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Learning Ally Keeps Students Reading and Succeeding in Virginia

Categories: Press Releases

Students with print disabilities affected by recent AIM-VA policy change have a potent alternative for accessing their textbooks. CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Despite a sweeping statewide policy change directly affecting them, there is encouraging news for Virginia students who have print disabilities including blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia and various learning disabilities. The policy change recently undertaken by the Virginia Accessible Instructional Materials Center (AIM – VA) means that certain students with disabilities, specifically those serviced under 504 plans, will no longer receive their accessible educational materials through the AIM-VA.  As of August 3, 2012 the organization stopped accepting orders for partnering agencies that provide such materials for students who are serviced under 504 plans. However, the policy change will not prevent these students from accessing their educational materials directly from AIM-VA’s partnering agencies. “The good news is that students under 504 plans can still get all the materials they need for start of school,” says Cheryl Thomas, Virginia Project Director at Learning Ally, the nation’s largest accessible online audiobook resource for people with print disabilities. Thomas points to two ways by which Virginia students can access their audio textbooks through Learning Ally:  They can sign up for individual household memberships, currently $99 per year for unlimited downloads of books; and/or their individual school districts can sign up for institutional memberships.  Both types of memberships provide direct access to Learning Ally’s digital library of over 75,000 titles, including core curriculum and virtually all required reading for K-12, as well as popular literature titles. Thomas goes on to note that AIM-VA will continue to provide accessible instructional materials from its partnering agencies (including Learning Ally) to students who qualify with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). “The bottom line is that we are determined to make sure that all students with print disabilities can get the access they need in order to read and succeed in school. We are here to level the playing field for them, through channels of access that best suit their situation.” About Learning Ally™ Founded in 1948 as Recording for the Blind, Learning Ally serves over 300,000 K-12, college and graduate students, as well as veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom cannot read standard print due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Learning Ally’s collection of more than 75,000 digitally recorded human-read textbooks and literature titles – delivered through internet download, assistive technology devices, and mainstream devices like iPhone and iPad – is the largest of its kind in the world. More than 5,000 volunteers across the U.S. help to record and process the educational materials, which students rely on to achieve academic and professional success. Hundreds of volunteers narrate audiobooks at Learning Ally’s production studio and community center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Learning Ally, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is partially funded by grants from state and local education programs, and the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information, visit http://www.LearningAlly.org.

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