Webinar Archive: AT and AIM: Advocacy Strategies for Student Success

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Presented January 11, 2012

ABOUT THE WEBINAR: AT and AIM: Advocacy Strategies for Student Success For students with learning disabilities who depend on a teacher or paraprofessional to read aloud to them and who read so slowly that homework requires many hours and much support to complete, assistive technology (AT) and accessible instructional materials (AIM) can make the difference between success and failure in their general education classes.

Webinar attendees learn what constitutes assistive technology and accessible instructional materials, how students can qualify for and obtain AT and AIM and important sources of information and trainings. This webinar examines questions parents and advocates should ask and the compelling evidence for providing AT and AIM to struggling readers.

This webinar explores the legal obligations of schools to provide instructional materials in accessible formats to students with print disabilities in a “timely manner” as well as their obligation to provide AIM to students who do not qualify as students with a “print disability” as defined by copyright law but who need AIM to access the general curriculum as determined by IEP or 504 teams.

The webinar provides a roadmap with negotiation strategies for advocates and parents who encounter resistance to the provision of AT and AIM. They learn how they can use the state complaint process to obtain AT and AIM for students who need these accommodations to achieve in the general education curriculum.



Pam Cook, a consultant with ABC Consulting Services since 1999, has worked as an advocate for students with disabilities in Western Pennsylvania public schools for over 20 years. Pam also currently assists students, their families and teachers in obtaining and using Assistive Technology (AT) and Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) to enable struggling readers to access the general education curriculum and build independence as they transition to postsecondary education and careers. Pam has been employed as an Education Advocate at the Mental Health Association of Allegheny County, as a member of a special education research team at the University of Pittsburgh and as a consultant to the Duquesne University Charter School Project. She has served on her local school board and the Board of the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania (1998-2008). She is a former member of the National Board of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders) and the Pittsburgh Regional Board of the International Dyslexia Association. As co-chair of the PA Department of Education’s Response to Intervention (RtI) Parent Engagement Committee, Pam participated in the creation of RtI resource materials provided to parents across Pennsylvania. Pam is a former teacher with a B.S.Ed. in elementary education from Ohio University and a M.Ed. in special education from the University of Pittsburgh.


Joanne Karger, J.D., Ed.D., is a 2011-2012 Postdoctoral Fellow in “Universal Design for Learning” (UDL) at CAST and Boston College Lynch School of Education. She has worked for the past four years as an attorney at the Center for Law and Education (CLE), where she has represented low-income families and provided technical assistance to legal services and pro bono attorneys in cases involving education issues, including the rights of students with disabilities under IDEA, Section 504, and Title I/NCLB. Dr. Karger has also served as a consultant for the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials at CAST, analyzing legal and policy issues associated with the provision of accessible instructional materials and access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities. Prior to joining CLE, Dr. Karger served on a team of consultants that evaluated the special education programs of New York City, the District of Columbia, and several low-income school districts in Massachusetts. She has a law degree from Boston College Law School and a doctorate in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy.

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