Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)


Missouri was selected as one of seven AEM Cohort States (2020-2024) by the National Accessible Educational Materials Center for intensive technical assistance to improve access and usage of accessible educational materials and technologies for learners.


The purpose of Missouri’s AEM Project is to create a robust provisioning system to increase the availability and use of accessible educational materials (AEM) and accessible technologies by all learners to improve their overall success.


Missouri's students, teachers, and parents will be able to access, acquire, create, and implement AEM.

What Are AEM and Accessible Technologies?

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) are print and technology-based educational materials, including print and electronic textbooks and related core materials and technologies that are designed or enhanced in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of learner variability, regardless of format (e.g. print, digital, graphic, audio, video) or features. People with disabilities may experience barriers to the use of printed materials, digital materials, and technologies. Examples where barriers might occur include textbooks, digital documents, websites, apps, learning delivery systems, and electronic devices.

Creating Accessible Documents
AEM Procurement Resources

Acquiring Accessible Materials & Technologies (
Access to learning is improved by providing educational materials and technologies that are accessible for all learners. But where and how are accessible materials and technologies acquired? Preferably, they are purchased directly. When that doesn't happen, materials need to be retrofitted to remove barriers for learners with disabilities who require accessibility.

Sample Language for (AEM) Digital Accessibility Requirements (
States, school districts, universities, and job training programs can improve access to learning opportunities by communicating digital accessibility requirements as part of the curriculum adoption or procurement process. Under federal law education agencies and institutions are obligated to ensure that learners with disabilities can access the materials and technologies chosen for a curriculum. A commitment to digital accessibility requirements can include clear language in RFPs, Instructional Materials Adoption, and in contracts. If you represent a K-12 agency that is purchasing print or digital textbooks and related core instructional materials, see NIMAS in Purchase Orders and Contracts for additional guidance.

Procurement Podcast (
Procuring or purchasing accessible educational materials and technologies will make it more likely that learners with disabilities who use assistive technology will have access at the same time as everyone else. In this episode, a team from the Francis Howell school district in Missouri speaks to the collaboration across departments that has helped them improve how accessible educational materials and technologies are purchased and provided throughout their district.

AEM Video Resources
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)
Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) - Introduction to Accessibility[3:32 min]
National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Game-Changing Technology
Students describe the impact of technology on their learning. They share specific examples of accessibility tools and highlight how each has supported their engagement and learning in school in powerful ways.

AEM Takeaways
A collection of short and engaging learning modules on topics related to providing and using accessible materials and technology.

Accessible Learning Across the Lifespan[2:34 min]
Discover accessible learning across the lifespan in these short and informative videos designed to start conversations about the importance of accessibility and accessible materials in your context.

The National Center on Accessible Educational Materials for Learning at CAST
Provides technical assistance, coaching, and resources to increase the availability and use of accessible educational materials and technologies for learners with disabilities across the lifespan. 

Accessible Learning Series
The National AEM Center offers a video series introducing a variety of accessibility features for a more inclusive environment.

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) National Network - Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Video Series

Access for Everyone - Breaking Down Digital Barriers for People with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights(OCR) offers a series of brief videos that cover a variety of topics on digital access in education, including how people with disabilities use technology, applicable Federal regulations, and identifying and remediating barriers to access. 

An Introduction to Digital Accessibility[3:26 min]

   Topic 1Digital Accessibility: Three Points About the Law[5:58 min]

   Topic 2How Some People with Disabilities Use Technology[6:02 min]

   Topic 3Recommended Practices and Tips for Digital Accessibility[6:25 min]

   Topic 4Vendors and Partnerships[3:55 min]

   Topic 5Creating an Organizational Culture that Embraces Accessibility[3:17 min]

   Topic 6The Importance of Manual Testing for Digital Accessibility[5:10 min]

   Topic 7 - Keyboard Access and Visual Focus Indicators[4:06 min]

   Topic 8 - Testing When the Screen is Magnified[3:06 min]

   Topic 9 - Logical Reading Order[4:05 min]

   Topic 10 - Alternative Text[5:08 min]

   Topic 11 - Fillable Forms[4:33 min]

   Topic 12 - Buttons and Form Controls[3:39 min]

   Topic 13 - Use of Color Alone to Convey Information[5:14 min]

   Topic 14 - Color Contrast[3:40 min]

   Topic 15 - Links[3:58 min]

   Topic 16 - Tables[4:11 min]

   Topic 17 - Heading Structure[3:11 min]

   Topic 18 - Video Captioning[5:11 min]

   Topic 19 - Reporting and Responding to Digital Barriers for People with Disabilities[3:53 min]

AEM Quality Indicators

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Quality Indicators

  • Indicator 1- A Coordinated System for Provision of Accessible Materials and Technologies
    The agency has a coordinated system for the provision of appropriate, high-quality accessible materials and technologies for all learners with disabilities who require them.   
  • Indicator 2- Acquisition and Provision in a Timely Manner                                                           
    The agency supports the acquisition and provision of appropriate accessible materials and technologies in a timely manner.
  • Indicator 3- Written Guidelines           
    The agency develops and implements written guidelines related to effective and efficient acquisition, provision, and use of accessible materials and technologies.
  • Indicator 4- Comprehensive Learning Opportunities and Technical Assistance                       
    The agency provides or arranges for comprehensive learning opportunities and technical assistance that address all aspects of the need, selection, acquisition and use of accessible materials.
  • Indicator 5- A Systematic Data Collection Process                                                       
    The agency develops and implements a systematic data collection process to monitor and evaluate the equitable, timely provision of appropriate, high-quality accessible materials and technologies.
  • Indicator 6- Use of Data to Guide Changes                                                                       
    The agency uses the data collected to guide changes that support continuous improvement in all aspects of the systemic provision and use of accessible materials and technologies.
  • Indicator 7- Allocation of Resources 
    The agency allocates resources sufficient to ensure the delivery and sustainability of quality services to learners with disabilities who need accessible materials and technologies.
AEM State Leadership Team
Mark WheatleyAssistant CommissionerDESE, Office of Special Education
Gwen DeimekeCoordinatorDESE, Office of Special Education
James BouslaughDirectorDESE, Office of Special Education, Effective Practices
Kristin FunkAssistant Director, AchievementDESE, Office of Special Education, Effective Practices 
David BakerDirectorMissouri Assistive Technology (MO-AT)
Cathy FortneyTherapeutic Services CoordinatorFrancis Howell School District
Courtenay TreeceDirector, Special EducationSmithton R-VI School District 
Heather DillInstructional Technology CoachBelton School District #124
Lisa MeyerInstructional Coordinator for TechnologyNorth Kansas City School District
Debby Loveall-StewartDirectorMissouri Parents Act (MPACT) Center
Diane GrempInstructional Technology Resource EducatorRegional Professional Development Center


Missouri School District Partners
North Kansas City Schools Logo

Relentless Champions for All Students
North Kansas City Schools
Lisa Meyer, Instructional Coordinator for Technology



Smithton R-VI School District Logo

Smithton R-VI School District
Courtenay Treece, Director, Special Education




Francis Howell School District Logo - Learning Together

Francis Howell School District
Cathy Fortney, Therapeutic Services Coordinator






Belton School District #124 Logo
Inspiring • Empowering • Engaging
Belton School District #124
Heather Dill, Instructional Technology Coach
AEM Cohort States 
Organizational Resources

Bookshare: Bookshare is an ebook library that makes reading easier. People with reading barriers like dyslexia, blindness, and physical disabilities can read in ways that work for them with a huge collection of titles in audio, audio + highlighted text, braille, and other formats. Bookshare is FREE for all qualified U.S. students. Learn more by watching this quick video.

Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library: Wolfner Library is a free public library serving schools and their students who cannot read standard print due to having a visual, physical, or reading disability such as dyslexia. Wolfner Library provides free access to audio, braille, and large print materials that circulate through the mail free of charge. Their collection includes audio books read by live professional narrators as well as a free audio and web braille download services. Learn more by calling 1-800-392-2614 or at

Staff Contact

Kristin Funk

Assistant Director, Achievement
Phone: 573-751-7661