determines the instructional program, supports, modifications, and accommodations needed for eligible students with print disabilities, including the need for accessible instructional materials.  To be eligible, a student must have a note from a medical doctor indicating their medical diagnosis that meets one of the Chafee Amendment criterion.

Are there costs to the local district to request accessible instructional materials from AIM-VA?

No.

How many titles can I request from AIM-VA for one student?

The AIM-VA does not have a numerical limit. However, if 20+ titles are being requested, AIM-VA would like assurance that these titles are actually assigned to the student and will be used during the current school year

Will foreign language textbooks be available?

Yes. IDEA specifies that NIMAS applies to printed textbooks and related printed core materials that are written and published primarily for use in elementary and secondary school instruction and are required by local districts for use by students in the classroom. Thus, all foreign language textbooks that meet this requirement are subject to the NIMAS. This applies both to textbooks for foreign language classes and textbooks translated into a foreign language for use by students with limited English proficiency. In addition, AIM-VA also provides texts submitted for foreign language classes as feasible.

May a file for an eligible student also be used for other students who may benefit from its use?

Everything provided to a student by AIM-VA is specifically assigned to that student only. Copying files and sharing them with others violates copyright law.

If a school contracts with a Community College for advanced placement classes, is the LEA or community college responsible for a student who is eligible for NIMAS materials?

Under 612(a)(23) and 613(a)(6) [300.172 and 300.210] the SEA and LEA have the responsibility to provide print instructional materials to blind and other print disabled persons in a timely manner. This responsibility would extend to all courses that the SEA and LEA offer for elementary school or secondary school credit, even if they are provided by another entity through a contract or other arrangement with the SEA or LEA.

 

For Parents

My child meets the eligibility requirements but isn't getting AIM-VA materials.

Don’t panic, if your child meets the eligibility requirements but isn’t receiving AIM-VA materials it is likely that their teachers don’t know about our service. Call your school to inquire about receiving AIM-VA materials.

What is the Chafee Amendment?

The Copyright Law of 1931as amended in 1996, is referred to as the Chafee Amendment. This Amendment grants permission for nonprofit organizations and government agencies to create alternate formats if their primary mission is to “provide specialized services relating to training, education, or adaptive reading or information access needs of blind or other persons with disabilities." Library of Congress regulations (36 CFR 701.6(b)(1)) provides that "Blind persons or other persons with Print disabilities" include:

  1. Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses, or whose widest diameter if visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees
  2. Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material
  3. Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations
  4. Persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner

Why can't a student with a 504 Plan receive AIM-VA materials?

Currently, the Commonwealth of Virginia requires an IEP in order to receive accessible instructional materials from AIM-VA. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued “Questions and Answers on the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)” on August 1, 2010. This document specifically concludes that students who receive services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are not eligible to receive specialized formats from NIMAS-derived files through the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC). OSERS’ Q&A document is available at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/nimas-qa.pdf.

What is an organic dysfunction?

An organic dysfunction means the cause of a disability must be physically based (not social, environmental, or based on educational deficiencies.) Examples of an organic dysfunction include: dyslexia, dyscalculia, or written expression disorder.

Are LEAs required to pay for additional medical certification to verify that a student's print disability has an organic nature?

Yes. LEAs have the responsibility, including the assumption of costs, to obtain the appropriate certification for the students.

 

For Students

Can AIM-VA materials be shared with friends?

Everything provided to a student by AIM-VA is specifically assigned to that student only. Copying files and sharing them with others violates copyright law.

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