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National Policies

Why did the Virginia Department of Education design the AIM-VA project?

“This is a picture of a gavel representing the legal system.

AIM-VA’s foundation as a statewide K-12 public education service stems from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.). This act explicitly required that both state educational agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) assure that “blind persons or other persons with print disabilities” (2004) are provided with accessible instructional materials in a timely manner to ensure a Free Appropriate Public Education (F.A.P.E.).

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

  • Explicitly established obligation; AIM to be provided to students with print disabilities if required for F.A.P.E.
  • Created the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) to maintain a catalog of materials.
  • References the Chaffee Amendment and Pratt-Smoot to establish material formats and eligibility definitions.

Relevant sections: Title I (B) 612 (a) 23 Title I (B) 613 (a) 6 Title I (D) 674 (e)


What other national policies influence the implementation of AIM-VA?

The Chafee Amendment

The Chafee Amendment (1996) authorizes nonprofit organizations or governmental agencies who service “blind or other persons with disabilities” the right to reproduce and distribute accessible materials.

In addition to providing the copyright exemption, the Chaffee Amendment defines the materials that can be provided as “specialized formats”

  • braille, audio, or digital text,
  • with respect to print instructional materials, includes large print formats;
  • when exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities.

Relevant sections:
17 U.S.C. 121

Pratt-Smoot and 36 CFR 701.10

“An Act to provide books for the adult blind” (Pratt-Smoot, 1931) creating the first legal precedent in America related to the provision of accessible materials for individuals with disabilities. It is significant due to the Library of Congress regulations in 1966 (36 CFR 701.10) that defines AIM-VA’s eligibility requirements referenced in I.D.E.A.

Blind persons
Persons with visual disability
Persons with physical limitations
Persons certified by doctor of medicine having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction

Relevant sections:
Pratt-Smoot (as revised)
36 CFR 701.10

Section 504

Enacted in 1973, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a civil rights law that prevents discrimination on the basis of an individual’s disability and ensures students receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (F.A.P.E.).

Students with disabilities who are not eligible for I.D.E.A. but are in need of accessible materials, must still be provided with these materials to fulfill the obligation of F.A.P.E. The cost of these materials is the responsibility of the local education agency.

Relevant sections:
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
34 CFR 104.33 (Free appropriate public education)