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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 (D) 674 (e) Sec. 300.172


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 section:
17 U.S.C. 121

Act of March 3, 1931 (Pratt-Smoot)

“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 section:
36 CFR 701.10

Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act

Enacted on May 8, 2019, the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (MTIA) was adopted in the U.S. to remove copyright barriers that prevent access to print works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled and address “book famine”, where few books are accessible for those with print disabilities. The goal of the treaty is to increase access to books, magazines and other printed materials for persons with print disabilities and allows an eligible person to have access to materials to the same degree as a person without a disability.

Relevant section:
Section 121 of Copyright Law Amended