The design of applications, materials, devices, and environments that enables all learners to access equal information, engage in equal interactions, and enjoy equal services with substantially equivalent ease of use.
Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)
Print and technology-based educational materials, including printed and electronic textbooks and related core materials 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). These activities are required through IDEA section 674(e)(2) (i.e., the National Instructional Materials Access Center).
Accessible Technologies
The hardware and software that are designed to provide all learners with access to the content in digital materials. Examples of accessible technologies include an application that allows the user to write or verbalize their responses, a mobile phone with an optional zoom display, and a PDF with high color contrast.
Assistive Technology (AT)
Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability. Examples of AT include screen readers, adapted daily living devices (e.g., a toothbrush holder), and communication boards.
Universal Design
A concept or philosophy for designing and delivering products and services that are usable by people with the widest possible range of functional capabilities, which include products and services that are directly accessible (without requiring ATs) and products and services that are interoperable with ATs.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
A scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that—(A) provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and (B) reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient. When instruction is intentionally designed using the UDL framework, it allows for a broader population of students to benefit from accessible technologies.