American Printing House For The Blind Research and Development Activities Fiscal Year 2011


Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote the independence of blind and visually impaired persons by providing specialized materials, products, and services needed for education and life.

Letter from Director of Research

October 12, 2011

Dear APH Friends,

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) presents the Annual Research Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.

The report highlights some of the 400 plus projects that the Research Department at APH worked on this past year. In the appendices, you will note a list of the record-breaking 128 new catalog items that became available for purchase in FY 2011. At times, the number of catalog items can be misleading if not interpreted with a perspective of past years. This year the 128 new catalog items were part of 45 unique products. As I looked at one of our recent records, 108 catalog items in FY 2010, I discovered that we had 32 unique products that year. So, for this year, no matter how you look at the record, it was a great year.

It is always difficult to single out any one product or even multiples. Let me attempt to highlight several of those 45 unique products.

How have we achieved such success? In my opinion, it starts with you--our customer, who submits ideas through our product submission process. More than 75% of our new catalog items start with your submissions.

Then the Research Department, utilizing primarily federal funds, does its work, backed by our top executives and with support from a variety of APH departments and staff. As part of this process, you once again assist by serving as field test sites, expert reviewers, and consultants. When the product is ready for production, we turn the specifications over to the Production Department and the Finance Department. Then, they complete the necessary financial, purchasing, contractual, and assembly tasks that are required to put the product on the shelf and available to you.

And finally, we enjoy a common bond, in that we are all focused and guided by the APH mission: the research and development of products to fulfill the needs of our consumers.

Sincerely,

Ralph Bartley, Ph.D.

Director of Research

Advisory Committees

APH especially wishes to acknowledge the superb leadership and guidance from the Ex Officio Trustees serving as members of the Educational Products Advisory Committee and the Educational Services Advisory Committee.

Educational Products Advisory Committee - FY 2011

Chair - Stacy Grandt (WI)

Yvonne Ali (MO)

Gerald Kitzhoffer (PA)

Linda M. Lyle (NM)

Paula Mauro (OH)

Marty R. McKenzie (SC)

Todd S. Reeves (PA)

Alternate - Suzanne Dalton (FL)

Educational Services Advisory Committee - FY 2011

Chair - Marjorie A. Kaiser (SD)

Patrick D. Clancy (IA)

Sally Giittinger (NE)

James Olson (CO)

Jonn Paris-Salb (CA)

Alternate - Barbara N. McCarthy (VA)

Department of Research Staff

Educational Research

Baker, Sandi, M.S.Ed.......................................................Project Leader (Core Curriculum)

Bartley, Ralph, Ph.D.............................................................................................. Director

Borsuk, Mike, B.S.......................................................................................Programmer III

Boyer, Charles "Burt," M.A................................................Project Leader (Early Childhood)

Creasy, Keith, M.S.......................................................................................Programmer III

Gilmore, Terri, A.S.................................................................................... Graphic Designer

Hedges, John, B.S............................................................................................Programmer

Henderson, Barbara, M.A. ........................................ Project Leader (Test & Assessment)

Herndon, Kate, M.S.L.I.S............................................................................Project Manager

Hoffmann, Rosanne, Ph.D............................................................... Project Leader (STEM)

Kitchel, Elaine, M.Ed................................................................ Project Leader (Low Vision)

Mason, Loana, M.A, COMS.................................................Project Leader (Braille Literacy)

McDonald, Michael, B.S .............................................................................Programmer III

Meredith, Rob..............................................................................................Programmer III

Ockerman, Jeremy, B.S..........................................................Grant Support Specialist

Otto, Fred, B.A.................................................Project Leader (Tactile Graphics) part-time

Perry, Ken, B.S............................................................................................ Programmer III

Pester, Eleanor, M.S.......................................................................Project Leader (Braille)

Pierce, Tristan, M.I.A...........................Project Leader (Multiple Disabilities/Health & P.E.)

Poppe, Karen, B.A............................................................Project Leader (Tactile Graphics)

Roderick, Carol, B.A...............................................................................Research Assistant

Roman, Christine, Ph.D......................................................Project Leader (CVI) part-time

Senft-Graves, Cathy, M.Eng...................................................................Research Assistant

Skutchan, Larry, B.A.............................................................. Project Leader (Technology)

Smith, Rodger, A.A.S........................................................................................Programmer

Terlau, Terrie (Mary T.), Ph.D....................................................Project Leader (Adult Life)

Travis, Ann, B.A.....................................................................................Research Assistant

Wright, Suzette, B.A....................................Project Leader (Emergent Literacy) part-time

Technical Research and Model Shop

Corcoran, Katherine, B.S., B.F.A.........................................................Model/Pattern Maker

Dakin, Andrew, B.S. ...........................................................................Model/Pattern Maker

Donhoff, Darlene.......................................................................... Manufacturing Specialist

Etter, Nancy.................................................................................. Administrative Assistant

Hayden, Frank, A.A.S., C.E.T................................................................................ Manager

Moulton, Andrew, B.S., M.E......................................................... Manufacturing Specialist

Poppe, Tom......................................................................Model/Pattern Maker (part-time)

Robinson, James, M.S, E.E.......................................................... Manufacturing Specialist

Rogers, Bryan, A.A.S. ..................................................................Manufacturing Specialist

Rutledge, Anita............................................................Manufacturing Specialist (part-time)

Agencies Participating in Research

Academy School District Twenty, Colorado Springs, CO
Achievements, LCC, Latham, NY
Addison Trail High School, Addison, IL
Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Talladega, AL
Anne Carlsen Center, Jamestown, ND
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore, MD
Beals Elementary School, Beals, ME
Benton Stearns Education District, Sartell, MN
Blind Babies Foundation, Oakland, CA
Bolsa Grande High School, Garden Grove Unified School District, Garden Grove, CA
Calhoun County ISD, Lawrence, TX
California Department of Rehabilitation/Orientation Center for the Blind, Albany, CA
California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA
California State University, Los Angeles, Charter College of Education, Los Angeles, CA
California State University--Northridge, Northridge, CA
Catholic Charities Maine, Otisfield, ME
Center for the Visually Impaired, Atlanta, GA
Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired, Chicago, IL
Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Cincinnati, OH
Collier County Public Schools, Naples, FL
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Riverdale, MD
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, Arlington, VA
Columbia Regional Program, Portland, OR
Connecticut Board of Education and Services for the Blind, Windsor, CT
Conroe Independent School District, Conroe, TX
Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Houston, TX
Della Lamb Charter School, Kansas City, MO
Delta Education, Nashua, NH
Department of Veterans Affairs, Springville, AL
Desert Valley Regional Cooperative, Phoenix, AZ
Desoto County Schools, Southaven Intermediate, Southaven, MS
DOE Special Unit Services, Watertown, CT
Dublin City Schools, Dublin, OH
DVR Cooperative, Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Phoenix, AZ
Educational Service District 123, Pasco, WA
Educational Services Center of Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH
Engleburg Elementary School, Milwaukee, WI
Erie 1 BOCES, West Seneca, NY
Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, VA
Georgetown Independent School District, Georgetown, TX
Georgia Academy for the Blind, Macon, GA
Glenwood Resource Center, Glenwood, IA
Guam Department of Education, Division of Special Education, Mangilao, GU
Hadley School for the Blind, Winnetka, IL
Harrison County Exceptional Learners Cooperative, Corydon, IN
Hatlen Center for the Blind, San Pablo, CA
Hazelwood Center, Louisville, KY
Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY
Independence Science, LLC, Purdue Research Park, West Lafayette, IN
Independent School District 917, Rosemount, MN
Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Indianapolis, IN
Inner Vision Yoga, Chandler, AZ
Iowa Braille School/Green Hills AEA, Glenwood, IA  
Iredell-Statesville Schools, Celeste Henkel Elementary, Statesville, NC
Jackson R-2 School District, Jackson, MO
Jefferson City Public Schools, Jefferson City, MO
Jefferson County Public Schools, Lakewood, CO 
Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, KY
Jenks Public Schools, Tulsa, OK
Kansas School for the Blind, Kansas City, KS
Kentucky Deaf-Blind Project, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY
Kershaw County School District, Camden, SC
Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Letcher County Public Schools, Whitesburg, KY
Light House of the North Coast, Eureka, CA
Lighthouse for the Blind, Duluth, MN
Los Angeles County Office of Education, Manhatttan Beach, CA
Louisiana Center for the Blind, Ruston, LA
Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, Baton Rouge, LA
MacArthur Middle School, Lawton, OK
Maryland School for the Blind, Baltimore, MD
Medina County School District, Berea, OH
Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee, WI
Missouri School for the Blind, St. Louis, MO
Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
Montana School for the Deaf & Blind, Great Falls, MT
Morehead State University, Morehead, KY
National Geographic, Washington, DC
Nebraska Center for the Education of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, Nebraska City, NE
New England Consortium of Deafblind Projects, Watertown, MA
New Jersey Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Cherry Hill, NJ
New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Alamogordo, NM & Albuquerque, NM
New York City Department of Education, Educational Vision Services, Brooklyn, NY
Newcomerstown Exempted Village Schools, Newcomerstown, Ohio
Newport News Public Schools, Newport, VA
North Carolina Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, Raleigh, NC
North Little Rock School District, North Little Rock, AR
Northeastern Clinton SCD, Champlain, NY
Northern Illinois University, DePauw, IL
Northwest Regional ESD, Hillsboro, OR
Ohio School for the Blind, Worthington, OH
Omaha Public Schools, Omaha, NE
Orange County Schools, Hillsborough, NC
Orchard Hills Elementary, Springfield, MO
Ouachita Parish Schools, West Monroe, LA
Overbrook School for the Blind, Philadelphia, PA 
Perandoe Special Education District, Belleville, IL
Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA
Poplar Bluff R1 Schools, Poplar Bluff, MO
Precision Circuit, LLC, Columbus, IN
Princeton Elementary School, Orlando, FL
Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Pulaski County Special School District, Roland, AR
Rehabilitation Center, Raleigh, NC
Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS
Rocky Mountain Associates, Colorado Springs, CO
San Antonio ISD, San Antonio, TX
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
San Juan Unified School District, Carmichael, CA
Santa Barbara County Education Office, Santa Maria, CA
Santee School District, East County San Diego SELPA, Carlton Oaks School, Santee, CA
Slingerlands Elementary, Delmar, NY
Sonoma County Office of Education, La Fiesta Education Center, Rohnert Park, CA
South Carolina Interagency Deaf-Blind Project, Spartanburg, SC
South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind, Columbia, SC
Southeast Regional Cooperative, Tucson, AZ
Southern Aroostook Community School, Dyer Brook, ME
Southwest Kansas Area Cooperative District, #613, Ensign, KS
Spokane Public Schools, Spokane, WA
Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, MO
St. Joseph School District, St. Joseph, MO
St. Louis Public Schools, St. Louis, MO
STAR Center, Papillion, NE
State of Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Portland, ME
Stratton Elementary School, Madison, TN
Suffolk Public Schools, Suffolk, VA
Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX
The College at Brockport, SUNY, Brockport, NY
United Independent School District, Laredo, TX
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
USD-501 Topeka Public Schools, Topeka, KS
Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Brattleboro, VT
Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, Staunton, VA
Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA
Waukesha North High School, Waukesha, WI
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Janesville, WI

Consultants

Aillaud, Cindy Lou, B.A. Elementary Education, Teacher/Author/Photographer, Delta Junction, AK [Everybody Plays!]

Amerson, Marie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Consultant, Macon, GA [Spangle Tangle]

Ayres, Bryan, Director, Technology and Curriculum Access Center, Little Rock, AR [Multiple Disabilities Focus Group: Birth to Grade 12]

Azer, Samir, M.S., Science Teacher, Kentucky School for the Blind [Talking Protractor]

Bacon, Mathew, Vice President of Product Development, Delta Education, Nashua, NH [Adapted Science Materials Kit]

Bailey, Ian, O.D., Optometrist, University of California, Berkeley, CA, [Decision Making Guide]

Banman, Joanne C., Educational Associate, Prairie Spirit School Division 206, Osler, Saskatchewan, Canada [Match-It-Up Board]

Bender, Dianne, M.A., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Green Hills Area Education Agency and the Iowa Braille School, Council Bluffs, IA [Functional Assessment]

Blaylock, Luanne, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Educational Vision Specialist, Pulaski County Special School District, Little Rock, AR [Patterns Revision]

Buhler, Kristen, M.S.Ed, M.M. Choral Conducting, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Northwest Regional ESD, Hillsboro, OR [Patterns Revision]

Calvello, Gail, Vision Impairment Specialist, Blind Babies Foundation, Oakland, CA [Parents and Visually Impaired Infants]

Chen, Deborah, Ph.D., Professor, California State University-Northridge, Northridge, CA [Parents and Visually Impaired Infants]

Clarke, Kay, Ph.D., TVI & Special Education, Director of Outreach, Ohio School for the Blind, Worthington, Ohio [Getting in Step with Little Feet], [Focus on Fingers]

Connolly, Terri, M.A., Early Childhood, retired from Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, Kentucky [VIPS@Home Parent University Series]

Cowart, James, M.A., retired [Games for People With Sensory Impairments]

Crawford, James Scott, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, CLVT, Affiliated Blind of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA [O&M for Wheelchair Users]

Croft, Jo Ellen, M.Ed., Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Educational Vision Specialist, Pulaski County Special School District, Little Rock, AR [Patterns Revision]

Crow, Nita, M.A., COMS, California School for the Blind, Freemont, CA [Getting to Know You]

Curley, Tracy Lynn, BA, KYTA, Princeville, HI [VIYM: Visually Impaired Yoga Mat]

Daugherty, Bill, Superintendent, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX [Barraga Visual Efficiency Program]

De Lucchi, Linda, FOSS Co-Director, Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA [ASMK]

Dilworth, Kate, M.S., Special Education, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Northwest Regional ESD, Hillsboro, OR [Patterns Revision]

Dornbusch, Helen, O.D., Optometrist, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, [Decision Making Guide]

Durando, Julie, Ed.D., Project Director, Virginia Project for Children and Youth with Deaf-Blindness, Richmond, VA [Multiple Disabilities Focus Group: Birth to Grade 12]

Durst, James, Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Indianapolis, IN [Multiple Disabilities Focus Group: Birth to Grade 12]

Erin, Jane, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [Multiple Disabilities Focus Group: Birth to Grade 12], [Woodcock-Johnson III ACH-Braille Adaptation--Score Analysis], [Decision Making Guide]

Ernst, Carie, B.S., Cartographer, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY [Address: Earth]

Ethridge, Edith, M.A.Ed., CLVT, Low Vision Specialist, Kentucky School for the Blind, retired, Louisville, KY [V-File]

Feldman, Pauletta, B.A., Elementary Education, retired from Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, Kentucky [VIPS@Home Parent University Series]

Ferrell, Kay Alicyn, Ph.D., Professor, National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO [Multiple Disabilities Focus Group: Birth to Grade 12], [Boehm 3 Braille/Tactile and Large Print Adaptations], [Meta-analysis, Low Vision]

Forbes, Robert, M.S., Associate Professor, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY [Address: Earth]

Grantz, Tony, B.A., APH Product and Services Consultant, Louisville, KY [Adapted Science Materials Kit]

Greeley, J.C., M.A., Program Coordinator, Anchor Center for Blind Children, Denver, CO [SAM: Symbols and Meaning], [Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments, 2nd ed.]

Grisham-Brown, Jennifer, Ed.D., Associate Professor, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY [Reach for the Stars]

Hagood, Linda, M.A., CCC-SLP, Seabeck, WA [SAM: Symbols and Meaning]

Haibach, Pamela, Ph.D., Associate Professor, The College at Brockport, Brockport, NY [Motor Development Study]

Harrell, Lois, B.S., Pediatric Vision Consultant, Placerville, CA [Best for a Nest ]

Haynes, Diane, M.Ed., State Coordinator, Kentucky Deaf-Blind Project, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY [Reach for the Stars]

Heinze, Toni, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University, DePauw, IL [Teach Me to See]

Herlich, Stephanie, M.A., COMS, San Francisco East Bay TVI Consultant [Getting to Know You]

Holbrook, Cay, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada [Patterns Revision; Early Braille Trade Books]

Holyoak, Joseph, B.S.M.E., Engineer and Consultant, Greensboro, NC

Ingber, Janet, M.A., Music Therapist and Author, New York, NY [Parenting with a Visual Impairment]

Isaacson, Mickey D., M.S., Director of Research and Development, Independence Science, LLC, Purdue Research Park, West Lafayette, IN [SALS]

Kamei-Hannan, Cheryl, Assistant Professor, California State University, Los Angeles, Charter College of Education, Los Angeles, CA [Wilson Reading System]

Klipstein, Donald, M.S.Eng., Retired Engineer and Consultant, Upper Darby, PA

Lee, Donna Brostek, M.A., TVI, COMS, Assistant Professor, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI [Calendar Time]

Lieberman, Lauren, Ph.D., Professor, The College at Brockport, Brockport, NY [Games for People With Sensory Impairments], [Everybody Plays!], [Motor Develop Study]

Lueck, Amanda, Ph.D., Professor of Special Education, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA [Barraga Visual Efficiency Program], [Teach Me to See], [Decision Making Guide]

Maffei, Patricia, M.A., Program Director, Hatlen Center for the Blind, San Pablo, CA, [Quick and Easy ECC: The Hatlen Center Guide]

Matheson, Laurianne, M.Ed., Freelance Vision Specialist, Louisville, KY [NewT]

McCulloh, Karen, RN, B.S., Consultant, Morton Grove, IL [Nonverbal Behavioral Curriculum]

Miyake, Yoshi, B.S., Freelance Graphic Artist [NewT]

Montgomery, Marshall, Independent Contractor, Napa, CA [ASMK]

Morgese, Zoe, M.A., CCC-SLP, Denver, CO [SAM: Symbols and Meaning]

Mowerson, Lisa-Anne, M.S., B.A., Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Wallingford, CT [Labeling, Marking, and Organization]

Nannen Alexander, LeAnn, M.Ed., Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Educational Vision Specialist, North Little Rock School District, North Little Rock, AR [Patterns Revision]

Page, Brett, Ed.S., NCSP, School Psychologist, Columbus City Schools, Neil Avenue Special Education Center, Beechcroft High School, & Colerain Elementary School Columbus, OH [Social Thinking Curriculum]

Panikkar, Rajiv, CLVT, COMS, Outreach Coordinator, Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Tucson, AZ [Decision Making Guide]

Pogrund, Rona, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Visual Impairment, Texas Tech University, TSBVI, Austin, TX [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning], [Barraga Visual Efficiency Program]

Read, Izetta, B.A., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Santa Barbara County Education Office, Santa Maria, CA [Patterns Revision]

Reeves, Todd [Multiple Disabilities Focus Group: Birth to Grade 12]

Robinson, Cecelia, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, AT/VI Professional Development, Region 4 Educational Service Center, Houston, TX [Barraga Visual Efficiency Program]

Roman-Lantzy, Christine, Ph.D., APH CVI Project Leader Consultant, Allison Park, PA [Barraga Visual Efficiency Program]

Rosen, Sandra, Ph.D., Coordinator, Programs in Orientation & Mobility, Guide Dog Mobility, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA [Step by Step]

Rosenblum, L. Penny, Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and School Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [Barraga Visual Efficiency Program]

Sanford, LaRhea, Ph. D., Visiting Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN [NewT]

Schedlin, Haley, M.S., Physical Education Teacher, Dake Middle School, West Irondequoit, NY [Motor Development Study]

Schimmelpfennig, Sue, M.A., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Northwest Regional ESD, Hillsboro, OR [Patterns Revision]

Scoggins, Deanna, M.A.T., M.S.S.W., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (Retired), Louisville, KY [Patterns Revision]

Sell, Michael A., B.A., Freelance Editor, New Orleans, LA, formerly with APH Accessible Tests Department [Test Ready®: Test Prep Series]

Skowron, Aniceta, Ph.D., Materials Scientist, founder Geometro, Ontario, Canada [Geometro]

Smerz, Christina J., Youth Employment Program/Orientation & Mobility Specialist, Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired, Chicago, IL [Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit]

Smith, Derrick W., Ed.D. University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL [MathBuilders: Units 2, 3, 4, & 5]

Smith, Matthew, B.S., Cartographer, Louisville, KY [Address: Earth]

Smith, Millie J., M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Consultant, Farmersville, TX [Barraga Visual Efficiency Program], [Sensory Learning Kit], [Multiple Disabilities Focus Group: Birth to Grade 12], [SAM: Symbols and Meaning], [TADPOLE]

Sokol-McKay, Debra A., MS, OTR, CDE, SCLV, CLVT, CVRT, Consultant - Private Practitioner Low Vision and Adaptive Diabetes Self Management, Bethlehem, PA [Food Portion Control Serving Utensils and Food Portion and Carbohydrate Counting Booklet]

Steele, Nancy, Technical Assistance Specialist, National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness, Knoxville, TN [Multiple Disabilities Focus Group: Birth to Grade 12]

Stocker, Jennifer, M.H.S., OTR/L, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY [SAM: Symbols and Meaning]

Supalo, Cary, Ph.D., President, Independence Science, LLC, Purdue Research Park, West Lafayette, IN [SALS]

Supalo, Ron, Project Manager, Independence Science, LLC, Purdue Research Park, West Lafayette, IN [SALS]

Swain, Mark, Owner, Precision Circuit, LLC, Columbus, IN [SALS]

Swenson, Anna, M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Fairfax Co. Public Schools, retired, Dunn Loring, VA [Early Braille Trade Books]

Topor, Irene, Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor/Specialization in Vision Program, Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [Barraga Visual Efficiency Program]

Trief, Ellen, Ed.D., Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY [Universal Symbol System]

Truan, Mila, Ed.D. Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and Reading Specialist (Retired), Nashville, TN [Patterns Revision]

Vaught-Compton, Monica, M.S.S.W., APH Project Consultant, Louisville, KY

Vinsel, Margaret [Multiple Disabilities Focus Group: Birth to Grade 12]

Wicker, Jeanette, APH Core Curriculum Consultant, Louisville, KY

Williams, Patricia, M.A., Executive Director, Hatlen Center for the Blind, San Pablo, CA, [Quick and Easy ECC: The Hatlen Center Guide]

Williams-Neal, Robert, M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY [Talking Protractor]

Wingell, Robin, B.S.Ed., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Santa Barbara County Education Office, Santa Maria, CA [Patterns Revision]

Wright, Suzette, Emergent Literacy Project Leader Consultant, Georgetown, IN [Multiple Disabilities Focus Group: Birth to Grade 12]

Wright, Tessa, Ph.D., Coordinator VI Program, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE [Teaching Street Crossings], [Experiential Learning]

Field Evaluators / Expert Reviewers

Accessible Answer Documents

Adair, Cindy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Hardin County Schools, Elizabethtown, KY

Adams, Deana, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Hilliard City School District, Hilliard, OH

Alexander, Laura, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Shelby County Schools, AL

Arnold, Nancy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Missouri School for the Blind, St. Louis, MO

Brown, Stephanie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Capiello, Suzanne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Sandy Hook Schools, Sandy Hook, CT

Chadow, Alysa, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA

Coe, Joy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA

Cook, Delena, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA

Ennis, Karen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Porter County Educational Services, Morgan, IN

Fletcher, Barbara, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Shelby County Schools, AL

Gaines, Jo, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Portales School System, Portales, NM

Leader, Patricia, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, San Jose, Public Schools, San Jose, CA

Limmer, Darlene, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Toledo Public Schools, Toledo, OH

Loyd, Melinda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Frisco ISD, Frisco, TX

Manning, Julie, School Psychologist, California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA

Presley, David, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Fort Campbell Schools, Fort Campbell, KY

Proctor, Suzanne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Newport News Public Schools, Newport News, VA

Sample, Denise, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Birmingham Public Schools, Birmingham, AL

Sitar, Debbie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Burnaby Schools, BC, Canada

Summ, Catherine, Education Specialist, Connecticut Department of Education, Newtown, CT

Walters, Sharon, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Jackson County Schools, Marianna, FL

Address: Earth

Brooks, Laura, Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, Staunton, VA, Address: Earth

Carlisle, Susan, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Talladega, AL, Address: Earth

Kay, Julie Lee, Hadley School for the Blind, Winnetka, IL, Address: Earth

Scott, Shari, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN, Address: Earth

Samuel, Arathi, Baltimore City Schools, Baltimore, MD, Address: Earth

Boehm-3 Preschool Tactile and Large Print Adaptations

Smyth, Cathy, M.Ed., TVI and Doctoral Candidate, Anchor Center for Blind Children, Denver, CO and University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO

Trief, Ellen, Ed.D., Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY

Braille Beads

Carr, Anne, Occupational Therapist, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Harrington, Cheryl, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, KY

Noel, Andrea, Manager of Children and Family Programs, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, Riverdale, MD

Northard, Nancy, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Lighthouse for the Blind, Duluth, MN

Sawyer, Sarah, Recreational Therapist, North Carolina Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, Raleigh, NC

Wilder, Terri, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Georgetown Independent School District, Georgetown, TX

Building on Patterns First Grade Level

Gately, Lonna, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Spokane Public Schools, Spokane, WA

Harmon, Marilyn, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Engleburg Elementary School, Milwaukee, WI

Krusinski, Darcy, Vision Specialist, Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

Mangis, Susan, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, San Juan Unified School District, Carmichael, CA

Martyn, Angela, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA

Morgan, Lynn, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Collier County Public Schools, Naples, FL

Sargee, Carol, Teacher of the Students with Visual Impairments, Moses Lake School District, Moses Lake, WA

Sitar, Debbie, Vision Outreach Coordinator, Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Trief, Ellen, Professor of Blind & Visually Impaired and Severe & Multiple Disabilities, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY

Truan, Mila, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments & Reading Specialist, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Expanded Beginner's Abacus

Barber, Wendy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Brinson Memorial Elementary School, New Bern, NC

Fazio, Lee, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Rhode Island Vision Education and Services Program, Providence, RI

Fowler, Kerry, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Waterloo Region District School Board, Ontario, Canada

Herder, Jane, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Orientation and Mobility Specialist, St. Louis Public Schools, St. Louis, MO

Herring, Sue, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Sprayberry High School, Marietta, GA

Kilbride, Susan, Vision Specialist, Blue Springs School District, Blue Springs, MO

Mattsen, Aileen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Highline Public Schools, Burien, WA

Nagel-Wilson, Pat, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Iowa Braille School, Indianola, IA

Powers, Rebecca, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Escambia District Schools, Pensacola, FL

Purtilo, Valerie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Elyria City Schools, Elyria, OH

Walpole, Marilyn, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

West, Karla, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Suffolk Public Schools, Suffolk, VA

Wilson, Kristi, Braille Specialist, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, AK

Woods, Gina, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Shadowlawn Elementary School, Green Cove Springs, FL

EZeeCOUNT Abacus

Bejenio, Anita, Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired, USD-501 Topeka Public Schools, Topeka, KS

Brown, Patricia, Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Suffolk Public Schools, Suffolk, VA

Di Lullo, Cristina, Teacher of Children with Visual Impairments, Educational Services Center of Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH

Dilworth, Kate, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Orientation and Mobility Instructor, Columbia Regional Program, Portland, OR

Duby, Debra, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, DVR Cooperative, Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, Phoenix, AZ

Gove, Cynthia, Vision/Orientation and Mobility Specialist, St. Joseph School District, St. Joseph, MO

Harrison, Carla, Process Coordinator, Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, MO

Koresch, Brittany, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Addison Trail High School, Addison, IL

Lawlor, Elizabeth, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Southwest Kansas Area Cooperative District, #613, Ensign, KS

Leo, Linda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Catholic Charities Maine, Otisfield, ME

McEnderfer, Julie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Educational Service District 123, Pasco, WA

Meyer, Erin, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Orientation and Mobility Instructor, Della Lamb Charter School, Kansas City, MO

Schomerus, Elizabeth, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Nebraska Center of the Education of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, Nebraska City, NE

Whitworth, Louise, District Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Jefferson City Public Schools, Jefferson City, MO

Wilson, Katherine, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Certified Orientation and Mobility Instructor, Port Lavaca, TX

Games of Squares

Appleby, Colleen, Special Education Teacher/Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Orchard Hills Elementary, Springfield, MO

Darko, Geri, Vision Specialist, Montana School for the Deaf and Blind, Great Falls, MT

Farris, Mary G., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Nebraska Center for the Education of Children Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired, Nebraska City, NE

Fillicetti, Mary, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist/Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, Arlington, VA

Gibbs, Clifford, Recreation Therapist, Rehabilitation Center, Raleigh, NC

Goldsmith, Lauren, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, State of Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Portland, ME

Kokko, Sue, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Janesville, WI

Later, Ron, New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Alamogordo, New Mexico

Lee, Jennifer, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Summer Camp Instructor/Parent, STAR Center, Papillion, NE

McKay-Bacon, Anne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Clinton Township, MI

Ormerod, Amy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Benton Stearns Education District, Sartell, MN

Quinn, Laterica, STARS Director, Center for the Visually Impaired, Atlanta, GA

Schoenharl, Karen, Youth Services Coordinator, Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Cincinnati, OH

Schultz, Richard, Call Center Specialist, Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired, Chicago, IL

Sjogren, Mary, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Orange County Schools, Hillsborough, NC

Smerz, Christina, Youth Employment Program, Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired, Chicago, IL

Wall, Scott, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Orientation and Mobility Instructor, Columbia Regional Program, Portland, OR

Welch, Celeste, Parent of Visually Impaired Child, Archer, FL

Weston, Terri, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Getting to Know You

Anonymous Evaluator

Brown, Denise Emily, Teacher of the Visually Impaired / Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist

Carver, Suzanne D., Ed Tech III, Enrolled as TVI at UMass Boston, Beals Elementary School, Beals, ME

Eldridge, Jewel, Teacher, Letcher County Public Schools, Whitesburg, KY

Medley, Anita, Teacher of the Visually Impaired / Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Desoto County Schools, Southaven Intermediate, Southaven, MS

Underwood, Melinda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Brattleboro, VT

Wilson, Katherine, Teacher of the Visually Impaired / Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Calhoun County ISD, Lawrence, TX

Graphic Aid for Mathematics

Bird, Maylene, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Clark, Sharon, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, New Jersey Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Cherry Hill, NJ

Di Lullo, Cristina, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Valley View, OH

Irzyk, Joshua, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Maryland School for the Blind, Baltimore, MD

Leader, Patricia, Vision Specialist, San Jose, CA 

Mack, Shelley, Teacher of the Visually Impaired /Private Contractor, Medina County School District, Berea, OH

Millhoff, Kathy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Guam Department of Education, Division of Special Education, Mangilao, GU

Nelson, Barbara, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kershaw County School District, Camden, SC

Orcutt, Lindsay, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/COMS, New York City Department of Education, Educational Vision Services, Brooklyn, NY

Osterhaus, Susan A., Statewide Mathematics Consultant, Outreach Department, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Shepard, Christy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Houston, TX

Swanson, ElizaBeth, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio, TX

Vaughan, Susan, Mathematics Teacher, Overbrook School for the Blind, Philadelphia, PA 

Zink, Karen, Erie 1 BOCES, West Seneca, NY

Labeling, Marking, and Organization: A Self-Help Guide for Persons After Vision Loss

LeJeune, B.J., Training Coordinator, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS

Martin, Sue W., Management Analyst, Department of Veterans Affairs, Springville, AL

Paskin, Nancy C., Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Retired, Mohegan Lake, NY

Salinger, Lisa, Rehabilitation Teacher, Tunkhannock, PA

Thomas, Empish JeAnne, Public Education and Referral Specialist, Lithonia, GA

Match-It-Up Board

Ayers, Roxanne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Conroe Independent School District, Conroe, TX

Duke, Trish, Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Houston, TX

Feil, Randi, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, School District of Waukesha, Waukesha North High School, Waukesha, WI

Frisque, Sherilyn, Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired/Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Independent School District 917, Rosemount, MN

Guillory, Krystal, Teacher of Blind and Visually Impaired Students, Ouachita Parish Schools, West Monroe, LA

Gurley, Donna, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Celeste Henkel Elementary, Statesville, NC

Harris, Mary Kate, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, VA

Harrison, Carla, Process Coordinator for Visually Impaired, Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, MO

Henderson, Nancy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Dublin City Schools, Dublin, OH

Mumford, Judy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Academy School District Twenty, Colorado Springs, CO

Nielsen, Ann, Outreach Director, Kansas State School for the Blind, Kansas City, KS

Nollmeyer, Lynda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Desert Valley Regional Cooperative, Phoenix, AZ

Otto, Rene, Special Education Teacher, Anne Carlsen Center, Jamestown, ND

Petree, Jeane, Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Santee School District, East County San Diego SELPA, Carlton Oaks School, Santee, CA

Pope, Susan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Omaha Public Schools, Omaha, NE

Porter, Melissa, Ed Tech 3, Southern Aroostook Community School, Dyer Brook, ME

Pugh, Amanda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Lawton Public Schools, MacArthur Middle School, Lawton, OK

Raleigh, Linda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Jenks Public Schools, Tulsa, OK

Shelley, Karen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Harrison County Exceptional Learners Cooperative, Corydon, IN

Stanfield, Julie, Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Houston, TX

Wittenstein, Donna, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Sonoma County Office of Education, La Fiesta Education Center, Rohnert Park, CA

Multiplication and Division Table

Boyer, Charles, M.A., Early Childhood Project Leader, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Gissoni, Fred, M.A., Product Support Specialist, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Kitchel, Elaine, M.Ed., Low Vision Project Leader, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Terlau, Terrie, Ph.D., Adult Life Project Leader, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Parenting With a Visual Impairment: Advice for Rearing Babies and Young Children

Guillory, Eric, Director of Youth Services, Louisiana Center for the Blind, Ruston, LA

Howerton, Sharon, Instructor, Hadley School for the Blind, Chicago, IL

O'Connor, Kevin E., Kevin E. O'Connor and Associates, LTD, Long Grove, IL

Patel, Soniya, Music Teacher, Lebanon, TN

Peterson, Kirsten M., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Perandoe Special Education District, Belleville, IL

Sadler, Lynne J., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Phoenix, AZ

Quick Check: Index of Literary Braille Signs

Ajuwon, Paul, Assistant Professor, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO

Cole, Mike, Retired, California Department of Rehabilitation/Orientation Center for the Blind, Albany, CA

D'Andrea, Frances Mary, Instructor and BANA Representative, University of Pittsburgh and American Foundation for the Blind, Pittsburgh, PA

Hasty, Lucia, Private Braille/Tactile Graphics Consultant, Rocky Mountain Associates, Colorado Springs, CO

Proctor, Suzanne, Teacher for the Visually Impaired and Deaf-Blind, Newport News Public Schools, Newport News, VA

Rader, Pamela, Product Support Specialist, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Smerz, Christina J., Youth Employment Specialist, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, Chicago, IL

Reach for the Stars

Anonymous Reviewers

Faris, Cindy, Coordinator of Infant Toddler Program, New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Albuquerque, NM

Flener, Betsy, Low Vision Education Specialist, Independent Consultant, Bowling Green, KY

Hawkins, Sarah, Assistant Professor, Morehead State University, Morehead, KY

Kamei-Hannan, Cheryl, Assistant Professor, California State University, Los Angeles, Charter College of Education, Los Angeles, CA

Luiselli, Tracy Evans, Project Director, New England Consortium of Deafblind Projects, Watertown, MA

Makison, Tracey, Director/ Speech-Language Pathologist, South Carolina Interagency Deaf-Blind Project, Spartanburg, SC

Martin, Farrah, Pharmacist, Lexington, KY

Pruner, Lisa, Education Consultant / Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Connecticut Board of Education and Services for the Blind, Windsor, CT

Trahan, Jennifer, School Counselor, Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, Baton Rouge, LA

Universal Symbol System

Cantu, Karla, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, United Independent School District, Laredo, TX

Gray, Cammie, Parent, home school, Florissant, MO

Gutierrez, Tina, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, DOE Special Unit Services, Watertown, CT

Hadsell, Jennifer, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Princeton Elementary School, Orlando, FL

Herder, Jane, Orientation and Mobility Specialist, St. Louis Public Schools, St. Louis, MO

Lewicki, Maureen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Slingerlands Elementary, Delmar NY

Mack, Shelley, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Medina City Schools, Berea, OH

Miller, Annette, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Jackson R-2 School District, Jackson, MO

Mudd, Susan, AAC Specialist, Hazelwood Center, Louisville, KY

Neil, Tyrene, SP Director, Georgia Academy for the Blind, Macon, GA

Skarin, Tami, Treatment Services Director, Glenwood Resource Center, Glenwood, IA

Woltman, Doris, Assistant Director, Southeast Regional Cooperative, Tucson, AZ

U.S. & Canada Basic Atlas

Cope, Denise, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Poplar Bluff R1 Schools, Poplar Bluff, MO

Liao, Melisa, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Manhattan Beach, CA

McGinty, Maggie, Middle School Resource Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee, WI

Newhart-Larson, Sue, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, COMS, Jefferson County Public Schools, Lakewood, CO 

Pieters, Beth, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/L-COMS, Iowa Braille School/Green Hills AEA, Glenwood, IA  

Rush, Pamela, Bolsa Grande High School, Garden Grove Unified School District, Garden Grove, CA

Russell, Linda, Intervention Specialist, Newcomerstown Exempted Village Schools, Newcomerstown, Ohio

Smith, Anne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind, Columbia, SC

Visually Impaired Yoga Mat

Hedgpeth, Terri, Yoga Student, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Rogers, Cindy, Yoga Instructor, Inner Vision Yoga, Chandler, AZ

Rose, Doug, Yoga Student, Light House of the North Coast, Eureka, CA

Shively, Jon P., Physical Education Teacher, Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Indianapolis, IN

Skutchan, Larry, Yoga Student, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Wilson Reading System

Davis, Stephanie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

McCarthy, Mary L., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

O'Brien, Amy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Achievements, LCC, Latham, NY

Rowley, Rosalind, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

Tinsley, Ginger, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Zucker, JoAnn, Special Education Teacher, Northeastern Clinton SCD, Champlain, NY


Accessible Tests Department

Deborah H. Willis

Director


Accessible Tests Department Staff

Garrett, Dena...................................................................Accessible Media Editor (part-time)

Scott, Kristopher, M.A.......................................................................Accessible Test Editor

Willis, Deborah, M.A .........................................................Director, Accessible Tests Department

Zierer, Carolyn, M.A.........................................................................Accessible Test Editor

Accessible Tests Department

(Formerly: Test Central)

Purpose

In response to recommendations by APH's Advisory Committees and members of the Second Test Central Council, the charge of the Accessible Tests Department was expanded in August 2003. The updated goal is to provide tests, practice tests, test administration manuals, and other test-related materials in high quality accessible media in a timely manner, to promote the inclusion of visual impairment professionals as well as individuals with visual impairments during test development, and to enhance the test performance of blind and visually impaired individuals through research, education, and communication.

Background

During a brainstorming session about important projects to pursue, an initiative to develop a central location dedicated to developing standardized guidelines, processes, and procedures related to test adaptation and production of tests in alternative media was proposed. This initiative was presented to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). In February 2001, APH received confirmation from the U.S. DOE that Test Central was awarded startup funding for FY 2001. At a meeting with APH's Advisory Committees, members of the two committees commended APH for conceptualizing Test Central, recognized the leadership role APH could play with regard to tests and assessments, and strongly encouraged continued efforts in this area.

An in-house Core Team was formed, and Test Central's five tracks were identified:

1. Education and relationship building

2. Test adaptation

3. Adaptation and development of test-related tools and materials

4. Identification and development of new tests

5. Research into test-related issues

A Test Central Council was formed; council members met in 2002 and again in 2003 at APH. Three major test developers and publishers, Harcourt, CTB McGraw-Hill, and Data Recognition Corporation were represented at this meeting. Several discussions focused on common problems involved in testing students with disabilities.

Recommendations of the Council included

In spring 2003, the initiative called "Test Central," which started in the Research Department, became APH's new Accessible Tests Department. The department's charge was expanded as a result of recommendations received by Council members during their meeting in February 2003 and APH's two Advisory Committees that met in spring 2003.

In order to begin addressing the expanded charge of the Accessible Tests Department to provide practice test and test prep materials in accessible media, a short online survey was posted on APH's Web site. The survey, "Let's Get Ready for Testing," asked trustees and vision teachers which practice materials and test prep materials they used and what materials were needed. Results showed overwhelmingly that test prep materials for use by students who are blind or visually impaired was a very high priority need and that each state used different materials to help prepare their students to take state assessments. Based on the results of this survey, generic test preparation materials were selected for adaptation into accessible media. (See the project report on "Test Ready" in the Tests and Assessments section of this document.)

Two new position papers on Use of Extended Time and Use of Testing Accommodations were drafted. TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible for Visually Impaired Students, Second Edition, the second publication in the Test Access series, was finalized and presented at the Council of Chief State School Officers Conference, June 20-23, 2004, in Boston, MA. It was also used as a teaching tool with participants of the Accessible Tests Department's first two training workshops on "Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments."

Contract work for various states continued at a steady pace, with Kristopher Scott and Monica Coffey editing and facilitating production of over 60 individual test titles in braille and recorded formats. Consultation work by Accessible Tests staff included advising Measured Progress, a test publisher, and the Michigan State Department of Education, on development of accessible versions of their alternate assessments.

The department collaborated on research efforts by several university groups: Jane Erin of the University of Arizona on Effects of Test Medium, the ABC Braille Study by Anne Corn at Vanderbilt, et al., Gaylen Kapperman at Northern Illinois University on Results of Math Items for Visually Impaired Students, and the National Center on Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota, which sought and were awarded additional funding for their study to examine the Use of Multiple Modalities for the Achievement of Literacy Standards by Students with Disabilities.

An in-service on guidelines for tactile graphics design was presented on June 8, 2004. Accessible tests staff, graphic artists, transcribers, and proofreaders from the braille department participated in this event. Karen Poppe and Fred Otto, APH Tactile Graphics Project Leaders, led a group analysis of sample test items toward improving our presentation of tactile graphics.

In April 2004 the Accessible Tests Department was fortunate to gain Dena Garrett's valuable braille expertise on a part-time basis. Garrett, an Accessible Media Editor in the Accessible Textbooks Department, is a 30-year veteran braille transcriber who has worked on state, local, and commercial tests for 10 years. She also served on the Braille Authority of North America's (BANA) Braille Formats Technical Committee.

A third Accessible Tests Workshop was presented in the last quarter of FY 2004. This "Workshop for State Assessment Personnel: Making Tests Accessible to Students with Visual Impairments" was held at APH on September 15-16, 2004. It was attended by representatives from 11 state Departments of Education, a braille transcribing group, one university professor, one research organization, and two test publishers. Workshop evaluations indicated a very high level of satisfaction.

Key endeavors in FY 2005 included promoting education of issues regarding making test items truly accessible, contributing to universal design elements, networking and building important relationships, reviewing and editing tests, promoting research, participating in collaborative efforts, serving on relevant committees, and continuing professional development of Accessible Tests staff in order to be more informed and knowledgeable when working on state and alternate assessments.

While three Accessible Tests Workshops were envisioned for FY 2005, resources which enabled a fourth workshop were available and utilized. The first was a special 1-day event sponsored by Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey, on November 9, 2004. ETS staff learned general information about challenges in assessing persons who are blind or visually impaired. Carol Allman and Barbara Henderson facilitated this session. The second workshop was coordinated with CTEVH in San Francisco, California, March 3, 2005. The 1-day workshop targeted Department of Education staff, teachers, test developers, and publishers. A third was held at Harcourt for their assessment staff in San Antonio, Texas. Finally, a fourth workshop was presented as a pre-conference session in conjunction with the CCSSO Large Scale Assessment Conference in San Antonio, Texas on June 18, 2005. This event was of particular interest to test publishers and Department of Education personnel and assessment staff planning to attend the CCSSO conference.

Members of Accessible Tests participated on Item Bias Review Committees at the requests of WestEd and CTB McGraw-Hill in order to assist and collaborate with them to create unbiased, accessible test items on state assessments under development. The main factors considered were bias and sensitivity. Potential test items were rejected based on three primary elements. These were "opportunity and access," "portrayal of groups represented," and "protecting privacy and avoiding offensive content." Through the process of bias and sensitivity reviews, test validity is enhanced, fairness of test items for all students is increased, and educational initiatives are supported. It is essential that professionals in visual impairment participate on such committees during the development phase of high-stakes tests.

The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) 3-year grant to develop "best practices" for audio description of higher level science and mathematics material. Beginning in FY 2005, Accessible Tests staff and APH studio staff served as "advisors" alongside staff from American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) in this collaborative research effort. The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) also secured additional funding for their study called An Examination of the Use of Multiple Modalities for the Achievement of Literacy Standards by Students with Disabilities. Accessible Tests staff collaborated on phase two of this study.

A wide variety of state assessments and commercially available tests were edited and produced in accessible media on a contract basis during FY 2005. These included approximately 265 unique state assessments provided in some combination of braille, tactile graphics, enlarged print, and audio formats. Accompanying test administration notes were provided in accessible media when specified in the contract. Items such as braille paper, rulers, bold line writing paper, and protractors were included with tests as per specific contractual agreements. State assessments were for grades three through high school and covered some or all of the following areas: math, language arts, reading, science, and social studies. One state contacted the Accessible Tests Department for assistance to put their released items into braille and audio formats. These items were used as practice tests prior to the spring and fall 2005 testing seasons. All of the requested copies were delivered on time.

The second book in the Test Access series by Accessible Tests staff was printed just in time for unveiling at the Accessible Tests Workshop at APH in September 2004 and at APH Annual Meeting 2004. TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible for Visually Impaired Students, Second Edition, was made available on the APH Web site and was used for training purposes during workshops and conferences.

The spring 2005 edition of EnVision was dedicated to assessment of students with visual impairments. Accessible Tests staff, Carol Allman, and Barbara Henderson, contributed featured articles to this edition of Lighthouse International's EnVision, an online publication for parents and educators of children with impaired vision. In addition, Jane Erin of the University of Arizona contributed an article on research in collaboration with APH on the effects of media on test performance. The spring 2005 edition of EnVision is available at http://www.lighthouse.org.

At the request of Chairperson Jean Martin, Barbara and Debbie joined the state vision consultants' related meeting held during the 2004 Annual Meeting. Information on what states are doing to include visually impaired students in state assessments and specific considerations for making tests accessible were presented and discussed. Mary Ann Siller, Director of the National Education Program with AFB, disseminated copies of the 2004 Jo Taylor Leadership Institute (JTLI) Education Summary. Participants were interested in the Summary's article on Work Group Report: High-Stakes Assessments and Alternate Assessments. Next steps included a phone conference with AFB, APH, and TSBVI staff to determine key test-related issues that need to be addressed.

To build assessment initiatives for schools, AFB, APH, and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) collaborated to create three articles with checklists. These were developed in response to the top assessment priorities identified during the 2004 JTLI. They are Model Accommodations and Procedures: A Guide for Parents; Guidelines to Support the Contract Development Process between Test Publishers and States; and Checklist for Administration of Tests to Students with Visual Impairments. The checklists provide concrete steps that can be readily used in programs to build accountability through assessments. These documents were used as the basis for presentations to attendees at the 2005 JTLI. Final articles with checklists can be viewed and downloaded from the AFB Web site: http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=58&TopicID=264

Barbara Henderson worked with Consultant Lynne Jaffe, a learning disabilities specialist, to create a presentation on Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement in Braille. Jaffe provided this presentation at the Arizona Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Conference held in Prescott in October 2004. Carol Allman presented Accommodations to Help Maximize Test Performance of Students with Visual Impairments at the National Family Conference. The audience included parents, students, educators, and psychologists. While Carol was in Louisville for this conference, members of Accessible Tests took the opportunity to discuss some department plans for FY 2006.

More test publishers started to provide test items in color. Test publishers, test administrators, and educators asked questions and sought expertise regarding access to these items by low vision and/or colorblind individuals. Accessible Tests staff attended a training session offered by Elaine Kitchel, APH Low Vision Project Leader, on editing test items presented in color for individuals with color blindness.

Test and Assessment Project Leader Barbara Henderson attended the first annual Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Summer Institute sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). The main guest speaker was David Rose of CAST, Inc. and Harvard University. David, who is co-author of Teaching Every Child in the Digital Age, spoke on the topic of The Future of UDL in Education. Six model UDL schools reported on how they used grant-funded activities to integrate UDL into their school's curricula and testing. Barbara also furnished updated information on APH tests and test-related materials for the winter 2005 revision of Lighthouse International's Assessment Compendium: Instruments for Assessing the Skills and Interests of Individuals with Visual Impairments.

In FY 2006, the goal of the Accessible Tests Department as it relates to the APH mission continued to be addressed. To further the education of test developers, publishers, and assessment personnel, as well as our own education and professional development, members of Accessible Tests continued to provide presentations and workshops, participate in various collaborative efforts and meetings, serve as focus group, task force, and committee members, and attend relevant classes, workshops, and events. Additional handouts, documents, and surveys were authored and disseminated. More information, resources, and related links were added to the Accessible Tests Web page, and discussion regarding development of some "Test" webcasts and APH's first Test and Assessment catalog got underway.

Carol Allman provided an "On the Road" workshop at the New York AER and an in-service to the New York Department of Education and state assessment staff on testing students who are blind or visually impaired. Surveys and networking with the field and with our customers continued as a means to determine customer satisfaction and specific needs for products, services, and information. Test-related contract work to review and edit state assessment and alternate assessment items, and prepare test notes for administering the alternate media editions, was accomplished throughout FY 2006.

Early in FY 2006, staff from Accessible Textbooks Initiative & Collaboration (ATIC) and the Accessible Tests Department moved into a renovated area of APH. Discussions on effectively working together to provide instructional and test materials in high quality, accessible media in a timely manner ensued. Some ATIC staff was shared on a part-time basis with Accessible Tests and provided project support. Guidelines and ways to provide more consistent presentation of instruction and test materials were explored. Garrett, Accessible Media Editor for ATIC, provided copies of test guidelines developed through Accessible Tests to each member of BANA's committee that is reworking Braille Formats: Principles of Print to Braille Transcription 1997. Since transcribers across the country adhere to BANA guidelines, Garrett and Accessible Tests staff worked with BANA committee members to adopt test guidelines so that future test materials will be formatted and transcribed in a more consistent manner.

In order to provide education, information, training, and resources on making test items accessible in various media for test-takers who are blind or visually impaired, Accessible Tests staff, along with Research Staff and a guest speaker from the National Alternate Assessment Center at the University of Kentucky, provided four major workshops during FY 2006; two at APH and two on-the-road in connection with other scheduled conferences. During these workshops, well over 100 professionals and students from across the country received training, information, and resources; some of these individuals returned to their school systems or companies and provided training to their colleagues. Numerous state Departments of Education personnel from across the country participated in the FY 2006 workshops. Test publishers attending these workshops included representatives from ACT, Inc., Data Recognition Corporation, Educational Testing Service, Pearson Assessments, Measured Progress, and ThinkLink Learning. Some major agencies represented included Association of Test Publishers, ATECH Services, and Design Science, Inc.

More information and features were added to the Accessible Tests Department Web page in the third quarter of FY 2006. Items added include How to Contact Test Publishers and Hot Links. Hot Links include a link to APH's Louis Database as well as the Accessible Media Producers (AMP) Database, and the National Agenda website. To add educational value, awareness of accommodations, and interest, a photo montage of children taking tests using various accommodations and in various accessible media has been added to the main page. Finally, easier navigation and updated links are features of the new and improved page. Development of a Test and Assessment catalog was initiated; it was made available in the third quarter of FY 2007. Results of assessment survey 2007: New Directions were posted in the second quarter.

Accessible Tests staff continued a collaborative effort begun in 2005 with the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), AFB, and RFB&D staff to research most promising practices in narration of math and science content for Digital Talking Books and materials. Staff helped to identify Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professionals and students to participate in a survey.

In FY 2006, approximately 345 unique tests and assessments, answer documents, and test-related reference sheets were reviewed, edited, and produced in accessible media. This represents a 30% increase over a 1-year period in the number of unique test materials produced on a contract basis. These tests were requested by various test publishers and state Department of Education staff from states: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Though varying in content, these tests generally assessed mathematics, science, social science, reading, and writing. Accessible Tests staff also edited and produced the Ballard & Tighe IDEA English Language Proficiency tests, which are used by several states for all grades in both contracted and uncontracted braille. Of the tests prepared, seven forms were alternate assessments reviewed and edited for West Virginia, and 12 forms were alternate assessments for Michigan. Test administration notes were written and provided, as requested, for about 80% of these tests. Additional city and state assessments and alternate assessments continued to be reviewed and edited by the Accessible Test Editors, and/or produced at APH in accessible media, as requested and as resources were available to provide high quality tests in accessible media and timely delivery of test materials.

For two or three decades, there has been discussion and debate as to the benefit of intelliGence or cognitive tests administered to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. At the Spring 2007 Advisory Committee Meetings, members of ESAC recommended that APH's Accessible Tests staff consider the following question: Are the results of an intelliGence or cognitive test meaningful to individuals with visual impairments, and useful to their instructors, families, and decision makers? An IntelliGence Testing Committee made up of APH staff and field experts had been formed in January 2007, so APH was prepared to examine and respond to this concern. IntelliGence Testing Committee members include the following:

Stephen A. Goodman, M.A., M.S., California School for the Blind
Carol Anne Evans, Ph.D., Davis School District, Utah
Marnee Loftin, M.A., Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Will Evans, M.A., Products and Services Advisor, APH
Barbara Henderson, M.A., Test and Assessment Project Leader, APH
Michael Sell, B.A., Test Editor, Accessible Tests Department, APH
Debbie Willis, M.A., Director of Accessible Tests Department, APH

During the initial meeting of the IQ Test Group, committee members determined that the priority was to develop and disseminate "key points" in a position paper regarding intelliGence testing of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. After careful consideration and discussion, the following position statement was drafted, "If appropriate guidelines are followed, cognitive or intelliGence testing of individuals who are blind or VI will provide useful and valuable information to test-takers, their families, instructors, and other decision makers." Nine key points and guidelines were initially formulated. These were presented as a panel session at the 2008 International AER in Chicago. Feedback received from the audience who attended the panel presentation on intelliGence testing of individuals with visual impairments was positive. Additional presentations at the 2008 International AER Conference included "The Journey of a Test: How it Becomes Accessible to Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired" by Test Editor Kerry Isham, "Striped Lands and Dotted Seas: Editing Tactile Graphics" by Test Editor Michael Sell.

Accessible Tests staff met with Dena Garrett in order to develop a list of test rules or guidelines, along with examples, of items not covered by current BANA code. Department staff also met with Diane Spence at APH to discuss the list of test guidelines and the need for BANA transcription rules/guidelines. BANA formed a Test Committee to develop rules/guidelines for transcribing high stakes tests; members include APH Accessible Media Editor and certified braille transcriptionist Garrett and Dr. Carol Allman. Their first meeting was held via teleconference in August 2008; a timeline of approximately 2 years to undertake and complete this work was discussed. Teleconferences continued throughout FY 2009 and a face-to-face meeting was planned at that time for summer 2009.

At the request of the test publisher, Barbara Henderson reviewed KeyMath 3 pre-publication test items for low vision and color deficient vision issues. Barbara and Low Vision Project Leader Elaine Kitchel provided reviews on the pre-publication test items. These reviews were used by the test publisher's project staff to finalize test items in the new KeyMath 3. Accessible Tests staff also pursued permission from the test publisher to make a braille/tactile version of KeyMath 3 available. This and other catalog items under development by the department's Test and Assessment Project Leader are in various phases. See the "Tests and Assessments" section of this document for status reports on individual test-related projects that were either completed in FY 2011, underway, on hold awaiting test publisher's permission to make accessible versions available, or under consideration as future projects.

In late winter 2008, Debbie Willis participated as a member of NCEO's National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects (NARAP) Principles and Guidelines Committee. The purpose of the meeting held in Washington, D.C., was to bring together a diverse panel of experts and stakeholders to provide project staff with feedback on the draft of the Principles and Guidelines, to provide advice on establishing levels of support for the Guidelines, and to help design a dissemination plan once the Principles and Guidelines are finalized. A group of APH staff was instrumental to prep Debbie for this meeting, and for compiling significant edits, suggestions, and questions for the NARAP project staff to consider.

Presentations in FY 2008 included a poster session by Test Editor Kerry Isham on "Test Accommodations for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired" provided to Ex Officio Trustees and invited guests attending our October 2007 Annual Meeting. Test and Assessment Project Leader Barbara Henderson teamed with Linnie Lee of the KY Department of Education and Chloe Torres of Measured Progress to present a regular conference session at the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) Conference on Innovations in Testing. Their presentation on "Making Online Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments" included video clips of students who are blind and some with low vision taking the KY online pilot test during spring 2008. Challenges and positive outcomes of the online testing experience were presented from three different viewpoints.

Professional development opportunities for members of Accessible Tests continued throughout FY 2008. Some Accessible Tests staff was involved in a conference call on alternate assessments with staff from the National Alternate Assessment Center (NAAC) housed at the University of KY. NAAC staff spoke on alignment methods and models, dealing with how academic performance and grade level are significant points of alignment and what sort of criteria are used for measurement. New Test Editors Michael Sell and Kerry Isham were provided several opportunities during the school year to observe students in a variety of classes at the KY School for the Blind as well as observe students who are blind or visually impaired in classrooms in Jefferson County KY Public Schools. Sell successfully completed his lessons on literary braille, submitted his transcribed manuscript, and received his certification in literary braille transcription from the National Library Service.

Some additional activities this fiscal year included a review of Tests of Adult Basic Education for English Language Learners (TABE CLAS-E) for CTB/McGraw-Hill publishers. The object was to discover any biases toward English Language Learners who have visual impairments. Henderson and Willis worked with NCEO staff to review and provide feedback on "Case Studies of English Language Learners (ELLs) with Visual Impairments." Test Editor Kris Scott participated as a member of KY's Bias Review Committee. Test Editor Kerry Isham reviewed hundreds of potential test items in the areas of mathematics, science, and reading for bias and access by students with visual impairments. Numerous phone conferences and some in-person meetings were held by APH staff, test publishers, state and local assessment staff, and accessible media producers. Henderson and Isham edited and reviewed last year's West Virginia alternate assessment items and provided feedback to WV alternate assessment staff.

Accessible Tests staff sponsored its first webcast in FY 2008. Fred Otto and Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leaders, provided a webcast on "Tactile Graphics: Touching on the Basics." Eighty individuals/groups logged onto the webcast that was viewed by over 200 participants. Tactile graphics packets containing samples of released test items and a graphic produced in four different formats had been prepared and shipped to webcast registrants prior to the live, interactive presentation. Additional packets were made available to about 20 people who viewed the archived tactile graphics presentation via our APH Web site.

Forty-six members of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) division on Assessment of Special Education Students (ASES) visited APH for an exciting and informative half-day workshop during their 2-day CCSSO ASES Meeting in Louisville. It was this group's first time meeting in Louisville and first time visiting APH. Members of the CCSSO ASES Group toured the facilities and were offered presentations which included an overview of assessment issues, some braille basics, an explanation of the roles of the Test Editor, Transcriber and Proofreader, enhanced print as well as tactile graphics issues and guidelines. The workshop concluded with demonstrations of editing regular print test items for presentation in braille, tactile graphics, enhanced print, and audio formats. Some of the thoughtful questions and concerns expressed by ASES members included the readability of tactile graphics, what can be used when sighted students are using their graphing calculators, and use of color and grayscale for students with color blindness or low vision. Members left with numerous handouts and resources available to them, with some questions answered as well as some new ones.

In preparation for the August 2008 workshop, Dr. Carol Allman, and members of Accessible Tests and Research staff reviewed, edited, and updated the second edition of TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, and produced the 3rd edition of this document. The new edition was freely disseminated to interested parties and made available on the Accessible Tests Department's Web page.

The original selection of released sample test items from the states of Illinois and Ohio that had been used for previous workshops was reviewed and edited, and prepared introductory information that had not been included in previous editions of the sample test items, was prepared. The Ohio and Illinois sample test items were reproduced with permission as 2008 APH Sample Test Items in braille with tactile graphics, large print, and on audio CD. In addition, a second set of released sample test items used with permission from the states of Florida, Maine, and Texas were selected and produced in the same media as the above mentioned original sample test items. The second set was produced as a Supplement: APH Sample Test Items ©2008. The supplement covers sample test items for math, science, and writing for grades 4-11.

These sample test items, along with the new 3rd edition of TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible, were used for training purposes during the August 2008 workshop on Making Test Items Accessible for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired; 30 individuals representing test publishers, state Departments of Education, and various assessment personnel from across the country participated and received training during this workshop. Both sets of sample test items will be used for similar purposes at future workshops and presentations. This was the first workshop at APH to be audio-video recorded by APH staff, Maria Delgado and Michael Sell; plans are to make the recorded presentations, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and additional resources available in late FY 2008 or very early in FY 2009 via the Accessible Tests Department Web page.

FY 2008 was a productive year with regard to test-related contract work. Over 600 state and local assessments as well as some alternate assessments, commercially available assessments such as the WIAT II and TerraNova, and related materials such as parent/teacher guides, manuals, reference sheets, and charts were produced and shipped this fiscal year. Tests were reviewed and edited for presentation in braille, tactile graphics, large print, enlarged print, and/or audio formats; some of the tests were produced in both contracted and uncontracted braille. Test Administration Notes were prepared for about 75% of these tests, according to customer specifications. The majority of this work was undertaken by the Test Editors and various production staff throughout APH. For a more detailed history and report of activities of Test Central and the Accessible Tests Department from FY 2001 through FY 2008, please see the specific Annual Report of Research and Development Activities for each of these fiscal years.

Activities and accomplishments in FY 2009 included the following: The large print edition of the Brigance Diagnostic Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills, Revised was completed and made available. The test publisher/copyright holder, upon receiving a copy, wrote: "(Copy) received today. And it looks GREAT. Congratulations on a superb job." At our request, Dr. Carol Allman drafted a set of guidelines for developing or adapting test items for students who are blind or visually impaired, and who are also severely cognitively impaired; part of these guidelines will address a growing segment of this population who are nonreaders. The 4th edition of "Test Access: Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments..." was drafted and the new section on alternate assessments developed by Dr. Carol Allman was incorporated into the recent edition of this document; copies were produced and the document was made available on the APH Web site.

Test and Assessment Project Leader, Barbara Henderson, continued to work with Dr. Virginia Posey, Sr. Research Scientist, CASAS, toward publication of an article about their research collaboration which involved a test in the "Life and Work" series that was transcribed into braille and field tested with 65 adults and teenagers who met the criteria.

Henderson and Test Editor Kerry Isham consulted with Jared Wright and West Virginia on their alternate assessments; Wright visited APH for 2 days to work with Accessible Tests staff. Henderson consulted on South Carolina's Alternate Assessments; she also consulted on Michigan's and Utah's computer-based testing development projects. In addition, she served as a member of a KY Bias Review Committee. This is the first time a member of Accessible Tests served on a Bias Review Committee for the development of alternate assessment items.

Students in the visual impairment program at Middle Tennessee University visited APH in June 2009; Accessible Tests presented an overview of test-related products and services available from APH. Students were given information about the Accessible Tests Department Web page, other online resources, and product information.

In response to Advisory Committee members' and IQ Group members' recommendations to help educate and become more involved with the National Association of School Psychologists, Barbara Henderson and consultant Dr. Lynne Jaffe presented a session entitled, "Issues in Translating Tests into Braille: Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement-Braille Adaptation," at the 2009 NASP Conference held in Boston. While there, Barbara and Lynne attended a meeting and banquet of the Board of Directors of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation. At the dinner, Barbara had the honor of meeting Dr. Richard Woodcock and Kevin McGrew, two of the WJ III authors, as well as Dr. Fred Schrank who is the Director of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation (WMF). A letter of appreciation for the extensive and historic work accomplished by Dr. Woodcock, Dr. Schrank, and a number of WMF staff to develop/adapt various components of the WJ III ACH: Braille Adaptation was sent to the WMF Board of Trustees c/o Dr. Fred Schrank.

Consultant Dr. Lynne Jaffe and Debbie Willis provided presentations at the 2009 Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Seattle, WA. Lynne presented a conference session on issues in brailling standardized tests; and Debbie presented a conference session on guidelines for assessing the intellectual/cognitive abilities of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

For professional development, Debbie was able to participate in a workshop on "Training School Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists to Work with Children with Visual Impairments" provided by Perkins Training Center and the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Debbie also had the opportunity to participate in the 2009 Council of Chief State School Officers Conference held in Los Angeles. Major topics presented included common state standards to be developed and voluntarily adopted, a potential move toward increased computer-based testing, alternate assessments, English language learners, and a variety of research results that impact instruction, assessment, and accessibility.

Barbara met with Frank Ferguson, retired President of Curriculum Associates, at the NASP convention. Their discussion involved updates on the Brigance products planned for fall 2009. In addition, Curriculum Associates is the publisher of the Test Ready® Test Prep Series. (See the project report on Brigance ® Diagnostic Inventory of Early Development II: Large Print Edition and Tactile Edition.) While in Boston, Barbara hosted a luncheon meeting with Massachusetts Ex Officio Trustees. Topics of discussion were the Federal Quota Program, Assessment Needs, and the NIMAC and APH file repository, and how to utilize the NIMAS files for students with visual impairments. Barbara was invited to visit the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, MA, which she did.

Barbara's participation as a panelist for the 3-year study on "Best Practices in Narration of Digital Talking Books" helped lead to publication of guidelines in FY 2009. Effective Practices for Description of Science Content within Digital Talking Books can be found at http://ncam.wgbh.org/publications/stemdx/index.html. APH, NFB, RFB&D, and NCAM partnered to do the background research funded by a National Science Foundation grant. In FY 2010, APH was the site of a training workshop on use of these guidelines.

In FY 2008, the BANA developed a Test Committee that has been meeting via teleconference. Dena Garrett continues to serve as APH's representative on this committee. The committee charge from Judy Dixon is to review existing guidelines and develop new guidelines that can be used by BANA. Existing guidelines reviewed and considered include APH's Guidelines for Making Tests Accessible. BANA members began to draft their document titled, Guidelines for Production of Standardized Tests in Braille.

Accessible Tests staff reviewed parts of BANA's drafted guidelines for designing and producing tactile graphics and provided feedback as requested. These documents will be an invaluable tool in setting up guidelines and standards and providing samples for tactile graphics designers across the country. The guidelines, standards, and samples will also assist with training new tactile graphics designers and can be used as a training tool to help other groups such as test developers/publishers understand design and readability concerns with regard to tactile graphics.

The workshop conducted at APH in August 2008 was recorded and edited by Maria Delgado and Michael Sell. The presentations, Power Points, resources, and guidelines were made available in FY 2009 as an archive Webcast on the APH Web site.

Consultant Carol Allman provided a 2-day workshop on "Test Access for Students with Visual Impairments," planned and coordinated by Debbie Willis for 24 Questar staff in Brewster, NY. Debbie and Kerry Isham prepared 25 sets of training materials, which included the new 4th edition of Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments, sets of sample test items in regular print, large print, braille with tactile graphics, and audio formats, the Power Point presentation, lists of resources, and more. Questar staff expressed appreciation and a strong degree of satisfaction with the instruction and materials they received.

As a member of our IQ Test Group, Dr. Carol Evans presented a paper (in FY 2009) at the 2008 Utah AER on the guidelines developed by the group. In FY 2009, the 2008 International AER audience input as well as the 2008 Utah AER audience input was used to revise the next draft of the position paper which includes ten guidelines at this time. As of July 2009, members of the IQ Test Group met a total of 22 times via teleconference at which point a final draft in need of expert field review was prepared. In FY 2010, the final paper was reviewed by about a half-dozen experts in the field. Their reviews were used to finalize the full-length position paper. Both the full-length paper as well as a short version are disseminated through various organizations and interested individuals. A version was submitted for publication, as well as being made available on APH and other relevant Web sites.

During the 2008 APH Annual Meeting, Test Editor Kerry Isham provided a poster session on "150 Fun Facts." Test Editor Michael Sell participated in the National Braille Association Conference held in Lexington, KY, in late October to early November 2008 (FY 2009) to reinforce his braille skills and knowledge, and to learn more about format issues and the Nemeth Code.

Debbie Willis assisted with an electronic blackboard course offered to National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairment fellows on alternate assessments. She also worked with Educational Testing Service staff to develop a guidebook on making test items accessible for students who are blind or visually impaired; this guidebook is for internal use by ETS staff. Debbie continues to participate as a member of CTB McGraw-Hill's team to develop their guidelines for making test items accessible to students with visual impairments. The results of an exercise in which team members ranked the impact of various factors on the accessibility of test items for students with visual impairments, the APH document on Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments: A Guide for Test Publishers, Test Developers, and State Assessment Personnel was ranked number one.

In FY 2009, Test Editors reviewed and edited 800+ state assessments, alternate assessments, commercially available tests, local or district assessments, reference sheets, study guides, and manuals. Production, Contract Administration, and Accessible Tests staff worked together to develop a test-tracking database to ensure all tests and related components are completed in a timely manner. Activities in FY 2009 included requesting permissions and holding teleconference discussions on making components of KeyMath 3, KTEA-II, and Boehm 3 available in accessible media. A survey about types of answer documents needed for marking answer choices on classroom tests and standardized tests was developed, finalized, and posted on the APH Web site. Announcement of the survey for prospective participants was circulated on various listserves as well as in two editions of the APH News. Data were received from 230 respondents. These data are in the process of being reviewed, compiled, and categorized in order to make decisions regarding types of accessible answer documents that need to be designed and produced. A report on the survey results was posted on the APH Web site during the first quarter of FY 2009. Design, development, and field testing of various tactile and large print answer documents were considered and discussed in FY 2009. It was anticipated that samples would be designed and developed, and field tested in FY 2010. For an up-to-date report on this project, go to the Tests and Assessments section of this document for the status of "Accessible Answer Documents."

There were major staff changes in the Accessible Tests Department in FY 2010. Barbara Henderson was transferred to the Research Department where she continues to serve as APH's Test and Assessment Project Leader. This change was implemented so that the primary focus of Accessible Tests would be on contract work rather than development of test-related products to be included in the APH products catalog.

Additional changes included filling open positions in the department. A new Test Editor, Carolyn Zierer, joined Accessible Tests staff in late November 2009. Carolyn has an M.A. in Elementary Education from Bellarmine College and also attended Spalding University's School Administration program. Her background and experience includes 27 years of experience and expertise in regular education as a teacher of students in grades 1-6 as well as having been a principal and assistant principal in the Archdiocese of Louisville (Kentucky). Carolyn is advancing her professional development by learning braille and is working toward her NLS literary braille certification. Mark Alexander joined Accessible Tests in June 2010 as the new Test Editor Trainee. Mark has a B.A. in Foreign Languages and International Economics. Prior to joining Accessible Tests, Mark was a transcriber in APH's braille transcription area since 2007; he received his certification in literary braille from the National Library Service (NLS) in March of 2008. Mark is advancing his professional development by studying braille formats and is working towards certification in Braille Formats.

The Woodcock-Johnson (WJ) III Tests of Achievement: Braille Adaptation was made available early in FY 2010. Barbara Henderson worked closely with consultant Lynne Jaffe, Ph.D., and members of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation to adapt the original WJ III Tests of Achievement for the assessment of individuals who read braille.

The first "Workshop on Administering and Scoring the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement for Braille Readers" was held in Phoenix, AZ, on December 4-5, 2009. This event was offered via APH's National Instructional Partnership (NIP) program in collaboration with Desert Valleys Regional Cooperative Education Center. The 22 attendees were from several states and included teachers of visually impaired students, school psychologists, rehabilitation counselors, and college professors. Blome and Henderson attended and facilitated the workshop; Dr. Lynne Jaffe was the instructor. Several additional NIP events on this product were conducted in FY 2010 via Janie Blome, Director of Advisory Services Department, with instruction provided by Dr. Jaffe.

Activities in FY 2010 included requesting permission and holding teleconferences to make components of KeyMath 3, KTEA II, and Boehm 3 available in accessible media. In April 2010, Bryan Gould from the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) provided an interactive workshop for 20 APH staff and Cindy Greer who attended as our guest from the Kentucky Department of Assessments and Accountability. The 20 APH staff in attendance represented our Accessible Textbooks, Advisory Services, Research and Accessible Tests Departments, our Recording Studio and NIMAC staff. Bryan provided instruction on "Effective Practices for Description of Science Content within Digital Talking Books" and gave various examples of diagrams and illustrations to review and describe the graphics-based displays. Bryan met with Research Department programmers for a demonstration and discussion of some of our new technology products that make printed text accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired. For access to NCAM's 90-minute webinar on these new guidelines, visit: ncam.wgbh.org/experience_learn/educational_media/stemdx. During the day, Bryan expressed interest in creating accessible DVDs; he was given a copy of APH's DVD on "Reclaiming Independence: Staying in the Driver's Seat When You No Longer Drive" that is totally accessible to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. NCAM was recently awarded a 5-year, $5 million grant to transform production of accessible images.

In July 2010, 28 people from within and outside of APH participated in a 2-day workshop on making test items accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired. Consultant Carol Allman provided background information on day 1. On day 2, a variety of APH experts presented test-related issues and concerns in the areas of large print, tactile graphics, and computer-based/online testing. Various APH products were displayed, new electronic devices were demonstrated, and rich resources were provided to participants.

Debbie Willis served as a member of the National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects (NARAP) Principles Committee; this committee was composed of experts with broad knowledge about psychometrics, state testing, reading research, and disabilities. The principles and guidelines that resulted were published in October 2009 in a document titled Accessibility Principles for Reading Assessments. The document is available on the World Wide Web at www.narap.info. These reading assessment projects were supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Center for Special Education Research.

Some guidelines to indicate to braille readers the amount of space available for responses to open-ended questions were drafted. Dena Garrett shared these with Diane Spence who chairs the BANA Test Committee. These guidelines or an edited version of them will be included in the next (5th ed.) of Making Tests Accessible: Guidelines for Test Publishers and State Assessment Personnel and will be considered for inclusion in BANA's Test Guidelines under development.

Kerry Isham and Debbie Willis designed and developed a new brochure on "APH Production Processes: Tests in Braille and Tactile Graphics." The brochure outlines the steps involved to produce a test in braille with tactile graphics, an approximate timeline for completion of such work, and lists some of the factors that affect the braille production timeline and lists ways to help the accessible media production schedule run smoothly.

In June 2010, Carolyn Zierer and Debbie Willis attended the 2010 Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Conference on student assessment that was held in Detroit, Michigan. The focus of the conference was on promising directions in the area of assessment in addition to examining policy, best practices, and introducing some of the research taking place in the area of assessment. Many of the presentations and much of the discussion focused on the Common Core Standards, the move toward computer-based and online testing in order to provide immediate results to teachers, administrators, parents and students, full inclusion of students with disabilities as well as English language learners, alternate assessments, and the use of standardized formative assessments along with summative assessments in order to determine overall student progress.

Debbie Willis met with APH's Vice President of Public Affairs and Director of Public Affairs, Gary Mudd and Nancy Lacewell, respectively, to discuss some of the issues and concerns regarding access to test items for students who are blind and visually impaired. Nancy and Gary expressed great interest in this area, and Nancy scheduled a follow up meeting in order to continue these discussions with Bob Brasher, Ralph Bartley, and Barbara Henderson. Nancy captured the essence of this meeting and assigned various follow up tasks to members of this Test Access group. From Debbie Willis's perspective, goals of the group include discussion of the following:

The Test Access Group developed a very brief survey with accompanying cover letter, and e-mailed these to all Ex Officio Trustees. The cover letter requests that EOTs complete the survey and/or share the survey/cover letter with others in each of their states who are involved in assessment of students who are blind and visually impaired. The key question on the survey asks, "If you could tell decision makers five of the most important issues related to tests/assessments for students who are blind and visually impaired, what would they be?

In August 2010, APH was invited and accepted invitation to participate in the first Pearson Accessibility and Innovation Conference to be held in September 2010 at Pearson's Corporate Headquarters in New Jersey. The focus of this conference was on access to instruction and assessment materials by students with disabilities. Debbie Willis and Michael McCarty (APH Communications Group Social Media Coordinator) plan to present and discuss accessibility issues, network with the 200 conference participants, and provide a wide variety of handouts and product information and demonstrations at the APH exhibit.

A group of expert reviewers was identified and contacted regarding their interest and availability to review the near final draft of a position paper on intelliGence testing of individuals who are blind and visually impaired. In FY 2011, this position paper was made available via the Accessible Tests Department webpage on the APH website, as a handout at presentations, and is provided to interested parties upon request.

In FY 2010, Accessible Tests staff reviewed and edited approximately 935 unique tests for grades 2-12 and adults. These tests were then transcribed/proofread as needed and produced in accessible media, primarily braille with tactile graphics, and shipped to customers. Some of the major test publishers also contracted with APH/Accessible Tests to conduct pre-reviews of select future tests as well as thousands of discrete test items.

Articles and announcements in the APH News included important "recruitment" notices in order to assist with some valuable research studies and workshop endeavors. Such notices were provided regarding research into the perspectives of 10-14-year-old students with visual impairments on play and social participation as components of occupational therapy; a classroom collaboration survey for blind and visually impaired students who attended college courses in the past 5 years; and an upcoming training opportunity in March 2011 by Dr. Joan Chase for licensed or certified psychologists on specialized materials for assessing students who are blind.

Work during FY 2011

Annual Meeting

Members of Accessible Tests participated in our 2010 Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees. Test Editor Carolyn Zierer served on our Annual Meeting Hospitality Committee. Mark Alexander provided a poster session on steps and approximate amount of time involved in each step for producing tests in braille with tactile graphics.

Assistive Technology Training

In preparation for reviewing and editing future test items and test directions to be administered by states via computer-based and online testing, Debbie Willis made arrangements with Janie Blome and Maria Delgado in Field Services to have Maria provide training on assistive technology such as refreshable braille displays and text-to-speech output. The first training session was conducted in August 2011. Future training sessions on these assistive technologies along with training on screen magnification software and programs for presenting math and science equations to be read and displayed in a readable format will be arranged and scheduled throughout FY 2011 and into FY 2012 as needed.

Bias Review Committees

At the request of Pearson, Test Editors Carolyn Zierer and Kris Scott served as members of Bias Review Committees in order to ensure future test items are unbiased toward any group, particularly students who are blind and visually impaired.

Collaborative Efforts

Dena Garrett and Debbie Willis served as official members of BANA's Test Committee. They met on a regular basis to determine priorities and information to be included in the standardized test guidelines, to develop questions, provide assignments to committee members, and to discuss segments of guidelines that have been drafted. Dena has been assigned the section on Social Studies and Debbie has been assigned preparation of the section on Science. Debbie drafted a letter to all state assessment offices requesting that some of their released test items be made available to serve as examples in the document on standardized test guidelines; the draft of letter was submitted to BANA for review and comment.

Conferences

Debbie Willis and Michael McCarty, in Communications, participated in Pearson's first invitational conference on accessibility and innovation: Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities. The conference was held at Pearson's Corporate Headquarters in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, on September 27-28, 2010. Debbie and Michael gave a brief overview of APH products and product-related services relevant to instruction and assessment of students who are blind and visually impaired. Michael presented and demonstrated the new Book Port Plus.

Corporate Capability Statement

Debbie Willis and Mark Alexander worked with Doug Trent in Contract Administration to update APH's Corporate Capability Statement; the Corporate Capability Statement is routinely shared with test publishers and other potential clients, particularly in response to request for proposals.

Making Online Assessments Accessible

At the request of our Oregon Ex Officio Trustee as well as the request of the Manager of Test Design and Administration with the Oregon DOE, Debbie Willis was able to represent APH and participate in Oregon's planning meeting to include students who are blind and visually impaired in the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) statewide online assessments for grades 3-12. The general population of public school students has three opportunities during the school year to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Students who are braille/tactile readers have only been able to take the OAKS in hard copy braille with tactile graphics one time during the school year. The Oregon DOE, their test publisher, and a variety of assessment, transcription, and technology staff are working together to remedy this. Oregon's initial goal is to eliminate "pre-ordered/prepared" hard copy for ALL students so that computer adaptive testing can be administered "on the fly" to students eligible to take the OAKS statewide assessments. Goal #2 is to have 100% participation of their eligible test takers who are braille/tactile readers participate independently in their statewide online assessments by incorporating use of assistive technology such as refreshable braille displays, text-to-speech output, and text magnification as well as use of other acceptable accommodations.

Improving the Lives of People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired

Karla Sullivan, Producer of the Lou Gossett, Jr. Profiles Services, planned to produce a program on "Improving the Lives of People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired." Profiles Series staff requested to include a segment on APH. Debbie Willis shared this request with supervisor Bob Brasher.

Partnership to Revise/Update Operational Best Practices for Statewide Large-Scale Assessment

In late 2006, the Association of Test Publishers (ATP), the American Association of Publishers (AAP) Test Committee, and members of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) formed a Working Group to develop an initial document on best practices regarding major aspects of producing statewide large-scale assessment programs. Debbie Willis participated as a member of this Working Group. The book was completed and published in summer 2010. During FY 2011, ATP and CCSSO have undertaken Version 2 of this book that will include information regarding computer-based and online assessments and needed accommodations. ATP requested that APH participate again as a member of this Working Group; Debbie Willis is serving as the APH representative. The Working Group has met several times in person and via WebEx to revise and update this book. Nearly all the chapters to be included in Version 2 have been drafted and reviewed at least once by members of the Working Group. The final draft will be submitted for expert review and revised as needed. The revised edition of this book is expected to be available from CCSSO/ATP by the end of calendar year 2012.

Position Paper

The position paper on "IntelliGence Testing of Individuals Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired" was drafted by Steve Goodman, Carol Evans, and Marnee Loftin; this endeavor was coordinated and facilitated by Debbie Willis. After proofreading and final edits by Debbie and Kris Scott were completed, the position paper was sent for expert field review. Recommendations and suggested edits were incorporated; the position paper was finalized and made available on the Accessible Tests Department webpage as well as the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired website. Several messages expressing appreciation for this document were received.

Professional Development

As part of APH's Braille Improvement Plan, Jan Carroll arranged for an instructor to provide a 2-day training session on Braille Formats. The Accessible Tests Department's Test Editors and Test Editor Trainee were able to participate in this training opportunity.

In June 2011, Carolyn Zierer received her NLS certification in literary braille. In August 2011, Kris Scott submitted his manuscript to NLS for possible certification in literary braille. Debbie Willis served as Chair-Elect of AER's Division on Psychosocial Development; she worked with division's leaders to disseminate information on the IntelliGence Testing position paper via a new webpage being developed for this division of AER, as well as making a link to it available from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) website. Debbie participated in the 2011 Council of Chief State School Officers Conference on National Student Assessment, as well as an off-site team-building workshop.

Accessible Tests staff met with Dr. Kay Ferrell, APH Executive in Residence, to discuss test-related issues and concerns, the work of the department, and to provide ideas on adapting Boehm III test items for presentation to young children who are tactile learners.

Staff

Test Editor Kerry Isham accepted a position as a Field Services Representative; her transfer to Field Services was effective as of October 25, 2010. This open position was filled with Test Editor Trainee Mark Alexander.

Survey Results

An in-house Test Team that included Bob Brasher, Gary Mudd, Nancy Lacewell, and Debbie Willis developed a cover letter and survey. The survey was comprised of one open-ended question asking respondents to detail five of the most important issues related to tests and assessments which they would like to have addressed with decision makers. The letter requested that EOTs share the survey with state assessment staff and their test publisher teams. Sixty-nine (69) respondents from 24 states completed and returned the survey form. Carolyn Zierer compiled the responses and prepared a summary of results that was shared with Test Team members, and posted on the Accessible Tests Department webpage. The four major areas of concern by respondents were test administration, graphics/tactile graphics, large print, and accessible media that included general accessibility concerns.

Tactile Graphics Guidelines

The new Tactile Graphics Guidelines from BANA were adopted for use at APH. Members of Accessible Tests reviewed, studied, and made notes on guidelines of concern to share with appropriate BANA staff.

Tests Produced

During September and October of 2010, 78 unique tests were reviewed and edited by Test Editors Kris Scott and Carolyn Zierer. These tests were produced and shipped to customers. In November and December of 2010, 113 unique tests were reviewed and edited by Test Editors. One thousand three hundred eighty-two (1,382) copies of these tests were then produced and shipped. November/December is the start of our busy test season. In January and February of 2011, 286 unique state assessments, alternate assessments, and reference sheets were produced; copies of each ranged from 1-300. A total of 5,229 copies of the tests and reference sheets were produced. This represents an average of seven unique tests completed through our test processes and 131 copies produced and shipped per scheduled work day, which is a rather brisk rate. In March and April of 2011, 235 unique tests were reviewed and edited by Test Editors. A total of 27,200 copies were produced.

During the first three quarters of FY 2011, Test Editors Scott and Zierer, along with members of APH Production staff, reviewed, edited, proofed, finalized, produced and shipped 760 unique tests; copies were produced in braille, large print, or recorded formats as needed. Tests included state and district assessments, alternate assessments, and test-related materials such as reference sheets, data sheets, and examiner manuals. Customers included American College Testing (ACT) Central Services, American Institutes for Research (AIR), Cheeney Media Concepts, Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), Measured Progress, NCS Pearson, Questar Assessments, Inc., University of Kansas at Lawrence, and Washington D.C. Public School System. In addition to tests produced, thousands of test items were reviewed for bias and accessibility.

Data on tests reviewed, edited, produced, and shipped in the last quarter of FY 2011 is not available at the time of preparing this report.

Test-Related Products

Debbie Willis and Mark Alexander reviewed the audio and braille versions of GED Basics 2002, and determined that the audio versions should be accompanied by the braille/tactile graphics in order for the text-based descriptions to be useful and the instruction to be most effective; a brief report of findings and recommendation was provided to appropriate APH staff.

Step-by-Step Process of Test Production in Braille with Tactile Graphics

A detailed list of APH's current step-by-step process from the time a test is received in Contract Administration until it is produced/proofed and shipped to customers was prepared by Debbie Willis and Mark Alexander. The list was provided to various in-house staff for review and edit. After the list of current steps was finalized, it was provided to supervisor Bob Brasher. Debbie and Mark also developed a brochure to outline these steps and the approximate amount of time needed for each of the overall steps to be completed. This brochure is provided as a handout at conferences, workshops, and in response to requests for information.

Transcription/Proofreading Verification Form

As a continuous improvement step, Debbie Willis drafted a Transcription/Proofreading Verification Form to accompany each test produced at APH on a contract basis. The form was shared with Pre-Production and Production staff. Braille Pre-Production Manager decided to implement use of the form in both the transcription and proofreading areas. An additional measure suggested by APH transcribers to Kathy that entails Test Editors providing APH transcribers with copies of final Test Administration (TA) Notes along with the previous version of the same TA Notes for a final quality control check was also initiated to ensure that final corrections are made before tests are shipped to the designated customers.

Accessible Tests staff continue to gratefully acknowledge the direction and support of Executive Committee members and Ex Officio Trustees, and all the wonderful partners within APH and with individuals, agencies, schools, and organizations outside of APH who worked together to help make instructional materials and tests available in accessible media for individuals with visual impairments, who promoted the inclusion of visual impairment professionals as well as individuals with visual impairments during the test development process, and who were engaged in improving the test performance of blind and visually impaired individuals through research, education, and communication. As Helen Keller said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Together, we have accomplished much, and there continues to be more issues to be addressed and work to be accomplished in the area of effectively assessing students who are blind and visually impaired.

Work planned for FY 2012

Accessible Tests staff will continue to work closely with test publishers and state assessment personnel, APH's Contract Administration, Production, Research, Accessible Textbooks, Field Services, Resource Services and Communications staff, and will engage in discussions and seek direction from Executive Committee members and Ex Officio Trustees, particularly members of EPAC and ESAC.

Additional local/district and state assessments and alternate assessments will continue to be reviewed and edited by Accessible Tests Editors, and/or produced at APH in accessible media, as requested and as resources are available to provide high quality tests in a timely manner. Test Administration Notes will be provided for accessible media as specified by each contract or agreement.

Members of Accessible Tests will continue to participate on Bias Review Committees and as members of other panels and committees such as AER and BANA as requested and as time allows. A 5th edition of Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments will be drafted, which will include a new section of guidelines on English Language Learners who are visually impaired. The position paper and guidelines on intelliGence testing of individuals who are visually impaired will be presented at appropriate conferences, made available on various websites, and provided in response to questions and requests for information. Marnee Loftin, one of the position paper authors, assisted by Debbie Willis, will present the guidelines and recommendations for assessing the intelliGence of students who are blind and visually impaired at APH's Annual Meeting in October 2011.

Accessible Tests staff will continue to offer leadership through services, collaborative efforts and partnerships, and product-related research and development. One or more APH and/or "on the road" training workshops in connection with other conferences will be offered, presentations provided and/or webcasts on test topics and issues will be developed and made available on the APH Web site; networking and partnering with test-related organizations such as CCSSO and ATP on the second version of the book on Operational Best Practices for Large-Scale Assessments, test publishers, item developers, and assessment personnel across the country will be pursued.

Research and cooperative efforts with universities and agencies such as the Association of Test Publishers, the American Psychological Association, the Association of School Psychologists, the National Center on Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota, the National Alternate Assessment Center at the University of Kentucky, BANA, and others will be engaged in order to continue addressing the tracks identified at the outset of Test Central (Accessible Tests Department). Accessible Tests staff will continue to support AER by serving on relevant committees and holding positions of leadership within its divisions.

The resources and guidelines for making test items accessible in various media and the special issues with regard to testing students with visual impairments will be reviewed, revised, updated, and freely shared. Test-related information and links to resources will continue to be provided and updated on the Accessible Tests webpage. Any concerns regarding the new Tactile Graphics Guidelines and preparation of Standardized Test Guidelines will be discussed with BANA's leadership and committee members.

Research Department

Ralph E. Bartley, Ph.D.

Director

Adult Life

Adult Life Needs

(Ongoing)

Purpose

To develop adult life products and services that are affordable, user-friendly, and consumer driven and that address the diverse needs of the blind and visually impaired population

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Carol Roderick, Research Assistant

Background

Product development in the area of Adult Life was initiated at APH in the summer of 1998. The first products derived specifically from this effort were made available during FY 1999. Product research, along with consumer and professional networking, has continued to characterize the development of products for adults.

Work during FY 2011

APH Adult Life products and their applications to specific populations were presented by the Adult Life Project Leader at the following venues: Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, Kentucky, October, 2010; Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference, Chicago, Illinois, October, 2010; Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference, Orlando, Florida, January, 2011; California State University at Northridge Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, San Diego, California, March, 2011; Gateways Conference, Louisville, Kentucky, July, 2011; Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Regional Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, August, 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

Investigation and development of new products for adults will continue. The Adult Life Project Leader will continue to seek input from the field by networking with APH Ex Officio Trustees and consumer and professional groups. Focus groups will be conducted as needed.

Parenting With a Visual Impairment: Advice for Rearing Babies and Young Children

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide visually impaired parents with support and information about parenting techniques that have been effective for other visually impaired parents

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader

Janet Ingber, Author/Consultant

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Background

Janet Ingber, a blind mother, submitted a draft outline and three chapters of a parenting book based on interviews with 17 effective parents who were visually impaired. Research conducted at APH confirmed that very little information was available for blind parents regarding issues related to visual impairment and parenting. The need for an informational parenting book was further assessed through a survey of professionals in the field of visual impairment and blindness. Survey results indicated that training was not available for professionals in the area of parenting and visual impairment; there were a significant number of blind parents who could have benefited from information related to blindness and parenting; and a self-help informational book could maximally benefit many such parents or parents-to-be. Of particular concern among survey respondents was the need for support and information to counteract the negative stereotypes about blindness, such as the belief that persons with visual impairments could not be effective parents.

To meet the need for accurate information and support for parents with visual impairments, the development of an expanded version of Ingber's work was undertaken.

A database was developed to record, store, and manipulate information obtained from questionnaires and phone interviews. Parent volunteers were recruited through APH Ex Officio Trustees, the APH monthly newsletter, e-mail list announcements, contacts with staff and/or relevant committees of the American Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind, and word-of-mouth. Parent participants either had raised or were rearing at least one child when the parent was legally blind. Parents were also selected because of their interest in and commitment to parenting and because of their desire to share what they had learned with other parents.

Ingber contacted and conducted phone interviews with 62 blind parents. She recorded results of these interviews into the database and submitted this material to the project leader. The project leader completed content analysis and results summaries for the data. Ingber and the project leader wrote, edited, and rewrote all chapters of the book based on information obtained from the parent sample. Photos were obtained from Ingber for inclusion in the book.

During FY 2009, all chapters were reviewed/edited for consistency of style. Additional photos were sought from all participating parents, and photos were received from seven parents. Permissions for use of photos were sent to and received back from all parents who sent photos.

During FY 2010, the resources chapter was completed and reviewed, and the book was made ready for field review. Six expert field reviewers were located.

Work during FY 2011

Field review was completed, revisions were made to the book based on field review results, cover art was selected, and layout for final printing was initiated.

Work planned for FY 2012

Print layout, braille translation, DTB production, and recording of the book for MP3 files will be completed. It is anticipated that the product will become available for sale in FY 2012.

Core Curriculum

BUSINESS AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

For FY 2011, there are no active Business and Vocational Education products to report.

FINE AND PERFORMING ARTS

Braille Beads

(Continued)

Purpose

To produce inexpensive, plastic braille beads for students to create bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and ankle bracelets for personal use and gifts

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Anita Rutledge, Design Specialist/Process Engineer

Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

Background

While visiting residential schools for the blind, APH staff noticed that teachers use beading as a way to create fun, wearable art, and to develop skills such as fine motor and sorting. Research showed that the few types of braille beads available on the market were very expensive (manufactured from metals and blown glass), making them unattainable through school budgets or for the average family to purchase.

Work during FY 2011

Six field test sites in six states completed the online evaluation form (posted through Google Docs) and submitted photographs of their students'/clients' jewelry. APH received bids from outside vendors to manufacture the seven movable molds needed to create the beads. APH submitted a grant proposal to acquire private funding to cover the cost of the molds.

Work planned for FY 2012

APH intends to secure funding to manufacture the molds and begin production on the beads.

MATHEMATICS

Addition and Subtraction Tables

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide elementary students who are blind and visually impaired with a tool to assist in reinforcing basic addition and subtraction facts

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant (Project Leader)

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Nancy Etter, Administrative Assistant

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

The product submission for the Addition and Subtraction Tables came from a teacher in the field. She has used the Multiplication and Division Table produced by APH with success. She requested the new table for her younger students.

In FY 2009, PET and PARC committees accepted the product submission. A PDC meeting was held to gain input from staff and other project leaders. A prototype was developed that incorporated alternating, highlighted lines to assist low vision students with tracking.

In FY 2010, the prototypes were field tested at 12 different sites from February to March. The manual and the tables were revised based on feedback from evaluators. A specification meeting was held in May 2010, and the project was added to the production schedule.

Work during FY 2011

Documentation was printed and made available for download. Tables were printed and embossed. Addition and Subtraction Tables became available for sale on January 25, 2011.

Expanded Beginner's Abacus

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide young braille students with a beginner's abacus that extends to the hundreds place

Project Staff

Sandi Baker, Project Leader

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

The submission for a beginner's abacus that extends to the hundreds place came from a teacher in the field. She used the existing beginner's abacus "with trainable/low educable mentally handicapped students" who cannot memorize their addition and subtraction facts to use the "secrets" method but can use counting to add and subtract.

In FY 2009, the product submission was approved by the Product Evaluation Team and Product Advisory and Review Committee. A Product Development Committee meeting was held and work began on designing the Expanded Beginner's Abacus (EBA). The existing manual would also need to be revised to include lessons, examples, and problems using the hundreds column.

In FY 2010, three different prototypes were developed using rapid prototyping. The third design was accepted. Work continued on revising the manual. This product was turned over to a new project leader.

Work during FY 2011

The Instructions for Usebooklet (manual) revisions were completed and prepared for field testing. The EBA was field tested in the winter/spring of 2011. Fourteen teachers of the visually impaired field tested the EBA with 17 students, ages 4-20 years. The majority of the field evaluators felt the abacus is usable by their students and that they have a need for the abacus in the classroom. They felt the product was usable by students with multiple disabilities (7), blindness (14), learning disabilities (11), low vision (11), deafblindness (10), binocular vision issues (1), and autism (1). One hundred percent of the teachers felt the content of the Instructions for Usebooklet was thorough and helpful, and most felt the number of lessons was adequate and the lessons were appropriate. One hundred percent of the teachers said that based on their training and experience as a teacher that the product is an effective teaching tool, and that their student(s) benefited from using the EBA. Teacher and student comments were largely positive.

As a result of comments by field-evaluators, the following changes were made to the abacus and the Instructions for Usebooklet: 1) "Extensions" page added to the booklet, that addresses teaching strategies and concepts that can be taught using the EBA; 2) rods on the abacus adjusted in order to tighten the beads so there is no accidental slipping during normal use of the abacus; and, 3) two strips of Velcro® added to each EBA so that two or more abaci can be joined together for teaching computation skills that go beyond the hundreds place.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will complete the final revisions to the Instructions for Usebooklet, both print and braille, and the abacus. Project staff will work to complete the production of the EBA, and the product will become available for sale.

EZeeCOUNT Abacus

(New)

Image of the 10 x 10 bead arrangement of the EZeeCOUNT Abacus.

Purpose

To provide a unique abacus, currently produced in Malaysia, that is arranged in a 10 row by 10 column configuration that allows young students, including those with multiple disabilities, to perform basic mathematical functions. The abacus features sliding beads of two colors and two textures. The reverse side of the abacus has a dry-erasable surface.

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Zeenat Durrani, Product Originator/Vendor

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Background

On May 14, 2010, a product submission form was received from Zeenat Durrani regarding a manufactured abacus in Malaysia that is routinely used to assist children who have learning difficulties. Anticipating that the product could also benefit students with visual impairments and blindness, the vendor submitted the tool, titled the EZeeCOUNT Abacus, to APH for resell consideration to customers in the United States. The project leader was asked to review the product submission and provide feedback to the Product Evaluation Team. Pairing a list of "notable strengths" with "suggestions for improvement," the project leader gave the abacus a positive rating. On September 8, 2010, the product was reviewed by the Product Advisory and Review Committee and approved for development. The product quickly moved to the active development stage. By the end of FY 2010, the project leader had established a positive working relationship with the vendor, and acquired needed information regarding costs, exclusivity rights, quality updates, and safety documents.

Work during FY 2011

The first quarter of FY 2011 was devoted to readying the prototype for field test purposes. This effort was carried out solely by the project leader with regard to direct communication with the vendor to acquire prototypes, as well as authoring an instruction guide to illustrate possible mathematical uses (basic counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, patterning, etc.). By the end of the year, the project leader had prepared multiple field evaluation packets.

The project leader posted a request for field evaluators in the January issue of APH News. Nearly 25 teachers requested to participate in this field test opportunity. Field test sites were selected based upon location, type of setting, and potential number of students.

The field test of the EZeeCOUNT abacus was initiated in January 2011 and extended through mid-April. Product evaluations were completed by 15 teachers representing the states of Arizona, Illinois, Kansas (2), Maine, Missouri (4), Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The majority (86%) of evaluators worked in itinerant settings, 7% worked at a residential school, and 7% worked in a resource center. Half of the teachers had taught for 5 years or less; 14% had 6 to 10 years of teaching experience, 21% had 11 to 15 years of teaching experience, and 14% had 16 to 20 years of teaching experience. Large percentages of the teachers reported previous use of the Beginner's Abacus (67%) and Cranmer Abacus (87%) with students with visual impairments and blindness. Nearly half (47%) reported using abacuses either "frequently" or "occasionally" with their students. Sixty-seven percent of the evaluators reported typically using abacuses with students in grades 1-3 and grades 4-8. Approximately half typically used abacuses with preschool students (47%) and kindergarteners (53%); only 20% routinely used abacuses with high school students.

The student sample of 63 students ranged in age from 2 to 21 years old, with equal percentages between the ages of 4-6 (29%) and 7-9 (29%); likewise, equal percentages were between the ages of 10-12 (19%) and 13-20 (19%). Only 2% were 2 years of age, and the ages of 2% of the students were unreported. The student sample was composed of more males (63%) than females (37%). The student population reflected cultural diversity: 59% White, 19% Hispanic, 17% African American, 3% Asian, and 2% American Indian/Alaskan Native. The distribution of students across grade levels was as follows: 24% were in preschool or kindergarten, 30% were grades 1-3, 27% were in grades 4-8, 14% were in high school, and 5% were ungraded or "unreported." The largest percentage of the students (57%) were classified as either large print or print readers (with or without magnification), 24% were braille readers, 8% were auditory learners, 6% were dual readers (i.e., large print/braille or braille/auditory), and the remaining students (5%) lacked a specified primary reading medium. More than half (56%) of all of the students had other disabilities (e.g., cognitive delays, autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, deaf blindness, orthopedic handicaps, developmental delays, and speech/language impairments). One-third of the students had prior experience using the Beginner's Abacus, and 17% had prior experience using the Cranmer Abacus.

The vast majority (80%) of the evaluators indicated that the EZeeCount Abacus offered specific advantages over other similar counting/computation devices. Testimonials from evaluators clarified:

Using a scale of 5 ("Very Well") to 0 ("Not at All"), field evaluators indicated the degree to which the EZeeCOUNT Abacus promoted the following skills/concepts:

Skill/Concept Average Rating 
Counting by single units 4.3 
Counting by groups (e.g., by 3s) 3.9 
Addition4.3Number combinations 4.1 
Subtraction4.5Multiplication 3.7 
Division 3.6 
Fractions/Percentages/Decimals 3.2 
Patterns1.9Graphs 2.9 
Perimeter/Area 3.1 
Place value 3.7 
Transitioning to Beginner's Abacus and/or Cranmer Abacus 3.4 
Games 3.6 

The following percentages of evaluators reported appropriateness of the EZeeCOUNT Abacus for various target populations:

Target Population Percentage of evaluators who found the EZeeCOUNT Abacus to be suitable for target population 
Preschoolers with visual impairments/blindness 93% 
Kindergarteners with visual impairments/blindness 93% 
Tactile readers in Grades 1-3 80% 
Low vision students in Grades 1-3 93% 
Tactile readers in Grades 4-8 73% 
Low vision students in Grades 4-8 53% 
Tactile readers in high school 47% 
Low vision students in high school 53% 
Students with multiple disabilities 80% 
Students with cortical visual impairment 73% 

The reported strengths of the EZeeCOUNT Abacus highlighted its ideal size, high-contrast color, versatility, ease of use, and concrete representation for basic math functions. However, it was apparent, given a less than unanimous vote for its availability from APH, that there was room for design improvements before final production. Although 73% of the evaluators recommended its availability, 20% were "uncertain" and one evaluator checked "No."

At a Product Development Committee meeting in late April, the project leader detailed needed structural improvements, namely...

These design enhancements were outlined for the vendor in an e-mail sent in early May, along with other requests to ease manufacturing, ensure safety, and make the product as accessible as possible. Specifically, the vendor was asked to bulk-ship the product without its original documentation and outer packaging (that lacked English translation) and to incorporate an APH identification label on the dry-erase side of the abacus.

Throughout June and July, the project leader communicated directly with the bead manufacturer in New York concerning needed revisions to the beads' textures. A sample of the ideal rough texture for the red side of the bead was provided to the vendor for replication purposes. The bead manufacturer quickly submitted three groupings of beads of different sandpaper texture. After garnering input from braille readers, sample "B" (representing a medium grade sandpaper texture) was selected.

As of August 2011, APH was awaiting the vendor submission of the latest prototype of the EZeeCOUNT Abacus built to APH's specifications.

Work planned for FY 2012

Once a sample of the new version of the EZeeCOUNT Abacus is received from the vendor and approved by APH, the project leader will finalize product instructions and work with the outside graphic designer on its final layout/design. All needed specifications will be reviewed with Technical Research, and a final product timeline will be established with input from the PDC. Depending on how soon a new prototype is furnished to APH and approved, final availability will likely occur in FY 2013.

Flip-Over Concept Books: Fractions

(Formerly Flying Through Fractions)

(New)

Purpose

To provide teachers with a tool that will assist primary and intermediate students to learn fractions via a flip-chart type "booklet"

Project Staff

Sandi Baker, Project Leader

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Cathy Senft-Graves, Research Assistant

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

The product submission for this product came from a teacher of the visually impaired. The original product idea was to develop a pin screen to be explored tactually. The pins would be stable enough not to change position with tactile exploration, yet easy enough to depress with a template. Templates would be created for common shapes with fractional sections. The templates would be pushed onto the pin board and the sections of fraction would appear. A full-sized plate would be used to "clear" the pin screen. This tool would provide students who are blind and visually impaired with an instant tactile representation of fractions that their sighted peers are seeing.

In January 2010, this product underwent product review. It was determined that the cost to develop and produce it as originally presented would be prohibitive. APH staff came up with two different potential scenarios. The project leader at the time contacted the teacher who submitted the product idea to discuss these options. After consulting with Technical Research and the teacher, a low tech option was decided upon. For each fraction, there would be a small booklet. The book would be hole-punched in the upper corner and have a ring binding. On the first page would be a circle divided into the appropriate fractional part with the fractional name, followed by the pages with the fractional parts tactually presented and the fraction written in braille and large print. The teacher or student could then quickly flip to the correct fraction for identification or comparison. The book could be taken apart at the ring binding to easily compare fractions.

Work during FY 2011

This project was turned over to current project leader in October. It went to the Product Evaluation Team and Product Advisory and Review Committee in November. A Product Development Committee meeting was held in January. After much discussion, it was decided that this product will become a part of the Flip-Over Concept Books series, and will utilize the format of the previous Flip-Over books, except that this book will have two possible display options: flat or easel style. It will be an interactive print and tactile booklet that provides support for students who are beginning to learn about and understand fractions, decimals, and percents, and will focus on halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, eighths, and tenths. This product will consist of a series of print/tactile panels and two booklet covers to display the panels. The print/tactile panels are divided into five categories: Piece of the Pie, Pie Chart, Fractions, Decimals, and Percents. Fractions will utilize the same special binding as the previous Flip-Over books, and will include one 4-panel-wide booklet cover and one 2-panel-wide booklet cover.

In June, the project leader met with Technical Research to present the layout design for the panels. In July, the project leader met with Technical Research to review the vacuum form and line art. Also in July the project leader completed the first draft of the instructions booklet and submitted to the research assistant for review and edit.

Work planned for FY 2012

The content of the instructions booklet will be finalized and turned over to Terri Gilmore for design. Production will develop prototypes and field testing will take place.

FOCUS in Mathematics, Second Edition

(Completed)

Purpose

To update an existing product, FOCUS in Mathematics

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant (Project Leader)

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Rosanne Hoffman, Research Assistant

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

In June 2007, PET and PARC committees approved a submission for the revision of FOCUS in Mathematics. The kit was first produced in 1984. Since that time, the National Council for Mathematics has revised the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Additionally, some of the manipulatives were no longer available from the manufacturer and/or had become very dated in appearance and usefulness.

In FY 2008, lessons were reviewed to determine alignment with the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics and the Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics adopted by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Lessons were added and rewritten to meet the new standards. Lessons were organized by theme and grade level. Manipulatives were reviewed, modified, changed, and/or added to the kit.

In FY 2009, the prototype of the FOCUS in Mathematics, Second Edition was completed and sent to the following people for expert review.

Expert reviewers provided suggestions for needed additions and revisions to the prototype.

In FY 2010, additions and revisions were completed on the original prototype. Bisig Impact Group completed the final design of the manual and Technical Research completed the design of several new manipulatives. A specification meeting was held on December 18, 2009. Because of the many components in the kit, production was scheduled for September 2010.

Work during FY 2011

Documentation was revised, printed, and embossed. Manipulatives were revised and finalized. The product became available for sale on October 22, 2010.

Geometro

(New)

Purpose

To provide teachers with a tool (manual, student workbook, and manipulatives) that utilizes tactile images and 3-D manipulatives to teach students the basic concepts of geometry

Project Staff

Sandi Baker, Project Leader

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Aniceta Skowron, Author and Consultant

Anthony Slowinski, Accessible Textbook Tactile Graphic Designer

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

The submission for this product came from the previous project leader, who was the project leader for the Geometro models that APH has sold since 2010. They have been wildly popular since that time, but teachers asked for instructions for using these tactile manipulatives. This product idea was to work with the author of two existing print workbooks: Building 3-D Solids Using Geometro, and Nets of 3-D Solids, to adapt them for use with braille readers. The adapted books would function as instructional guides to teach geometric concepts using the Geometro models. The product would consist of an adapted student workbook with consumable tactile worksheets. The workbook would instruct the teacher and student to build solids, identify sides and vertices, and develop "nets" for the various forms using Geometro models. The graphics on the tactile worksheets would help students better understand how to use the Geometro models as well as to better understand the basic concepts of geometry. While intended to be used with Geometro models, the workbooks would be sold independently of Geometro. The workbook would be used by braille readers at the elementary level. Many standardized tests have questions concerning "nets" for geometric 3-D solids, but students who are blind struggle with this concept. The activities in the Student Workbook, along with its manipulatives - including Geometro, would assist the classroom teacher and the elementary student in meeting the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards for Geometry.

Work during FY 2011

In October, this product was turned over to the current project leader. Some initial discussions with the workbook's author took place at Annual Meeting in October, at which time a contractual agreement was established. The project leader had a 2-day meeting with the consultant in Louisville in December, at which time the project began to take shape. Meetings were held with the Director of Research, Core Curriculum Consultant, Technical Research Division Manager, Materials Manager, and others, to discuss various ideas for the project. At the end of the 2-day meeting, the project leader and consultant had developed a plan. This project will consist of the following: Teacher's Manual, Student Workbook that will include both tactile and magnetic pages, and two sets of manipulatives - rod models and magnetic tiles. Outlines for both the Teacher's Manual and Student Workbook, including timelines, were developed.

In January 2011, a draft of the Introduction to the Teacher's Manual was written by the project leader; by March, the drawings of the tactile images had been created by the consultant and turned over to the Manufacturing Specialist at APH. In July, the consultant submitted the first draft of the Teacher's Manual. Editing of the Teacher's Manual will continue as will regular phone conversations and sharing of information via Dropbox.

During this time, the consultant has been working with local manufacturers (in Canada) to develop and produce the rod models and magnetic tiles to complete this product.

The consultant has begun to write the Student Workbook.

Work planned for FY 2012

The Teacher's Manual and Student Workbook will be completed, working prototypes of the rod models and magnetic tiles will be produced for field testing, and the product will be field tested. Analysis of field-testing results will take place.

Graphic Aid for Mathematics, Revision

(Continued)

Purpose

To revise the current Graphic Aid for Mathematics by changing some components and adding new ones to make the product easier to use and read

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Background

At the advice of teachers who use the APH kit or homemade variations, staff investigated ideas to make graphs easier to display and more readable. Some suggestions came from retired teacher Ken Kalina, who constructed his own boards with grids made on a braille embosser and uses a variety of wires and pins to create his graphs. Other revisions originated in-house.

Project staff purchased a variety of wires and pins to augment existing components of the kit. They also developed new, inexpensive tools to help in making and marking graphs: a pivoting ruler with print and tactile markings, to help students mark points at a given radius from another point, and a set of adjustable X-Y axes that can be placed anywhere on the grid board. Manufacturing bids were obtained for the resized board and a new component, an embossed circle graph to be mounted on the reverse of the grid.

Preliminary input was gathered at two Annual Meeting sessions and from teachers at a multi-school in-service in New York.

Work during FY 2011

Fifteen complete prototype sets were made up and a full field evaluation was conducted in the fall of 2010. Sites included both public and residential schools in California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York (2), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas (4).

The field evaluation included 45 students in all grades 4th-12th except 6th. Of these students, 24 were male and 21 female; 11 had other handicapping conditions such as learning disabilities or cerebral palsy.

The compiled results showed broad support for the proposed additions to the kit. Most respondents wanted the new components added and the original ones retained as well. Reactions to a proposed size reduction for the grid were evenly split.

The project leader decided on final design revisions. Specific sizes of pins and wires were rejected as a result of the evaluation, and a final board size was settled on that essentially compromises between the original size and the proposed smaller one. An instructional insert was written, and the product logo and box label were designed.

The project leader began consultation with Technical Research staff to get production specifications drawn up.

Work planned for FY 2012

Specifications will be completed, and the revised kit will be scheduled for production. A timetable for actual production will depend on the vendor for the raised grid and circle graphs.

MathBuilders

(Formerly: Primary Math Units)

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop instructional math materials for use with students in the primary grades who are blind and visually impaired as either a supplement to the classroom math program or as a core curriculum

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant (Project Leader)

Derrick Smith, Math Consultant

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

Math achievement of students who are blind has been consistently behind that of their sighted peers. In recent years, very little research and product development has been done to improve this situation. Teachers of students who are blind, however, have continuously requested special braille curricular materials for math similar to those in the Patterns program developed at APH to teach braille reading. Because of the dramatic increases in the number of blind students mainstreamed, the use of the itinerant special education teacher model, the math priority stated in GOALS 2000, and new teaching standards adopted by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, it became critical to focus once again on math materials for students who are visually impaired. This project received special funding as part of a 3-year research initiative to develop new products in math, science, and geography.

During the Mathematics Focus Group Meeting in September 1994, this program was discussed and specifications were determined. During FY 1995, work on the project included a review of the research and literature on math instruction for students who are visually impaired; analyses of math curriculum guides; thorough analyses of current textbooks to determine mathematical symbols, terms, and concepts being taught; a search of the catalogs for commercially-available math related products; and a review of programs on abacus instruction. By 1996, prototypes of eight Primary Math Units and a general guidebook began to take shape with guidance from William E. Leibfritz, math consultant. In July 1996, a group of teachers of the visually impaired met at APH to share ideas they found to be particularly effective for developing math concepts and practice materials for their visually impaired students in the primary grades.

In July 1997, project consultants, Leibfritz and Susan Millaway, met at APH and reviewed in detail the teaching strategies for the kindergarten and first grade Primary Math Units. A draft of an introductory book that presents the philosophy and overview of the program was developed by the project leader later in fiscal year 1997. In fiscal years 1998 and 1999, worksheets were developed to supplement the Lessons for Unit 1: Matching, Sorting, and Patterning for kindergarten through third grade.

In fiscal year 2000, the decision was made to field test by units rather than waiting for the program to be finished in its entirety. Tooling of Unit 1 prototype worksheets for field testing began. In FY 2001, evaluation forms for the introduction and Unit 1 were drafted. Tooling of the prototype worksheets continued with coordination of the print and braille requiring much more time than originally planned.

In FY 2002-2003, Jenny Dortch completed the final draft of the introductory book and Unit 1. The evaluation forms for the book, lessons, and worksheets were developed. During fiscal year 2004, the evaluation forms, Guidelines (introductory material), and Unit 1 Lessons for Kindergarten through third grade were finalized and prepared for field testing. Materials were placed with teachers having braille reading students in kindergarten through third grade for approximately 6-8 weeks and then returned to APH for compilation and analyses of data. Results were extremely positive with only a little revision required. Dortch continued work on Units 2, 3, and 4 during fiscal years 2004 and 2005. These units cover Number Concepts, Place Value, and Number Operation. Eleanor Pester served as project leader during this phase of development.

In FY 2006, the project was assigned to Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Project Leader (a newly created position). Revisions were made to Unit 1, Matching, Patterning, and Sorting and to the General Guidelines based on the feedback from the field testing. MathBuilders was selected as the name for the series. Manipulatives were added to Unit 1 based on feedback from field testing. Graphic design and braille translation were completed. Tooling for worksheets began. A consultant, Derrick Smith, was hired for Unit 6, Geometry and Unit 8, Data Collection, Graphing, and Probability/Statistics. Objectives were reviewed for alignment with Principles and Standards for School Mathematics from the National Council of Teachers of Math for Units 6 and 8.

In FY 2007, Unit 1 and the General Guidelines became available for sale. A prototype of the Geometry Unit was completed and field tested at 10 sites for 3 months in the spring of 2007. The text for Unit 8 was written and the development of a prototype was initiated.

In FY 2008, revisions based on field reviewers' comments were completed for Unit 6, Geometry. Production was completed and the Unit became available for sale in May 2008. Field testing of Unit 8, Data Collection, Graphing, and Probability/Statistics was completed and revisions were made based on field reviewer's comments. A prototype of Unit 7, Fractions, Mixed Numbers, and Decimals was completed.

Unit 8, Data Collection, Graphing, and Probability/Statistics became available in September 2009. Unit 7, Fractions, Mixed Numbers, and Decimals was field tested in FY 2009. The development of Unit 5, Measurement began in FY 2009.

In FY 2010, revisions to Unit 7, Fractions, Mixed Numbers, and Decimals were completed. A specification meeting was held on May 3, 2010. Production was scheduled for February 2011.

Unit 5, Measurement was field tested from February to May 2010 at 13 different sites. An analysis of the evaluations provided feedback as to the needed changes to the prototype.

Work during FY 2011

Unit 7, Fractions, Mixed Numbers, and Decimals became available for sale in April 2011.

Revisions to Unit 5, Measurement were completed and manipulatives were finalized. Specifications were written.

The objectives for the last three units of the series were developed and organized in a series of meetings with the math consultant for this project, Derrick Smith.

Work planned for FY 2012

Unit 5, Measurement will be made available for sale.

The last three units, Number Concepts, Place Value, and Number Operations will be written; worksheets will be developed; and manipulatives will be designed and developed. Prototypes for all three units will be completed and prepared for field evaluation.

Multiplication and Division Tables

(New)

Purpose

To provide elementary students who are blind and visually impaired with a tool to assist in reinforcing basic multiplication and division facts

Project Staff

Sandi Baker, Project Leader

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant

Bryan Rogers, Manufacturing Specialist

Nancy Etter, Administrative Assistant

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

This is a product modification. There was no Product Evaluation Team, no Product Advisory and Review Committee, and no Product Development Committee. When this product was given to the project leader, it was determined that there would be an in-house review and no field-evaluation.

Work during FY 2011

A prototype was developed that utilized the size and format of the new Addition and Subtraction Table. The Table grid was expanded to include the multiplication and division of whole numbers up to 10. As with the Addition and Subtraction Table, the Multiplication and Division Table incorporates alternating, highlighted lines to assist students who have low vision with tracking. This product underwent an in-house review by four reviewers - two who are blind and two with low vision. Reviewer comments supported the proposed modernization. A specification meeting was held in July 2011, and the project was added to the production schedule.

Work planned for FY 2012

Project staff will work to complete the production of the Multiplication and Division Tables.

Talking Protractor

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide students and teachers of the visually impaired a protractor that measures to the nearest degree and provides an audible announcement of the measurement

Project Staff

Sandi Baker, Project Leader

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Mike McDonald, Programmer

Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader

Ken Perry, Programmer

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Samir Azer, Consultant

Robert Williams-Neal, Consultant

Background

The product submission for the Talking Protractor came from two teachers in the field.

This protractor will enable students with visual impairment to measure any angle and hear the measurement spoken. An optical encoder would be used to record the amount of rotation and the readout would then be translated into degrees (and/or) radians, which would then be reprocessed for speech output. This would provide an accurate means for students to measure angles in mathematics or science classes. Students currently use protractors that provide approximate measurements. Currently available protractors make use of tactual clues (e.g., one dot for 10 degree divisions, two dots for 45 and 135 degrees, and three dots for 90 degrees). Other values would need to be interpolated.

The product submission was approved by the Product Evaluation Team and Product Advisory and Review Committee. A meeting was held with the teacher consultants to review a prototype and brainstorm ideas for improvements.

In 2010, two prototypes were developed and evaluated by staff at APH and teachers of the visually impaired. Concerns were raised about the size of the prototypes. Research staff continued to work and refine the models. The project was turned over to current project leader.

Work during FY 2011

Project leader met with consultants and APH Technical Research in October to look at the models being considered and discuss design as well as connectivity to APH products such as the Braille+ and Book Port Plus. Protractor software for the speech component would run on Windows® 7. Project leader reported that in her research she found several reasonably-priced digital protractors, and presented the idea that perhaps one of these could be made to "talk." In January 2011, another meeting was held to discuss issues related to the encoder (which would actually do the measuring of angles), software and BluetoothTM, as there were issues with each. The software being used wouldn't work with Windows 7, so new software was procured. Bluetooth wasn't working, and it was decided to look at USB connection. There were further problems with the working model being "upside down," how/where the angle would be measured, and issues about where to place the vertex. Further discussion centered on the idea of creating software that will not require a screen reader, one that preferably uses Bluetooth technology vs. cable connection. It was decided to search for a USB/Bluetooth Electronic protractor, and to order more encoders and make a second model.

In late January, a digital protractor manufacturer was found who was very interested in working with us to add speech to one of their protractors. We secured two sample protractors to examine, with the idea of creating an external interface to prove the concept of adding speech.

A meeting was held in February with APH staff and teacher consultants to show the protractor to the consultants, to determine feasibility, and to determine if this would meet our needs, with modifications. We looked at its size/length, adding a "speech" button, how frequently it should announce the measured angle, adding a "repeat" button, and other physical modifications that would stabilize the protractor when in use. It was decided the two teacher consultants would "test-drive" this protractor with some of their students. Later in February, a Product Development Committee meeting was held. Issues brought forward had to do with degree of accuracy, stability of protractor during use, and weight.

In March, the protractor was introduced to some high school students at the Kentucky School for the Blind. It was well received by both students and teachers. It was decided that APH will move forward with discussions with the distributor of this protractor to adapt their existing digital protractor by adding speech capabilities.

In July, Wixey (digital protractor distributor) provided APH with a cost estimate for the first eight stages of adding a talking component to the existing digital protractor. With a minimum order of 1,000 units required, APH began an informal survey of math teachers to determine need for this product. That survey remains ongoing.

Work planned for FY 2012

Project staff will complete the informal survey before deciding whether to continue with the development of this product.

Tactile Tangrams

(Continued)

Front guidebook cover of Tactile Tangrams

Purpose

To provide accessible versions of tangram puzzles for use by blind and low vision students and adults

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker

Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker

Bryan Rodgers, Manufacturing Specialist

Bisig Impact Group, Cover and Box Art

Background

Tangram puzzles are frequently used to teach geometry concepts and skills. A tangram puzzle is made up of seven simple shapes: two small triangles, one medium-size triangle, two large triangles, a parallelogram, and a square. The goal is to arrange the pieces to create geometric shapes, buildings, animals, letters of the alphabet, human figures in motion, etc. Silhouette print images are presented in books or on cards that accompany the tangram puzzle pieces.

Many types of tangram puzzles are available commercially--from wooden tangram sets and magnetic foam pieces to giant tangram floor tiles. However, the movable puzzle pieces are never accompanied by tactile silhouette cards or tactile "solution" pages from which the tactile reader can independently solve and recreate the pictures and shapes, nor are tactually-discernible puzzle frames provided.

Describing figures and visualizing what they look like when they are transformed through rotations or flips, or are put together or taken apart in different ways, are important aspects of geometry in the lower grades. Tangram puzzle activities encourage spatial reasoning, shape recognition, size comparison, and pattern replication. Concepts such as congruence, symmetry, sides and angles, and fractions are reinforced. The following National Geometry Standards are supported:

In April 2008, the project leader prepared a formal product submission form that detailed the purpose and proposed components of the product. It was reviewed by the Product Evaluation Team the same month, and then approved by the Product Advisory and Review Committee in May 2008 for development and production.

The project leader initiated work on this project during the first quarter of the fiscal year. Efforts entailed the following:

In January 2009, the project leader acquainted the Product Development Committee (PDC) with the proposed components of the kit, as well as the anticipated production methods. A product timeline was established.

Between the third quarter of FY 2009 and the second quarter of FY 2010, the project staff focused on the development and construction of multiple prototypes of the planned kit, including the following:

In January 2010, the project leader posted a request for field evaluators in the APH News. Many e-mails were received from teachers, parents, and blind adults interested in field testing the prototype. Field test sites were selected based upon location, type of setting, and potential number of students.

The field test of Tactile Tangrams was initiated in March 2010 and extended through mid-May 2010. Product evaluations were completed by 19 teachers representing the states of California (2), Connecticut (2), Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio (2), Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas (2), and Utah. The majority (74%) of evaluators worked in itinerant settings; 11% were in residential schools; 11% were in resource settings; and 5% were in after school, enrichment programs.

The student sample of 66 students ranged in age from 6 to 20+ years of age with 25% between the ages of 6 and 8, 20% between the ages of 9 and 11, 28% between the ages of 12 and 14, 15% between the ages of 15 and 17, and 13% who were 18 years of age or older. The student sample was nearly equally divided between males (53%) and females (47%). The student population reflected cultural diversity: 50% White, 24% Hispanic, 18% African American, 3% Asian, and 5% were reported as either "two or more races" or "other." Over half (51%) of the students were in grades 4-8, 31% were in grades K-3, 15% were in high school, and 3% were post-secondary level. The largest percentage of the students (56%) were classified as either large print or print readers; 34% were braille readers, and 4% were dual readers (i.e., large print/braille or braille/auditory). The remaining students were reported as either nonreaders, auditory readers, or with an "unspecified" primary reading medium. One-third of all the students had other disabilities.

One hundred percent of the evaluators recommended that APH produce Tactile Tangrams. Among the strengths were the lesson plans, the format and illustrations of the activity guide, the size and color of the puzzle frames, the size of the tangram puzzle pieces, and the kit's appropriateness for both blind and low vision students. The kit was also noted for its organization, tactile qualities, color contrast, combined tactile/print format of the solution pages, and compliance with core curriculum skills, all of which serve to promote geometry concepts and terminology.

The field test results supported the need for various types of tangram puzzle pieces. Although the largest percentage (53%) of the evaluators used the thick foam pieces most frequently, 37% reported using the magnetic-backed pieces "often" as well. All types of puzzle pieces were used at least "sometimes" by the students--63% used magnetic-backed pieces "sometimes," 42% used the thick foam pieces "sometimes," and 37% used the magnetic-backed pieces "sometimes." One evaluator stated, "I liked the versatility of having all three kinds."

One hundred percent of the evaluators reported using the puzzle frames/pieces "often" (68%) or "sometimes" (32%) as standalone parts. However, at least 21% used them in combination (either "often" or "sometimes"--5% and 21%, respectively) with a light box and 47% used them in combination (either "often" or "sometimes"--21% and 26%, respectively) with a metal board.

A rating scale was used to indicate the difficulty of each tangram puzzle based upon observed use by the students. A rating of "1" indicated "easy"; a rating of "2" indicated "adequately challenging"; and a rating of "3" indicated "difficult--rarely solved." The following average ratings were compiled:

Puzzle Frame Average Rating  
Boat 1.5   
Arrow 1.7 * Received most "1" (easy) ratings--5 total 
Barn 1.8   
Square 1.8   
Chicken 2.0   
House 2.0   
Table 2.0   
Tree 2.0   
Well 2.0   
Fish 2.1   
Hourglass 2.1   
Rectangle 2.1   
Spinning Top 2.1   
Swan 2.1   
Bowl 2.2   
Ramp 2.2   
House w/Chimney 2.3P   
rism 2.3   
Vase 2.3   
Maple Leaf 2.4 Received most "Omit" recommendations (4 total)

Trapezoid and Maple Leaf received the most 3 ("difficult") ratings--7 total 
Triangle 2.4   
Hexagon 2.5 Received the 2nd largest number of 3 ("difficult") ratings--6 total 
Trapezoid 2.6 Trapezoid and Maple Leaf received the most 3 ("difficult") ratings--7 total 

The largest percentages of evaluators used Tactile Tangrams to facilitate the following activities: solving tangram puzzles (94%), puzzle piece comparison (90%), and the concept of symmetry (85%). More than half used the kit to demonstrate types of angles (74%), congruent polygons (79%), convex and concave puzzle frames (64%), making convex and concave polygons (58%), making symmetrical shapes (63%), and identifying symmetrical puzzle frames (53%). The least-used activities were "reviewing area/perimeter" (47%) and "creating tangram puzzles" (27%).

Using a scale of 5 ("Very Well") to 0 ("Not at All"), field evaluators indicated the degree to which Tactile Tangrams promoted the following skills/concepts:

Skill/Concept Average Rating 
Comparison and recognition of shapes 4.4 
Geometry concepts (e.g., angles, symmetry, congruency, convex/concave, area/perimeter) 4.4 
Visual/tactile discrimination 3.7 
Independent problem solving 3.9 
Recreational skills 3.5 

The following percentages of evaluators reported appropriateness of the kit for various target populations:

Target Population Percentage of evaluators who found Tactile Tangrams to be suitable for target population 
Kindergarteners with visual impairments/blindness 47% 
Tactile readers in Grades 1-3 63% 
Low vision students in Grades 1-3 84% 
Tactile readers in Grades 4-8 79%Low vision students in Grades 4-889% 
Tactile readers in high school 68%Low vision students in high school74% 
Students with multiple disabilities 42% 
Adults with visual impairments/blindness 63% 

The last quarter of FY 2010 was dedicated to reviewing the field test results and finalizing changes to the kit based upon evaluator feedback. Suggested improvements include the following:

Work during FY 2011

The project leader conducted a PDC meeting to review final components and changes to the kit. A timeline was established and tooling of the product components was undertaken. The tooling process involved the following tasks:

By the end of August 2011, the majority of the production tooling was in place. Throughout the remainder of the fiscal year, the project leader finalized content for the accompanying guidebook and related photos and illustrations.

Work planned for FY 2012

The first and second quarters of FY 2012 will be devoted to the final tooling of the print guidebook and its braille translation and HTML conversion. Production specifications will be prepared, and the production timeline will be updated. The project staff will monitor the quality of produced parts during the pilot and initial production run. Availability of the kit will likely occur in the last quarter of FY 2012.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION / HEALTH

Everybody Plays!

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide elementary school students who have visual impairment or blindness with a storybook that is entertaining and educational as it teaches the students about many athletic activities available to them

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Cindy Aillaud, Author

Lauren Lieberman, Author

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Terri Gilmore, Art Director

Background

This book is a collaboration between Lauren Lieberman, founder of Camp Abilities, and Cindy Aillaud, an Alaskan educator and author of Recess at 20 Below. The book is told in first person by a child attending a sports camp for children with visual impairment, blindness, and deafblindness. For each sport the child experiences, there is a Listen Up! page that describes the sport or activity in detail.

Work during FY 2011

The prototype large print books, braille books, and CD with HTML file were manufactured. Field test sites were identified.

Work planned for FY 2012

All three versions of the book will be field tested. Revisions will be made.

Games for People With Sensory Impairments

(Completed)

The book's binder cover is divided into three equal horizontal sections: water, grass, and the gym floor. A boy rides a gym scooter across the water creating a splash. A young woman hits a ball, a young boy has his hands clasped together with his arms straight, and two young girls wearing swimsuits play a game with sponges.

Purpose

To provide a guidebook for physical education teachers and activity leaders that offers appropriate, appealing games and activities for their students who have sensory impairments

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Lauren Lieberman, Consultant and Author

Jim Cowart, Author

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

The first edition of this book was published by Human Kinetics, a leading publisher of physical fitness and health related materials. Visual impairment is a low incidence impairment, so the authors sought a more appropriate publisher for the second edition. The original book was not accessible to braille or screen readers. The book is used as a college textbook for students who study adapted physical education.

Work during FY 2011

The book became available for sale on June 22, 2011. Both versions sell for $59.00.

Games for People with Sensory Impairments Braille Guidebook, 5-08609-00

Games for People with Sensory Impairments Print Guidebook, 7-08609-00

Physical Education and Health Special Projects and Needs

(Ongoing)

Purpose

To research, identify, and develop products that promote physical activities, good health practices, social interactions, and self-advocacy

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Background

APH recognized the need and began to develop products and fund university research in the area of physical activity in relation to students who have visual impairments, blindness, and deafblindness. The positive feedback from the field prompted a new designation in the budget for Health and Physical Education, a core curriculum subject.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader continued to maintain the PE Web site and to work on Games for People With Sensory Impairments, the Tactile Food Pyramid, Visually Impaired Yoga Mat, and Everybody Plays! The project leader began collaboration with Laura Lieberman to conduct a 3-year motor development study. The project leader presented APH physical education products at Gateways to Independence in Louisville, KY. The project leader presented a poster session showing the field test results of the Tactile Food Pyramid at the 2011 convention for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance in San Diego.

Work planned for FY 2012

Work will continue on Visually Impaired Yoga Mat, the motor development study, and Everybody Plays!

Motor Development Study

(New)

Purpose

To determine major needs areas in motor development and playground skills for children who are visually impaired, and to develop a comprehensive curriculum for teachers, parents, and specialists

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Lauren Lieberman, Consultant and Principle Investigator

Haley Schedlin, Investigator

Pamela Haibach, Investigator

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Background

Research has consistently shown that children who have visual impairments are behind their peers in motor skills. Motor skills are the foundation of sports and recreation. Recreation, socialization, self-determination, independent living skills, and vocational skills are key areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum. Without a solid foundation of motor development, children with visual impairment are often behind in socialization and lack self-esteem and confidence. This research will help to determine the gross motor areas of weakness for children ages 6-12 who are visually impaired. The resulting curriculum will include an instructional video to promote better teaching practices in motor development.

Preliminary Research

Work during FY 2011

Over 90 children who attended sports camps or residential schools for the blind summer programs were videoed while they performed 12 gross motor skills: six demonstrated object control and six demonstrated locomotor ability. Data was collected from Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Work planned for FY 2012

This research will focus on the needs of children with visual impairments related to playground equipment, activities, sports, and games. The study will be qualitative and quantitative in nature and will focus on interviews with parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, and participating children who have visual impairment or blindness.

PE Web Site

(Ongoing)

Purpose

To provide individuals with visual impairments and blindness, parents, and teachers with a resource list that promotes health, physical education, and recreation

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Inge Formenti, Librarian

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Background

APH funded a 3-year study on parent-child physical activity intervention among families of children with visual impairments. During year three of the study, APH produced a resource manual for the participating families. Upon completion of the study, it was recommended that APH make the information available on its website. The original resource manual was updated and made available on the APH Web site. Viewers can navigate between PE programs, organizations, articles, books, equipment, events, magazines, mailing lists, national services, regional and state services, sport camps, switches, toys and games, and websites. This is a live document; viewers can submit items to be reviewed for placement on the Web site: http://www.aph.org/pe/index.html

Work during FY 2011

The project leader continued to monitor the site, solicited and reviewed submissions, and requested article permissions. Two new videos (tennis and unicycle) were added to the Features page. The 2011 sport camps were listed.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will continue to monitor the site, solicit and review submissions, and request article permissions.

Tactile Food Pyramid

(Completed)

Image 1 shows the printed and embossed blank primary pyramid Image 2 shows the punch out and paste sections for the primary pyramid. Image 3 shows the printed and embossed secondary pyramid.

Purpose

To provide students who have visual impairment or blindness with accessible tools to learn about proper nutrition and how to make healthy menu choices

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

APH acquired permission from The Nutrition Center at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make the MyPyramid materials accessible. There are two pyramids, one for children (Primary) and one for teens/adults (Secondary).

Work during FY 2011

The Tactile Food Pyramid became available for sale in March 2011.
Primary: $39.00.                               103016-00
Secondary: $64 00                            1-03018-00

Visually Impaired Yoga Mat (VIYM)

(Continued)

Purpose

To research if using a tactile yoga mat is beneficial to a person who is blind and wishes to learn yoga

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Tracy Curly, Inventor and Consultant

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Background

A certified yoga instructor developed and manufactured the Visually Impaired Yoga Mat. She field tested it at the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired and the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Both field test sites have posted on her website that they like the product and found it beneficial to the students. APH is interested to know if adults who take community-based yoga classes are comfortable using the tactile mat and if they find it beneficial. The mat comes with instructional DVDs.

Work during FY 2011

APH developed an MP3 file of the instructional videos' narration so individuals who have blindness could field test the product. Community-based field testing was conducted but did not provide enough data for APH to continue with the project.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will work with residential schools for the blind that have used the special mat within their physical education curriculum to determine if APH should continue with the project.

READING AND LANGUAGE ARTS

Early Braille Trade Books

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide emergent and beginning braille readers with a wide selection of small books that provide practice and reinforcement of early reading skills and aid in the development of reading fluency

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant (Project Leader)

Cay Holbrook, Consultant

Anna Swenson, Consultant

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Michael McDonald, Programmer

Rodger Smith, Programmer

Background

The need for Early Braille Trade Books (EBT) was identified by the Early Literacy Focus Group conducted by Suzette Wright in the summer of 2005. These small books for emergent readers are used in classrooms to support the reading curriculum and are available from several publishers. In the winter of 2006, APH conducted a reading survey to determine the types and series of leveled reading materials used by teachers of the blind and visually impaired.

Using information gained from the Early Literacy Focus Group and the customer surveys, the Wright Group Books were chosen for the first project. Cay Holbrook, Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, agreed to serve as the consultant for this project. In July 2007, Holbrook along with five of the original members from the Early Literacy Focus Group of 2005 met in Louisville, Kentucky, to review and select books to be included in the kits.

Members of the work group included

The group developed a rubric based on the work of Holbrook for selection of the books. They also reviewed 90 books from the Wright Group SunshineTM Kits and determined the type of information about the book to include for the teacher. Hassman agreed to serve as a consultant to complete a text analysis of each of the books. One set of 13 books was selected for the development of an initial prototype to be used in field testing and review.

In FY 2008, the prototype of a kit of commercially-available leveled books adapted for braille readers was completed. The initial design of the prototype included a commercially-available book with braille overlays and a guide for the teacher. The teacher's guide would include the number and frequency of the braille contractions in the book, punctuation marks, and composition signs, as well as the theme of the book with connections to the core curriculum and expanded core curriculum.

In the development of the prototype for field evaluation, the format for the teacher's guide changed from a print document to a website hosted by APH. The EBT Web site allows the teacher to continually update the student record and access records of books. Anna Swenson became a consultant for the project and wrote the follow-up activities for each book.

The prototypes, including the website, were field tested from September 2008 to March 2009 at 15 sites with 22 different students. The evaluations were positive and teachers unanimously recommended that APH produce the book with braille label sets and make the website available to customers. Changes and modifications were made to the materials and the website based on reviewer's feedback.

A work session with the original six members was held in the spring of 2009. Additional books were reviewed, and three new sets were chosen to be added to the series. The first set of Books, Sunshine Kit 2, became available for sale in 2009.

In FY 2010, the second set of books, Sunshine Kit 1, became available for sale in November. A total of 26 books were now available to teachers and emerging braille readers. Work began on two sets of nonfiction books at the first grade level. Books were analyzed for contraction type and count. Information on each book as well as activities to use with each of the books was added to the EBT Web site. A specification meeting for the two sets of nonfiction books, TWiG® 1 and TWiG® 2, was held in September 2010. The EBT Web site was updated to include a connection to the Building on Patterns Reading Series from APH. As a teacher prepares for a lesson in Patterns, he/she may search the EBT Web site for commercially-available books in braille to supplement the new lesson.

Work during FY 2011

TWiG 1 became available for sale in January 2011; TWiG 2 became available for sale in February 2011. With the addition of the two new sets, a total of 46 books are now available to emerging braille readers.

The committee selected Rigby Publishing for the next two sets of books. The committee met in June 2011 and reviewed books, selecting 15 fiction books and 14 nonfiction books to add to the EBT collection. Books have been analyzed for contraction type and count. The website is being updated, and the books are being prepared for braille translation.

Work planned for FY 2012

The two new sets of books from Rigby will be made available for sale adding 29 new titles to the collection. Two new sets of books from a different publisher will be reviewed by the original committee of consultants using the rubric developed by Holbrook. Books will be identified for the EBT collection, and the process will be initiated for the development and publication of two new sets of books. The original goal of the project was to make at least 100 books available in braille at the first grade reading level for use by teachers of the visually impaired.

Magnetic Dolch Word Wall

(New)

Purpose

To offer a magnetic set of Dolch Words for use with the APH's ALL-IN-ONE Board for a myriad of activities by large print and braille readers. The size of the labels would be much smaller than APH's existing Dolch Word Cards that currently measure 3.5" x 2" and serve primarily as flashcards. The "downsizing" will facilitate the presentation of an interactive "word wall" on a magnetic surface. [*Note: This product is not intended to be a replacement for APH's existing Dolch Word Cards.]

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Background

Dolch Words are the 220 most common words found in children's literature and are based upon research conducted by Edward Dolch in the 1940s. These words are often called "sight words" because some of them cannot be sounded out and need to be taught by sight. There is also an additional set of 95 common nouns. Since these words are extremely common, learning them helps children increase their fluency (words read per minute). Students with high fluency have better comprehension and are more successful readers.

The project leader submitted a Product Idea Submission for this product in November 2010. The idea was inspired by feedback received from evaluators of the ALL-IN-ONE Board, one of whom handmade a magnetic set of Dolch Word labels for use with the board. The planned magnetic braille/print words will duplicate those words included in APH's Expanded Dolch Word Card set. The smaller, magnetic format will make reading and construction of words and sentences more compact, versatile, and interactive. Target populations will include teachers and parents who work with beginning readers (low vision or blind).

The Magnetic Dolch Word Wall will address the following primary skills and concepts:

Work during FY 2011

In July 2011, the Product Submission Form was reviewed by other APH staff, particularly those working on the Building on Patterns (BOP) series. One important observation was the significant variance in presentation order between the Dolch Words within BOP and the original classifications of the Dolch Words: Pre-Primer, Primer, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third Grade. This determination indicated that there was no need to sell the word labels according to their original classifications within separate packages; users of BOP would benefit from all of the word labels supplied as one single, comprehensive kit (in both contracted and uncontracted braille). It was noted by one of the BOP authors that "this set of magnetic words would make it easy for a teacher or parent to create activities to supplement the Dolch Word activities in BOP. For drilling, the words could be presented at one time and in less space than using the (current) Dolch Word Cards." This brainstorming group discussed additional possibilities such as color frames with guidelines for neatly positioning the labels in rows, columns, or groupings (e.g., pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, nouns, verbs, etc.); including an activity booklet; providing a storage tray for labels; offering optional Velcro® attachments if used on the opposite side of the ALL-IN-ONE Board; and providing blank tiles. Expanded kits of just letters and numbers were discussed as well.

The product idea was approved for development by the Product Evaluation Team on July 27, 2011, and by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) on August 10, 2011. The product immediately transferred from the PARCing Lot to the active product timeline. Initial efforts by the project leader included determining a prototype development process that would alleviate significant time and work in the Model Shop and Technical Research in the printing and thermoforming of thousands of labels. The project leader will personally build and prepare a dozen full kits of the braille/print magnetic labels for field testing purposes. However, the Model Shop will assist in the creation of the tactile "guideline frames" and storage trays.

Work planned for FY 2012

Field testing of the Magnetic Dolch Word Wall will likely occur in the third quarter of the fiscal year, giving teachers time to submit feedback by the end of the school year. Teachers who currently use APH's ALL-IN-ONE Board or (SM)ALL-IN-ONE Board [see separate report] will be ideal field evaluators. The end of the fiscal year will witness the transition of the product from the "Field Evaluation" stage to the "Revision" stage.

Wilson Reading System

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a remedial reading program for students with visual impairments

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant (Project Leader)

Cheryl Kamei-Hannan, Consultant

Mary McCarthy, Consultant

Justine Carlone Rines, Consultant

Rosalind Rowley, Consultant

Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

The Wilson Reading Program, with its well developed multi-sensory approach, is one of the most respected programs used to teach reading in the United States. This program has been used to teach reading to students with visual impairments who experience reading difficulties, but the program is not available for sale in large print or braille. Teachers working with students at Perkins, Arizona, and North Carolina Schools for the Blind have reported good results.

The project was approved by PET and PARC committees in July 2006. Three teachers from Perkins School for the Blind, Justine Rines, Mary McCarty, and Roz Rowley, were contracted as consultants for the project. A contractual agreement was reached with the Wilson Reading Systems to produce the materials in braille and large print.

As there are many components to the system, it was decided to produce the Readers Levels 1, 2, & 3 in braille as quickly as possible since the readers required no modification.

The Student Readers 1, 2, and 3 became available for sale in braille in February 2008. The consultant from Perkins developed supplemental worksheets that reinforce braille skills and knowledge of braille contractions.

The first three reader and the first six workbooks were reformatted for large type editions. The Readers and Workbooks became available in October 2009.

In FY 2009, prototypes of the first six workbooks were translated and the supplemental worksheets were revised and translated for use in field testing. A set of six modified workbooks was developed and translated for field evaluation. Work was begun on the prototypes of the Print/Braille Word Cards, Syllable Cards, Sound Cards, and Magnetic Tiles to be used in field testing.

In FY 2010, prototypes of the remaining components of the Wilson Reading System were completed. A call for field evaluators was sent to Ex Officio Trustees in May 2010 and also appeared in the June and July APH News. A 3-day Web Training was held on August 30, 31, and September 1. The three consultants from Perkins (Rowley, Mccarty, and Rines) with the trainer from Wilson provided training to 30 participants on the use of the Wilson Reading System and the modified and adapted braille materials. Dr. Kamei-Hannan trained teachers in the use of data collection tools that will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of these braille materials.

Work during FY 2011

Field evaluators were recruited from the 30 participants in the Web-based training. Participants were to use the materials daily with their students to determine the effectiveness of the modified/adapted Wilson Reading System. Students were given a pretest, a posttest, and completed weekly DIBLES assessments. The year-long evaluation of the modified/adapted Wilson Reading materials was completed in May 2011. Dr. Kamei-Hannan and two graduate assistants began to disaggregate the data.

Concurrently, seven teachers of the visually impaired, who had previously been trained in the use of Wilson Reading and were already using the program with students, completed an expert review of the materials. Teachers were asked to use and review the materials and provide input as to needed changes or additions. All evaluations have not been received at this time.

Work planned for FY 2012

Dr. Kamei-Hannan and two graduate assistants will complete the disaggregation of the data from the field evaluation and present the results at the Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference in Louisville. All expert reviewers will complete their evaluations; findings will be analyzed. Information from the field evaluation and the expert review will be used to revise and/or modify the many components of the Wilson Reading System. APH will begin the process of making all student materials available in large print and braille.

SCIENCE

Adapted Science Materials Kit (ASMK)

(New)

Purpose

To provide a set of science tools adapted for use by K-12 students who are blind or visually impaired, allowing them to participate in science activities alongside their sighted peers

Project Staff

Rosanne Hoffmann, Project Leader

Tony Grantz, Product and Services Consultant

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Marshall Montgomery, Consultant

Linda De Lucchi, Co-Director, Full Option Science System (FOSS), Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS)

Mathew Bacon, Vice President of Product Development, Delta Education

Background

The Adapted Science Materials Kit (ASMK) consists of 15 science measurement tools originally devised by educators at LHS (Berkeley, CA) and Delta Education (Nashua, NH) in the mid-1970s. Funded by the US Department of Education, these tools and a set of corresponding curriculum modules constitute the SAVI (Science Activities for the Visually Impaired) program that was field tested by LHS from 19761979. Since then, these educational materials have been available for purchase from LHS and used in association with the SAVI, SELPH (Science Enrichment for Learners with Physical Handicaps), and FOSS programs. Over the years, even with the advent of the Internet, access to these tools has lost visibility; this was brought to the attention of APH by teachers of the visually impaired (TVIs) working in the field. Kitting all 15 of these well-designed and time-tested science measurement tools into one product and advertising them as such should correct this apparent invisibility.

ASMK will consist of a booklet that describes each item and its use and the following 15 science measurement tools: 1) Balance with Solo® clear plastic cups; 2) set of 100 one gram pieces; 3) set of 35 mass pieces (5, 10, and 20 grams); 4) 100 milliliter (ml) modified tripour beaker; 5) 1000 ml modified tripour beaker; 6) 50 ml graduated cylinder with braille float; 7) 100 ml graduated cylinder with braille float; 8) large print tactile meter tape; 9) 50 ml syringe with stop; 10) 50 ml modified syringe; 11) histogram board with tactile stickers; 12) funnel stand; 13) sorting tray; 14) talking Fahrenheit/Centigrade thermometer; and 15) tone generator.

Work during FY 2011

After the need was identified, ASMK officially became a product in development early in the fiscal year. Since then, Tony Grantz has facilitated negotiations between APH and Linda De Lucchi, Marshall Montgomery, and Mathew Bacon. APH intends to acquire exclusive rights for the production of certain items and the distribution of all items together as a kit.

Arrangements have been made so that the following 11 items will be purchased directly from Delta Education (one of each will be included per kit): 50 ml graduated cylinder, 100 ml graduated cylinder, 100 ml tripour beaker, 1000 ml tripour beaker, 50 ml syringe with stop, 50 ml modified syringe, set of 100 one gram pieces, set of 35 mass pieces, balance, tone generator, and funnel stand. The 100 ml and 1000 ml tripour beakers will be modified at APH; a small hole at the level of the 100 ml and 1000 ml marks, respectively, will be drilled before they are added to each kit. Solo cups for use with the balance will be purchased separately from a vendor yet to be determined.

In July 2011, Montgomery signed a contract that engages him as a consultant to APH to assist in the production of five items: the sorting tray, histogram board, large print tactile meter tape, and the 50 ml and 100 ml braille floats. Tactile stickers for use with the histogram board will be obtained from a vendor selected by APH.

The thermometer originally included in the kit (designed by Montgomery) will be replaced by a talking Fahrenheit/Centigrade thermometer purchased directly from Thermoworks in Lindo, UT.

Work planned for FY 2012

Some of the items in the kit (sorting tray, histogram board, 50 ml braille float, and large print tactile meter tape) were originally designed and custom made by Montgomery for LHS and are therefore currently owned by the Regents of the University of California at Berkeley (UCB). Negotiations are underway with representatives of UCB to grant license to APH to produce, market, and distribute these items in the kit.

Frank Hayden will oversee the APH production of the sorting tray, histogram board, large print tactile meter tape, and the 50 ml and 100 ml braille floats. Montgomery will act as a consultant on an as-needed basis when tooling and prototype production are underway.

All items in ASMK have been field tested and used successfully for over three decades; the product will be developed without additional field testing.

DNA Twist

(New)

Purpose

To provide students who are visually impaired with a model of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) that demonstrates part of its chemical structure as well as the 3-dimensional double helix shape

Project Staff

Rosanne Hoffmann, Project Leader

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Andrew Dakin, Model Maker

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

In 2010, the project leader was inspired to develop a DNA model after viewing an educational science film from NOVA. The model is unique in that it easily changes from a 2-dimensional ladder shape to a 3-dimensional double helix with a simple twist. Furthermore, the model remains stable and fixed when it is in either the ladder shape or the double helix. The model also demonstrates base-pairing rules within the ladder rungs using color and texture, making all aspects of the model accessible to students with low vision or blindness. Andrew Dakin made a prototype of the model, which was presented in a poster session at the 2010 APH Annual Meeting. The project leader submitted a New Product Idea Submission Form in November 2010 after receiving favorable responses from Annual Meeting participants in October. The DNA Twist was presented to the Product Evaluation Team on January 5, 2011. After acceptance by the Product Advisory and Review Committee on January 12, 2011, it became an official product under development.

Work during FY 2011

A Product Development Committee (PDC) brainstorming meeting was held for the DNA Twist on February 16, 2011, in order to explore possible construction materials and the exact form of the model. The original prototype was made with yellow poly-blend plastic forming the ladder sidebars (also known as the "DNA backbone") with wooden "rungs" (representing the base pairs) held in place with screws. The rungs were covered with black material of four different textures. Two different textures were placed side-by-side on each rung with the same two textures always paired with each other, demonstrating the base-pairing rules characteristic of double-stranded DNA. This prototype was effective, but clearly not practical with respect to manufacture and mass production. Also, while this model was suitable for students with blindness, it was not accessible to students with low vision who would benefit from a more effective use of color for the backbone and rungs. Finally, this first prototype was also deemed too large. A second, smaller prototype of similar construction was made, but it was considered too small, and the screw attachment of the rungs to the backbone presented too much resistance to twisting.

The third and current working prototype is intermediate in size and constructed of completely different materials. The DNA backbone (ladder sidebars) is formed from two strips of 1/4-inch thick black foam through which the specially-shaped plastic rungs are inserted. This combination presents minimal resistance to twisting, yet is "sticky" enough to hold the 3-dimensional double helix shape when it is formed. Silicone rubber molds for resin casting have been made to create two types of rungs, each of which will have two textures and two colors, consistently paired side-by-side. Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader, suggested appropriate color combinations for accessibility to students with low vision. For example, smooth yellow is always paired with bumpy blue, and sandy white is always paired with fluted tan. This way, base pairing rules demonstrated by the rungs have visual and tactile accessibility.

Work planned for FY 2012

When the model shop has adequate quantities of manufacturing materials, 10 prototypes will be constructed for field testing in the fall of 2011.

DNA-RNA Kit

(New)

Purpose

To provide students who are visually impaired with an interactive model of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) that demonstrates at a basic level how these large molecules function in all living organisms

Project Staff

Rosanne Hoffmann, Project Leader

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Andrew Dakin, Model Maker

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

After an unsuccessful search for an interactive DNA and RNA model accessible to students with blindness or low vision, the project leader came up with an original design. Andrew Dakin made a prototype for presentation at the APH Annual Meeting in October 2010 consisting of jigsaw puzzle-like pieces that represent the nucleotide subunits of DNA and RNA. Following favorable responses from Annual Meeting participants, the project leader completed a New Product Idea Submission Form in November 2010. The DNA-RNA Kit was presented to the Product Evaluation Team on January 5, 2011. After acceptance by the Product Advisory and Review Committee on January 12, 2011, it became an official product under development.

Work during FY 2011

A Product Development Committee (PDC) brainstorming meeting was held for the DNA-RNA Kit on February 16, 2011, in order to explore possible construction materials and the exact form of the model. The current prototype consists of jigsaw puzzle-like pieces made of die-cut 1/4-inch foam representing individual subunits, or nucleotides, of DNA and RNA. Appropriate color and texture differences distinguish DNA from RNA subunits, and puzzle piece shape, color differences, and braille letters ensure correct base pairing between subunits. The use of shape, color, texture, and braille letters in subunit design ensure accessibility to students with blindness and low vision.

Work planned for FY 2012

Andrew Dakin completed 10 sets of prototypes that will be used for field testing in the fall of 2011.

Life Science Tactile Graphics

(Completed)

Purpose

To create a collection of durable, high-relief tactile graphics depicting structures, concepts, and organisms commonly studied in life science and biology courses

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Co-Project Leader

Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Background

Since the publication of Basic Science Tactile Graphics several years ago, APH has been aware of the need for similar reference materials for students of higher-level science. Like the earlier product, this one will feature tactile drawings produced on vacuum-formed vinyl sheets and a teacher's guidebook. Life Science will have both printed and raised images registered together on the same page, along with labels in print and braille.

Initial work to define the scope of the product and list drawings was done by the co-project leader, who has an extensive background in science instruction.

A field evaluation was conducted in the winter of 2007/2008, involving 35 middle and high school science students in 11 states. Evaluators generally approved of the tactile graphics and the selection of topics covered. Evaluator comments led to several graphics being redesigned or expanded for clarity.

Experiments with sending colored files to a vendor for printing highlighted some of the difficulties inherent in the process of mating printed and vacuum-formed images together accurately. In time, however, the problems were resolved, and a successful tryout with one full printed and vacuum-formed sheet was accomplished.

Print preparation, including coloring and labeling, was completed, and files were sent to the vendor for printing on the large vinyl sheets. The vendor completed this job in September 2010. Production specifications for the kit were completed, and a production schedule set.

Work during FY 2011

The pilot run was completed in December 2010. A few problems involving registration of the printed sheets were encountered, and these were addressed at a debriefing meeting. The product was made available for purchase as catalog item 1-08840-00 and is eligible for Federal Quota.

Work planned for FY 2012

No further work is planned on this project.

Sense of Science: Astronomy

(Completed)

Photo of Sense of Science Astronomy Kit

Purpose

To develop a set of materials for blind and low vision students that promotes active, hands-on learning activities that emphasize basic concepts related to astronomy. This is the third module of a planned science series.

Project Staff

Karen Poppe, Project Leader/Author/Tactile and Visual Overlay Designer

Tom Poppe, Pattern and Model Maker/Tactile and Visual Overlay Designer

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Terri Gilmore, Print Material Layout

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Helen Kielkopf, Astronomy Instructor/Consultant

Rodger Smith, Programmer

Bisig Impact Group, Guidebook Layout

Background

Sense of Science: Astronomy is the third module of a planned series intended to make the "world of science" accessible to young students with visual impairments. This new set of science materials resembles in both content and design the introductory life science modules, Sense of Science: Plants and Sense of Science: Animals, by incorporating both fun-filled, hands-on activities and tactile/visual overlays for use with APH light boxes.

Initial development tasks included investigating and purchasing existing, commercially-available educational materials related to astronomy. Concurrently, lists of helpful, student-targeted websites and children's literature related to planets, galaxies, space exploration, etc., were compiled by the project staff. In September 2002, the product idea was presented to the Product Evaluation Team and to the Product Advisory and Review Committee; both committees approved the product's development.

Extensive product development throughout FY 2005 and FY 2006 was limited due to the project leader's involvement in other products of higher priority. However, writing of content material continued and more thought was given to possible overlay depictions; actual preparation of tactile masters (e.g., moon phases, cross-section of the Sun) had begun. The project leader explored inclusion of 3-dimensional models that would assist the young students in understanding abstract concepts encountered in the area of astronomy. The project leader also kept abreast of the print/tactile astronomy books (e.g., Touch the Universe, Touch the Stars) published by the National Federation of the Blind in order to prevent duplication of effort or design. APH's astronomy module is designed with a younger audience in mind, incorporating more interactive, tactile components.

Efforts throughout FY 2007 focused on the continuation and more consistent development of the prototype components. Significant strides were made, especially in the creation of more than a dozen visual/tactile overlays and materials. By the end of August, thermoformed parts of the tactile images were readied; from these first-off production parts, the project leader prepared print counterparts. Other prototype tasks involved the origination and authoring of complementary activities that referenced the use of the tactile/print overlays. Other materials, such as the Quick Fact Cards and electronic Astronomy Worksheets were refined. Additional input regarding needed overlays, as well as initial editing of some of the written activities, was garnered from a very creative, experienced teacher of the visually impaired.

During the first quarter of FY 2008, extensive prototype development continued. In February 2008, prototypes were mailed to evaluators located through a Field Evaluator Survey posted in an issue of the APH News. The evaluators were given until mid-May to use the prototype with as many students as possible. The prototype was reviewed by 10 teachers representing the states of Texas (2), Ohio, Connecticut, Georgia, West Virginia, Idaho, Kentucky, Florida, and Louisiana. A total of 85 students were involved in the field testing.

One hundred percent of the teachers indicated that Sense of Science: Astronomy offered specific advantages over other available materials that they have used in the past with their students to teach astronomy. Specific comments included the following:

The kit's overall strengths as noted by the evaluators included the following: "tactile overlays"; "graphics are very stimulating"; "materials are arranged and contained well"; "the provision of basic, yet standard, information on the Quick Fact Cards"; "portability and ease of set up"; "durable, accurate, and accessible"; "easy to understand for teachers of all grade levels"; "bridges the concepts to a tactile picture"; "depicts items that have always been just explained"; "opened my eyes to what the student actually knew about astronomy"; "labeling is clear, concise, and print and braille"; "great lesson plans"; and "brailled worksheets that were laminated."

In June 2008, the project leader reconvened the Product Development Committee and furnished them with an outline of the expected components of the kit. A complete timeline was established.

On October 3, 2009, the Educational Products Advisory Committee gave Quota approval for Sense of Science: Astronomy.

Extensive and continuous effort was devoted to the tooling of this project throughout FY 2009. Major accomplishments included the following:

The first and second quarters of FY 2010 were committed to the completion and readying of final tooling for the initial production of the Sense of Science: Astronomy. Concurrent activities included the following:

On February 9, 2010, a Specification Meeting was conducted and the product timeline was updated with the expectation that the product would be produced and made available by the beginning of the next school year.

The fourth quarter of 2010 witnessed the beginnings of production activity with the printing of the Astronomy Worksheets, the guidebook, and case artwork. Items from outside vendors were delivered, such as the overlay folders and outer carrying cases. In September, the outside printer produced the clear overlays and Astronomy Quick Fact Cards.

The plan to have the kit available by the end of the fiscal year was derailed by higher priority products within the production queue.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader and other project staff, especially the manufacturing specialist and pattern/model maker, closely monitored the quality of the pilot and production runs. Careful coordination between vendor-printed clear overlays and corresponding tactile overlays produced at APH was the most challenging aspect of this project. Multiple on-site approvals of vendor-printed parts to meet APH's registration expectations were required.

By the end of the calendar year, the Sense of Science: Astronomy kits were assembled and collated in the Educational Aids Department. An "Airplane" to announce the availability of the following catalog items was released on January 12, 2011:

Astronomy: 1-08991-00.....$250.00

Astronomy Guidebook (Braille): 5-08991-00.....$58.00

Astronomy Guidebook (Large Print): 7-08991-00.....$58.00

Astronomy Quick Fact Cards: 1-08993-00.....$70.00

Astronomy Worksheets: 1-08992-00.....$37.00

The project leader assisted in the preparation of marketing materials and product training workshops related to the product. In July 2011, the project leader recorded a webcast session about the entire Sense of Science series.

Work planned for FY 2012

No further work is anticipated on this project. However, the project leader will continue to provide training on this new module and monitor the need for additional Sense of Science kits.

Submersible Audio Light Sensor (SALS)

(New)

Purpose

To provide a device that allows K-12 students who are visually impaired to participate more fully in scientific experiments and promote their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related fields of study

Project Staff

Rosanne Hoffmann, Project Leader

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader

Cary Supalo, President; Independence Science, LLC

Mark Swain, Electrical Engineer; Precision Circuit, LLC

Ron Supalo, Project Manager; Independence Science, LLC

Mick Isaacson, Director of Research & Development; Independence Science, LLC

Background

The SALS device detects changes in light during appropriate applications (e.g., chemical reactions) and converts this signal to equivalent changes in sound. This instantaneous feedback allows students who are visually impaired to "see" the same information as typical students, allowing them to be active participants in science experiments rather than passive observers.

The first prototype of SALS was developed in 2005 by a team led by Dr. Cary Supalo as part of the Independent Laboratory Access for the Blind (ILAB) project at The Pennsylvania State University, funded by a 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Supalo was inspired to design the device after years of experience in the laboratory as an undergraduate and graduate student during which he was dependent upon others to conduct chemistry experiments. SALS was field tested with students who participated in the ILAB project over a 3-year period. During this time, feedback from student field testers was incorporated into five subsequent generations of SALS, each one with design improvements. A second NSF grant beginning in 2007 provided funding for continued development and refinement of SALS. The current prototype was completed in 2009.

The SALS device consists of a light-detecting probe (photocell contained within a glass wand) connected to a tone output box. Detected changes in light intensity due to chemical reactions taking place in a beaker or test tube, such as precipitate formation or pH indicator color change, are immediately converted to pitch changes of sound output over a range of several octaves. For example, when a precipitate (solid) forms, less and less light is detected by the probe. Within the tone output box, this response is converted to lower and lower frequencies of sound waves and the device emits sound of decreasing pitch. Data collection is therefore in real time, which allows the student with visual impairment to make the same scientific observations as sighted peers. The output box of the current prototype allows the user to listen to and store pitch data and compare a current pitch to a reference pitch. Voice output capability further enhances data retrieval and manipulation. In spite of many improvements over the past 6 years, the need for a more versatile and state-of-the-art device is clear, prompting this redesign effort.

Note that SALS is not intended to provide precise quantitative data; rather, it indicates whether a reaction is taking place. By increasing the independence of students who are visually impaired, preliminary field test results show that SALS can promote their interest in STEM related fields of study.

The SALS device will be recommended by APH to EPAC for Quota approval as APH has been involved in the development of the product and will be the exclusive distributor.

Work during FY 2011

After a preliminary meeting at APH in December 2010, Supalo formally requested funding and software support for redesign of SALS. Participants in this cooperative effort include Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader at APH, to provide expertise in software programming for SALS speech capability; Mark Swain of Precision Circuit, LLC, to provide electrical engineering expertise to make SALS a cutting edge assistive technology device and to produce five working prototypes for field testing; and Mick Isaacson of Independence Science, to provide the field test evaluation materials when the latest prototypes are ready.

Supalo and his development team visited Louisville on April 11, 2011, to present SALS to members of APH staff. The SALS Redesign Proposal, written by Swain, was distributed to all participants. Swain submitted a New Product Idea Submission form on April 14, 2011, which was reviewed by the project leader. The Product Evaluation Team and Product Advisory and Review Committee approved the submission and SALS became an official product in development at APH on May 11, 2011, under the Core Curriculum (Science & Health) product category.

As detailed in the SALS Redesign Proposal submitted by Swain, APH will support the following engineering changes in the SALS tone output box: improved audio, a simplified user interface, improved manufacturability to facilitate mass production, improved battery longevity, and interface capability for future applications using the same audio output technology (for sensors other than a light-detecting probe, such as for pressure, temperature, acceleration, etc.).

A conference call on June 20, 2011, confirmed the roles of each participant and that of APH in this project. Swain will deliver five SALS prototypes for field testing; this is projected to take approximately 18 months from the time of fund disbursement to Independence Science and Precision Circuit. APH will identify field test sites and conduct the field tests to ensure appropriate geographic and educational level representation. The evaluation materials will be provided by Independence Science (Dr. Supalo and Mick Isaacson), but will be administered by the project leader. Following any final changes in SALS product design as dictated by field test outcomes, a manufacturer will be identified by Independence Science and/or Precision Circuit for mass production. SALS units (including an instruction manual) packaged by Independence Science will be delivered to APH for distribution. APH will translate the instruction manual to braille; hard copies of this version will be inserted into each package before delivery to the consumer. Technical support for users will be provided by Independence Science for one year after the development timeline and thereafter be provided by the Technology Department at APH.

The SALS Redesign Proposal was updated on July 18, 2011. APH and out-of-house consultants approved modification of the SALS tone output box to include Universal Serial Bus (USB) capability, thus permitting the use of an external flash/thumb drive. This feature will facilitate the following: programming of speech data; mass data storage during an experiment and exportability to Microsoft® Excel; software upgrades, eliminating the need to return units for reprogramming; and access to USB communication from SALS to a personal computer (a future capability not included in this project). Although this engineering change impacts both the development time (a 60-day increase) and final prototype cost ($14.00 per unit), it was deemed appropriate given the conferred benefits.

Pending the completion and approval of the contract between APH and Independence Science, LLC, funds will be disbursed and work on the SALS redesign will commence. Contract negotiations are expected to be complete before the end of FY 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

The estimated work schedule as outlined in the SALS Redesign Proposal projects the completion of five SALS prototypes by June 2012. Dr. Supalo and Mark Swain intend to demonstrate and test the prototypes at the July 2012 National Federation of the Blind Convention. Mick Isaacson will prepare the field test materials, and the project leader will identify and contact field test sites. The five SALS units will be shipped to the identified sites, thus commencing the field evaluation process.

Tactile Science Posters/Puzzles

(Continued)

Purpose

Image of anterior view of human skeleton as shown in poster

To create interactive tactile/color science posters and puzzles for students with visual impairments and blindness

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Katherine Corcoran, Model/Pattern Maker

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Designer

Background

In April 2008, the project leader submitted a product submission form for the adaptation of commercially-available science posters and/or puzzles for tactile adaptation. This product submission was written following the project leader's review of various types of science wall charts and interactive puzzles purchased from Delta Education and other popular school supply sources. Posters/puzzles illustrating the lungs, skeleton, brain, heart, skin, eye, ear, kidneys, digestive system, tongue, etc., were of particular interest for seeking permission to adapt for students with visual impairments/blindness.

The original goals of this project were 1) to utilize existing science posters/puzzles commonplace in the regular classroom, 2) to alleviate APH's burden of creating original print artwork and contribute their tactile expertise by preparing raised-line counterparts, and 3) to provide braille awareness to sighted peers who use the same posters/puzzles.

The product idea was approved in April 2008 by the Product Evaluation Team and in May 2008 by the Product Advisory and Review Committee.

Initial efforts by the project leader involved identifying and selecting ideal science posters to adapt. The considered posters for adaptation presented realistic and full-color layouts and were of a convenient size for capturing the detailed features via the use of a variety of tactile textures, line heights, and contours. The main concern was obtaining the poster(s) in bulk quantities, in a flat condition for convenient attachment of the tactile counterparts.

The project leader located one particular anatomy poster to serve as a starting place for adapting an existing, commercially-available science product. The goal was to prepare a tactile overlay to affix to the printed poster of the anterior view of the human skeleton and to supply a 3-D skeleton model to complement and reinforce the poster's content. Although contact with the poster's manufacturer was made, and John Aicken sought copyright permissions, delivery of multiple posters from the vendor took nearly a year. Unfortunately, once the posters were received, it was obvious that the original artwork had been significantly altered from a realistic style to a very cartoonish presentation; the new application of colors and changed perspective were unsuitable for tactile graphic duplication. At this point, the project leader decided to abandon pursuit of this particular poster for adaptation and search for other posters (or puzzles) for tactile adaptation.

Work during FY 2011

During the first quarter of the fiscal year, the project leader continued to review commercially-available posters and puzzles for tactile adaptation by searching common educational/science catalogs and online sources. However, given the apparent risk of adapting a commercially-available poster, the design of which could unexpectedly change down the road by the vendor and consequently affect established APH production tooling, the project leader decided to create a poster design from scratch. The design would serve as a basis for both the print and tactile presentation.

In February, the project leader met with Model Shop staff to determine ideal poster size, type of poster material, and method of producing the tactile and print components. The project leader decided to incorporate an interactive feature into the poster--i.e., moveable print/braille labels with which the student could build a key or legend. In addition, the teacher could use the poster to assess the student's knowledge of the location of each bone within the human skeleton.

Using CorelDraw®, the project leader created a preliminary layout of the general layout of the poster, indicating overall dimensions, position of the skeleton image, and the needed labels. This file was provided to the outside graphic designer in April to create original artwork. Various versions of the poster art passed back-and-forth between the project leader and outside graphic designer throughout April and May; by early June, a final colorized version was approved for prototype development. Multiple, full-size printouts of the poster were generated onto .010" white vinyl using the newly acquired Roland UV printer/cutter. These printouts were then supplied to the Model Shop for the creation of the tactile counterpart. Katherine Corcoran sculpted a tactile skeleton that registered with the print artwork. The project leader also readied print/braille labels.

During the remainder of the fiscal year, the project leader focused on assembling the tactile/print posters for field test purposes.

Work planned for FY 2012

Field testing of the skeleton poster will occur in the second quarter of the fiscal year. Revisions to the poster's design will be made if warranted by field evaluator feedback. Necessary pre-production tasks will be undertaken including hard tooling construction, the layout of accompanying documentation and interactive labels, and the product specifications. Depending upon the popularity of the interactive poster idea, the project leader will initiate development of additional science posters and/or puzzles.

SOCIAL STUDIES

Address: Earth - Large Format Atlas, Section 2

(Continued)

Purpose

The Large Format Atlas provides guidelines for the creation, format, and appearance of large print maps. Working relationships with the University of Louisville Geography Department, National Geographic, and experts in the fields of geography and history were established for the purpose of development and testing of the guidelines. Highly-trained consultants have provided useful input in the production of a truly accessible, enhanced format (large print with additional, specific formatting for accessibility) atlas for students with low vision. These efforts will ultimately lead to an atlas that will be visible, understandable, and useful for the student with low vision who is a large print reader. Section 1 was made available in 2007, and Section 2 is on track to be produced next.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Robert Forbes, Project Consultant/University Liaison

Matt Smith, Cartographer

Carie Ernst, Cartographer

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Jeffrey Lucas, Expert/Writer

David Pepper, Expert/Writer

Phillip Cantrell, Expert/Writer

Anu Sabhlok, Expert/Writer

Iman Azzi, Expert/Writer

James Erwin, Expert/Writer

Carol Hanchette, Expert/Writer

Andrew Novak, Expert/Writer

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design Artist

Background

The American Printing House for the Blind received a strong recommendation from the Publications Committee in 2001 and in previous years to produce a world atlas in large format. Previous attempts to create such an atlas met with poor results. It was decided to convene a focus group made up of people who had expertise in both low vision and geography, as well as people with experience in literacy issues and student use issues to develop guidelines for maps. The guidelines were developed in 2001 and 2002, and a work group was convened in order to learn to use mapping software (ArcView). In 2003, the consultants began to write the chapter content for the Atlas, while APH staff checked facts, made edits, and maintained good communication among all parties.

Vice President in charge of Public Affairs, Gary Mudd, and his administrative assistant, Nancy Lacewell, met several times with officers of National Geographic in Washington, D.C. They opened a dialogue between APH and National Geographic to explore the potential for a joint effort in producing a large print atlas. During these conversations, it became apparent that APH processes and National Geographic processes were not compatible and collaboration for production was not feasible. The decision was made to continue work on the atlas at APH with the expert help available from the University of Louisville, Geography and Geosciences Department. Two years later, National Geographic offered to review maps after they were developed by APH in collaboration with the University of Louisville, Geography and Geosciences Department. To date, National Geographic has reviewed maps for both Section 1 and Section 2 of Address: Earth; their reviews have been very useful. Some changes were made to maps based upon recommendations from National Geographic.

With information about the latest technology, guidelines for the content and proposed format of the Address: Earth atlas were shaped. The consultants and APH staff undertook work on the first section; it was completed and made available in September 2007. In 2007, the project leader and department director decided to contact geography and history experts to write the units. Most were professors of geography and social sciences at universities. Ten experts joined the project. They wrote the units and some sidebars for Russia, Continental Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Central America, and Meso-America. This writing continued through the first half of 2009. In 2009-2010, after the consultant units were written, APH staff continued to edit, find photos, request permissions, do layouts, refine maps, and prepare Section 2 for expert review.

Work during FY 2011

Address: Earth, Section 2 was field tested. Content was refined based upon field test data. Final content of four of six chapters has been approved. Final content of the Maps and Charts books has been approved. Finalization of the last two text chapters, documentation, and tooling are in progress.

Work planned for FY 2012

Production of Section 2 will take place. Text editing and photo acquisition for Section 3 will commence, as will photo permissions and sidebar development. Edits, development, and layout of the first five chapters will take place. Schedules will be drawn up by staff in the Research Department.

U.S. & Canada Basic Atlas

(Continued)

Purpose

To produce new volumes of high-quality tactile thematic maps by continuing a partnership with The Princeton Braillists

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Nancy Amick, The Princeton Braillists, Tactile Map Design

Background

An earlier collaboration with The Princeton Braillists resulted in the product World Maps, which has been well received. This project aims to address a deficiency in APH's offerings in the way of detailed thematic maps that show land use, elevation, major cities, and so on. It is based on the multi-volume set Northern North America by The Princeton Braillists, but has fewer and simpler maps and will be contained in one volume.

A major advance represented in this set of maps is the addition of color and print maps, making the volume more accessible to low-vision or sighted students and teachers. The medium on which the tactile maps must be produced for best readability--a thin vinyl--limited the methods by which the print maps could be provided. Through various trials, project staff decided to produce the tactile maps on a clear vinyl and the print maps as paper underlay sheets. These will be put in a binder so that pages can be removed as desired. The chosen format also has the advantage of using all in-house processes, so no coordination with outside vendors is needed.

The project leader and Ms. Amick agreed on the maps to be included and the simplifications needed for each. The model maker created vacuum-form patterns, poured molds, and revised the production patterns.

Because the content of the maps was already determined, a full field evaluation was deemed unnecessary; an expert review of several representative maps with the clear map/print underlay format was conducted. The expert reviews were positive and helpful in determining the changes needed in format and coloring. The project leader colored the remainder of the map scans accordingly.

Work during FY 2011

The project came to a halt when the project leader sent Ms. Amick a sample set of the maps in their proposed final format. It was Ms. Amick's opinion that the tactual quality of her original maps was compromised by production on the clear material, and she expressed reluctance to remain associated with the product.

To address these concerns, the project leader devised and conducted another field evaluation focused solely on tactual readability. The tasks in the evaluation assessed students' ability to locate or identify specific tactile features on the maps, using a key page for reference. Map interpretation skills beyond basic feature identification were not involved.

Eight evaluation sites were chosen and included 14 braille-reading students in grades 5th-10th. Teachers were instructed in writing to let students become familiar with the symbols key provided, then to present individual maps and ask the students to locate or identify specific items on them.

In an attempt to gauge not only the students' performance but also the reasons for their performance, teachers were given the following instructions for recording students' interactions with the maps, along with comments:

a)Please fill out a form for each student, and use the following rating scale for each task:

1 Student did not locate the information successfully.

2 Student found information with difficulty.

3 Student found information with moderate or typical effort.

4 Student found information with ease.

b)Did the student use a methodical approach or strategy in examining the graphic to answer the questions?

c) If the student did not answer the questions correctly, it was because (mark any that apply)

1 the map design was unclear.

2 the tactile elements were not distinct enough.

3 the subject matter was unfamiliar or too advanced.

4 student hasn't developed the skills needed for this task.

5 other reasons. (Explain)

As might be expected with such a heterogeneous group of students, a great deal of variation was found; but despite instances of students being unable to perform certain tasks on some maps, nearly all teachers indicated that this method of providing clear vinyl tactile maps on top of printed maps is appropriate for future product development.

Based on the predominantly encouraging findings, it was decided to resume development of this product while negotiating an agreeable plan for collaboration with Ms. Amick.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will lay out the final print content for the volume and work with Technical Research to draw up production specifications.

TECHNOLOGY AND MEDIA

Verbal View Tutorials

(Continued)

Purpose

To teach blind and visually impaired computer users background information about the Internet, the Windows operating system, and several popular applications

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author

Keith Creasy, Programmer

John Hedges, Programmer

Rodger Smith, Programmer

Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist

Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager

Robert Conaghan, Studio Monitor

Background

For many years, APH and its advisors and customers have desired an in-depth tutorial that covered the latest version of Windows from the perspective of a blind or visually impaired computer user.

Staff identified a tutorial written by Peter Duran and approached him about licensing the rights to his work and then distributing it as a Digital Talking Book.

The first result of this collaboration, Verbal View of Windows, is a comprehensive tutorial on using Windows XP from the viewpoint of a blind or partially sighted student or professional. It covers nearly every aspect of Windows XP, and it presents this material from the keyboard user's perspective.

Delivered on CD, these tutorials come in DAISY 3.0 format with its own presentation software. The CD also contains Microsoft Word, HTML, contracted braille, and text versions of the document, so one may send it to a portable device like the Book Port or other note taker with a refreshable braille display.

The software that comes with the Verbal View tutorials is a special version of a DAISY reading program called Book Wizard Reader.

There are two types of tutorials: descriptive and audio-interactive. The former type is in "textbook" form. You read the material in a preferred format and then practice it. The latter is in "mimic" form. You listen to a cassette tape or an audio CD and attempt to follow the instructor's steps.

These tutorials are descriptive in style and are distributed as DAISY books on compact disks. DAISY stands for Digital Audio Information System; this "electronic book" format is accepted worldwide as a standard form for audio books produced for visually impaired and blind readers.

These tutorials are written for blind users who wish to employ the PC for educational, vocational, and recreational pursuits. A few topics are discussed at length, although omitted from most books, because they greatly benefit blind users.

These tutorials are written for persons who have limited or no access to training centers and must learn independently. They are written for users who want or need to access the material primarily with the keyboard. The use of the keyboard is emphasized and summarized throughout. The keyboard and the mouse are compared whenever appropriate so the strengths and weaknesses of both are apparent.

The series includes the following tutorials:

Verbal View of the Net and the Web

Verbal View of the Office Ribbon Bar

Verbal View of Online Mail

Verbal View of Vista

Verbal View of Web Documents

Verbal View of Web Searches

Verbal View of Windows XP

Verbal View of Word

Verbal View of Word Advanced

Verbal View of Word 2007

Work during FY 2011

Verbal View of Word 2007 and Verbal View of Excel 2007 were released.

Work planned for FY 2012

The Verbal View materials will be updated as needed.

Early Childhood

Art Digitizing/Modernizing of On the Way to Literacy Storybooks

(Continued)

Purpose

To replace deteriorating film art with digital art, slightly reduce page sizes to enable production of the books on iGen equipment, update to utilize sans serif fonts, and modify the books' visual illustrations

Project Staff

Suzette Wright, Project Leader

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer and Co-Project Leader

Background

The 18 storybooks in the On the Way to Literacy series were first produced in the early 1990s using film art, then standard in the printing industry. Because the original film art for these books has deteriorated with time, and because printers are reluctant to use it, the print tooling for the books is being recreated in digital file formats. Meetings with production staff defined additional objectives for the modernization effort. Since the cost of offset printing rises dramatically when fewer than 300 to 500 copies are printed, and books are not inventoried, Production staff recommended redesigning the books for iGen production. This would make it possible to produce smaller runs in-house. To make this change, the books' page dimensions are being reduced slightly. In addition, any serif fonts are being replaced with more readable sans serif fonts. Consumers and focus group members have noted the importance of providing read-aloud books that will also interest sighted peers. For this reason, print illustrations are being modified to make the illustrations more visually attractive for sighted audiences. The updated illustrations implement changes that add visual appeal but do not reduce visibility for low vision readers or introduce visual elements that are key to understanding the story. None of the modifications affect the tactile illustrations or change the content of the book's texts.

The project leader and Technical Research staff analyzed the 18 books in the On the Way to Literacy series and grouped them according to type and nature of the modifications to be made. Colors were chosen based on iGen swatches, and the Low Vision Project Leader was consulted regarding visual art modifications. The project leader worked with the in-house graphic designer and outside graphic designers, under the in-house designer's supervision, to complete the modernization of the first five books (Something Special, That's Not My Bear, Giggly Wiggly, The Littlest Pumpkin, and Jennifer's Messes). Two other titles are in the process of modification. A change in binding may be considered for some books provided a suitable, less expensive alternative to the current binding can be found. Standardization was specified as being of lesser importance than the ability to move production of the product in-house at a competitive price as well as retain current art for the tactile illustrations and plates for the braille text.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader, Technical Research, and Production staff reviewed test runs of the newly modernized art for Something Special, That's Not My Bear, Giggly Wiggly, produced on iGen equipment. Some of the files were modified as needed to address concerns with color consistency and margins. These are being tested again. Digitized art for The Littlest Pumpkin was completed. Modernization of art for The Blue Balloon was designed by the project leader, and art files have been completed. The graphic designer has continued to work on digitizing and redesigning the art for The Longest Noodle . It was necessary to select new binder colors for all On the Way to Literacy storybooks; colors were chosen to harmonize with the new visual art in the redesigned books.

Work planned for FY 2012

Testing of the modernized art files will continue. Modernization of the print art for the remaining books will continue. The project leader will consult with Philippe Claudet of Les Doigts Qui Revent (LDQR) regarding the redesign of the art for the remaining books. Books produced by LDQR incorporate a wide variety of attractive visual background art produced by artists. This is similar to the objectives for the redesign of the On the Way to Literacy books; their experience in this regard can be helpful.

Experiential Learning: Activities for Concept Development

(Completed)

Purpose

To set up an experiential learning environment that promotes cause/effect, coordination, motor development, object permanence, sensory awareness, and spatial awareness

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Tessa Wright, Consultant/Author

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Background

In June 2005, a focus group on early childhood education for children who are blind or visually impaired met at APH. The purpose of the focus group was to identify potential products for APH to develop. There was lots of discussion about "active learning," and having products that promoted children being active from an early age. Kiara Wilder, one of the participants, suggested we consider developing an experiential learning kit. The suggested "starter kit" would enable families, and those working with families and their infants who are either blind or low vision, to set up an environment that is conducive to experiential learning. Suggested kit components were the following: toy rings, a shiny red pom pom, shiny metal measuring spoons/cups, rubber squishy toy (in a bright color), large jingle bells, and additional items of bright, simple colors and interesting texture.

Children who are blind or visually impaired, birth to 3 years of age, need stimulation to explore their environment, develop auditory and visual skills, and practice fine and gross motor skills to continually improve them. The original kit concept was to have a portable bar that could be placed across a crib with items attached to it that could be manipulated by the child. This is an effective way to get parents involved in the development of their child.

During 2008, the project leader and consultant collaborated to complete the following tasks: (1) Researched potential product name (Experiential Learning Kit) to ensure this name did not meet copyright and patent standards. The research validated Experiential Learning Kit could be used for this product. (2) Completed research of the literature on activities to be included in the guidebook. (3) Activities were written for the concept areas to be included in the guidebook. (4) Researched materials to be used for the bar for items that hang from apparatus placed over the baby crib or playpen. After in-depth research, decision was made to have five to seven items made specifically for the Experiential Learning Kit. Commercial items may be purchased to complement the made items. (5) Explored materials to be used to develop an apparatus to place over the baby crib or playpen. Additional exploration led to a decision to purchase a commercial mobile that would fit inside a baby crib or playpen and allow for the hang down items to be placed strategically for the infant/toddler to locate and manipulate.

In FY 2009, content for the Activity Booklet was completed by the consultant and reviewed by the project leader. The booklet includes an introduction about the concept of experiential learning and the purpose of the kit; an overview of the six developmental areas, specifically cause/effect, coordination, motor development, object permanence, sensory awareness, and spatial awareness; three activities per developmental area; and a suggested materials list. Work began on the design and graphic layout of the Activity Booklet.

Twenty-five mobiles were purchased for field testing; the mobile comes with five hang-down toys of different textures and sizes. For purposes of field testing, it was determined that these five toys would be evaluated for their appropriateness to the kit activities as well as their similarity to readily available hang-down toys. In addition to these toys, project leaders considered several others that could be included in the product.

The consultant, project leader, and research assistant presented the Experiential Learning Kit during the Information Fair at Annual Meeting. During this time, attendees signed up to be potential field testers of the kit. The kit was sent out for field testing in December 2009 to 16 reviewers, representing the states of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Indiana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Dakota. Ten evaluations were returned.

The majority of reviewers felt that the guidebook was thoroughly researched and clearly explained activities and concepts. One reviewer reported that two areas in the guidebook needed further explanation; these were motor development and sensory awareness. Revisions were suggested for the illustrations in the guidebook so that a wider diversity of children would be represented. In regards to the mobile gym, reviewers reported that it was not entirely appropriate for use with the guidebook activities. One reviewer noted that the mobile lacked the quality and innovation of typical APH products. The majority of reviewers felt that most of the toys on the mobile were things families/service providers already own or have easy access to. In addition, the reviewers felt that the guidebook could be a stand-alone product. Based on reviewer input and consultation with project staff, the decision was made to forgo the inclusion of a mobile in the kit. The name of the product was changed to Experiential Learning: Activities for Concept Development (formerly Experiential Learning Kit). Work began on revisions to the guidebook. In addition, the project leader identified a do-it-yourself instruction guide, which would make an ideal appendix to the guidebook, to make a mobile for children with visual impairments and blindness. Efforts were unsuccessful to obtain permission for this document.

Work during FY 2011

Based on feedback from the field evaluators and input from the consultant, revisions were made to the guidebook. Final tooling and specifications were completed. The product became available for sale in August 2011.

FirstTouch Books

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop read-aloud, tactile illustrated books that support the development of emergent literacy skills of students, ages birth to 3 years, who are blind or visually impaired

Project Staff

Suzette Wright, Project Leader

Wendy Sapp, Ph.D., COMS, Project Consultant

Dana Fox, M.A., Project Consultant

Background

Children take their first steps toward learning to read and write early in life. Reading aloud to a child, from infancy onward, has been cited as a key contributor to later success in learning to read. Early, positive experiences with books motivate children to become readers. Oral language skills, listening skills, and vocabulary are built as the adult reader and young child share a book and talk about its words and illustrations and relate these to the child's own experiences. Early experiences with books provide opportunities to encounter written words and to learn book-handling skills. Young children who will read braille, however, face a limited selection of books in braille, particularly print/braille books that enable a typically sighted adult to read aloud to the child. Even fewer books contain tactile illustrations, capable of adding interest and meaning to the words of a story. APH and other braille publishers have worked to expand the availability of print/braille books. APH's On the Way to Literacy books for children, ages 3 to 5 years, and the Moving Ahead Tactile Graphic Storybooks for ages 4 to 6 offer print/braille texts and tactile illustrations designed to introduce children to a range of types of tactile displays. Given the importance of books for young children who will read braille, APH continues to make strong efforts to poll the field to determine current needs and to seek help in prioritizing these needs. In an online survey, 140 of 156 respondents ranked very simple, early books for birth to 3 as a high need. This need was also noted by focus groups.

The objectives for books for this target audience were defined in detail. The project leader examined current offerings of braille producers to determine what was already available in print/braille for children from birth to age 3. She searched commercially available print books to identify titles that might be adapted, seeking books with high quality language that would lend themselves to the addition of simple tactile, interactive, or other multisensory components. Hundreds of books found through a wide variety of sources were considered. In addition, designs for a variety of types of tactile interactive components were considered and reviewed by in-house staff regarding their feasibility for mass production.

This information was submitted to two consultants with combined experience in teaching and in research regarding emergent literacy for children with visual impairments. The resulting recommendation was that APH develop both types of books for students ages birth to 3 years: adaptations of high-quality commercially available books with tactile components added by APH, and APH-created books with simple texts written to support meaningful tactile, interactive components

The combined efforts of the project leader and consultants to locate a print book that would be excellent, once adapted, for children birth to 3 years were not initially successful. The project leader continues to monitor commercially available print books for the birth to 3 age group that could be adapted.

For books in the FirstTouch series, it was proposed that books be developed one at a time. The series will eventually include adaptations of commercially available books, as suitable ones are discovered, as well as original books. The proposed project received the approval of the Product Evaluation Team and Product Review and Advisory Committee and was removed from the "parking lot" in late spring of 2009. In June, the first Product Development Committee brainstorming meeting was held. A number of good ideas regarding book construction were received. Individuals, including both parents and teachers, were encouraged to submit ideas and original drafts. As a result, four promising drafts and sketches or descriptions of accompanying tactile, interactive components were obtained.

These were submitted to the project consultant for a detailed review, including a rating of each draft and ranking of their suitability for the target audience. Two drafts were rated "excellent" as candidates for further development. The draft ranked first, Holy Moly!, was roughly laid out in electronic form by the project leader, including dimensions, materials, and tactile as well as visual illustrations. This file was sent to several current and past consultants for a preliminary, informal review and was examined by in-house staff regarding production methods that might be used.

Various production methods for board books were examined and priced. Methods and materials for all of the book's tactile interactive components were determined and priced; relevant safety standards were investigated to ensure compliance. The text and all tactile interactive components for the book were finalized. The braille tooling for the book has been completed. The project leader provided the graphic designer with the files and information needed to work on the book's art.

Work during FY 2011

The book was given out for bids, and a vendor was selected. The vendor agreed to provide the prototypes for the field evaluation. The graphic designer continued to work on completion of the print art files.

As work on the completion of art files for Holy Moly! took place, an opportunity, unrelated to the FirstTouch project, arose that will enable APH to increase the numbers of low-cost print/braille books available to children birth to 5. In late 2008, individuals at the Tennessee School for the Blind contacted APH about the work of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL) and about obtaining the books in accessible formats. The project leader met with the President of the Dollywood Foundation; they discussed the topic and the mission of both organizations, recognizing the two had much in common. The Foundation partners with local sponsors in 1,300 communities in three countries to provide a quality, age-appropriate book each month to each preschool child enrolled in the DPIL program. Local sponsors such as United Way, Rotary, Kiwanis, and school systems decide to bring the program to their community by agreeing to fund the cost of the books and postage. The Dollywood Foundation manages the system at no cost to the sponsors or the families; the Foundation selects the books and manages the database and the process to prepare books for mailing.  It is a unique effort that has now mailed 40 million books to children from birth to age 5. 

For the past 2 years, the project leader has provided the DPIL with the results of a Louis search of the more than 70 books in each year's booklist, as well as contact information for other providers of braille, print/braille, and tactile books. In the spring of 2010, the Foundation's President, David Dotson, and the project leader began considering the terms of a partnership, proposed by the project leader, which would result in having APH provide the DPIL books in accessible formats as well as offer APH the opportunity to purchase, at low cost, print books to produce in print/braille formats. The project leader developed the proposal for the partnership's activities and with Dotson, passed this through the approval process at APH and agreed upon terms with the publisher of the DPIL books, Penguin Group USA. A website for the APH/DPIL Partnership was then developed and became operational in September 2011. The site houses encrypted audio book files of DPIL books recorded at APH, and includes links to the National Library Service, links to DPIL books offered by APH in print/braille, as well as links to other APH books, emergent literacy information, and to providers of print/braille and tactile books. For more information about present offerings and future plans, visit the APH/DPIL Partnership Web site: http://www.aph.org/imagination-library/index.html

 

Work planned for FY 2012

Print art for Holy Moly! will be completed by the graphic designer. Prototypes of Holy Moly! will be produced and sent out for field review. Revisions will be made based on teachers' and parents' observations through extended use with children in the target audience.

Regarding the efforts of the APH/DPIL Partnership, the project leader will receive each month's books from the DPIL booklist and evaluate to determine if they are suitable as an audio book. (Some books are too picture-based or feature highly visual concepts as a centerpiece of the book.) If helpful, the project leader will add limited picture descriptions. Studio will record the books, which will be posted at the APH/DPIL Web site. By December 2011, up to 38 encrypted audio book files will be available on the site. Eventually all of a current year's booklist, some 75 books, will be available. In 2012, the project leader will oversee the selection of five book titles. Up to 200 copies each of the five titles will be purchased from The Dollywood Foundation at low cost. These will be produced as print/braille books using clear braille labels, for purchase on Quota or as individual purchases.

Focus on Fingers Kit

(Continued)

Purpose

Based on current literature and research in emergent literacy, the Focus on Fingers Kit

is designed to assist family members, caregivers, and early educators in their quest to prepare infants and young children who are blind or visually impaired and may have additional special needs to enjoy tactile learning and literacy.

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Kay Clarke, Consultant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Background

A review of current literature and research on braille literacy reveals a growing body of information to guide our profession in meeting the braille literacy needs of young children and those with multiple disabilities. Present emergent braille literacy materials include lists of early critical skills areas (McComiskey, 1996) and "how-to" chapters and books for teachers of children who are visually impaired (Olsen, 1981; Wright & Stratton, 2007) with a primary focus on early braille reading and writing instruction for children ages 3-5. Strikingly absent are family-friendly materials that promote an overall parental understanding of the earliest skills necessary for tactile learning and literacy, while offering practical, engaging activities that parents may implement at home and with their infants and young children to support these skills. Focus on Fingers is an innovative, initial attempt to meet this need.

The author states, "It is well known that literacy begins at birth. In contrast to prior products, Focus on Fingers (Preparing Little Hands to Enjoy Tactile Learning and Literacy) addresses the earliest stages of tactile learning and literacy in a family-centered and developmentally-appropriate way, empowering families to play an active role in the beginning steps of their children's tactile learning and literacy. Focus on Fingers additionally reflects a shift from traditional thinking about emergent braille literacy as 'learning ABCs' to a broader, research-based viewpoint that acknowledges the importance of a variety of early experiences that subsequently may contribute to competent, motivated braille readers and writers." Focus on Fingers has the potential to make a significant difference for young blind or visually impaired children learning braille literacy.

The key is enjoyment! Young learners should have fun as they learn. Functional activities and literacy experiences that are developmentally-appropriate and highly-engaging best describe Focus on Fingers.

The author, Kay Clarke, submitted this product idea to APH for consideration during FY 2010. The Products Evaluation Committee recommended this product to PARC, and PARC approved this product idea for development by APH. The author signed a contract allowing APH to be the sole distributor of Focus on Fingers, and an initial timeline to complete the product was developed.

Work during FY 2011

In September 2011, the author, project leader, and other project staff met to discuss the Focus on Fingers Kit. They established more definite timelines and a work plan for the completion of the product. Product development is in the early stages and much work remains.

Work planned for FY 2012

The author and project leader will work to have the product meet early childhood standards, braille literacy standards, as well as APH standards. Because of the many tactile components of this kit, a significant amount of time is needed by APH to ready it for production. In 2012, the project leader will work with APH production staff to design the tactile components. The written part of this product will be completed, and editing of the content will take place. It is anticipated that field testing will take place in August 2012.

Getting in Step With Little Feet

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop a product that will be a practical, creative, and "how-to" manual on purposeful movement for children who fall within the infant through preschool developmental range

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Kay Clarke, Consultant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Background

Over the past two decades, purposeful movement and O&M has increasingly been acknowledged as important for infants and young children who are blind or visually impaired. Although some "how-to" booklets have emerged to guide families and practitioners to meet the early O&M needs of their young children, additional practical information is needed. In recent years, professionals (and families) in our field have expressed (via numerous listserv messages and personal requests at meetings, workshops, and conferences) a strong desire and need for the following:

1. Specific guidance on what skills to incorporate into purposeful movement and O&M instruction for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, who are not developmentally ready for more "traditional" O&M skills

2. Guidance on when certain skills may be good developmental matches for young children

3. Ideas for how to reach and teach infants and young children (creative, developmentally-appropriate songs, rhymes, activities, and teaching materials that are user-friendly for families and professionals to use, engage young children, and achieve results)

This product will be based on researched early child development principles and practices. The author of this product holds a master's degree in child development and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in the areas of early childhood, visual impairment, and multiple disabilities. She has been a practicing O&M and TVI specialist for the past 25 years and has developed numerous original songs and poems and other activities contained within this product. Some of the activities presented in this product were developed for, and used with, children in the author's dissertation study that compared the use of adapted mobility devices and canes by preschoolers.

This product will be an extension of the research-based module developed by staff at UNC Chapel Hill (2004) on developmentally appropriate O&M for infants and toddlers. It will be designed to offer clear, brief background information blended with fun, "hands-on" activities to be used by family members, early childhood educators, child care providers, visual impairment professionals, and related services providers. The information provided in this guidebook will be appropriate for young children who are visually impaired and those who may also have additional disabilities. The introductory section of this guidebook will begin with a simple overview of unique developmental aspects of young children who are blind or visually impaired.

In 2010, this product idea was submitted by the author to APH. A contract was signed by the author allowing APH to develop Getting in Step With Little Feet: A Practical Guide to Purposeful Movement for Adults who Love, Teach and Care for Infants and Preschoolers who are Blind or Visually Impaired.

Work during FY 2011

In September 2011, the author, project leader, and other project staff met to discuss Getting in Step With Little Feet. They established a timeline and work plan for the completion of the product.

Work planned for FY 2012

The author and project leader will work together to complete this product. Once the content is complete, the project leader will work with project staff, including graphic designers, to prepare prototypes for field testing. It is anticipated this will happen in FY 2012.

Little Breath of Wind

(New)

Purpose

To provide a high-quality tactile illustrated book that supports the development of emergent literacy skills of young students, 5 years and older, who are visually impaired

Project Staff

Suzette Wright, Project Leader

Background

Little Breath of Wind is a children's tactile illustrated book produced by Les Doigts Qui Revent (LDQR) (Dreaming Fingers) workshop. The LDQR workshop, located in Dijon, France, has produced some 30,000 tactile illustrated books (147 titles) since it began in 1994.

Little Breath of Wind has a brief but charming text provided in large print and durable, clear braille applied to the page. The tactile illustrations are especially appealing to touch and provide a variety of textures that encourage tactile exploration. They are primarily composed of collaged fabric, paper, and plastic shapes, together with raised lines formed of thick, soft yarn. This meets a need identified by the Early Books Focus Group (2004), and Meeting of the Minds (2011) for books with tactile illustrations with rich textures--"something besides raised line drawings and thermoforms." It is different in its style from most APH tactile storybooks, addressing the request from the Early Books Focus Group (2007) for a greater variety of types of early books for children who are beginning or potential braille readers. The book is case bound with sturdy card stock pages, a colorful cover, and measures approximately 8 x 8 inches.

Although it is intended for children who are ages 5 years and older, children who are younger are also likely to enjoy the book's inviting textures. The book is also appropriate for children who have significant visual impairments but are nonetheless, likely to be print readers. In addition, sighted adults, peers, and siblings are also an important audience and should find the book visually appealing and its text engaging.

LDQR reports that the European sales of Little Breath of Wind were 568 in 2010; 2011 sales have also been high. Reflective of its quality, the book was selected by the International Board on Books for Young Children as an international selection in the Catalog 2011 of Outstanding Books for Youth with Disabilities.

Work during FY 2011

Philippe Claudet, founder of LDQR, has been in touch with the project leader since 2005. He has translated an article at the APH Web site, "Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books," and the handbook, On the Way to Literacy. After Claudet's presentation at the conference of California Transcribers and Educators of the Blind and Visually Impaired, the project leader arranged for Claudet to visit APH in March 2011. He presented to APH staff on tactile illustrated books, their design, production, and the research he has promoted in countries belonging to the Typhlo & Tactus (T&T) organization. (T&T was established to increase the quality and numbers of tactile illustrated books available to blind children in its European Union member countries and additional partner countries. T&T hosts a tactile book competition, and members combine resources to produce tactile books and perform joint research related to children's exploration, use, and understanding of tactile books.)

In addition to Claudet's APH presentation, he left behind samples of books produced by LDQR. Staff were impressed with the high quality of the books' construction, durability and quality of the braille, and their use of rich textures for tactile/visual illustrations. Gathering input from staff and others, Little Breath of Wind was chosen as one book that APH would like to distribute. A submission form for Little Breath of Wind was completed; it was approved as a "pass through" product. In-house, the project leader and others met and made decisions about preferred labeling and packaging methods. Claudet has contacted international testing agencies to learn what tests must be performed to ensure the book will pass new, more stringent US safety requirements for products used by children 12 and under. APH's Purchasing staff began to evaluate the quantities to purchase and negotiate prices and shipping methods with LDQR, provided all safety tests are passed.

In addition to work related to APH's purchase of Little Breath of Wind, Claudet provided the project leader with a variety of overseas resources, including English translations of research articles related to tactile books. He has discussed LDQR's design process as a collaboration of educators, artists, perceptual psychologists, and designers specializing in ergonomics.

Work planned for FY 2012

If safety tests are passed and negotiations are successful, APH will purchase a quantity of the books (Little Breath of Wind) and make them available on Quota or as individual purchases.

LDQR has expressed an interest in producing versions of some APH tactile illustrated books for a French audience. They are open to share some of their production methodologies and collaborate on new books being developed at APH and at LDQR. The potential for a wide range of activities with LDQR, benefiting APH, will be explored with in-house staff.

Moving Ahead: Tactile Graphic Storybooks

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide print/braille storybooks for upper preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students featuring tactile graphics designed to encourage tactual exploration, refine tactual discrimination, and to introduce tactile symbols, simple keys, and maps in the context of a story

Project Staff

Suzette Wright, Project Leader/Author

Lois Harrell, Project Consultant/Author

Mila Truan, Project Consultant

Josephine Stratton, Project Consultant

Background

Symbolic visual displays, such as maps and diagrams, play an increasingly important role in textbooks and computer displays for students with typical vision. They present a special challenge for students with significant vision loss, who are often expected to use a tactile equivalent in the course of their studies and in test-taking. Observers have suggested difficulty interpreting tactile displays may be due, in part, to lack of early exposure. Storybooks developed in this project are designed to give young students opportunities to explore and interpret tactile illustrations that feature raised symbols, lines, and areal patterns. Of equal importance, the storybooks offer exposure to braille and foster key emergent literacy skills. The print/braille text of the books is intended to be read aloud by an adult reader. Embedded text (in large print and the user's choice of either contracted or uncontracted braille) offers opportunities for the student to explore and read single words and short phrases, just as they might read labels included in a tactile diagram.

Initially, project leader efforts focused on identifying objectives and selecting or creating story texts and graphic media to support these. Lois Harrell served as project consultant, authoring a book and reviewing drafts of other books. Based on input from expert reviewers, four stories were chosen from a large pool of drafts. A variety of tactile media were considered. Paper embossed graphics were selected for the first book. A combination of embossed braille and Tactile Visions graphics was selected for three books.

Multiple prototypes of each of the four books were hand-produced. Accompanying storyboards (featuring symbols from the story mounted to Velcro®-backed pieces) were created to enable students to create their own tactile displays. A Reader's Guide including information about introducing the child to the book's tactile graphics and briefly discussing emergent literacy skills and development of tactual learning skills was written to accompany each of the books.

Seven teacher-evaluators at seven sites participated in an expert review and conducted the field evaluation of the books/storyboards with 23 students ranging in age from 4.5 to 11 years of age, spanning an 8-10 week period. Without dissension, teachers indicated texts and tactile graphics for all four books were interesting and appropriate for kindergarten and first grade students; a majority also extended the books' value upward to second grade students. Teachers reported 94-100% of the students, in their opinion, had benefited from using the books during the evaluation period and would benefit from using the books for a longer period of time. Reasons given included the following: "increased motivation to read and exposure to braille and tactile exploration," "allowed student to experience tactile graphics with a purpose," "tactile graphics made the books more fun and motivated him to use his hands to explore and draw in information," and "helped tracking skills." The tactile graphics were also credited with enhancing understanding of the stories for 90% of the students. Accompanying storyboards were strongly endorsed by the teachers, who stated that their use improved comprehension, offered students an important opportunity to create their own graphics, and were highly motivating. A majority of teachers commented favorably on the Tactile Visions graphics. All evaluators rated the visual graphics in the books as a "very important" component of the books, promoting shared reading with typically sighted peers and adults and supplementing tactual information for the many braille readers with usable vision. The three project consultants also reviewed prototype books, provided favorable reviews, and suggested changes to specific tactile illustrations.

The four Moving Ahead storybooks and accompanying components received approval for sale on Quota. It was decided that each of the four books be produced separately to assist flow through the pre-production/tooling and production phases. Goin' On a Bear Hunt was produced first and is available.

In order to produce the second storybook (Splish the Fisht), sample tests were run to ensure compatibility of the paper stock, the outside vendor's inks, and the Tactile Visions process; several problems with paper were encountered and resolved. It was necessary to design and add a special switch and tray to the Tactile Visions machine to accommodate the book's page size. An initial pilot run of 100 books revealed some inconsistency in registration. A debriefing addressed possible sources. Subsequent runs of the book have been problem-free.

All final tooling for the third book in this series (The Boy and the Wolf) and the accompanying Reader's Guide has also been completed and the book has been produced. This book is similar in format to Splish, utilizing a combination of full-color visual graphics, Tactile Visions graphics, and paper-embossed braille. Lois Harrell is the author of the third storybook in the series.

Work during FY 2011

The Boy and the Wolf was priced and made available for purchase in November 2010. All art for the Turtle and Rabbit storybook, braille embedded word labels, storyboard, and accompanying Reader's Guide was completed by the graphic designer and proofed by the project leader. Final art and specifications were written and given to Production in March 2011. The project leader participated in proofing the book's components as they were produced. Turtle and Rabbit will become available for purchase in the fall of 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader, working with a consultant from Les Doigts Qui Revent (Dreaming Fingers) and others, will identify a commercially-available children's book suited to development as the next Moving Ahead book and will design accompanying tactile illustrations.

Parents and Visually Impaired Infants

(Continued)

Purpose

To revise and modernize Parents and Visually Impaired Infants (PAVII), which has been sold on Quota by APH since 1990

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Deborah Chen, Consultant

Gail Calvello, Consultant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Background

PAVII addresses the need for materials focused on early intervention for infants and toddlers who are blind or visually impaired. These materials have been used extensively in early intervention programs serving families and infants and toddlers who are blind or visually impaired nationally and internationally. The target groups for these materials have been teachers of the visually impaired, O&M instructors, early childhood special educators, and early interventionists.

PAVII was developed and field tested in a federally-funded project that served families of infants and toddlers with visual impairments and was based on recommended practices of the time. These recommended practices have not really changed, although person-first language will be used, e.g., could be renamed Parents and Infants with Visual Impairments. The revised edition of this product will draw on current evidence-based practices.

The project leader contacted the authors of PAVII and requested they consider modernizing this product. Deborah Chen contacted the project leader and indicated she agreed and would submit a product idea form for modernization. A contract was agreed upon by the authors and APH. A work plan was developed by the authors, and the project leader worked with the authors to finalize this plan.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader worked with the consultants on the following tasks during FY 2011.

1. Calvello commenced updates and revisions to the following:

a) Identification of visual impairments in infants

b) The art of home visiting

c) Getting ready for school

2. Chen commenced updates and revisions to the following:

a) Introduction to product materials

b) Overview of "how to" papers on assessment

c) Parent assessment of needs

d) Functional hearing screening

e) Parent observation protocol

f) Assessing infant communication

g) Assessing interaction with objects

h) Developmental assessment section

i) Learning together

Work planned for FY 2012

During FY 2012, the author will work closely with the consultants to complete the manuscript. The content for the manuscript should be finished by December 2011. This will be reviewed by the project leader and appropriate staff. Once the content is complete, the project leader will work to prepare prototypes for field testing. It is anticipated this will happen in FY 2012.

Reach for the Stars

(Continued)

Purpose

To review and modernize the guidebook Reach for the Stars

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Jennifer Grisham-Brown, Author/Consultant

Diane Haynes, Author/Consultant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Background

The need for this product has not changed since it became a Federal Quota item in 1999. The educational principles identified when this product was developed have not changed, but new interventions resulted in a revision of this product. The authors of Reach for the Stars, Dr. Jennifer Grisham-Brown and Diane Haynes, stated, "It is a person-centered planning process designed to facilitate the development of educational plans that will lead to inclusive education programs for young children with disabilities. The process was developed to be used with several audiences. First, families of children with disabilities can use the material to articulate their hopes and dreams for their child's future. The materials are designed so that a family may complete the maps and supporting materials prior to attending a transition meeting for their child. Service providers may use the material to interview a family regarding their desires for their child's future."

Research was conducted to determine national standards pertaining to transition, especially in early childhood years. Particular attention was paid to transitioning from 2-3 years old because 3 years of age is the time when public schools get involved with the education of children, including those with disabilities. Research focused on transition from the programs serving children with disabilities who are 3-5 years of age. Transitioning from kindergarten to primary (1st grade to 2nd grade) was also addressed.

Reach for the Stars has been an effective transition tool, but the authors and the Early Childhood Project Leader believe the product can be substantially improved and made more user-friendly for families and service providers.

In 2008, the project leader and authors met to discuss what would be involved in the review and modernization of Reach for the Stars. The conclusion was that Reach for the Stars required modernization, and the following steps occurred:

1. A contract was established with consultants.

2. A second meeting was held involving the project leader and authors. The result was to form a focus group to review Reach for the Stars and make recommendations to modernize the product.

3. A focus group convened on March 26, 2008, at General Butler State Park and Resort to carry out the plan. Many recommendations came from the focus group, and everyone felt the activity was very beneficial.

4. The consultants and project leader developed a plan of action that included a timeline for completion of the product in 2010.

In FY 2009, the authors outlined a detailed work plan and timelines for various modules of the product. They completed research of national standards for transition, especially the early years. Components of the product that needed revision were identified. The authors completed the following sections of the book: introduction/overview, assessment section, and assessment maps. Feedback was sought on these sections and changes made.

In August 2009, the authors met with the project leader and graphic designers to discuss artwork for the book. The APH graphic designer presented an artistic theme for the book, which was approved by the authors and project leader. At this meeting, a revised timeline was discussed; the authors committed to a January 2010 date for submission of final content.

The authors presented the developing product at several training sessions, including the Division of Early Childhood Conference in October 2009. These training sessions were used as an opportunity to collect input from the field and make revisions to the product as it is in development.

In the spring of 2010, authors submitted a complete manuscript of Reach for the Stars to the project leader. This manuscript included assessment maps/forms and photos taken by the authors. The project leader reviewed the submission. Then, the manuscript and assessment maps/forms were edited by the research assistant. These edits were then shared with the authors for their feedback.

Work during FY 2011

Authors and project staff finalized book content. The graphic layout of the book was also finalized. A call for field reviewers was published in the April 2011 APH News. Field reviewers were identified, and prototypes were sent out. A total of 12 reviewers provided feedback about the Reach for the Stars curriculum. Eleven of the 12 completed the product evaluation survey (including 1 joint review by the authors). Reviewers represented the states of California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and South Carolina. One hundred percent of the reviewers recommended that APH produce Reach for the Stars and make it available on Quota. The reviewers also provided constructive feedback. Suggested revisions included the following: clarification of "priority skills" and "target skills," the inclusion of glossary terms, graphical layout revisions, and the addition of more detailed procedures for completing each map and form.

Results and input from field review were shared with the authors, and they committed to submit manuscript revisions by mid-October 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

All manuscript revisions will be completed by the authors; the project leader and staff will make necessary changes to the guidebook and graphical layout. Final tooling and specifications will be completed by Technical Research. The product will become available for sale.

Tactile Book Builder

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop a blank book kit and accompanying manual that will encourage/facilitate the creation of individualized books for children; materials will support inclusion of text in an appropriate medium as well as various types of tactile illustrations, including objects from the child's own environment, shapes, textures, collaged illustrations, and raised-line illustrations.

Project Staff

Suzette Wright, Project Leader

Wendy Sapp, Ph.D., COMS, Project Consultant

Dana Fox, M.A., Project Consultant

Jane Barabash, COMS, Project Consultant

Background

The request that APH create a kit of materials that would enable users to more easily create a variety of individualized, custom-made books has been expressed for some time. A 2004 online survey elicited this request, and various focus groups have remarked on the usefulness of such a tool. Individualized books offer a way to provide a range of audiences with books in an appropriate medium with related tactile components. Because a very young child's concepts and language are limited, individualized books that address familiar topics and include things the child has experienced firsthand are more likely to be meaningful than commercially produced books. If the child helps to produce the written text, the adult can use this opportunity to build important early literacy skills. The child can also participate in illustrating the book, broadening his/her awareness of how tactile displays can be used to communicate meaning. Creating custom-made books, whether done by the adult or in collaboration with the child, can broaden the number of appropriate books available to the child and increase his/her interest in books.

The idea for a blank book kit and accompanying guidebook received approval from the Product Evaluation Team, and proceeded to the Product Advisory and Review Committee. The project was approved and released for work to begin. A brainstorming session, which marked the first Product Development Committee meeting, yielded a number of useful suggestions for materials that might be part of the kit. The project leader examined a wide range of materials that could be used for book-making by searching online and in stores. The list of kit components and how they will be grouped was finalized. Dimensions and quantities for kit materials were selected and costs were estimated. The basis for the kit is a small binder (8" x 9" x 1.75") with plastic safety rings and blank pages, 3-hole punched, for insertion into the binder. A number of different page types may be fitted into the binder: doubled braille paper pages, board stock pages, pocket pages, permabraille pages, magnetic pages, Velcro® loop pages, and colorful polyblend pages. Labeling material will be included in the basic kit, as will "tools" such as Sticky DotsTM, adhesive-backed Velcro hook attachments, and adhesive-backed magnetized strips. Add-on "packs" are also proposed, including a version of the APH SoundPage sized for the small binders in the kit, a textured fabric and paper pack, a scented sticker pack, and a pack containing materials and fibers for creating raised lines.

The project leader completed the first draft of a 42-page manual. It includes instructions and guidelines for using the kit materials to construct books with a variety of tactile illustrations. Suggestions for writing and illustrating tactile experience stories are included, as are suggestions for creating concept books, and selecting print books suited to adaptation. Examples of custom-made books were gathered and photographs of students sharing these books were included in the manual. The list of suggested kit items and a draft of the manual were submitted to two consultants for evaluation in March 2010. Overall, they were pleased with the kit items and contents of the manual. However, they recommended that the manual (Tactile Book Builder Kit Manual ) and the Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books be integrated into one document. Originally, the project leader had planned to include the second document as a separate piece. The consultants also suggested that two blank book sizes or construction types be considered: a smaller size for infant/toddlers, and the 8" x 9" size for preschoolers and older students.

Work during FY 2011

The Tactile Book Builder Kit Manual and Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books were merged into one document. Work began on a grid to show skills needed to explore different types of tactile illustration.

Work planned for FY 2012

The merged manual will be given to the graphic designer for layout and addition of photographs. The kit will be prototyped, field evaluations designed, and teachers contacted to act as field evaluators. Results of the field evaluation will be compiled and indicated revisions will be made.

As suggested by the project consultants, a smaller "blank book" will be designed and proposed as part of the current kit or as the basis for another project. This is envisioned as a product that is focused on infants and toddlers, perhaps incorporating "chewable" rings, foam construction pages that can be wiped clean, and an assortment of textures that can be attached and removed for cleaning.

Tactile Treasures [Modernization]

(New)

Photo of the original Tactile Treasures guidebook cover

Purpose

To modernize Tactile Treasures: Math and Language Concepts for Young Children with Visual Impairments, a kit first produced by APH in 1997

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker

Background

Tactile Treasures: Math and Language Concepts for Young Children with Visual Impairments is an informal assessment and teaching tool for use with children with visual impairments and blindness in preschool, kindergarten, and elementary grades. It includes thermoformed sheets with pictures made from real objects to illustrate concepts related to shape, size, amount, comparison of two or more objects, position, pre-reading, and page orientation. The guidebook provides two suggested scripts/stories per concept. These scripts can be read aloud to the child as the tactile pages are presented.

Tactile Treasures was originally published by APH in 1997. It continues to be a useful product, with sales averaging 200 units a year despite years of availability. Since the product's introduction, APH has implemented new production methods and materials that could greatly enhance the current kit, especially as related to the application of color and added durability. The upgrade would transform the kit from a tactile-only presentation to a tactile/color edition that is useful to a broader number of students. This kit's tactile design served as a basis for the new Boehm Test of Basic Concepts [see separate report].

Work during FY 2011

Although Tactile Treasures was originally pilot tested and field tested with young students with visual impairments in 1995-1996, the project leader thought it would be valuable to conduct a survey of recent customers of the kit to assess the current design and determine needed revisions. In June, a total of 17 teachers of the visually impaired responded to a mailed survey. Nearly one-quarter of the teachers had used Tactile Treasures for more than 6 years; 41% had used it between 1 and 5 years; and the remainder (35%) had used it for less than 1 year. Sixty-five percent of the teachers indicated that they used the kit "occasionally" with their students; 18% used it frequently; 12% used it rarely; and one teacher didn't use the kit because her student had already mastered the concepts. Over half of the survey respondents thought Tactile Treasures was appropriate for preschoolers with visual impairments (94%), kindergarteners with visual impairments (88%), tactile readers in Grade 1-3 (82%), and students with multiple disabilities (59%). Nearly half (47%) thought it had application for sighted students.

With regard to specific design features, more than half of the teachers indicated that they were "very satisfied" with the following: scope of concepts, provided scripts/stories, tactile quality of pages, size of pages, variety of thermoformed objects, two scripts per page/concept, divider line separating top/bottom scripts, and binder format for storage. The product's durability received the lowest rating, with only nine of the teachers being very satisfied. Durability will be addressed in the revision of the product by doubling the thickness of the tactile sheets. Color will also be added to the tactile sheets, as requested by the largest number of survey respondents.

In late June, the project leader conducted a Product Development Committee meeting to review expected revisions to the original kit and to set a production timeline. By July, updates to the vacuum-form patterns were being made and product specifications were initiated. The project leader incorporated new text into the existing guidebook and furnished the documentation to the outside graphic designer for layout. By the end of August, the new cover art was established for the "Tactile/Color Edition" of Tactile Treasures.

Work planned for FY 2012

The first quarter of the fiscal year will be completely devoted to tooling preparation (e.g., vacuum-form patterns, silkscreens, and cutting dies) needed for the pre-pilot run, scheduled for January 2012. The project leader will be involved in approving copies of the guidebook's layout, the HTML conversion, and the final thermoform and silkscreen layouts. Selection and location of color within the tactile pages will also be the project leader's responsibility. The quality of the pre-pilot run will be closely monitored; larger production runs will follow in March and May.

Teaching Puzzles for the Light Box

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop teaching puzzles that encourage fun learning, and to have puzzles that children can manipulate as well as use on the Light Box

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Background

Several users on the Early Intervention Listserv have suggested more products need to be made available from APH for use on the Light Box. In addition, the Early Childhood Project Leader heard those suggestions from attendees at various conferences who visited the APH booth in exhibit halls. The Face Puzzle and Ball Puzzle are very popular APH products used on the Light Box. The project leader plans to develop more puzzles for the Light Box that will be manipulatives, and, at the same time, benefit children with usable vision. The puzzles will be used to teach a variety of concepts, and several categories will be included: farm animals, body parts, foods, fruits, shapes, etc. The puzzles will have color discrimination, and activities will be written for each puzzle to teach about the theme (farm animals, fruits, shapes, body parts, etc.).

An example of how this will work: Take the category of fruits to include apple, banana, orange, grapes, etc. Each fruit will be a puzzle, and activities will describe each fruit allowing the child/student to learn about that particular fruit. The puzzles can be assembled on a flat surface or on the Light Box. This type of learning will be fun.

In 2008, research was completed on APH products available for use on the Light Box. Research was also completed on APH products available for use on the Light Box that can be used as standalone manipulatives. A review was conducted to determine what products are available that are not presently available from APH. Categories were identified, and the project leader began to write activities to accompany the puzzles. The categories include the following:

1. Fruits--orange, apple, banana, grapes, strawberry

2. Body Parts--arm, hand, foot, leg, head (ears, eyes, mouth, nose)

3. Farm Animals--children, horse, pig, cow, dog, cat

4. Shapes--irregular shapes

5. Tree--branch, limb, trunk, bark, leaves

In FY 2009, the project leader continued efforts to develop a variety of puzzles for use on the Light Box. Designs were developed by the project leader for farm animals, fruits, and cars. The project leader talked with TVIs in the field to get additional ideas, and began work on designs for word games and mazes as several TVIs suggested the project leader pursue these ideas. In addition, several O&M specialists suggested developing O&M routes for the Light Box. The project leader outlined the next steps of the project, but was unable to share plans with the graphic design firm and other staff at APH.

The project leader selected eight animals to use in developing puzzles for the Light Box. The animals chosen are horse (and foal), cow (and calf), cat (and kitten), dog (and puppy), bear (and cub), deer (and fawn), pig (and piglet), and wolf (and pups). The plan calls for each animal to have several pieces allowing the children to put them together forming an animal. The project leader began to write a story about each of the eight animals, including the babies.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader's schedule constraints precluded further development of the product during FY 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will provide to Technical Research the shapes of the eight animals, and how each animal is to be formed utilizing puzzle pieces. For instance, the horse will have the following pieces: legs, a head and neck combined, full body, and tail. The horse will stand upright, and shape of the horse will present a side view. The head of the horse will look to the side. All animals, and their babies, will be formed for the Light Box using the above-described picture of the horse. The project leader will complete the stories for all animals and their babies, and work with the graphic design team to complete the written documentation.

The Best for a Nest

(Completed)

Purpose

To revise The Best for a Nest, a book once printed by APH; to produce an interactive storybook for learners to focus on many concepts, such as positions, prepositions, and use of tactile symbols

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Lois Harrell, Author/Consultant

Background

The Best for a Nest was copyrighted in 1976 by Lois Harrell, and produced as a contract job by APH in 1986. However, the book was not available from APH as a catalog item. The book was created to allow emphasis on prepositions. Each page in the book offers a controlled written presentation. The corresponding tactile illustrations are directly related to the text. The simplicity of both allows the focus to be upon what is happening, while avoiding unnecessary details. Approximately 70% of the 136 word vocabulary is comprised of words that appear on the Dolch list. The material in the story allows opportunity for further elaboration. Basic concepts can be explored in the tactile illustrations: counting, left and right, comparisons, and top and bottom.

In 2008, the project leaded worked with APH staff, the consultant, and Bisig design firm to complete many tasks. The written document was reviewed and revised; appropriate changes were made. Regarding the layout of the book, the following components were determined: size of print, size of book (paper size), the location of braille storybook pages, presentation of graphics, how the storyboard will be used as part of the product, size of storyboard, the manipulatives to be used on the storyboard, and materials used to make the manipulatives.

The project leader worked with APH staff, including staff with expertise in tactile graphics, on the idea of having a family of items that could be used to illustrate words on each page of the book. The idea is to have Velcro® board and then place items in proper position to illustrate what is on the page (i.e., tree, bird, bird nest, grass, etc.). As each page is read to the child, the child can place the items in the proper position to illustrate what is on each page. The idea is to have the statement in large print and braille on each page, and print graphics showing what is meant by the phrase on a particular page. Tactile illustration will be done by using the method described above allowing the child to manipulate items to make the illustration.

In FY 2009, Bisig completed graphic layout of the book. Technical research worked with the project leader to prepare the product to be printed and embossed with braille. The manipulatives, which are to be used on the storyboard as tactile illustrations, were made. This part of the project took considerable time to complete.

The Best for a Nest was sent out for field testing in the spring of 2009. Fourteen reviewers, representing the states of Kentucky, California, Colorado, and Indiana, evaluated the product. Thirty-seven students used the product. These students ranged in age from 3-12 years old; school grades ranged from Pre K to 6th, with the majority being Pre K. A wide range of visual acuities and eye conditions were represented.

It was reported that 100% of students enjoyed the story and showed strong interest in exploring the manipulatives on the storyboard. Evaluators felt that concepts of varying degrees of difficulty were represented. While 100% of evaluators recommended that this product be sold by APH on Quota, the reviewers also suggested revisions to the prototype. These revisions included texture changes for the manipulatives and using bolder colors in the storybook. In addition, the consultant suggested that raised lines be added to the storybook. Based on this feedback and potential changes to the tactile components of the product, Tactile Graphics Project Leader Karen Poppe was assigned as a project advisor on this product.

Project staff developed a post-field test survey that was sent to the original field reviewers. This survey gathered further input about tactile graphics to be used in The Best for a Nest . Nine (of 14) surveys were returned. The overwhelming majority of respondents felt that tactile graphics (e.g., raised lines) were not needed in the storybook itself as the interactive storyboard was sufficient for the tactile component. In addition, reviewers felt that the manipulatives were appropriate for a younger audience. In the future, project staff may explore developing a complementary version of The Best for a Nest that includes raised-line tactile graphics on each page of the storybook; this type of tactile graphic would be more abstract in representation and would require a key/legend for interpretation. The consultant was in agreement with this plan.

Revisions were made to the book and storyboard components based on field test feedback from FY 2009. These revisions included changing the fabric on the cat manipulative and increasing the size of the eggs and baby bird pieces.

Work during FY 2011

Final tooling and specifications were completed. The product became available for sale in August 2011.

The National Registry for Children with Visual Impairments, Birth to Three

(Continued)

Purpose

To establish a national registry of young children, birth to 36 months, by working with public and private agencies to collect standardized epidemiological and demographic data on young children with visual impairments. All data are coded to assure confidentiality of children and families. Collaborating agencies will forward the data to a national registry center at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Deborah Hatton, Research Scientist

Conrad Reynolds, Technical Consultant

Background

In 1995, the Model Registry of Early Childhood Visual Impairment Consortium Group (MRECVICG) was established to address the issue of data collection to ensure its consistent and systematic completion. The mission of MRECVICG was to develop and implement a model registry of birth to 3-year-old blind and visually impaired children, and to demonstrate the feasibility of a registry that could be replicated on a national basis. The MERCVICG was a high-powered committee representative of agencies serving children with visual impairments, Departments of Education, institutions of higher education, and the medical community.

In late 1998, four members of the MRECVICG developed a proposal requesting that the American Printing House for the Blind assume the project as a national project. Tuck Tinsley, Ed.D., President of APH, presented the proposal to the Board of Trustees and in June 1999, it was officially announced that APH would assume the project. In August 2000, an Early Childhood Project Leader was employed in the Research Department by APH, and APH agreed to begin collecting data in January 2001. The Board is to be commended for approving the use of endowment funds to support this project.

Benefits of the project include:

The project coordinator continued efforts to add additional participants to the project. When the project was taken over by APH in 2001, there were eight states participating. Presently there are 26 states participating, and another five states have been trained to get involved. Most states have several agencies providing early intervention services to blind and visually impaired children, birth to 3. With this in mind, there are presently 43 agencies participating. A total of 2,155 surveys were entered into the database as of December 31, 2004. Approximately 3,300 surveys are now in the database. An analysis was done on the 2,155 surveys, and a PowerPoint presentation developed. The project coordinator presented the data at several conferences during 2007.

In 2008, the project coordinator continued to encourage more states and agencies to participate in the project. Project coordinator participated in several conferences and seminars to promote the project. An Advisory Committee was established to review the present status of the Babies Count Project, and to recommend strategies to improve the project in the future. Advisory Committee members included: Dr. Deborah Hatton, Tom Miller, Dr. Lee Robinson, Gail Calvello, Chris Tompkins, Mindy Ely, and Janie Blome. Some of the recommendations included the following:

1. To have data analyzed on an annual basis

2. To identify 12 to 17 items from the survey to be analyzed annually for each participating agency

3. To upgrade/revise the present database

4. To have a place on the APH website just for Babies Count

The project leader for Babies Count did not complete the above-recommendations from the Advisory Committee. Several new states joined Babies Count during FY 2008: Kansas, Texas, Montana, and Nevada. Interest in the project continues to be fairly high. Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan have shown a desire to get involved.

During FY 2009, the coordinator of Babies Count continued to work closely with states and agencies participating in the Babies Count Project. The agencies participating continued to collect and enter data into the database. Interest was shown from several states, but no new states were added during FY 2009. The following work was also completed in FY 2009:

1. Twenty-two items were identified to be included in a report for each individual agency participating.

2. Improved entry time for surveys sent to coordinator of project.

3. Better communication between coordinator and participating agencies was established.

4. Identified what materials should be part of a link on the APH Web site.

Someone outside APH had done data entry into the database, but that individual was unable to continue working on the project. The project leader worked to identify an outside source to do this work, but efforts were not successful.

The Babies Count Project continued to be important to the field, and to APH. During FY 2010, efforts were made to re-define APH's commitment to the project. This included (1) identification of how best to analyze the data that is currently in the database, and (2) what data should continue to be gathered in the future. The process through which data is gathered and entered into the database was reviewed. The electronic survey form was reviewed and needed changes identified.

Work during FY 2011

Dr. Deborah Hatton, at Vanderbilt University, continued the process of completing an analysis of the Babies Count data entered from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2009.

The Babies Count database remains available to those agencies that wish to continue entering data.

Work planned for FY 2012

When Hatton and team finalize data analysis, they intend to make a report available to the field.

VIPS@Home Parent University Series

(Continued)

Purpose

To offer courses to parents that allow them to gain valuable information aimed at helping them raise their children who are blind or visually impaired

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Pauletta Feldman, Consultant

Terri Connolly, Consultant

Suzette Wright, Emergent Literacy Project Leader

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Cathy Senft-Graves, Research Assistant

Terri Gilmore, APH Graphic Designer

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Designer

Background

Research shows that family involvement in education is critical to children's success. It is even more important for young children who are blind or visually impaired. Since it is estimated that 80-90% of what a young child learns occurs through vision, knowledgeable and involved parents can help mitigate the developmental delays and/or differences that can accompany visual impairment. During the early intervention years, when services are very personal and family-friendly, it is imperative that families learn as much as they can to carry them through the many years ahead in raising and educating their child.

Visual impairment is a low incidence disability. Therefore, a young family who has a visually impaired child may have never known anyone who is blind or visually impaired. They most likely have no background or experiences to draw from in dealing with having a child who is blind or visually impaired. They typically feel devastated and terribly alone, not knowing anyone else who has had to face such a difficult situation. Young families need information and support to accept their child's disability and to know how to cope with it, reducing both the child's and the family's risks of adverse impacts.

VIPS@Home Parent University Series addresses these needs by offering a curriculum or courses for parents of blind or visually impaired children that can be taught by service providers or trained parent teachers. These courses can be taught in the home. Many parents find it difficult to attend parent meetings, so this is a way to get information to families at their convenience while making it possible for them to connect with other parents to network and share information and support.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) obtained a grant for $15,000 to develop VIPS@Home Parent University. The initial approach was to submit a grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education, but it was not approved. Four courses were developed by VIPS: (1) Tour Through the Jungle; overview of special education, (2) Emergent Literacy, (3) Power at Your Fingertips; introduction to Braille, and (4) Magical Moments. Because the Early Childhood Project Leader from APH was involved in the formation of this project, he recommended that APH take on this project and have it be a product APH could sell on Quota.

The project leader presented the idea to the Director of Research, and it was taken to the Products Evaluation Team (PET). PET approved this request, and it was sent to PARC. PARC approved the request and APH purchased the rights to the product from VIPS. This took place in late FY 2009.

Each of the aforementioned courses of the VIPS@Home Parent University Series needed revisions in order to have them become a product sold by APH. The project leader worked with consultants from VIPS, and another project leader from APH, to revise each of the four courses. Considerable progress has been made in the revisions of each course.

During FY 2010, the project leader worked with the APH research assistants to edit the courses. In addition, the project leader worked with APH's graphic designer and Bisig to design each of the four courses, including cover art. Cover pages have been designed for each course, and have been approved by the project leader. Editing has been completed on three of the four courses. Power at Your Fingertips (Introduction to Braille) is close to completion in terms of editing and graphic design. A brief description of each course follows.

Power at Your Fingertips: Introduction to Braille: This course emphasizes a basic understanding of braille. Parents will learn how braille was developed, the braille alphabet and numbers, how to basically read braille by sight, and how to write braille using both the braillewriter and slate and stylus. The course is designed to be parent-friendly and easy to understand.

Emergent Literacy: Children are never too young for parents to begin working on literacy skills. This course will help parents learn about the foundations of early literacy, the importance of reading to their children, and how to make story time come alive. Parents will learn about how to incorporate literacy opportunities into daily routines. Parents will learn how to make a story box, adapt books, and create homemade books. The course is designed to be parent-friendly and easy to understand.

Special Education: Tour Through the Jungle: Parents will learn about special education laws, and what is meant by a free and appropriate education for children with disabilities. The course discusses the differences between early intervention services and special education services in public schools. Parents learn about the Individualized Education Plan, and how to be a strong advocate for their children. The course is designed to be parent-friendly and easy to understand.

Magical Moments: Everyday: Parents will learn about what makes a magical moment, and how to create a magical moment each day. As their child grows, parents will learn how to ensure their child is a part of--not apart from--the places of their everyday lives. Parents will learn they truly are the magician in their child's life: (1) They make amazing things happen in the life of their child every day; (2) They are the one who pulls it together throughout the day; and (3) They are the major support for their child. The course teaches how vision loss affects early learning and play. Having fun is emphasized throughout this course. The course is designed to be parent-friendly and easy to understand.

VIPS@Home Parent University Series was presented in November 2009, at the Literacy Conference. In addition, a presentation was made at the International AER Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, in July 2010. Tremendous interest was shown in this product at both conferences.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader worked with the consultants, research assistants, APH graphic

designer, Bisig, and technical support to prepare the courses for field testing. The first two of three modules in Magical Moments was written by the consultant, Terri Connolly. Content for the other three courses is complete.

Work planned for FY 2012

Emergent Literacy and Power at Your Fingertips will be prepared for field testing in the winter of 2011-2012. The remaining two courses, Tour Through the Jungle and Magical Moments will be sent out for field testing by summer 2012.

Expanded Core Curriculum

Fun Functional Reading Across the ECC

(New)

Purpose

To provide a curriculum of functional activities in which students with visual impairments, especially struggling readers, can practice their reading and writing skills while also developing competence in the nine areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC)

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Background

Literacy is essential for academic achievement, vocational success, and personal fulfillment. Thus, it is imperative that all students be given sufficient opportunities to practice their reading and writing skills across the curriculum and in practical, real-life situations. Given the fact that students with visual impairments have access to fewer materials in an accessible format than their sighted peers, they may benefit from enrichment activities that provide them with additional opportunities to hone their literacy skills.

Those students with visual impairments, for whom reading and writing is difficult, need additional supports in order to develop basic literacy skills. Reading remediation is oftentimes provided through skill drill exercises, which students tend to find tedious, boring, and irrelevant. Unfortunately, this often makes this population even more reluctant to read and write. Thus, these students need to have reading and writing infused into their daily lives in a meaningful and interesting manner.

Kristie Smith-Armand, a teacher of students with visual impairments (TSVI) and author of a series of books geared toward children with visual impairments and the professionals who serve them, submitted an idea for a product that would address these issues. Given the fact that this was also a need identified by the Multiple Disabilities Focus Group that met at the American Printing House for the Blind in March 2011, the Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory Review Committee (PARC) decided to approve this product for development in April 2011.

For students with visual impairments, learning to read involves more than just developing skills in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. It requires the mastery of disability-specific skills (such as the use of braille, optical aids, tactile graphics, etc.). These and many other specialized skills make up the ECC. Mastery of the ECC is essential for students with visual impairments because it allows them to access the core curriculum and to receive the same opportunities for post-school success that is provided to their sighted counterparts. Unfortunately, research shows that TSVIs do not have the time, resources, support, and opportunities to provide systematic, direct instruction in the ECC. Thus, PARC suggested restructuring this product so that the functional literacy activities could also be used to facilitate instruction in each area of the ECC.

Work during FY 2011

Given the fact that this product was only recently approved by PARC, no significant product development has occurred.

Work planned for FY 2012

A meeting of the Product Development Committee will be held to determine the next steps to be taken, at which point a contract with the author will be created to retain her services to develop additional games and activities to be included with the product.

Multiple Disabilities Projects and Needs

(Ongoing)

Purpose

To assess needs, plan research, and manage product development to better serve individuals who are visually impaired and have additional disabilities

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Background

A Multiple Disabilities Focus Group met at APH in March 2001. The group identified a total of 48 product ideas and held detailed discussions on the revision of APH's Sensory Stimulation Kit (SSK), the development of a tactile (communication) symbol system, and the value of adaptable calendar boxes. The 48 product ideas were developed into a needs survey that was distributed nationally and received international participation. The results of the survey were presented at the 2002 Annual Meeting and are still available on the APH Web site: http://www.aph.org/edresearch/md_results.html

Since that time, the Multiple Disabilities Project Leader continues to work on products recommended by the survey, and on existing APH products that need to be updated to meet current APH and educational standards.

Work during FY 2011

APH hosted two new Multiple Disabilities Focus Groups: Children Birth to Grade 12 Multiple Disabilities Focus Group (March) and Adult Multiple Disabilities Focus Group (June). Each group identified product needs for the specific age group and helped design a product needs survey to facilitate prioritization. Group members recruited colleagues to pilot the two surveys. The final surveys were made available on the Internet in September.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will compile the data, write a report on each survey, and publish the results on the APH Web site.

Quick and Easy ECC: The Hatlen Center Guide

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide teachers of students with visual impairments, certified orientation and mobility specialists, parents, and other members of the educational team with quick, creative lessons designed to teach skills related to the Expanded Core Curriculum to secondary students in school, home, and community settings

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Patricia Maffei, Consultant/Author

Patricia Williams, Consultant

Background

In spite of the fact that instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) has been identified as an important goal of The National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youth with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities, teachers of students with visual impairments (TSVIs) report that it is difficult to find the time and resources required to consistently and systematically address the plethora of skills contained in the following domains of the ECC: assistive technology/technology, career education, compensatory access skills, independent living, orientation and mobility, recreation and leisure, self-determination, sensory efficiency, and social interaction. This is particularly problematic because it is these specialized skills that allow students who are blind and visually impaired to access the core curriculum and to ultimately have the opportunity to attain the intended post-secondary outcomes afforded high school graduates. However, given the shortage of qualified personnel, oversized caseloads, the extensive time it takes to produce accessible instructional materials, the need for specialized knowledge of adaptive techniques, and emphasis on demonstrating adequate yearly progress on core-curriculum standards, instruction in the expanded core curriculum is often provided in a haphazard fashion. Furthermore, it is often difficult to achieve generalized use of these skills due to time constraints that affect communication between TSVIs, classroom teachers, related service providers, and parents.

In order to facilitate systematic instruction in the ECC for secondary students with visual impairments, it would be beneficial to provide ideas for lessons, including suggestions for adaptive strategies and aids, which could be easily executed across all the student's environments by any member of the educational team. Given the extensive heterogeneity among the population of learners with visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities, a sequential and leveled curriculum is impractical. A collection of lesson plans produced like recipe cards would create an individualized and dynamic curriculum that could easily be tailored to accommodate a variety of needs, interests, age levels, and ability levels. Given the fact that most middle and high school students do not have a scheduled daily class devoted entirely to mastery of the ECC, these specialized skills are often embedded within other content on an as-needed basis. Unfortunately, this can lead to the development of splinter skills that are not generalized across situations and environments. However, the availability of short, easy-to-implement lessons would increase the likelihood of direct instruction in the ECC being provided regularly by any member of the educational team in the most naturally occurring context. Furthermore, lesson plans produced in a recipe format would facilitate the understanding of adaptive techniques and the procurement of adaptive aids needed for the execution of the targeted skill. Hence, this type of curriculum would facilitate systematic instruction in the ECC while helping the student and the educational team realize that mastery of the ECC is essential to success in the core curriculum and in life after school.

In order to effectively prepare transition-age students with visual impairments to live independently, Patricia Maffei, Program Director of the Hatlen Center for the Blind, and Patricia Williams, Executive Director of the Hatlen Center for the Blind, have been forced to address their students' lack of proficiency in the ECC. Knowing that this is a concern for almost anyone working with this population, Maffei proposed that APH develop a guide containing lesson plans and suggested adaptive aids and techniques to facilitate instruction in the ECC across a variety of environments by all members of the educational team, including parents. Seeing the need for this product, APH officially approved this product for development in April 2009, and Maffei and Williams were hired as project consultants.

During the 2009 Annual Meeting, Patricia Williams and Phil Hatlen, in conjunction with APH staff, conducted a product input session. The session was well attended, and participants expressed a need for this product. Based on the feedback obtained from this brainstorming session as well as input provided by staff at the Hatlen Center for the Blind, Patricia Maffei submitted a draft of 135 ECC lessons in February 2010.

Work during FY 2011

Attendees of an ECC presentation at the Kentucky Chapter of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired were given samples of the ECC activity cards and were asked to provide input. Forty-seven surveys were completed in which respondents were asked to rate various components of the cards on the following five point scale: 0 = Poor or Unnecessary, 1 = Fair, 2 = Good, 3 = Very Good, and 4 = Excellent. The average rating of all the combined evaluated components of the cards was 3.21. Based on feedback, possibilities for indicating age levels, prerequisite skills, and specifying adaptations for students who are totally blind, who have low vision, or who have multiple disabilities are being explored. In addition, we are considering including more lessons on career education and recreation and leisure as well as lessons that directly target orientation and mobility skills.

Work planned for FY 2012

Because there is not a large body of research available on the ECC, selected lessons will be reviewed by a group of leading experts. Feedback gleaned from this process will be incorporated, and the final prototype, including a guidebook, will be developed. Field evaluators will be selected, and field testing will be scheduled.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

APH Digital Audio Component

(Continued)

Purpose

To create digital audio recording, playback, and navigation components for use in several educational, application, and utility programs under development

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager

John Zinninger, Senior Technician

Background

Given the close work APH does with the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) consortium, the National Library Service (NLS), the APH studio, and the software under development in the Department of Educational Research, APH staff recognized that the creation of a digital audio component that could be shared among several applications was the model that was most efficient for the wide variety of projects under development. Several of the educational software projects, including Book Wizard Reader, Book Wizard Producer, Book Port Transfer, Studio Recorder, Talking Typer, Termite Torpedo, Armadillo Army, Toodle Tiles, and Teacher's Pet require a digital audio recording and playback component.

In addition to the needs for playback and recording controls, the Book Wizard and Book Port Transfer projects required navigation controls and the ability to speed up the playback of the recording without affecting the pitch. Given the diverse requirements and the interesting possibilities offered with custom software, APH decided to develop its own digital audio record, playback, and navigation component for use with several projects underway and to develop an interface that uses that control to provide a studio recording application. (See the separate write-up on Studio Recorder.)

Through the years, staff continued to enhance the component. In 2007, they added the ability to encode and decode the AMR Wideband Plus format, which is what the National Library Service uses for its new Digital Talking Books.

Work during FY 2011

See the Studio Recorder write-up for a list of changes that applies to both the digital audio recording component and Studio Recorder.

Work planned for FY 2012

Staff will continue to enhance the component as needed. Many software users requested the ability to slow down the speed of the audio playback. This would make learning language or music much easier. Windows DirectX filters should be supported. This would allow users of APH audio-editing software to use third party plug-ins, commonly referred to as DirectX Plug-ins, for signal processing. File size limitations with the .wav file type are quickly becoming a problem as the power of PCs increases and the demands of users grow. Programmers investigated additional file types for inclusion as the set the component supports. There are still several advanced features that require significant amounts of research to implement. Among these is the addition of a band pass filter and pattern detection. Yet another area of interest is streaming technology. The digital audio component should provide full streaming services to the client in a variety of environments. Server side implementations of the component should be able to provide a local user navigation and time scale services on the server side, thereby reducing the amount of data that is transferred.

APH Speech Environment

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop a reusable foundation for current talking software from APH

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Keith Creasy, Programmer

John Hedges, Programmer

Background

APH develops talking software that runs under current and future versions of Windows. While each completed title is different, they also have much in common, especially with respect to access issues.

The APH Speech Environment (ASE) provides the following common services to all the programs under development:

ASE is a program module that provides these core services. While it will not be a standalone product, it is included as part of most APH software developed for Windows and could be provided to other Accessible software manufactures in an effort to meet the 508 regulations referring to government procurement of electronic tools.

During the first few years of APH software development, standard services were enough to meet the needs of the software under development. For example, providing access and speech to common Windows controls and menus, a means of controlling speech parameters and voice selections, a means of stopping the speech on request, a way of repeating the information, and precise punctuation pronunciation control were once enough to meet the needs of the applications under development at APH. As more titles gain popularity, ASE's capabilities must expand to meet the needs of the new software.

In APH's first three titles, for example, the software was all written in C or C++ programming languages, and none of the packages required the ability to echo keyboard input, although each provided this functionality. Neither did the titles have much need for braille output. ASE's role has already expanded with the introduction of a user registration mechanism. These algorithms let the application query registration information and inform the application as to whether it is running as a demo or as a full version. They also provide a user interface that describes the limitation built into the demonstration version of the calling application and offers the user the ability to enter a key that he may obtain from APH customer support over the phone or electronically. Once the customer enters that key, the application is converted from a demo into a fully registered version of that program.

Now, as APH develops under different programming languages and with the need to provide these technologies to other companies that wish to license APH's software, the flexibility of ASE's interface was improved. The first version of ASE was packaged as a standard Windows Dynamic Link Library (DLL). This is an extremely efficient means of passing large amounts of information from one component to another. Unfortunately, this technique is feasible to use only with the C programming language. As ASE's capabilities expand and the demands on it from client software expand, ASE required moving to the Component Object Model architecture. About 80% of ASE's functions have been converted to this architecture, and several educational software products are already taking advantage of ASE's new interface and capabilities.

Work during FY 2011

During FY 2011, project staff integrated ASE with APH Talking PC Maps, corrected a bug that caused incorrect speech behavior on multi line edit boxes, and corrected a memory leak.

Work planned for FY 2012

Book Port

(Continued Support)

Purpose

To provide a hardware tool for reading electronic books in a means convenient to the student and professional

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Steve Gomas, Project Consultant

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Keith Creasy, Programmer

Mario Eiland, Programmer

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Background

In FY 2000, APH began distributing a device that uses synthesized speech in a portable, convenient housing to let the user read electronic books without having to stay near the computer. While this device, the Road Runner, is no longer available, its popularity and utility were unsurpassed, especially for those students and professionals who had large amounts of material to read.

Research staff began planning enhancements to the device and its interface. So, when its unavailability became apparent, staff began design on a new device that addressed the shortcomings of Road Runner while building increased functionality and flexibility for the future. These new issues included: increased, removable storage media, incremental deletes, more file types, better navigation and review, and a simplified interface. The unit needed to be able to accommodate memos, so the number of keys was increased to allow braille input for making annotations. The unit also needed to be able to play digitized audio so that it may play Digital Talking Books.

As the years of software improvements continued, the hardware components became obsolete and difficult to purchase. A new model was needed that included features such as:

As design for the next generation of hardware failed, staff began to look for an alternative means of providing the capabilities Book Port offered.

Work during FY 2011

No significant work beyond support was performed this year.

Work planned for FY 2012

See the report for Book Port Plus for the description of the hardware replacement. We will continue to provide software support and upgrades for this product.

Book Port DT

(New)

Purpose

To provide a replacement for the table top cassette player/recording machine currently supplied by APH

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Takoru Shiroki, Project Consultant

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Keith Creasy, Programmer

Ken Perry, Programmer

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Background

The increasing difficulty obtaining parts, manufacturing, and cassettes themselves makes the current table top recorder less and less useful as a simple versatile tool for making and playing recordings.

NLS has transitioned to online and flash cartridge distribution and is looking for ways to reduce the distribution of magazines on cassette.

Many users love the old table top recorder. They cite its simplicity of use, good recording quality, and cheap, archivable media (the cassette) as reasons for their admiration.

While only time can help bring down the price of digital storage media, the ease of use and recording quality in the digital arena are far superior to analog counterparts. Unfortunately, some learning will still be necessary for making recordings. On analog, virtually every machine was similar--the user pressed the Record button to start recording, and that was all.

In digital, there are a few more considerations and some advantages. It is still possible to press the Record button to start the recording. Now, however, the new recording does not overwrite material beyond the existing segment, so there is no danger of accidentally overwriting an important part of the recording.

In the search for existing desktop DTB players that could be adapted to accept the NLS cartridge, APH identified the Plextalk PTX1 as hardware that, with the replacement of its CD drive with a cartridge receptacle and some firmware enhancements, could serve as the platform for the new Book Port DT.

The new device should contain the following characteristics:

Work during FY 2011

Project staff completed the following tasks:

Work planned for FY 2012

Project staff will work to complete the following:

Book Port Plus

(Continued)

Purpose

To replace the analog cassette machine and the Book Port with a portable electronic device that is simple enough for anyone to use for both playback and recording of Digital Talking Books and to harness the capabilities of wireless networking to obtain content

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Takoru Shiroki, Project Consultant

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Keith Creasy, Programmer

Ken Perry, Programmer

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Background

As the difficulty of using cassette tape as a playback and a recording medium increases due to normal equipment breakdown and the lack of parts and tape, the National Library Service (NLS) transitions to online and cartridge distribution of its titles, and the ever quickening capabilities of the Internet for educational and content distribution purposes explodes, the need for a portable, reliable, expandable reading device for a blind student in a technological classroom setting becomes apparent. At the same time, elderly NLS patrons who embrace the simplicity of the operation of the cassette machine and its adequate recording capabilities require a device to perform the functions for which they formerly employed the APH Handi-cassette or other analog tape recorder. They want to be able to simply and effectively play a book or make a recording without having to consider extra complexity because the medium has moved from tape to digital. Many also desire the increased recording quality made possible by the digital media, recording level controls, recording monitoring, and the ability to append to existing recordings without having to position a tape.

In addition to simplicity of playback and recording, many users desire physical controls that are large and distinctive. Of all the existing DTB players, the Plextalk Pocket was identified as the hardware base that most closely meets the desired characteristics. The Plextalk Pocket contains 12 large telephone keys with a very pronounced dot on the 5 key, a five-way arrow/selection control, and six additional, easily distinguishable keys for various purposes including recording. Its keys are well spaced and arranged in a familiar telephone-like layout.

In addition to its desirable key controls, the Plextalk Pocket features state-of-the-art hardware that will let it evolve over the next few years with quickly evolving standards.

APH contracted with Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd., to adapt the existing Plextalk Pocket (PTP1) DAISY player recorder to meet the following goals:

The hardware already supported the goals which include the following:

Staff and engineers from Shinano Kenshi met and evaluated the feasibility of firmware modifications, packaging, warranty and repairs, marketing, and distribution.

Firmware modifications were broken down into options that would increase the simplicity and usability of the interface, improvements in performance, more optimal behavior for an auditory interface, and features specific to APH's interests.

Programmers at Shinano Kenshi added the following:

Work during FY 2011

Firmware version 5.03, June 2011

This version starts taking advantage of the wireless network hardware built into every Book Port Plus ever manufactured with the following:

Software version 2.0, June 2011

Work planned for FY 2012

Project staff will work to complete the following tasks:

Book Wizard

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a program that lets a student read textbooks using the National Industry Standards Organization (NISO) 3.0 Digital Talking Book (DTB) file specifications in whatever accessible format is most appropriate for that student and to provide a program that can create and edit these titles.

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Keith Creasy, Programmer

John Hedges, Programmer

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Rodger Smith, Programmer

Jane Thompson, Director of ATIC

Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager

Background

The need for a program that supports multiple output media arose from several places, including APH's and other accessible media publishers' desire to efficiently produce textbooks in the media that best meets a student's needs. Such a task requires intelliGent software and a file format that is both universal and expandable.

The first step in creating such software is to identify or define the file format that best supports the characteristics required by all the output media types. Careful analysis and a worldwide trend to the extensible markup language (XML) convinced staff that this file format provided the structure, features, and extensibility required. The existence of math markup languages such as Math Markup Language (MML) and LaTex also provides the possibility of integration into the final file format. XML uses a Document Type Definition (DTD) to define the vocabulary for a markup language, and these DTDs can become quite elaborate. Creating one from scratch is not a trivial task.

The National Library Service (NLS) is also attempting to define the file format for digital talking books of the future. They put a committee together to study DTDs and requirements for digital distribution of talking books in the United States. The committee consists of talking book libraries from around the world, alternative media producers, schools and training centers, and experts from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to identify and define the parameters of this file format. A large part of this committee is represented by the Digital Access Information System (DAISY) Consortium, which is another group comprised of alternate media producers from around the world. Their mission was to create a digital distribution system that met the needs of the users and producers and one that would be compatible from country to country. European, Australian, Canadian, and some Asian countries are already using the DAISY 2.x file specifications to produce and distribute digital talking books.

When NLS first commissioned the study, they were mainly on a quest for information about how to produce and distribute digital talking books for United States citizens, and this is still their primary goal. But as the process evolved and their needs coincided so well with the needs of many others, they soon found themselves, under the leadership of first Michael Moody then Michael Katsman, defining the standards. They are working through the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) to define the characteristics of a file format that will meet the needs of all these producers, as well as the end user, provide compatibility among countries, and remain extensible to provide the option to grow. The file format they chose uses a number of existing technologies, so it will be possible to create tools and applications to work with such files much more easily than if they had defined their own file formats.

The new file format was submitted to the National Information Standards Organization, and it gained approval in December 2002. A revision was approved in 2005. The format is called NISO z39.86. The NISO Digital Talking Book combines Simultaneous Multimedia Integrated Language (SMIL) 2.0, with a Document Type Definition (DTD) that defines the elements in the text, and an XML file called the Navigation Control to tie the parts together. The Open Ebook's package file, which contains a list of all of a book's associated files, is also included.

Having attended the meetings defining the standards and insuring APH's interests were represented, research programmers gathered information about the issues and technologies and wrote specifications for a software package that uses the NISO Digital Talking Book Document Type Definition. These standards are integrating the audio representation of a work to let a student read a textbook in whatever media he desires. The package, Book Wizard, also provides services to make it simple and efficient to create such a book. Keeping all this in mind, staff is also aware that using a handheld device like the Compaq Ipaq or other Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) to read digital talking books is also required. Staff used the Book Wizard services to permit reading NISO z39.86 Digital Talking Books on Book Port.

Staff continued to participate in NISO and DAISY consortium activities. As they learned more about specific APH requirements, they ensured specifications were defined to meet these requirements. Keith Creasy is a member of the Digital Rights Management Committee, and helped identify features and characteristics about protecting books that would be least intrusive to readers while still offering publishers the protection they desire.

Work during FY 2011

The following enhancements were made to Book Wizard Reader and Book Wizard Producer:

When there are list items that contain more than one block of text formed by adding <br/> elements, BWP creates a <div> element to contain each block so that each block can be referenced in the SMIL and thus provide local navigation on all players. When the XML is converted back to HTML for viewing, however, these <div> elements are being removed and this creates a problem in that the ID the SMIL references for that text is no longer present.

A second issue involves the enumerator for lists. BWP is preserving the type of list (ol or ul), but it is not preserving the type of enumerator (numerals, letters, etc.). Perhaps something could be added to the xsl transform that converts a style element for the list into the "enum" attribute as per the DAISY spec.

BWP is now mapping the style attributes on lists to the enum attribute in DTBook. This corrects problems with lists not being enumerated as specified by styles in HTML that is imported.

Two problems were corrected that showed up with The Verbal View of Word 2007 book, one of navigation on a nested list and a mis-enumerated list. The list enumeration problem is related to not importing the @style to process into an emum xml attribute. The program needs to create the attribute. The navigation problem stems from a missing ID that disappeared due to a wrong namespace on the added element that was to help handle text of nested lists. The list has two text elements, which were not processed correctly.

HTML import with nested lists was corrected. When a list item is encountered during the import process and it has other lists nested, text elements are wrapped in a div, and the nested lists are processed recursively. The next step, once the HTML has been imported and transformed to a DTBook XML file, is that the document creates a book from the DTBook file, adding the necessary references in the package, SMIL, and NCX.

Problems were identified with a level-6 (custom-6) mark that gets added by one of the audio editors. A problem was corrected with audio files with no marks (CanAutomark).

An issue was fixed for BWP not updating the audio clip position (relative to the entire book) when the SMIL was split after adding a new nav point.

Staff fixed the use of brackets around temporary text nav labels. The temporary label is the ID of the nav point surrounded by brackets. These are not saved to file.

Synchronization of text and TTS output is off when we get the text from an image group (image in the DTB). We now remove the alt text when we add the prod note to prevent us from getting double text from the image group element.

Work planned for FY 2012

Project staff will work to complete the following tasks:

Improve text navigation; character, word, sentence

Incorporate text editing and additional XML editing capabilities

Add more command-line options for batch processing

Add zoom and font selection to text window

Add hyperlink support

Book Wizard staff will continue to work in cooperation with the recording studio, Resource Services, Accessible Tests, and other departments within APH to produce material and work out production issues related to DTBs.

Functionality will be added to allow for user response to items in a DTB when called for. This should allow a DTB to be used for interactive teaching and computerized testing.

The cursor used in the text view will be synchronized with the cursor in the braille view for simultaneous editing of both text and braille.

Future long-term enhancements include the following:

1. Direct support for braille displays

2. Interactive validation and error correcting features

3. Enhanced library and project management features

4. The programmers will continue to write code that performs the functions and capabilities outlined in the specifications.

5. Hardware drivers, reproduction capabilities, and library management functions are among the more time consuming components remaining.

6. Programmers will write a new Windows printer driver to address the deficiencies in the generic text driver provided with Windows that will permit embossing to a variety of devices.

7. Programmers will develop refreshable braille drivers for several popular commercial displays. These drivers also make it possible for trained and qualified proofreaders to make corrections directly to the original file.

Programmers will incorporate library checkout and check-in facilities and remote server support. This makes it possible for two editors, both in remote locations, to work on the same book. This collaboration process is expected to be an effective means of getting more complex books to students more quickly.

Braille+

(Completed)

Purpose

To develop a state-of-the-art portable personal data assistant (PDA) that meets the needs of the modern student or professional who is blind or visually impaired

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Marc Mulkahy, Project Consultant

Michael McDonald, Programmer

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Keith Creasy, Programmer

Ken Perry, Programmer

Michael Borsuk, Programmer

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Background

For several years, APH sought a low-cost, simple-to-use, inexpensive replacement for a note-taking system like the Braille'n Speak (BNS) Scholar.

Today's more connected world and less expensive parts make it possible to design an all-purpose device that can serve as a student's tool for a variety of tasks including note-taking, recording, playing audio content, calculating, timing, Web browsing, e-mailing, and subscribing to periodicals. Expansion should be possible to permit a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and cell phone chips contained in the units housing.

The unit should use a commercial operating system designed for low power consumption. This ensures the device continues to evolve and ensures the availability of a wide variety of software applications. These applications are often commercially developed packages with rigorous testing and a known user base.

While the development staff was well on their way to the design of this product, events at the CSUN 2006 conference changed things. A company called Level Star showed a working prototype of a unit called Icon that was remarkably similar to what APH had been designing, except it did not have a braille keyboard.

Level Star and APH agreed to collaborate on a version of the Icon that contained a built-in braille keyboard. The two companies would share their software expertise, and APH would use Level Star's excellent hardware design.

Once prototypes were built, several field testers were recruited. These included a number of people from various states with ages ranging from 12 to 79 and a wide degree of education levels and occupations including students, teachers, technology consultants, social workers, accessibility consultants, and research scientists. In addition, APH has begun using public beta testing to help increase the size of the test pool. The Braille+ became available for sale in April 2007. Since its initial release, many requested features were added including the ability to print and the ability to view the student's work visually.

Work during FY 2011

Efforts focused on performance improvements, maintaining software, and working to a new hardware design. (See the Braille Plus 18 write-up.)

Work planned for FY 2012

This project is complete. Future efforts are concentrated on the new platform.

Braille Plus 18

(New)

Purpose

To create a portable notetaker with a built-in refreshable braille display and high-quality braille input that uses modern hardware and software

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Marc Mulcahy, Project Consultant

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Mike McDonald, Programmer

Mike Borsuk, Programmer

Ken Perry, Programmer

Keith Creasy, Programmer

Background

While many students continue to appreciate the tasks made possible with the original Braille+, the hardware became increasingly difficult to obtain, and software had dramatically shifted in the years since its introduction.

In 2005, the iPhone was barely noticeable, and it was certainly not accessible. In the intervening years, both Apple and Google have introduced products that have changed the world.

The modern Apple products have been an unprecedented success, and their built-in accessibility has forever changed accessibility expectations. Android, too, has come to dominate the portable device market; while its accessibility is not nearly as far advanced as that of the IOS devices, its open source status makes it a platform on which it is very attractive to develop innovative solutions to complex problems.

While Apple's accessibility features are excellent, typing text onto a touch screen is possible, but still cumbersome especially in various common situations like high noise areas or in a moving vehicle. The problem of text input is often solved by adding a portable braille display to the iPhone, but then the student has two devices to keep up with, charge, and care for.

Building hardware that incorporates a braille display and keyboard was not an option for IOS. Apple does not permit others to manufacture hardware on which to run their software.

Engineers sought to create a device with the following broad characteristics:

It was determined that Android could provide the core services and a jumping-off point from which to provide a growing body of code.

Work during FY 2011

Project staff worked with a firm to obtain input about what features and form factor are most desirable. Staff designed hardware that includes the following:

Staff also evaluated many TTS engines. Engineers identified text-to-speech software that was highly intelligible and responsive. They wrote functions to incorporate the TTS software into the system. Other tasks were

Work planned for FY 2012

Project staff will work to complete the following tasks:

Money Talks

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a Windows-based bank account management software package that will be easily accessible to blind and visually impaired persons

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Darleen Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

Keeping bank account records on a computer provides a reliable method of maintaining check registers and account balances. However, mainstream bank account management software presents some access obstacles to visually impaired computer users and is not accessible to visually impaired persons without specialized training and expensive access software. Money Talks is designed to perform the full range of account management functions needed by blind and visually impaired persons. It is fully accessible, with speech and large print output built into the program itself. This program is also designed to be intuitive and user-friendly for persons with little or no computer experience.

During FY 2004, the following program features were implemented: the ability to emboss or print the check register; the ability to print raised-line or business checks from a checkbook or Quicken-type checks; the ability to import bank statements downloaded from the Web; procedures for automatic and manual transaction reconciliation; the look and functionality of the onscreen grid views; and the software logo.

During FY 2005, field testing, revisions, documentation, tooling, specifications, and a pilot run were completed. Approximately 86 adults tested Beta versions of Money Talks for 6 months prior to the product becoming available for sale in July 2005. Enhancements to Money Talks made in FY 2006 include:

Version 1.1 was released in December 2005. Notable changes/updates follow:

Improvements and upgrades to the program made during FY 2007 were released in two program updates, Version 1.2 in February 2007 and Version 1.2x in August 2007. Changes made in these two releases included the following:

During FY 2009, program updates changed the method used to identify system folders. The program was also tested for use with 64-bit versions of XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

In January of 2010, version 1.4 was released. This version included the following changes:

Work during FY 2011

No work was done on this project during FY 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

Upgrades and improvements will continue to be made based on feedback from the field.

Monitoring Technological Developments and Educational Applications

(Continued)

Purpose

To identify and develop microcomputer materials that support educational needs; to monitor technological developments and educational applications of technology; to provide support to the production area for various Digital Talking Book production issues and to disseminate information on current uses of assistive technology

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Rob Meredith, Programmer

John Hedges, Programmer

Keith Creasy, Programmer

Mike McDonald, Programmer

Rodger Smith, Programmer

Ken Perry, Programmer

Mike Borsuk, Programmer

Background

The rapid advances in use and development of software, hardware, accessibility considerations, and educational theories require significant attention. The Technology Group in the Educational Research Department monitors and participates in numerous activities to keep abreast of developing trends and current implementations and encourages trends, policies, and standards that use technology to promote APH's mission. These ongoing endeavors help keep APH personnel knowledgeable and influential in the areas of regular and assistive technology.

The Technology Group stays informed through participation in numerous listserves focusing on programming and accessibility issues. The group actively uses and beta tests pre-releases of operating system code, key applications, active accessibility, screen enlargement, and speech or braille output accessibility aids. The group attends conferences, presents products and activities, and demonstrates APH products related to technology. The Technology Project Leader and two of the programmers are also members of the DAISY Consortium to help ensure that APH continues at the forefront of the conversion to digital talking books and that APH is represented in the shaping of guidelines and specifications. In its efforts to influence direction, the Technology Group creates software for both internal research and use as direct products, applies expertise to help make APH effective and accessible in its production of braille and large print and its application of new and emerging technologies to these processes, and disseminates information to APH and directly to users. The group promotes accessibility within APH by establishing techniques that make the entire company accessible.

Staff regularly works with other project leaders to suggest and implement technologies for projects that have technological components in specific areas of interest. Such projects include a Web-based early trade book learning and management system for braille readers (see the write-up for Early Braille Trade Books), an orientation and mobility instructor tool to help disseminate useful information to a client's parents, and continuing enhancements to Studio Recorder and Book Wizard Producer for the studio. Staff also creates CD layouts for projects that have CD-based training material or documentation.

Work during FY 2011

Staff continues to enhance a Web-based application to help manage and track the contractions a student knows and manage a list of books that she is capable of reading with that knowledge. They also wrote and debugged editor facilities to create the data for a given book.

Staff continued working closely with the studio in order to create an efficient means of creating Digital Talking books.

Staff created initial specifications for the Talking Protractor project.

Staff created initial specifications for the hardware and firmware for the Braille Buzz project.

The Technology Group continued to participate in beta testing, monitor listserves, attend conferences, collaborate with other developers, and disseminate information.

Technology staff provided advice and expertise at Product Advisory and Review Committee sessions, evaluated products submitted to APH for possible production or sale, helped ensure the accessibility of APH's Web site and online ordering systems, and participated in modernizing APH's recording studios.

The Technology Group regularly provides advice and technical assistance to APH's Business Contract Department and meets with staff from Customer Relations to familiarize them with new products as they near their introduction date. Staff regularly consults and assists with technical or information requests via phone and e-mail.

Staff works with Human Resources to ensure online documents for employees are accessible.

Staff works with the Computer Training Services (CTS) department on issues like telephone systems and accessibility.

With three staff members on the DAISY Mark Up and Specification team, the group actively used the specifications and worked to improve weaknesses in the specifications.

One programmer is a member of the DAISY Intellectual Property protection working group where he participates in molding the specifications and techniques that are used to protect digital content in books distributed by National Library Service and other producers.

Staff provided support and markup services to other project leaders so that each product's documentation is accessible in electronic format.

Staff worked with project leaders to find methods to display rich media with accessible sub titles.

Work planned for FY 2012

There are two additional areas of software development that require addressing. They are automated testing and error reporting. Staff has begun implementation of automated tests for the new Braille Plus code.

The group also has need for much more rigorous testing on all its products by someone who is not the product's developer or another developer in the group. Such extensive testing should both better catch problems that the developer would not normally consider or check, and also help to free the developer for more time to program.

The Technology Group will increase its involvement in the following:

The Technology Group will continue to help educate other project leaders in the Research Department, and look for ways to use technological solutions to further APH's mission. The group will pursue funding for special projects and experiment with emerging technologies. The group also plans to continue expanding the APH network site license and pursue additional text-to-speech engines for possible distribution.

The technology group plans to work closely with the Accessible Tests Department by providing technological solutions to test access issues as defined by them. Expected activities include the following: advise, review, support, and software design and development. Staff members plan to participate in the DAISY specifications process to define behavior and characteristics for documents, like workbooks, that take input from the user.

The technology group will continue to host and maintain Early Braille Trade Books. This system runs on the Drupal content management system. The Web application lets teachers track a student's braille contraction mastery and suggests titles of trade books that contain the contractions the student knows. Drupal provides the account creation and management processes, creation and management of groups for administrative purposes, data management for edits, and most of the account and data management aspects of the system. Staff is ready to provide expansion services to support more types of content, or if it is decided, to broaden the application's scope.

The group will continue to make high-interest demonstrations, training, and presentations.

QWERTY Docking Station

(Discontinued)

Purpose

To provide the student with an ergonomic QWERTY keyboard with additional functionality for use with the Braille+

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Marc Mulkahy, Project Consultant

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Background

The docking station is designed so that the Braille+ fits into it. Together, the docking station adds a full-sized QWERTY keyboard, Ethernet connector, larger speakers, and a larger battery. The docking station also offers a foldout wrist rest.

Work during FY 2011

No additional work has been performed on this product.

Work planned for FY 2012

Work is complete. The Braille+ was discontinued, and the new version of the Braille Plus does not fit into the docking station. USB and BluetoothTM QWERTY keyboards will be used in cases where such a keyboard is required.

Refreshabraille 18

(Formerly Refreshable Braille Display)

(Continued)

Purpose

To produce a high-quality, portable, and inexpensive refreshable braille display and input mechanism to be used in conjunction with devices like the iPhone (and its relatives), laptops, desktop computers, and other devices

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Thomas Friehoff, Project Consultant

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Background

Designed initially as an adjunct braille display for Braille+, Refreshabraille 18 provides an ergonomic, high-quality keyboard and display that can be connected to a variety of other devices via its USB connector or via its wireless BluetoothTM interface. The firmware keeps device configuration simple by automatically detecting requests for a connection through either interface.

Input capabilities mean the user can control her PC or other portable device such as an iPhone from the braille display. When these input features are combined with the Bluetooth wireless communications, it is possible to keep the iPhone away in a purse or pocket and use Refreshabraille to both read and control the device. This small, elegant braille control is ideal for both students and professionals who prefer or require braille.

Refreshabraille is easily configurable with respect to its orientation. In other words, the user may use the device with the braille cells either on the side closest to her or on the side farthest away. All controls also flip their orientation when the orientation of the braille cells is altered.

In the time since its introduction, Refreshabraille has been added as a recognized braille display in programs like Window-Eyes for the PC and Outspoken for the Mac. These screen readers make it possible to both read and control the user's computer all from Refreshabraille 18.

In 2009, APH staff wrote drivers to support the JAWS screen reader.

A hardware modification introduced the Human Interface Device (HID) protocol so the need for individual USB drivers was eliminated.

The height of the joystick was increased. This makes it easier to control the direction of scrolling the display.

A carrying case was designed. It protects the device while providing a carrying strap and a belt loop. A case that holds both the Braille+ and the Refreshabraille 18 in a book-like configuration was also designed and produced.

Work during FY 2011

Project staff began investigation into a next generation product.

Work planned for FY 2012

Project staff will work to complete the following tasks:

Studio Recorder

(Continued)

Purpose

To produce a simple-to-use, robust digital audio recording tool geared toward spoken word content

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager

John Zinninger, Senior Technician

Dave McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Background

Studio Recorder is a powerful digital recording and editing software package geared to make recordings of the spoken word. It includes features not found in audio recording and editing programs primarily designed for music production. Such features include

Studio Recorder was originally written for internal use at APH to serve as a tool for creating digital audio recordings for the National Library Service (NLS). It contains many features that ease the task of recording, editing, and proofreading audio books. Its features also facilitate simple production to Digital Talking Book or to cassette.

While Studio Recorder was originally written for use by the professional narrator and narration monitor, its simple operation makes it ideal for nearly anyone interested in recording, editing, and producing spoken word audio documents in an efficient manner.

In addition to all of the benefits of digital recording and playback technology common to digital recording software, Studio Recorder provides unique capabilities geared to both spoken word content and, more specifically, recordings intended for distribution via Digital Talking Book, on audio cassette, or via the World Wide Web.

Features such as the intercom mode allow recording professionals, who often collaborate from separate booths, to communicate through the PC's speakers and sound card. Other features, such as the ability to mark and label points in the recording, make it easy for narrators who work on large projects to preserve notes about pronunciation and characterization. This allows quick reference to information from past recording sessions. The phrase detection capabilities streamline the process of sifting through cumbersome audio files. Instead of using time as the criterion for navigation, these features let the narrator use content for maneuvering through the audio file in a manner similar to that of moving through text in a word processing program.

Studio Recorder also provides advanced capabilities such as punch in/out recording, linear fade, instantaneous editing, and time-specific alarm tones that assist the user in various common audio editing and management tasks.

Continuing development is largely driven by studio needs and customer requests. An outstanding response to this input has defined a software package that is robust, flexible, and enjoys thousands of hours of use each year at APH alone.

As development continues, Studio Recorder becomes a more integral tool in the Digital Talking Book creation process.

Work during FY 2011

The following enhancements were made to Studio Recorder:

Work planned for FY 2012

Project staff will work to complete the following:

Talking Learn Keys

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a Windows-based basic keyboard exploration program for visually impaired or blind users so they may become familiar with any computer keyboard or to hear keystrokes announced in applications

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

John Hedges, Programmer

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Background

Talking Learn Keys provides clearly-recorded audio feedback about keys that users of any age type on the PC keyboard. It can be used in two configurations. In the first, the user can type any key on the keyboard without fear of doing something wrong because Talking Learn Keys processes the keys before they are presented to the system. In the second, the learner can use Talking Learn Keys to announce keys for any program on the computer. This can be useful for providing high-quality feedback for number entry in data processing applications or simply to verify the user is typing properly in any application. The program uses prerecorded speech from professional narrators and allows the user to choose either a male or female voice. There are also options for fast or normal speed announcement of key presses and a pronunciation mode feature that allows various pronunciations of some of the special keys. A large Verdana font type is used to display the key name. This feature is adjustable from the menu.

The idea for Talking Learn Keys was discussed and presented to the Product Review Committee, who approved development of the program. The Technology Group developed initial design specifications and functionality features list. The programmers wrote, tested, and finalized the code in 1999; Talking Learn Keys became available for sale.

As the group continued the development of the APH Speech Environment with its new abilities to manage user registration, it decided to update Talking Learn Keys to take advantage of this capability. This also allows the program to be placed on the Web in a demo version. The program continues to be modernized for new versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. In a second area, new keyboards also may have additional multimedia buttons. These are controlled by vendor customized software. Support was added to handle the Microsoft multimedia keyboard. In addition, the other APH products now use the audio from Talking Learn Keys. It was helpful to create multiple audio components that allow other programs to use the audio files when installed on the same computer.

Work during FY 2011

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2012

Updates will take place as needed.

Talking Typer for Windows

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide an accessible, interactive keyboard training on the Windows platform

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Keith Creasy, Programmer

John Hedges, Programmer

Rodger Smith, Programmer

Background

Talking Typer for Windows is a program based on two former APH products, the Talking Typer for Apple II and PC Typer. Like its predecessors, Talking Typer for Windows includes features that let users create and modify drills and dictation exercises. It also includes features for recording and storing, and examining student records and performance statistics. The program contains a fun game with score keeping capabilities. After completing program specifications, the basic framework of the project was created. Program specifications included the features from the DOS-based PC Typer plus additional features identified by users of the previous version. Enhancements to the previous version are listed:

The program entered its field testing phase in September 1999. The programming group field tested Talking Typer over a 6-month period in a variety of sites, and the field test participants played a very active role in shaping the development of this product. Field testing began in September 1999 with an early prototype of the system, and the programmers quickly replaced features that were difficult to understand with methods suggested by participants. The field testers and customers suggested adding some lessons that used common phrases. In response to this, Research Assistant Kris Scott created two new lessons with about 40 phrases in each lesson. Customer feedback indicated this feature was a great idea, and several users requested the two-phrase lessons be renamed "sentences," as well as the creation of additional lessons (to precede the sentence lessons) that contain shorter, more common phrases. Customer feedback indicated that even more sentences should be included.

One of the most requested features was a better text-to-speech engine, and staff obtained a license to begin distributing AT&T's Natural Voices with the product.

Work during FY 2011

Staff corrected bugs in the product.

Work planned for FY 2012

New features may be added to Talking Typer for Windows V.1; however, most will be deferred to Talking Typer for Windows V.2. Necessary corrections and updates will be made as needed. Talking Typer V 1.0 is complete.

Maintenance issues continue to arise with this product, and users continually request enhancements.

CAREER EDUCATION AND TRANSITION

Transition Tote System, Revised

(Continued)

Purpose

To update materials and resource lists in a curriculum that teaches skills necessary for successful entry into the world of work

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Karen Wolffe, Project Author/Consultant

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Background

In light of the high unemployment rates for people who are blind or visually impaired, the 1993 Educational Research and Development Committee of APH strongly recommended that APH develop career preparation materials. The Transition Tote System was produced to meet this need. This product provided instruction in the following skill areas: personal organization, self-awareness, self-advocacy, work exploration, job seeking, and job keeping. An extensive list of important educational and vocational resources was also included. The Transition Tote Case was developed to provide an organizational system for storing job-search materials and to serve as a carrying case for braille and large print media, cassette recorders, note takers, and laptops.

Revision of the Transition Tote System is needed because its resource sections have become outdated, because experienced users suggest that several new content areas should be included, and because the Tote Case has never functioned as originally intended. Resource information was collected during 1996 and 1997. Major changes in assistive technology, vendor contact information, and service delivery systems have occurred since that time and need to be incorporated into resource lists. Inclusion of material that might help students use recorded materials more effectively and improve students' self-advocacy should be considered. The Transition Tote Case is not sturdy enough to transport electronic equipment, note takers, and computers safely.

Changes to be considered in a new version of the case were discussed in an informal meeting with Karen Wolffe, a developer of the original project. An additional text section was also discussed.

During FY 2006, the project leader acquired background materials on state standards and requirements for transition classes. During FY 2007, the project leader contacted Wolffe regarding revision issues. Wolffe wanted to update and provide major expansion of the Transition Tote System. During FY 2007, Wolffe conducted extensive exploration of additional funding sources and potential collaboration partners.

During FY 2008, Wolffe indicated that additional funding sources had not emerged for this project. She proposed a series of revisions that were approved by the project leader. She agreed to write the revision material at no cost to APH.

During FY 2009, Wolffe completed revisions on the Student Manual and began revisions on the Facilitator's Guide, formerly called Information Supplement. A new backpack design has been developed to replace the tote bag. Drawings were sent to three vendors, and one sample was received.

During FY 2010, Wolffe completed the draft of the Facilitator's Guide. Terlau edited the Student Manual and Facilitator's Guide, making sure that changes and terminology were consistently applied to both books. Research assistants also edited these books. Resource sections for both books were revised and verified.

Two other vendors sent samples of the backpack, a preferred sample was selected, and the associated vendor produced additional samples to match changes in specifications.

Work during FY 2011

The Backpack was produced and made available for sale. Final content checks and updates were made for both the Student Manual and the Facilitator's Guide. Graphic design layout was begun for the Student Manual.

Work planned for FY 2012

The revised Student Manual and Facilitator's Guide will be submitted for braille and recording after graphic design layout is complete. Products will become available for sale.

COMPENSATORY AND ACCESS SKILLS

Match-It Up Board

(Continued)

Photo of Match-It-Up Board prototype with counting activity displayed

Purpose

To provide an interactive board that facilitates a variety of matching activities for young students who are visually impaired and blind in grades K-3

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Joanne C. Banman, Consultant

Andrew Dakin, Pattern/Model Maker

Background

In January 2009, the consultant submitted a product submission form, along with a handmade prototype, describing an interactive matching board that she had successfully used with her kindergarten student. The design is a small, slightly raised, and table-like wooden board that fits on a desk or table. Two rows of squares (each with a Velcro® tab) are divided by a string of red yarn. A single hole is drilled above each of the lower squares and below each of the upper squares. Threaded through each of the lower holes is a cord with a peg attached; the cords are of various colors. The child matches cards in the bottom row to those in the top row by inserting the pegs in the corresponding holes. The consultant made a variety of matching cards to assist in the instruction of tactile shapes, braille letters, braille numbers, and braille words.

In January 2010, the project leader provided a review of the product submission form, rating it high in originality and appropriate target populations. The project leader's review documented considerations to make the matching board less problematic and expensive to produce.

The product idea was initially reviewed and evaluated by Product Evaluation Team and officially approved as a viable product by the Product Advisory and Research Committee on January 14, 2010. Shortly after, the project leader hosted a Product Development Committee (PDC) "Brainstorming" meeting with a wider audience of APH staff from various departments. The PDC supported the project leader's plan to design a one-piece "board" with open windows that attaches to a Veltex® surface (e.g., ALL-IN-ONE Board); long drapery cords would be replaced by shorter nylon cords that stay in place on a Velcro-hook band spanning the center of the board. The committee was especially concerned with the safety of the original design given the long cords and potentially detachable small pegs of choking size. The project leader also suggested supplying a "starter kit" of mounting cards (using those included in Tactile Connections) that teachers could use to design and construct matching cards.

Throughout March and April, the project leader and model maker experimented with various layouts of the board. Their search for an ideal nylon cord to securely stick to hook Velcro was unsuccessful. The nylon cords were replaced by various lengths of matching strips cut from poly blend of various colors and backed with hook Velcro; the band in the middle of the board was updated to a soft loop material. The board itself was changed to a bright yellow instead of white. The project leader built a variety of matching cards to use in combination with the board.

In May 2010, a complete prototype of the board was sent to the consultant for direct use with her student. Initial feedback supported the design of the board itself and the provision of the mounting cards, but the matching strips proved challenging for her young student when locating and selecting the correct length of strip to connect a card in the lower row with a card in the upper row.

Work during FY 2011

The project staff continued to modify the prototype to best achieve the objectives of the consultant's original design. The construction of the first sample board was considerably simplified by eliminating the matching strips. The final prototype version incorporated 10 open "windows" in a 2 row by 5 column arrangement, with the two rows separated by a raised tactile bar. The board was sized to conveniently fit onto the Veltex side of APH's ALL-IN-ONE Board.

The project leader authored product instructions that provided a variety of ideas for creating matching cards. Examples focused on counting skills, O&M concepts, shape identification, line tracking, texture discrimination, story retelling, sequencing, patterning, braille letters, and calendar activities. Each suggestion was supported by a photograph. Although actual construction of matching cards would be the responsibility of the teacher/parent, a "starter kit" of mounting cards, Velcro tabs and strips, and masking overlays (to minimize the number of windows) was included as part of the field test prototype.

By the end of January 2011, multiple copies of the prototype were built and available for field testing. The project leader then collated materials, prepared the final layout of the product instructions, identified field test evaluation sites, and readied an evaluation packet. On February 14, prototypes were mailed to field test sites. Each evaluator was encouraged to use the prototype with as many students as possible until the end of May.

Throughout June and July 2011, the project leader compiled field test data into a final report. The prototype was used by 20 teachers of the visually impaired with a total of 104 students. Evaluators represented the states of Arizona, California (2), Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma (2), Texas (2), Virginia, and Wisconsin. The student sample of 104 students ranged in age from 2 to 21 years of age with 26% between the ages of 2 and 4, 30% between the ages of 5 and 7, 18% between the ages of 8 and 10, 17% between the ages of 11 and 13, 7% between the ages of 14 and 17, and 2% between the ages of 18 and 21. There were noticeably more males than females--63% and 38%, respectively. The student population reflected cultural diversity: 69% White, 15% African American, 8% Hispanic, 5% Asian, 3% "two or more races," and 1% American Indian or Alaskan Native. One-third of the students were preschoolers, 10% were kindergarteners, 24% were in grades 1-3, and 17% were in grades 4-6; smaller percentages were in grades 7-8 (8%), high school (4%), or classified as "ungraded" (4%).

The largest percentage of students (27%) were reported as nonreaders; this percentage included subsets of students whose primary reading medium was reported as "nonreader/pictures," "nonreader/large print," and "nonreader/auditory." Nearly equal percentages (17% and 15%) were reported as braille readers and large print readers, respectively; 6% read regular print and 1% was dual braille/large print readers. Eleven percent of the students were classified as "prereaders," while a similar percentage (9%) were reported as auditory readers or combinations of auditory/braille, auditory/visual, and auditory/tactile readers. A smaller percentage (8%) of the students were reported as "visual," "tactile," or "picture" readers. The primary reading media of the remaining percentage of students (6%) were undetermined or unreported. A full 71% of the students were reported as having additional disabilities (e.g., cerebral palsy, cognitive/physical/language delays, ADHD, and autism). Nearly 40% had cortical visual impairment.

Evaluators' ratings of the overall design of the Match-It-Up Board were very encouraging. Based upon a rating scale from 5 (Excellent) to 1 (Poor), the following average scores were received for each design feature: Overall size (4.55), color (4.35), number of windows/cutouts (4.4), size of windows/cutouts (4.45), distance between windows/cutouts side-by-side (4.45), distance between windows/cutouts top-to-bottom (4.35), tactile/print divider line (4.47), ease of mounting/positioning on a Velcro surface (4.79), and masking overlays (4.45). One hundred percent of evaluators especially liked how the board fits comfortably and conveniently on APH's ALL-IN-ONE Board. One evaluator clarified: "Perfect fit. Easy to adjust angle of board for student's needs."

Field results indicated that a variety of methods of matching were utilized when using the Match-It-Up Board with students. Eighty-percent of the teachers reported that they frequently (40%) or sometimes (40%) positioned all of the cards on the board in random order then asked the student to rearrange them in corresponding pairs below and above the raised bar. Ninety percent of the teachers reported that they frequently (50%) or sometimes (40%) positioned only the cards in the top row then asked the student to insert each matching card below its counterpart. Ninety percent reported that they frequently (55%) or sometimes (35%) asked the student to merely point to the matching cards. Only 40% either frequently (20%) or sometimes (20%) played concentration games using the masking inserts. As one teacher clarified, the matching method used depended upon the activity and the student's ability.

Using a scale of 5 (Very Well) to 0 (Not at All), teachers rated how well the Match-It-Up Board facilitated a variety of activities. Ratings supported the versatility of the board.

Activity Average Rating 
Matching 4.9 
Sequencing 4.89 
Calendar Activities 4.12 
Story Retelling 4.36 
Matching Games 4.6 

Eighty percent of the evaluators indicated that the Match-It-Up Board offered specific advantages over previously-used matching activities and tools. Among the most oft-repeated compliments was its success at providing a clearly-defined working space and placement for cards. Other comments included the following:

"The board itself gives the opportunity to truly customize the activity to the needs of the student."

Ninety-five percent of the evaluators supported the provision of mounting cards in a variety of colors to help in the construction of teacher-created matching activities. Most thought 10 cards per color would be an ideal amount. One hundred percent of the evaluators recommended the inclusion of Velcoins and a long strip of Velcro. The provided Sticky DotsTM package was used by fewer teachers (65%) to apply objects/textures/pictures, etc., to the mounting cards. Teachers reported a variety of other adhesive material that they acquired and used to build matching cards: glue sticks, twist ties, rubber cement, yarn/string, caulking, double-sided tape, etc.

The following percentages of evaluators reported appropriateness of the kit for various target populations. Among the most appropriate were students with multiple disabilities, preschoolers, kindergarteners, tactile and low vision students in Grades 1-3, and students with cortical visual impairment.

Target Population Percentage of evaluators who found the Match-It-Up Board to be suitable for target population 
Preschoolers with visual impairments/blindness 90% 
Kindergarteners with visual impairments/blindness 95% 
Tactile readers in Grades 1-3 90% 
Low vision students in Grades 1-3 85% 
Tactile readers in Grades 4-8 45% 
Low vision students in Grades 4-8 45% 
Tactile readers in high school 20% 
Low vision readers in high school 20% 
Students with multiple disabilities 100% 
Students with cortical visual impairment 90% 

All of the students were reported as enjoying the use of the Match-It-Up Board. Noteworthy student comments included "Can I take this home," "Can you leave this here in my class?" "This is fun," "I like the bright yellow," and "I can tell you the story using the board."

Ninety-five percent of the field evaluators recommended that APH produce the Match-It-Up Board because of its strengths: color, durability, ease of use, portability, spacing of matching windows, size, and versatility with regard to possible matching activities (as illustrated in photos and descriptions provided by evaluators).

Photo of Match-It-Up prototype used by a student with cortical visual impairment Photo of Match-It-Up prototype used as a counting activity for Eric Carle's Hungry Caterpillar storybook

Throughout the remainder of the fiscal year, the project leader reviewed the field test results and outlined needed improvements to the prototype prior to production. Input from fellow Research staff and from the outside consultant was invited regarding necessary revisions. Plans included expanding the colors and types of available sorting frames and providing additional activity suggestions within the accompanying guidebook. Ideal shapes, colors, and quantities of matching cards were also determined. The name of the product, based upon the suggestion of one of the field evaluators, was changed to Match-It-Up Frames.

Photo of Match-It-Up prototype used in a nuts and bolts sorting activity

Work planned for FY 2012

Pre-production tasks will extend throughout most of the fiscal year. These tasks will involve finalizing content and photos for the activity booklet, building production tooling (vacuum-form patterns, cutting dies), selecting ideal materials for the Match-It-Up Frames, designing mounting cards, outlining production specifications, and preparing the accompanying documentation in accessible versions. The project leader will conduct multiple PDC meetings to review the expected components and production processes. A final timeline will be established. Availability of the product will likely occur in the first half of FY 2013.

Braille

Alphabetic Braille and Contracted (ABC) Braille Study

(Continuing through 2012)

Purpose

The Alphabetic Braille and Contracted Braille (ABC) Study was conceived as a 5-year exploration of literacy environments, skills, and experiences of children who are totally blind or have light perception only. The organizing factor of the study was a comparison of students who were initially taught contracted braille with those initially taught uncontracted braille. The study also collected data on the larger issue of how the learning environment impacts literacy skill acquisition, especially in the context of braille reading. Children in the United States and Canada were enrolled. Due to assistance from the Canadian Braille Authority and the American Foundation for the Blind, the project expanded its budget to include 6 years of research (5 years of data collection).

Core Team

Anne Corn, Ed.D., Vanderbilt University, Principal Investigator through Summer 2007

Robert Wall Emerson, Ph.D., Western Michigan University, Statistician, Data Storage

Jane Erin, Ph.D., University of Arizona at Tucson, Quantitative Research Team Leader

Sharon Sacks, Ph.D., California State University Qualitative Research Team Leader

Diane P. Wormsley, Ph.D., North Carolina Central University, Principal Investigator beginning Summer 2007

2006-2007 was the final year of the project. Since that time, the Research Team has been conducting an analysis of data and writing and submitting articles for dissemination of the research information.

Background

The ABC Braille Study was a 5-year study of literacy acquisition in children who are braille readers. The study explored the development of literacy skills and charted literacy experiences of children who initially learn contracted braille as well as those who initially learn uncontracted braille.

While this study sought to develop guidance for teachers of students with visual impairments with regard to initial instruction in braille, it also provided the first in-depth look at how young blind children were learning to read, write, and spell. This study was the first time a consortium of eight universities, two organizations, and a special school for the blind, had joined forces to conduct research.

Children in the study resided in the U.S. and Canada and attended special schools and local education agencies, as well as pre-kindergarten programs, e.g., Head Start. They were enrolled in the study in either pre-kindergarten or kindergarten and were followed through to the end of the 5 years, with the fourth grade being the highest grade level achieved by students in the study. Over the course of the study, 45 students were enrolled. Four children were dropped from the study because they had been identified as having multiple disabilities. Three other children left the study for various reasons. Data from these children were included where it was appropriate to do so. Enrolled children resided in 12 U.S. states and one Canadian province, with children coming from a range of educational environments.

During the 2009-2010 school year, researchers continued to work in their various writing groups. A publication of Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness in October/November 2009 was presented to participants at the APH Annual Meeting as it contained the following articles on the ABC Braille Study:

In addition, a presentation at the 2009 Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference highlighted the study. Since then, two other articles have been submitted for publication and dissemination of research results.

Work during FY 2011

During the 2010-2011 school year, researchers continued to work in their various writing groups. Writing teams continued to pull together the existing literature and research, and submitted the data from the ABC Braille Project to various journals. The writing teams functioned with the assistance of APH Staff members, Eleanor Pester, and Ralph Bartley.

The following articles were published in JVIB since the past Annual Report:

At least two other articles are in preparation for publication at this point.

In addition to the writing, the team has met once and is considering a follow-up study of the students involved in the ABC Braille Study. Preliminary work for the proposal has been accomplished.

Current members of the writing team are as follows:

ABC Braille Cumulative Contributor List up through 2007

Research Team

Research Support

Research Assistants

Observers

APH Officers

APH ABC Braille Study Staff

APH Support Staff

Financial Contributors

In Kind Contributors

Test Publisher Acknowledgement

We would like to thank the following for allowing APH to emboss the test instruments we used.

Work planned for FY 2012

Publications in preparation will be submitted and, if accepted, published. Planning will continue on possible future research activities and follow up.

Braille Buzz

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide beginning braille readers and writers with an engaging way of developing pre-braille, braille, and phonics skills through a series of sequential games that provide stimulating auditory and tactual feedback

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Co-Project Leader

Rodger Smith, Programmer

James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist

Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Background

This product has come about through a unique partnership between Diane Brauner, a certified orientation and mobility specialist, Dr. Gary Bishop, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina (UNC), and Dr. Richard Goldberg, a professor in the biomedical engineering department at UNC. Dr. Bishop teaches a course called Enabling Technology in which students are required to create accessible games for individuals with disabilities, and Brauner supplies the class with a list of game ideas that would be accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired. Each spring Dr. Bishop hosts Maze Day, and students with visual impairments, their parents, and their teachers come to UNC Chapel Hill to try out the games created by Dr. Bishop's and Dr. Goldberg's students. Braille Buzz is only one of many games developed through this collaborative effort.

The prototype submitted by Diane Brauner in December 2009 consists of a plastic overlay that transforms a standard computer keyboard into a six-key entry device that emulates a Perkins Braillewriter. Each of the six keys that correspond to a dot in the braille cell has the ability to vibrate, and the strength of the vibration can be adjusted. The adapted keyboard is connected to any given computer through a USB port, thereby making it plug'n play. The accompanying software consists of a series of activities that teach the student to form and to recognize specific braille letters and contractions and to associate these symbols with the sounds they make. Examples of words that start with the given letter are provided, and these words are also accompanied by interesting sound effects. For example, the keys that correspond to dots 2-3-4-5 gently vibrate, and the student is asked to press the keys she feels moving. If the student provides the correct response, she is told that she made the letter t, is given the sound it makes, is told that the word toilet makes the /t/ sound, and then hears the sound of a toilet flushing.

Specific pre-braille skills addressed by the Braille Buzz include both isolated and coordinated finger movements; tactual sensitivity in the index, middle, and ring fingers of both hands; tactual discrimination of different braille shapes; and simultaneous processing of information by multiple fingers. In addition to teaching the layout of the braille cell and identification of braille symbols for the alphabet, contractions, punctuation, and numbers, the Braille Buzz also teaches beginning braille writing skills. Unlike the Perkins Braillewriter, this keyboard does not require a great deal of physical strength and manual dexterity to operate. Finally, the Braille Buzz introduces and reinforces phonemic awareness and phonics by having students isolate beginning sounds of words and then pairing these sounds with their corresponding letters.

Preliminary field testing conducted by Diane Brauner shows that the Braille Buzz was received favorably by preschoolers who did not yet know braille, elementary students who had already learned some braille, and their teachers. While this product will serve as one more way to facilitate braille literacy for the congenitally blind, academic student, it also has potentially significant application to students with multiple disabilities and to adults with neuropathy for whom tactual discrimination is more difficult.

In March 2010, Diane Brauner visited APH to demonstrate the Braille Buzz. This product was then approved for development by the Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory and Review Committee in August.

Work during FY 2011

The original prototype of the Braille Buzz requires special software drivers to operate a modified computer keyboard. In order for APH to have a working prototype, we needed to have these drivers installed on one of our computers, and thus, a laptop was sent to Dr. Bishop. Unfortunately, he was not able to successfully download the drivers. As a result of these difficulties, project staff began to brainstorm keyboard alternatives.

Since there truly is no such thing as a universal computer keyboard combined with the fact that keyboards are constantly changing, it was not feasible for APH to recreate the original prototype. Thus, the decision to create a stand-alone keyboard that emulates a Perkins Braillewriter was made. This keyboard will have only nine keys (six dot keys, spacebar, line-down key, and backspace) and will be connected to the computer via a USB cable. This keyboard is also being designed to allow the user to turn the vibrating keys on/off and to control the strength of the vibration. Final specifications for the keyboard prototype were completed in September.

Work planned for FY 2012

It is estimated that a working prototype of the keyboard will be completed in November 2011; at which time, programming on the software will begin. The existing software will be evaluated and enhanced as needed to reinforce skills taught in specific braille curricula, such as Building on Patterns. Features that allow the teacher to monitor student progress and to tailor games to each student's mastery level will also be incorporated. This keyboard will be programmed to work as a stand-alone six-key entry device for use with braille emulation/translation and word processing software. The goal is to have working prototypes ready to be field tested by the end of this fiscal year.

Braille Drill System

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a convenient, independent, study system for students, parents, and current/pre-service teachers of students with visual impairments who are learning contracted braille

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Background

The Braille Drill System was developed by Lori Johnson, a teacher of students with visual impairments and a National Consortium on Leadership in Visual Impairment fellow. Study sheets that cluster contractions by type are housed in a three-ring, Floppy Braille Binder.

Each contraction sheet is organized into two columns. The left column contains the contracted braille symbol while the right-hand column contains the uncontracted spelling. Preceding each word in both columns is a full cell of braille and a space. The contracted word in the left-hand column is also followed by a space and another full cell of braille. A lead line consisting of dots 2-5 connects the last full cell of braille in the left column to the full cell of braille at the beginning of the right column. The purpose of the full cells of braille is to serve as a spatial indicator, and the purpose of the lead line is to facilitate tracking between columns and to promote good braille mechanics. This is important because light and smooth tracking actually facilitates accurate recognition of braille symbols and helps to prevent scrubbing. This system also contains a plastic overlay that conceals the right-hand column of braille thereby allowing the user to independently quiz oneself.

In addition, Lori Johnson has also suggested providing modified Braille Contraction Cards that adhere to Dr. Diane Wormsley's approach to teaching functional braille. Thus, one side of these cards would also contain a lead-in line followed by a space and the contracted word followed by a space and a lead-out line. The opposite side would be the same except that it would contain the uncontracted spelling of the word. Although these cards would be bigger, they would reinforce good braille mechanics, especially among students who are struggling or reluctant readers.

The Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory and Review Committee approved this product for development in December 2009.

Work during FY 2011

Because of time constraints in the project leader's schedule, further development of this prototype was not feasible during this fiscal year.

Work planned for FY 2012

Study sheets for all types of contractions will be developed. In addition, contraction and Dolch word cards will be created that include lead-in and lead-out lines to promote good tracking skills. Furthermore, different samples of paper will also be evaluated for quality of tactile feedback and durability. Finally, a variety of plastic overlays will be developed, which will allow the answers to be concealed so that the student can independently quiz herself.

Braille Series

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide an updated and modernized curriculum that incorporates recent BANA changes and an introduction to Computer Braille in an easily reproducible format

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Background

The Braille Series, commonly referred to as the Illinois Braille Series, was first published in 1933. It was revised in 1960 and then again in 1992. This product is by far the top-selling braille curriculum sold by APH. On average, it sells about 2,500 copies a year.

Geared toward adventitiously blinded individuals, the Braille Series includes two features believed to be important for this population. Since students using this curriculum are former print readers, it includes raised-line letters of the alphabet paired with the corresponding braille symbol. This particular feature also facilitates independent study. The next component is the use of jumbo braille. Multiple sizes of jumbo braille are used throughout this curriculum. Braille is introduced in a larger cell with larger dots, and the size of the cell and the size of the dots get progressively smaller until the student is reading standard-sized braille. This feature is believed to be particularly useful to those with reduced tactile sensitivity due to neuropathy. While research is available on jumbo braille, the results of these studies are often inconclusive or contradictory. Thus, it is hard to ascertain the efficacy of using jumbo braille in this curriculum.

Furthermore, the use of raised-line letters and varying sizes of jumbo braille make production of this curriculum difficult. Instead of being able to print these from a designated braille embosser, each page of the three-volume set has to be manually brailled and hand tooled on metal plates. These plates are placed, one at a time, inside a clamshell press where each copy of each page must be individually produced. Given the fact that the clamshell presses operate on timers, there is also greater risk of injury to the worker since removal and insertion of paper must be synchronized with the automatic opening and closing of the press.

The desire to speed up the production process of this high selling curriculum and the need to make the production process safer is what spearheaded efforts to modernize this product. In addition, BANA has released significant updates to the Literary Braille Code since the last revision of the Braille Series in 1992. Plus, computers have since become a staple of mainstream society, both personally and vocationally. Given the significance of computers in the ability of the blind and visually impaired to live independently and to be gainfully employed, an introduction to the Computer Braille Code has been deemed an important addition. Thus, the ultimate goal of the revision process is to find alternative production methods, incorporate changes in the Literary Braille Code, and revise content to introduce Computer Braille.

This product was approved for development by the Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory Committee in December 2009. Given the difficulties related to producing jumbo braille combined with the controversy regarding its efficacy, the project leader spent a significant amount of time reviewing research and analyzing existing curriculums for adventitiously blinded individuals. In fact, a product development input session called "A Modern Touch: Updating APH Materials for Adventitiously Blinded and Sighted Braille Learners" was conducted at the 2009 APH Annual Meeting. Collaboration with Dr. Jane Erin revealed the need to further investigate the factors that affect the process of choosing a braille curriculum for use with adventitiously blinded braille learners.

Work during FY 2011

In an attempt to obtain as much information as possible from users of this product, the project leader has been creating e-mail distribution lists of customers who have purchased the Braille Series as well as other professionals who work with this population in order to conduct an electronic survey. Finally, the project leader has been investigating alternative options for producing different sizes of jumbo braille and raised letters.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will conduct an online survey regarding APH curriculums for adventitiously blinded individuals. Furthermore, different samples of raised letters of the alphabet, and jumbo braille produced on different paper samples, will be field tested.

Building on Patterns: First and Second Grade Levels

Formerly Revision of Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program

(Continued)

Purpose

To revise and update Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program

Project Staff

Eleanor Pester, Project Leader

Deanna Scoggins, Consultant/Advisor/Writer

Cathy Senft-Graves, Research Assistant

Jo Ellen Croft, Consultant/Head Writer

Luanne Blaylock, Consultant/Writer

LeAnn Nannen Alexander, Consultant/Writer

Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader

Kate Dilworth, Consultant/Head Writer

Kristen Buhler, Consultant/Writer

Sue Schimmelpfennig, Consultant/Writer

Robin Wingell, Consultant/Head Writer

Izetta Read, Consultant/Writer

Cay Holbrook, Consultant/Advisor

Mila Truan, Consultant/Advisor

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Carol Roderick, Research Assistant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant

Suzette Wright, Emergent Literacy Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Background

Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program was designed to teach reading to children who would use braille as their primary reading medium. It was built on strong reading and braille principles and has remained an effective learning tool since its debut in 1980. In education, where textbooks over 5 years old are considered outdated, Patterns is now ancient history. Times have changed, and for some years, full inclusion has been in vogue, and reading has been taught first with a whole language focus and then with phonics playing a major role. More recently the emphasis has been on phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, fluency, and development of oral vocabulary. With this being the case, some teachers are having a difficult time justifying the use of a program as old as Patterns. Young braille readers, however, still need a firm foundation for beginning braille reading upon which to build. It is the goal of this project to produce an updated and enhanced braille reading program for beginners by building on the successes and philosophy of Patterns.

In September 1997, the project advisory committee met at APH to discuss the revision of Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program. Decisions were made regarding features to keep, features to change, ways to update the content, and topics that would be of interest to today's visually impaired children. The committee discussed current trends in reading for the general population, some new programs, and methods for teaching reading and language arts, and the use of tactile graphics with young children.

In 1998, a detailed timeline and budget were developed for this project. Work on a revised prototype of the early levels of the program began. An extensive bibliography on the latest literature related to braille reading was compiled and reviewed by project staff. Current reading programs and methods were also reviewed.

In 1999, the basic prototype for the kindergarten level of the Patterns revision was developed, and ideas for possible supplementary phonics and character development tapes, games, and books were explored.

In 2000, changes were made in the kindergarten level based on conference sessions, reviews of research, and project advisory committee recommendations. Work began on the first grade level of the program. New approaches to teaching reading continued to be investigated.

In 2001, work continued on the kindergarten and first grade levels of the program. A draft of the kindergarten level was completed and turned over to APH by the textbook writer.

In 2002, work continued on the preparation of the kindergarten level for field testing and on the development of the first and second grade levels. It was decided to talk about a child rather than children in the text since the majority of braille readers are educated in public rather than in residential schools and are likely to be working on braille reading individually rather than in a group. The kindergarten lessons were edited to reflect this change.

In 2003, introductory lessons for the kindergarten level were written and the decision was made to teach braillewriting of the letter words and letters at the same time as the letter words, letters, and sounds are taught in reading rather than waiting until the students can read 10 words or so to start writing. Efforts were also made to clear the project leader's schedule so that more time could be devoted to this project. Meanwhile the textbook writer continued work on the text and teacher's guide for the first grade.

In 2004, content editing of the kindergarten level was completed. This included adding a teacher's note on using the braillewriter versus the slate and stylus to introduce braillewriting and adding allergy alerts when food is used as part of a lesson. The mechanics of braillewriting were taught early to allow the child to be as independent as possible as early as possible. A checklist for the mechanics of braillewriting was provided to help the teacher track the child's progress and identify where the child still needs help. Some selections written especially for the original Patterns were edited to relate better to kindergarteners and to emphasize concept development for a visually impaired child. Meetings were held with the graphic designer to discuss graphics needed and work out designs for covers. Several meetings were also held to talk about production. Work continued on the first grade level, including the development of original stories and activities for the lessons and additional planning on selections and phonics and vocabulary to be included. During the summer, the project leader held a working meeting with six teachers of primary visually impaired children and the textbook writer. This group discussed state assessment standards and drafted test and remediation materials for the kindergarten and first grade levels of the revised program.

In 2005, additions were made to the kindergarten level for presenting the tactual graphics on the covers and those used in the introductions of the color words to children who are blind and have limited concept development and usually do not automatically recognize two dimensional representations of three dimensional objects. These textbook introductions were also used along with the titles to begin working on the skill of forecasting. Forms were created for recording the progress on the work covered in each textbook. For field testing, the eight textbooks were then produced in braille and the Teacher's Edition, Posttest Manual, and Assessment Forms were produced in both print and braille. Sample print lessons were laid out two different ways with icons and formatting for field testing. Using the items written by the teachers of the visually impaired, the Kindergarten Posttest was put together. Several evaluation forms were developed for field testing and expert review.

In 2006, field testing was conducted. Results were reviewed as they came in and then pulled together in a more complete report. Revisions included additional worksheets, suggestions for read-aloud books at the end of each lesson, and the correction of copy errors. A general introduction to the program, a specific introduction for the kindergarten level, and an introduction for the posttest were written. Acknowledgements, references, a table of contents, a scope and sequence chart for the level, several appendices, and an index of skills were added. Copyright permissions were secured as needed, and replacement selections were found and lessons rewritten when permissions were unable to be secured. Such selections were often ones that evaluators had recommended to change. A number of new books and research articles were reviewed during the writing of the introduction and were very helpful as the first grade level was developed. A group of TVIs from Ohio helped with the development of some stories.

In November 2006, the beginning of FY 2007, the kindergarten level of Building on Patterns (BOP) became available for purchase. Development of the lessons for first grade continued. When a draft of the first grade lessons was about half done, two experts reviewed the lessons. Possible cover art and titles for the proposed seven units for the level were discussed with one of the experts and APH graphic artists. The other expert felt that too many things were being taught in each lesson. The project leader worked with this expert/consultant on reordering the phonics and the language activities, spreading them out over the lessons for the year, and teaching them in a more systematic way. A few of the reading selections were also reordered to better fit the phonics and language being taught. This consultant revised the lessons to conform to the new plan, filled in new activities when needed, and edited the reading selections and the spelling activities accordingly. The project leader continued to work on additional reading selections, comprehension questions, oral reading and fluency activities, and vocabulary and concept development activities. In May, the project leader and the other expert who had reviewed the lessons co-hosted a meeting with the head of the Ohio teacher group and two of the teachers from the 2004 Summer Group, one from California and one from Oregon. The expert proposed reordering each lesson into a 5-day schedule and supplementing the lesson with additional tactile graphics and other activities. Following the meeting, each of the three participants from Ohio, California, and Oregon formed teams of TVIs to work on this.

In 2008, work continued on the first grade lessons. The project leader and the local consultant developed lesson drafts and sent them to the teacher writing teams from Ohio, California, and Oregon to reorder the lessons into 5-day sequences and supplement with additional tactile graphics, creative writing, and other activities. The project leader worked with the teams and edited the lessons coming back from them to maintain consistency, checked print layout copy being prepared for field testing, and answered questions from the Braille transcriber. In May, a new writing team of three TVIs in Arkansas was trained to reorder and supplement lessons by a team leader from California and the expert whose idea it was to reorder and supplement the lessons. In June, members of the teacher writing teams and other consultants met at APH and discussed questions the groups had about the development of the remainder of the lessons for Building on Patterns Grade 1 (BOP-1) to include the reading selections and all remaining parts of the lessons yet to be done. Preliminary planning for the development of BOP Grade 2 (BOP-2) began. In September, the first two units of BOP-1 with all accompanying materials and appropriate evaluation forms were sent to field testers and expert reviewers.

In FY 2009, the evaluation of BOP-1 Units 1 and 2 was completed, and prototypes of Units 3 and 4 were distributed with appropriate evaluation forms. Data from these units were analyzed, and appropriate revisions to the units were made and proofread before they were laid out in print and transcribed into braille for production. Drafts of lessons for Units 5, 6, and 7 were received from the writing teams, revised as needed, finalized, and prepared for evaluation. The Scope and Sequence Chart for BOP-1 was completed. Beginning reading books available in braille for the students to read were identified for Units 5, 6, and 7. At the end of the year, the expert review for Units 5 and 6 was in progress and Unit 7 was being prepared for review. BOP-1 Unit 1 became available for purchase in September 2009.

Also in FY 2009, planning and development of BOP-2 were well underway. The heads of three writing teams had regular conference calls beginning in April and continued throughout the year. In June, all available members of the writing teams met at APH for further planning. All team members were put on Google Docs so that lessons could be shared and critiqued in progress. A BOP-2 Scope and Sequence Chart, outlining Phonics and Syllabication, Spelling Words, Language Topics, and Braille Contractions to be introduced lesson by lesson, was put together. To provide some cohesiveness, Guidelines for Writing the Lessons were prepared. Writing teams decided upon unit themes, were assigned to various units, and created sample lessons. The project leader and other consultants worked on Guidelines for Writing Unit Assessment Lessons for the writing teams to use.

In FY 2010, expert reviews of BOP-1 Units 5-7 were completed; results were analyzed and used to make revisions. These units were prepared for production, laid out in print, and transcribed into braille. During FY 2010, five units were produced. BOP-1 Unit 2 became available for sale in December 2009; Unit 3, in January 2010; Unit 4, in June 2010; Unit 5, in July 2010; and Unit 6, in September 2010. Drafts of the BOP-1 Posttest and the BOP-1 Teacher's Edition Reference Volume were completed. The Reference Volume included front and back matter from the BOP-K Teacher's Edition updated to explain items included in the BOP program as a whole, as well as specific new items included in BOP-1. Examples of the new items included are lists of New Reading Words, Dolch Words, Braille Contractions, Spelling Words, and an Index of Concepts and Skills taught at the level. By the end of FY 2010, BOP-1 Unit 7, the BOP-1 Posttest, and the BOP-1 Teacher's Edition Reference Volume were either awaiting their turns in production or were in final preparation for production.

Also in FY 2010, three writing groups were hard at work on the first three units of BOP-2. The Guidelines for Writing Unit Assessment Lessons had been completed and distributed to them. Conference calls with the group leaders to discuss concerns were continued for most of the year. In June, two of the three group leaders met with other project consultants and personnel to discuss issues that had come up during the lesson development and to plan the agenda for a meeting of more writers in August. In August, all but one of the consultants/writers met and worked on their assigned units for BOP-2. At that time, plans were made to feature chapter/series books in Unit 7, the last unit in BOP-2. At the close of FY 2010, the draft of the Unit 1 Lessons had been completed and the drafts of the Unit 2 and Unit 3 Lessons were being finalized. All three units were expected to be sent out for expert review before Annual Meeting.

Work during FY 2011

The remaining BOP-1 materials were completed during FY 2011. Unit 7 became available for sale in January 2011. The BOP-1 Posttest came out in March 2011. The BOP-1 Teacher's Reference Volume, which contains all of the back and front matter usually found in a one-volume teacher's edition, came out in April 2011.

One more product, the Animal Cracker Puzzle, which was developed along with BOP-1 Unit 6, was sent out for expert review with it. The product was initially dropped because of time and possible animal cracker availability constraints; however, it has now been made with inedible, hard-foam, pretend animal crackers. This product comes with suggestions to match incised nests with the correct animal cracker shapes and to practice reading the braille words for the animals. Watch for this new product, which should be available soon.

The drafts of BOP-2 Units 1-3 were reviewed both by APH personnel and expert reviewers. Minor revisions were made based on the results of these reviews. The units were edited as needed, and prepared for production. This included finalizing the art, laying out the print, transcribing the braille parts of the program, and fitting time into the production schedule for each unit. BOP-2 Unit 1 is expected to be ready for sale in September with Units 2 and 3 to follow every 4-6 weeks in succession.

Work on BOP 2 Units 4-6 began as soon as the writers completed their work on Units 1-3. The writing groups kept in touch via Google Docs and regular conference calls, and met together at APH to work on the lessons for a week in June. At this time drafts of units 4-6 are beginning to be posted on Google Docs for review and the completed drafts of the units are expected to be available for review by the end of September 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

Drafts of BOP-2 Units 4 through 6 will be completed and Unit 7 on chapter/serial books will be developed and drafted. Units 4-7 will be reviewed by APH personnel and then by expert reviewers. Results will be analyzed and revisions made. Final editing will be done, and the art work will be finalized before the material is laid out for print production and then transcribed for braille production. The BOP-2 Posttest and the BOP-2 Teacher's Reference Volume will be developed and produced for sale, completing the basic materials for the three levels--Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade--of Building on Patterns.

Nemeth Across Time

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide students and teachers of students with visual impairments a series of "teach sheets" (e.g., reference sheets) that address mathematical concepts and appropriate application of the Nemeth Braille Code

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Derrick Smith, Expert Reviewer

Background

The idea for Nemeth Across Time came from a teacher in the field, Patricia Bolger. She had developed and used the "teach sheets" with her students and found them to be very helpful. Each teach sheet has a definition or description, specific vocabulary, description of print concepts, appearance in braille, process or steps in calculation, formulas, math concepts explained, and oddities or exceptions to the math rule noted. The materials would be available on CD and could be embossed or printed when needed.

The product submission was approved by the Product Evaluation Team and Product Advisory and Review Committee. The files submitted by Pat Bolger were reviewed by another math consultant, Dr. Derrick Smith.

Upon Jeanette Wicker's retirement from APH, this product was assigned to the Braille Literacy Project Leader, Loana Mason. Feedback from Derrick Smith, an expert reviewer, was analyzed, and the standards set by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) were researched. It was decided that the reference sheets would be organized in accordance with the NCTM standards and would include the following sections: number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability.

Work during FY 2011

Using the Nemeth Code Standards developed by the California Department of Education, a scope and sequence is being established to ensure that all concepts are addressed in a logical manner.

Work planned for FY 2012

After the scope and sequence chart has been developed, the current collection of reference sheets will be arranged sequentially. Then, Pat Bolger will be retained as a consultant in order to create new sheets to fill in any gaps. Content of the current sheets will be edited as necessary and formatted graphically. By the end of FY 2012, a field testing prototype should be ready.

Quick Check: Index of Literary Braille Signs

(Completed)

Front cover of the Quick Check booklet

Purpose

To provide braille users, parents, teachers, transcribers, and aficionados with a reference guide to the 189 contractions and other commonly used symbols contained in the Literary Braille Code

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Cathy Senft-Graves, Research Assistant

David McGee, Facilities Supervisor (formerly a Manufacturing Specialist)

Bryan Rogers, Manufacturing Specialist

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader

Eleanor Pester, Braille Project Leader

Terrie Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Background

In December 2007, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) released updates that changed the Literary Braille Code. The most significant changes involved reconfiguring the slash (/) sign as well as adding signs for the following print symbols: ampersand (&), at (@), copyright (©), crosshatch (#), registered trademark (®), and trademark (TM). In December 2009, the Product Evaluation Team (PET) and the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) charged the new Braille Literacy Project Leader with the task of modernizing the existing Braille Contraction Sheets.

An analysis of the original Braille Contraction Sheets revealed that the content of the print and braille versions differed significantly. The print booklet contained a column called "For Slate" that showed the reversed image of the sign shown in the "For Writer" column. On the other hand, the braille booklet contained a brief explanation of braille as well as the contraction classification of each symbol. Given the fact that these sheets could very well be used during braille proficiency exams, it was deemed necessary for the content of these documents to be identical.

Since the development of the original Braille Contraction Sheets, philosophies surrounding slate and stylus instruction have shifted drastically in order to eliminate the notion of writing backwards. Instead of teaching new dot configurations for symbols written with a slate and stylus, curricula now focus on how the braille cell is approached when writing with different tools. For example, the braille cell is approached from the left side when using a manual brailler, and from the right side when using a slate and stylus. Hence, the dot configurations of the braille symbols do not change. The sole difference is whether the numbering of the dots starts in the upper-left corner or the upper-right corner of the braille cell.

Another important factor guiding the modernization process was the accessibility of content presented in SimBraille to people with low vision. A discussion thread posted on the personnel prep listserv of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) described problems encountered by prospective teachers who happen to have visual impairments when they are required to use texts that contain SimBraille. Further evaluation revealed that both size and contrast greatly affect the readability of SimBraille by patrons with low vision.

Likewise, special consideration was given to the unique needs of braille readers, both beginning braille users and experienced braille users. Since the primary goal of this product is to facilitate quick access to information, the decision was made to organize the content in a manner similar to a dictionary. Thus, the inclusion of guide words at the bottom of each page was deemed important for allowing the user to expediently locate a designated word or symbol. Furthermore, informal research revealed the necessity of being able to look up information in either its contracted or uncontracted form. Since this involved organizing information in columns, it was determined that it would be helpful, especially to beginning braille readers, to employ the use of guide dots between columns in order to facilitate tracking.

In addition to addressing all of the aforementioned factors, the ultimate goal was to create an affordable and portable reference that could be used by anyone who is in the process of learning braille or who already knows braille but needs an occasional refresher. Since there are multiple braille codes that need to be mastered, the literary braille contraction sheets were revised in a manner that would easily allow for the creation of other booklets. So that future braille contraction sheets can be clustered together, this product line was given the over-arching name, Quick Check. Hence, this particular contraction sheet was renamed, Quick Check: Index of Literary Braille Signs.

Development of the initial prototype was completed in March 2010 after extensive consultation with other project leaders. In April, an in-house expert review was conducted since the changes to this product were primarily aesthetic. Based on feedback, the prototype was significantly expanded to include multiple ways of looking up contractions. In addition to the pre-existing alphabetical list of contractions, similar contractions were grouped together and given their own sections. This change is believed to be particularly beneficial to individuals learning the braille code who wish to study specific types of contractions governed by similar rules.

In August 2010, these changes were reviewed by another expert panel comprised of eight individuals who had used and/or taught braille for 2-75 years, with an average of 36.75 years. Four respondents used braille as either their personal reading/writing medium, four had taught braille to adults, four had taught braille to children, four had taught braille to sighted people, one had served as a BANA representative, one had been a transcriber, and one was a college student in a program on blindness and visual impairment. Each reviewer was asked to rate the difficulty in completing a series of tasks using both the original and the revised contraction index on the following scale: 0 = unable to complete, 1 = very hard, 2 = somewhat hard, 3 = somewhat easy, and 4 = very easy. On each individual task, the average rating for the Quick Check was higher than the rating for the Braille Contraction Sheets, and the overall ease of use score for each was as follows: 3.71 for the Quick Check and 2.37 for the Braille Contraction Sheets. Strengths of this modernized product, as pointed out by the reviewers, include its organization, size, ease of use, color contrast, and enlarged SimBraille. Based on reviewer feedback, the ASCII Braille and 7 Line Braille Charts were removed and additional explanation was provided on how best to use the alphabetical and categorical listings of contractions.

Work during FY 2011

Content of the Quick Check was finalized in October 2010, and specifications were developed in November 2010. On March 28, 2011, this product became available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2012

This product will continue to be monitored for quality, accuracy, and relevancy by the project leader. Contraction indexes for other braille codes and writing methods will be proposed to PET and PARC, starting with Nemeth Code and the slate and stylus.

Singing Your Way Through Functional Braille

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a multisensory pre-braille curriculum that is motivating to pre-readers and emerging readers who are blind, especially those with cognitive impairments or developmental delays

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Background

This product was originally created as part of Laura Hampton's master's thesis, and hence, it is supported by research. This supplemental curriculum will include a braille booklet, a musical CD, and a teacher's guidebook. It currently consists of 17 lessons designed to teach left to right tracking, scanning from top to bottom, identifying the correct position of dots within the braille cell, tactually discriminating same/different, identifying letters, associating letters with sounds, and reading selected vocabulary words. All lessons are accompanied by repetitious melodies played on the piano with original lyrics sung to such popular songs, such as "Where is Thumbkin?," "Jingle Bells," and "The Adams Family."

The Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory and Review Committee approved this product for development in December 2009.

Work during FY 2011

Due to time constraints in the project leader's schedule, further development of this prototype was not feasible during this fiscal year.

Work planned for FY 2012

The consulting services of Laura Hampton will be retained to guide development of this product. The sequence and content of the lessons, including supplemental practice materials, will be finalized. More intricate verses and additional songs will be composed as needed. As is the case with "The Braille Rap," the feasibility of featuring children who are blind and visually impaired on vocals will be investigated.

Handwriting

Printing Guide

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop teaching materials and printing templates to assist persons who are blind to learn to print legible capital letters according to positions of the braille dots in a cell

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T). Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Linda Ray, Project Consultant

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background

Although computers increasingly are being used as a means of written communication on the job and in social and recreational life, production of legible written communication still remains an essential skill. Jotting notes to colleagues, writing a quick comment on a page of printed material, leaving a note on the refrigerator for a family member, and filling in information on a check while shopping are only a few of the tasks that are accomplished more easily with a pen than with a computer.

Some persons who are congenitally blind have developed legible script and/or print styles. However, many adults who did not have functional vision during primary and elementary grades have not learned to produce print or script letters that sighted persons can read.

Linda Ray, a teacher of the visually impaired, submitted one print teaching method for consideration. With this method, students are taught to shape block print capital letters by connecting dot positions within a braille cell for each letter. Additionally, students are taught to print within a template of lines of rectangular openings. By using this template, cell boundaries can be detected when printing, print remains constant in size, and characters do not drift into one another.

Early research indicated that, though braille dot positions had been used to teach both printing and script writing throughout the blindness field, teaching curricula and materials had been developed primarily for script and not for print. Print samples from persons using Ray's print teaching method and from persons who had been taught to print using a variation on this method were examined. Preliminary data indicated that, with several significant exceptions, the connecting dots method of print teaching in combination with a printing template resulted in very readable block print. However, when printed with this method, several letters were indistinguishable or ambiguous. It was deemed desirable to develop a system that could eliminate as much ambiguity as possible. Additionally, it was deemed necessary to provide materials that could help students improve their production of diagonal lines.

To resolve ambiguity between block letters of D and O, attempts were made to teach students to draw curves by using templates with curved rather than sharp corners and tracing boards with curved letters. Tracing boards also included K, M, V, W, and Y, to help students learn to draw more complex diagonals.

Results of preliminary field testing showed that curved templates and tracing boards did not help students print curved letters; D-O and 8-B remained indistinguishable. Results also indicated that tracing boards might be helpful for teaching diagonals to some students, but a more streamlined approach to materials development was needed.

To resolve the D-O ambiguity, a Greek Delta character was offered for D; this character is very recognizable and may be easier to produce than the curved D. The small Y and a restructured B were also included. The product was reconfigured to provide one learning page per letter. Each learning page will include a letter description (the braille dot combinations to be connected for that letter), a raised image of the letter shape, and an engraved, pencil-traceable letter. Additional feedback from the field was sought by consulting Sally Mangold and by conducting a focus meeting at the AERBVI International Conference in July, 2004.

Feedback from the field was reviewed and a plan for the project prototype was finalized. As a result of this input, an additional description of each print letter based on position in the cell and not on dot numbers will be included on learning pages. Letters will also be presented in an order that allows students to master simple strokes and then join them into multi-stroke letters. Placement of letter descriptions and of embossed and engraved letter shapes on learning pages was finalized.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader's schedule constraints precluded further development of the product prototype during FY 2008 through FY 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will work closely with the model maker to develop product prototypes. Field test prototypes for the learning pages will be developed. A guidebook for teachers will be written, and a printing template based on the braille slate will be developed.

Symbol Communication

SAM: Symbols and Meaning

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a program to help build the conceptual foundation for successful symbol use including words, objects, tactual symbols, pictures, and graphics for learners with visual impairment and multiple impairments

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Millie Smith, Consultant and Author

J.C. Greeley, Contributing Writer

Linda Hagood, Contributing Writer

Zoe Morgese, Contributing Writing

Jennifer Stocker, Contributing Writer

Bryan Rogers, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

This is the continuing revision and replacement of the modalities of the Sensory Stimulation Kit (discontinued). This kit is being designed to complete the intervention continuum that APH has created by the sequential use of the Sensory Learning Kit, SAM: Symbols and Meaning, and Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication.

Work during FY 2011

The SAM Guidebook and the SAM Assessment and Games Book were completed. APH filmed commentary by Millie Smith for the introduction and follow-up of each game video. The videos were edited and voice-over descriptions were recorded and added to each video. Vendor bids were obtained for custom-made kit items.

Work planned for FY 2012

The BRF and the HTML file for the books will be completed. Custom-made items will be manufactured. The kit will be available for sale.

Universal Symbol System

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a starter set of standardized tangible symbols to represent a dominant feature of an object, person, or activity that could be recognized by many children

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Ellen Trief, Consultant

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

The Lavelle Fund for the Blind funded a study--conducted by Dr. Ellen Trief--on the use of standardized tangible symbol cues by visually impaired, non-verbal students. Trief has presented her findings both nationally and internationally. APH currently sells Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication, a kit for teachers and parents to make individualized communication cards for their students. APH believes that it will meet the needs of more students if both an individualized system and a standardized system are offered.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader and Trief conducted a session on the Universal Symbol System at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind. The MSDS reports for product components were reviewed by Technical Research. The instruction guide was written by Trief. Field test sites were identified. The prototype kits were manufactured by Adaptive Design.

Work planned for FY 2012

Field testing will take place. Revisions to documentation and symbol cues will be made.

Tactile Graphics

Feel'n Peel Sheets: Carousel of Textures

(Completed)

 Front cover of Carousel of Textures

Purpose

To provide an assortment of textured and brightly colored sheets that can be used by teachers, transcribers, students, parents, and adults with blindness and visual impairments for a variety of purposes including adapting/creating storybooks, classroom worksheets, or commercial game boards; preparing collage tactile displays; labeling purposes; coloring activities; arts and crafts; etc.

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker

Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Terri Gilmore, Print Layout of Suggested Uses Sheet

Background

In November 2008, the project leader submitted a Product Submission Form that detailed the purpose and expected components of the product. The product was presented as an extension of the existing Feel'n Peel products that would offer teachers, parents, students, and transcribers tactually discriminable, colorful, and adhesive-backed sheets using the same material (.005 translucent rigid vinyl) used in previous packages. The textures created by the project leader and Tom Poppe for other tactile products (e.g., Web Chase, Periodic Table, Textured Sorting Circles and Shapes, etc.) were expected to be incorporated. By doing so, the product would utilize popular textures applied to APH products, thus allowing cross-over to products adapted in school and in the home. Possible applications outlined included the following:

The project leader's product submission form was reviewed by the Product Evaluation Team (PET) in November 2008 and approved for development by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) in December 2008. In March 2009, the project leader conducted a combined "Brainstorming" and "Timeline" meeting with the Product Development Committee (PDC). Expected components and planned production processes were reviewed. A product timeline was established.

The second and third quarters of FY 2009 were devoted to the following product activities:

In July 2009, field test prototypes were readied. Each contained the following components:

Prototype Component Quantity 
Translucent "rough" sheets (blue, red, yellow, green, clear) 2 sheets per color 
Translucent "bumpy" sheets (blue, red, yellow, green, clear) 2 sheets per color 
Corrugated (red, blue, purple, dark green, light green, orange, yellow, pink) 1 sheet per color 
Velour (red, dark blue, dark green, white, black) 1 sheet per color 
Vivelle (red, green, blue, yellow) 1 sheet per color 
Package of Sticky Dots Adhesive 1 package/8 sheets 
Double-sided adhesive sheets  10 sheets 
Suggested Uses Sheet   
Housing Envelope for Textured Sheets   
Housing Box (for all components)   

In August 2009, the project leader identified a total of 14 field test sites. These sites were selected from over 50 interested teachers and blind adults who had responded to a request for evaluators posted in the July issue of the APH News.

By mid-September, each field test site received a complete prototype. Ideas for potential uses, complemented by photos, were documented in the accompanying "Suggested Uses" sheet. However, evaluators were encouraged to use the textured sheets in self-defined ways that met the needs of their students and/or their own personal uses. A deadline of November 2009 was set for the return of the evaluation form. Feedback specific to the following was requested:

The field test of Feel'n Peel Sheets: Carousel of Textures was completed in November 2009. Field evaluations were completed by 13 teachers representing the states of Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri (2), Alabama, California (2), Florida, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Iowa, and West Virginia. Evaluators included teachers of the visually impaired, braille transcribers, and orientation and mobility instructors. Materials made with Carousel of Textures were used with 63 students and adults. The largest group of students (46%) ranged in age from 2 to 4 years old. Equal percentages were between the ages of 5 and 7 years old (21%) and teenagers/adults (21%). The remaining students (12%) were between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. The sample was composed of 43% females and 57% males. The majority (83%) were White; 6% Hispanic; 9% African American; and 2% Asian. The students' primary reading medium was reported as 46% braille, 35% prereaders, 13% large print, 5% print (unspecified type), and 1% dual print/braille readers. Forty-one percent of the students were reported as having additional disabilities.

A variety of materials were adapted or created by teachers and students using Carousel of Textures:

According to the evaluators, noted advantages of Carousel of Textures included the large variety of colors and textures; familiarity of textures to the students; items are all together in one place; inclusion of two-sided adhesive sheets; and it acts as a spring board for other ideas. On a scale of 5 (Excellent) to 0 (Poor), evaluators rated the tactile quality of the five types of sheets 4.3 or above, with bumpy translucent sheets receiving the highest rating (4.9). Similarly, evaluators were asked to rate the visual quality of the provided sheets. All of the sheets received a 4.6 rating or above, with the velour sheets rated the highest (4.9). A full 85% of the evaluators used the double-sided adhesive sheets; nearly half (46%) used the Sticky DotsTM Adhesive.

Improvements made to the final kit, based upon evaluator feedback, included the addition of new colors and more textures. Because of the reported texture similarity between Vivelle and velour textures, repeated colors between the two types of materials were minimized and more color options were incorporated (e.g., gray, brown, and lilac). Provision of one double-backed adhesive sheet for each non-adhesive backed textured sheet was added. Added product ideas and photos appear in the documentation, including photos taken by field evaluators. The front cover of the product features a young student using the product (as incorporated into a tactile map of California) during field testing.

In mid-January 2010, the project leader convened PDC members to review the expected final product based upon field test results. The project leader prepared a document for each committee member that outlined the planned materials/papers, color specifications, pressure-sensitive adhesive requirements, sheet sizes, vendors, known costs, tooling status, accessory items, and anticipated quantities. A summary of the field test results was also disseminated. The production timeline was updated. During the Specifications meeting in April, the project leader proposed doubling-up on the .005 sheets during the die-cutting operation to significantly reduce the production time and, consequently, the cost of the product. This time and cost savings process was used during production.

By May 2010, all in-house tooling was completed, including the following: graphic layout of accompanying documentation; outer box artwork; braille translation of the documentation; thermoform patterns for vinyl textures; and drawings of needed cutting dies. Purchasing staff and Technical Research staff was instrumental in making final vendor selections for the purchased materials and double-adhesive sheets. By the end of FY 2010, production was underway.

Work during FY 2011

The "Airplane" to announce the availability of Carousel of Textures was released on November 11, 2010. The project leader prepared content for the brochure information and demonstrated the product's use at workshops. Within 10 months of its availability date, the kit had sold 1,337 units.

Work planned for FY 2012

Given the availability of the product, no additional work is expected. However, the project leader will continue to monitor the need for similar collage materials that are useful for tactile adaptations.

Feel'n Peel Stickers: Nemeth Braille/Print Numbers 0-100

(Completed)

 Front cover of Feel'n Peel Stickers: Nemeth Braille/Print Numbers 0-100

Purpose

To provide a new package of Feel'n Peel Stickers featuring Nemeth Braille numbers paired with their print counterparts

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Layout (of cover art and accompanying documentation)

Background

For more than a decade, various types of Feel'n Peel Sticker packages have been produced by APH. Available kits offer "Point Symbol" stickers, "Reward" stickers, "Alphabet" stickers, "Color Name" stickers, and "Smiley/Frowny Face" stickers. After years of availability, the sales of these sticker packages have remained popular and steady. The "Literary Braille Number" stickers, in particular, experience one of the highest sales--over 1,300 packages sold in FY 2010 alone. However, in FY 2009, APH received several outside product idea submissions requesting "Nemeth Braille Numbers" stickers to facilitate math- and science-specific adaptations.

In November 2009, the project leader posted an online survey in APH News to gauge the need for Nemeth Braille stickers. Not only was the need for Nemeth Braille stickers echoed by survey respondents, but additional sticker packages (e.g., grade stickers, shape stickers, and more reward/incentive stickers) were requested as well.

In January 2010, the development and production of Nemeth Braille/Print Number Stickers was presented to the Product Evaluation Team and to the Product Advisory and Review Committee. Both committees approved the production of this new package of stickers.

On February 16, 2010, the project leader conducted a "Brainstorming" Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting. At this meeting, the project leader presented an early draft of the expected sticker page layout. Issues of product quality and the need for a safety warning were discussed at the meeting. Although additional math-related stickers (e.g., fractions and math symbols) were requested, the committee felt it best to tackle one package at a time. It was also decided that formal field testing would not be necessary since the production methods and expected customer uses mirrored those of earlier Feel'n Peel Stickers.

In March 2010, the project reconvened PDC members to review the planned components of the package and to set timeline dates. A product catalog number was assigned and the inclusion of a safety warning was planned. Tooling was scheduled for the following components:

By the end of March, significant project tasks were accomplished including a) the final layout design of both sticker sheet layouts [proofed by a Certified Nemeth Braille transcriber]; b) the preparation of the accompanying documentation; c) the provision of a clean file of the documentation to the Braille Department for translation; and d) the delivery of electronic art to be used by the outside vendor to generate embossing plates.

In-house tooling tasks came to a conclusion in April. The final graphic layout of the accompanying print documentation was completed, the braille tooling of the documentation was readied, and silkscreens were prepared. A Specifications meeting was conducted by Technical Research.

By June 1, 2010, the outside vendor had prepared necessary cutting dies and embossing plates. July was dedicated to in-house screen printing of the two sticker page layouts--numbers 0-9 and numbers 10-100; total sheet production equaled 6,400 sheets to satisfy the first production run. The project leader prepared brochure content and monitored the quality of received parts from the vendor. The "Airplane" to announce the product's availability was released in late September 2010. The product is currently available with Quota funds for $24.00 a package.

Work during FY 2011

As of July, Feel'n Peel Stickers: Nemeth Braille/Print Numbers 0-100 ranked within the top 15 most purchased APH products during FY 2011, selling over 1,700 packages in less than a year; it ranked #1 of all newly-introduced products during FY 2011 with regard to volume of sales. The project leader continued to monitor the field's requests for additional sticker packages.

Work planned for FY 2012

Development of additional packages of Feel'n Peel Stickers will be pursued if repeated requests for particular types of stickers are received.

Flip-Over Concept Books: TEXTURES

(Ongoing)

Photo of Flip-Over Concept Books

Purpose

To provide young children with an interactive tactile book series that encourages the development and understanding of basic concepts and tactile skills related to shape, texture, spatial concepts, etc.

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker

Background

In April 2006, the project leader submitted a formal proposal to develop a series of interactive tactile/print books to encourage young children's development and understanding of basic concepts related to shape, texture, spatial concepts, counting, etc. Inspired by recommendations from the Early Books Focus Group, which met at APH in June 2004, these books will address the group's specific requests for both "concept books" as well as "inexpensive, simple books for children 3- to 5-years of age." The Flip-Over Concept Books incorporate an interactive feature whereby the child independently flips pages or adjacent print/tactile panels that can be matched or sequenced. The panels turn so that, for instance, the child can find all of the panels that have a rough texture, continue a line path, complete a sequence, build an image, etc. Additional skills targeted include page turning, fine motor skills, independent choice-making, and problem-solving. The product idea was officially approved for development by the Product Advisory and Review Committee.

The field test of the Flip-Over Concept Books was completed in January 2008. Field evaluations were completed by 13 teachers who represented the states of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, and Texas (2). The student sample of 41 students ranged in age from 3 to 16 years old with 24% between 3 and 5, 46% between 6 and 8, 24% between 9 and 11, and 5% between 12 and 16. The student sample was nearly equally divided between females and males (56% and 44%, respectively). The student population reflected cultural diversity: 34% were White, 32% were Hispanic, 20% were African American, 7% were Asian, and 7% were reported as "two or more races." A full 73% were in grades Pre-K through third grade, 20% were in grades 4-6, one student was in 12th grade, and the remaining percentage (5%) were reported as non-graded. The largest percentage of the students (41%) were braille readers; 37% read print or large print; 7% were reported a prereaders; and remaining percentage were classified as dual readers, auditory readers, or nonreaders. Over half (51%) of the students had other disabilities.

Both Flip-Over Concept Books (LINE PATHS and PARTS OF A WHOLE ) were reported as helpful by the teachers in supporting the development and reinforcement of various skills and concepts, with student improvements reported in various areas: more careful tactile exploration, matching, line tracking, page turning, spatial understanding/concept development, overcoming tactile defensiveness, on-task behavior, self-esteem, peer interaction, and interest in tactile games/activities. Additional Flip-Over Concept Books were requested including books to address basic shapes, textures, counting, sequencing, and recreational themes. The most significant change to the books, based upon field test results, was the conversion from a twin-loop binding to one that allows removal, minimization, and randomization of the separate panels.

Quota approval for the two Flip-Over Concept Books (as well as for other future books developed in the series) was received from the Educational Product Advisory Committee (EPAC) in May 2008. LINE PATHS became available on November 11, 2009 and PARTS OF A WHOLE became available on June 3, 2010.

Work during FY 2011

Since their introduction to the APH product line, both Flip-Over Concept Books have been in large demand. Over 2,000 LINE PATH books have been purchased, followed by nearly 1,000 PARTS OF A WHOLE books. Given this popularity, the project leader decided to continue with the development of additional flip-over books. Ninety-two percent of the field test evaluators rated TEXTURES as a much needed book for this series.

Because of work on higher priority projects throughout FY 2011, as well as the lack of available time in the model shop, the project leader was not able to devote significant time to this project. However, she did begin to sketch and select possible textures. The project leader and pattern/model maker also made strides in testing thermoformed and screen-printed flocked styrene; successful outcomes were promising for the incorporation of softer graphic textures for young children.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will determine needed textures for the panels of this new book. A product timeline will be established, and production tooling will be constructed similar to the previous two flip-over books. An assortment of panels will be supplied with the final product to allow the teacher or parent to change the presentation order and variety of textures, thus making the book as versatile as possible.

This popular flip-over book construction is currently being mimicked in the development of a mathematics book titled Flip-Over Concept Books: FRACTIONS [see separate report].

Giant Textured Beads with Pattern Matching Cards

(Continued)

Front guidebook cover of Giant Textured Beads with Pattern Matching Cards

Purpose

To provide tactile/visual pattern matching cards that extend the use of APH's existing Giant Textured Beads. The tactile cards and textured beads support the tactile continuum encountered in APH's Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding--real object, thermoformed object, and raised-line drawing.

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Bisig Impact Group, Layout of Guidebook/Photography

Background

Giant Textured Beads is a long-standing, consistently popular product produced by APH. The kit consists of 12 large tactile, colored beads that incorporate three different textures (smooth, striped, and checkered), three different colors (red, yellow, and blue), and three different shapes (cube, rectangular solid, and cylinder). Intended for young children ages 3 to 6, the beads can be strung onto a provided cord in various combinations (guided by the teacher's verbal instructions) that reinforce concepts related to shape, color, and texture. However, the kit lacks the common component included with many commercial bead-stringing kits--that is, pattern matching cards. To make the matching cards for the Giant Textured Beads fully accessible to students with visual impairments and blindness, the cards need to be both visual and tactile.

In April 2008, the project leader submitted a product idea form that suggested that APH design and offer tactile matching cards to complement the Giant Textured Beads. The submission form indicated that the proposed product would provide the following:

As proposed, the product will encourage...

The target population was expanded to include older students who still need tactile interpretation training.

In May 2008, the product idea was reviewed by the Product Evaluation Team and was approved for development by the Product Advisory and Review Committee. By the end of the fiscal year, the project leader had conducted a "Brainstorming" meeting with the Product Development Committee.

A product timeline for the development of the Pattern Matching Cards for the Giant Textured Beads was established in January 2009.

In March 2009, the project leader posted a request for current owners/users of the Giant Textured Beads to complete a 10-question survey to confirm the need for tactile matching cards, as well as to obtain feedback about the current bead design and use. Although only a small number of teachers completed the survey, helpful information was garnered. The feedback provided the following insights:

1. Giant Textured Beads were being used with children older than 6 years of age, including students in grades 1-3, as well as students with multiple disabilities and cognitive delays. One respondent reported that she used the beads with high school students "in a life skills classroom to build their hand/eye coordination and work on keeping their vision focused on a specific activity," noting that the beads "help build sensory awareness and identification skills."

2. The beads were used for a variety of activities: matching beads to similar ones of the same shape; following an "ab" or "abc" pattern with the textures/shapes; matching the shape of the bead to other objects in the environment; copying a pattern created by the teacher; using the beads to represent letter sequences, words, or sound patterns; and so forth.

3. One hundred percent of the respondents thought that pattern matching cards would be a helpful accessory to the existing beads. As one teacher noted: "If the cards are tactile, this would be of great benefit for students learning to discriminate tactile graphics and to be able to be more independent when working on a task." Another echoed, "The cards would help the child develop tactile discrimination skills from 3D to 2D."

4. One hundred percent of the respondents supported the project leader's intention to add a tray to allow a child to place the beads into separate compartments. One evaluator attested, "Currently we use a table and it is difficult to keep the beads in a central location for students to reach." Another expected that "it would specifically help autistic and multi-impaired visually impaired students."

5. One hundred percent of the respondents indicated that the assortment of print/tactile pattern matching cards (e.g., 2-D raised shape with texture, 2-D raised shapes without texture, and 3-D view with hidden lines depicted) would allow a variety of matching activities. One respondent indicated, "A variety of cards would be great for students at various cognitive/skill levels."

6. Some respondents requested a duplicate of each type of bead. One teacher explained, "I often combine sets in order to work with students and have them copy me."

Throughout the third and fourth quarters of FY 2009, multiple prototypes of the Pattern Matching Cards for the Giant Textured Beads were designed and built by the project leader and the model/pattern maker in preparation for field test activities. These tasks involved the following:

By the end of July 2009, the project leader and the pattern/model maker had all of the tangibles constructed for field test purposes--2 months ahead of schedule despite the product's complexity. In September, the project leader authored an Activities Booklet to accompany the beads and matching cards.

In October 2009, the project leader posted a request for field evaluators in the online APH News. Nearly 40 teachers expressed interest in field testing.

The field test of Pattern Matching Cards was initiated in November 2009 and extended through January 2010. Product evaluations were completed by 12 teachers representing the states of Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Texas (2), Vermont, and Virginia. The majority (75%) of evaluators worked in itinerant settings; 17% worked in resource centers; and 8% worked in day schools. Over half (58%) of the field evaluators had previous experience using the original Giant Textured Beads.

The sample of 46 students ranged from 1 to 16 years of age with 23% between the ages of 1 and 4, 31% between the ages of 5 and 7, 37% between the ages of 8 and 11, and 10% between the ages of 12 and 16. Gender representation was split between 61% males and 39% females. The student population reflected cultural diversity: 72% White, 7% Hispanic, 13% African American, 2% American Indian, and 7% "two or more races." Grade levels were represented as so: 23% of the students were in preschool, 17% were in kindergarten, 30% were in grades 1-3, 12% were in grades 4-6, and 4% were in grades 7-9; a full 15% were classified as "ungraded." The students' primary reading media varied greatly: 28% were braille readers, 22% were large print or print (size unspecified) readers, 17% were nonreaders, 13% were prereaders or pre-braille readers, 7% were auditory readers, and 6% were dual readers (braille/large print and auditory/braille); a primary reading medium was not reported for 7% of the students. A large percentage (72%) of the students had other disabilities including Down Syndrome, autism, speech delays, ADHD, cognitive impairments, developmental delays, and cerebral palsy.

One hundred percent of the evaluators recommended that APH produce Pattern Matching Cards to complement the existing Giant Textured Beads. Unanimous approval was given for the following features of the kit: the provision of three different types of matching cards (i.e., duplicate, 2-D raised platform, and 3-D Views); colors, textures, and size of the matching cards; thickness and color of backing foam applied to matching cards (especially for students with multiple disabilities); durability of cards; usefulness of the sorting trays; the manner in which the trays securely held the matching cards; and the usefulness of the Activities Booklet. All of the evaluators thought the kit reinforced skills/concepts related to identification of shapes, identification of textures, identification of colors, sorting and classifying by various attributes, hand skills, patterning skills, and interpretation of tactile displays.

All of the students were reported as enjoying the use of the Pattern Matching Cards in combination with the Giant Textured Beads. Performance outcomes for the students were reported with regard to their success in matching the three types of cards to the actual textured beads. The performance results supported the tactile continuum from the easiest-to-match cards (Duplicate) to most difficult (3-D Views) across all age groups:

PATTERN MATCHING CARDS (f/Giant Textured Beads) 
 Matched successfully on first attempt Matched successfully after a few attempts Never matched successfully Did not use this type of matching card 
All Students (n = 43)
**Note: Outcomes for 3 students were not reported. 
Duplicate Cards 13 (30%) 23 (53%) 7 (16%)   
Platform Cards 12 (28%) 13 (30%) 9 (21%) 9 (21%) 
3-D View Cards 7 (16%) 11 (26%) 8 (19%) 17 (40%) 
AGES 1-4 
Duplicate Cards 1 (10%) 8 (80%) 1 (10%)   
Platform Cards 3 (30%) 4 (40%) 2 (20%) 1 (10%) 
3-D View Cards 3 (30%) 1 (10%) 2 (20%) 4 (40%) 
AGES 5-7 
Duplicate Cards 6 (46% )5 (38%) 2 (15%)   
Platform Cards 3 (23%) 5 (38%) 2 (15%) 3 (23%) 
3-D View Cards 1 (8%) 5 (38%) 1 (8%) 6 (46%) 
AGES 8-11 
Duplicate Cards 6 (40%) 7 (47%) 2 (13%)   
Platform Cards 6 (40%) 3 (20%) 2 (13%) 4 (27%) 
3-D View Cards 3 (20%) 5 (33%) 2 (13%) 5 (33%) 
AGES 12-16 
Duplicate Cards   3 (60%) 2 (40%)   
Platform Cards   1 (20%) 3 (60%) 1 (20%) 
3-D View Cards     3 (60%) 2 (40%) 

The following percentages of evaluators reported appropriateness of the kit for various target populations:

Target Population Percentage of evaluators who found Pattern Matching Cards to be suitable for target population 
Preschoolers with visual impairments/blindness 92% 
Kindergarteners with visual impairments/blindness 100% 
Tactile readers in Grades 1-3 100% 
Low vision students in Grades 1-3 100% 
Older students with limited prior experience with tactile learning materials 67% 
Children with multiple disabilities 92% 

The versatility of the Giant Textured Beads with Pattern Matching Cards was best summarized by one of the evaluators: "This kit offers a complete range of learning opportunities from the earliest learners (infant/toddlers) to academic elementary students with multiple disabilities. The variety gave me, as an instructor, a level of flexibility not found with all teaching materials."

Work during FY 2011

Field evaluators' feedback was used to determine enhancements to the materials and accompanying guidebook. Post field-test activities included the following:

Production tooling for the kit's main components was available by the end of February 2011. In May, the final production specifications were provided to Production staff; during the same month, the Educational Products Advisory Committee granted Quota approval. By July, the first signs of production were witnessed--that is, the product documentation was produced and needed materials from outside vendors (e.g., drawstring bags, textured beads) were received. By the first of August, the new version of the Giant Textured Beads (Catalog # 1-03780-00) was stocked.

Work planned for FY 2012

APH's goal is to have Giant Textured Beads with Pattern Matching Cards (Catalog # 1-03778-00) available within the 2011-2012 school year. Replacement kits of the Giant Textured Beads (1-03780-00) and the Pattern Matching Cards (1-03779-00) will become available at the same time. Although November 2011 is set as the target date for availability, a slight delay may occur due to renovation activities in the screen printing room. The project leader, model/pattern maker, and manufacturing specialist will monitor the quality of the first pilot and production runs, prepare brochure content, and showcase the final product at workshops and conferences.

Inkjet Hook Paper

(Completed)

Photo of fanned sheets of Inkjet Hook Paper

Purpose

To provide a convenient means of producing customized print/braille labels (in combination with APH's Braillable Labels and Sheets) for eventual use with a hook-compatible surface such as APH's ALL-IN-ONE Board, InvisiBoard, and Picture Maker

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Karen Marshall, Purchasing Manager

Background

During the development of Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit [see separate report], the project leader located a product produced by Velcro USA called Velcro® Picture Paper that proved an ideal accessory to the kit--that is, it allowed teachers and O&M specialists to create customized print/braille labels specific to their own surroundings (e.g., street names, specific landmarks/buildings, personal names, etc.). The usefulness of this printable hook paper was confirmed by 14 orientation and mobility instructors and teachers of the visually impaired during the field test of Tactile Town; a full 92% of the evaluators indicated that it was helpful in creating customized labels. Requests for this paper were also echoed by attendees of the poster session on Tactile Town at the 2009 Getting In Touch with Literacy Conference in Costa Mesa, California; a popular, enthusiastic question was "Where can I get this paper?!"

In November 2009, the project leader prepared a Product Submission Form to suggest the separate availability of this Velcro-backed paper. The product was quickly approved by the Product Evaluation Team on December 2, 2009, followed by the Product Advisory and Review Committee's approval on December 9, 2009.

At the time Tactile Town was field tested (early 2009), Velcro Picture Paper was available from Velcro USA. However, the vendor no longer manufactures this product and it is only obtainable from its sister company in Canada. The project leader made initial contacts with the Canadian-based company and explained the unique uses of the product for persons with visual impairments and blindness. Confirmation that the vendor expected to continue to the manufacture the product (unlike its USA counterpart) was received. The condition of the Canadian version of the product is actually superior to the Velcro Picture Paper in that it lays flat and has a slight overhang of plastic that allows the paper to more easily feed through inkjet printers.

The project leader prepared content for the accompanying documentation to explain the proper and varied uses of Inkjet Hook Paper. Using an inkjet printer [not a laser printer or copier], the teacher can print a group of needed labels on the smooth side of the paper; the opposite side has tiny "hooks" that grab to a Veltex® surface. Application of clear, brailled labels on top of the printed labels creates durable and reusable labels. Labels can be customized for low vision readers by using appropriate-sized fonts and background colors. The labels lay flat against the Veltex surface, providing a seamless flow as the child/student tactually tracks the labels within a graphic.

Apart from preparing custom labels, the project leader explains in the documentation how Inkjet Hook Paper can be used to create enlarged, colorful pictures for the construction of communication symbols, storybook sequencing cards, game tokens, puzzles, etc. Cutting discernible edges/outlines around the print images (e.g., Xs and Os for a Tic-Tac-Toe game), whenever appropriate, can accommodate tactile readers as well.

Final project related tasks prior to production and availability included the following:

Note: The product is Quota eligible because it is not available within the United States and added documentation explains its unique uses for APH's target population.

Work during FY 2011

Inkjet Hook Paper became available from APH on November 12, 2010. Available with Quota funds, the package sells for $15.00. The components of the kit include 10 sheets of Inkjet Hook Paper, vendor instructions (in large print/braille), and APH product instructions (in large print/braille).

Work planned for FY 2012

The product will eventually be included in the final kit of Tactile Town, as well as in future APH storybook-building products and games. No additional work is expected on this project.

Student Model ALL-IN-ONE Board

(Completed)

Photo of (SM)ALL-IN-ONE's Veltex side with sorting puzzle shown Photo of (SM)ALL-IN-ONE's dry erase/magnetic side with tangram puzzles

Purpose

To provide a noticeably smaller version or "student model" of APH's popular ALL-IN-ONE Board, a multi-platform, adjustable board for use with either hook-Velcro® accessories or magnetic pieces (homemade, obtained from APH, or purchased commercially), as well as dry-erase markers. The reduced size would specifically accommodate portability and desktop use by an individual student with visual impairment or blindness.

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker

Terri Gilmore, Layout of Product Instructions

Background

The current ALL-IN-ONE Board was developed after a background search eliminated the risk of duplicating a similar tool already commercially available. The ALL-IN-ONE Board provides the following:

In FY 2008, the field test of the original ALL-IN-ONE Board revealed the product's usefulness for a myriad of learning activities. Reported tasks included the following:

The field evaluators gave very high ratings of the board's design features, indicating a 4.0 (the highest possible rating) for both its color/attractiveness and its various slant positions. Other ratings included overall size (3.85), weight (3.75), multi-purpose format (3.9), portability (3.5), and durability (3.55). One-hundred percent of the teachers reported that the ALL-IN-ONE Board offered specific advantages over dry-erase, magnetic, and/or other Velcro boards they had previously used, most notably the adjustable slant positions and the dual-platform presentation.

The original ALL-IN-ONE Board was introduced for sale on January 31, 2009. Its sales quickly exceeded the first-year sales forecast of 1,000 units. By August 2010, nearly 4,000 ALL-IN-ONE Boards had been purchased. As of August 2011, over 6,000 units had sold since the ALL-IN-ONE's original introduction, ranking within the top 20 most requested APH products of FY 2011.

As prompted by field requests and responses to an online product-specific survey, the project leader submitted a formal product submission form to suggest the development of a complementary, smaller size ALL-IN-ONE Board, specifically targeted for use by an individual student. The product proposal was approved by the Product Evaluation Team on June 30, 2010, and supported by the Product Advisory and Research Committee on July 14, 2010. By the end of August, the project leader had conducted a meeting with the Product Development Committee to give known details about the new design's dimensions and to establish a product timeline. Field test was determined to be unneeded given the success of the current model.

Work during FY 2011

The existing ALL-IN-ONE Board design was used as a template for the development and production of the Student Model ALL-IN-ONE Board. The working surface of the (SM)ALL-IN-ONE measures approximately 10-3/4" (h) x 13-1/2" (w). It retains the two-sided (Veltex® and metal/dry-erase) panel and rotating arm/hub features. Minimal updates to the accompanying documentation were incorporated.

The project staff was involved in meetings with outside vendors to create new tooling for the (SM)ALL-IN-ONE Board, related carrying case, and protective shipping box with insert. Needed locating fixtures for in-house assembly were built. By the end of February 2011, all production tooling, including braille translation, was completed. A Product Specifications meeting was conducted in mid-March and the production timeline was updated. In May, the Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) approved the purchase of the (SM)ALL-IN-ONE Board with Quota funds.

An "Airplane" announcing the (SM)ALL-IN-ONE Board's availability was released on September 26, 2011. It is available with Quota funds for $127.00.

Work planned for FY 2012

Post-production activities will involve demonstrating the product at conferences and workshops and continuing to develop accessory materials for use with the (SM)ALL-IN-ONE Board [see separate report on Magnetic Dolch Word Wall].

Tactile Graphics Research

(Continued)

Purpose

To study and develop techniques for making useful tactile graphics, to work toward standards in tactile graphic presentations, and to evaluate product submissions and ideas from the field related to tactile graphics

Project Staff

Karen Poppe, Project Leader

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Background

APH has a variety of means to produce tactile graphics, including embossed paper, puff ink, capsule paper, thermography, and vacuum form. One goal of this research is to learn which media are appropriate for which uses. Another goal is to identify and expand the available methods/tools useful for the production of tactile displays, whether by APH or by the individual teacher, transcriber, or student.

In addition, tactile graphic products are frequently submitted by teachers or other professionals who would like to collaborate with APH in producing their materials; project staff provides written reviews of these submissions. Yet another aspect of this research is to monitor developments in practice, technology, and philosophy as they evolve.

Work during FY 2011

Throughout the year, project staff conducted a variety of tactile graphic workshops and training sessions (both in-house and at national conferences), initiated contacts and gathered input from the field, and proposed new product ideas. Examples of these activities are listed below:

Work planned for FY 2012

Project staff will continue to monitor advances in technology and practice as they relate to tactile design and teaching, conduct workshops and conference presentations, and work in-house to promote consistently good tactile design.

Tactile Skills Online Matrix

(New)

Photo of sample page of Tactile Skills Matrix

Purpose

To provide an online document or "matrix" that cross-references important tactile skills with available APH products

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Background

APH frequently receives comments that teachers do not really know our products or how they can be used in conjunction with others. Just as importantly, APH does not have well-established ways to reach parents to inform them about the need for tactile skills development and what that means for their child or how they can begin to nurture tactile skills development early on. The continuum of tactile skills--such as body and spatial awareness, shape recognition, scanning/tracking ability, perspective understanding, and so on--are known to contribute to successful tactile interpretation. The basic progression needed for tactile learning--from experiences with real objects to models to raised-line images--is well documented and modeled in a variety of APH products (e.g., Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding). However, students who are tactile learners are likely to be getting piecemeal instruction and are therefore poorly equipped to handle the increasing variety of graphically presented material in textbooks and high-stakes tests.

In October 2010, a sample of a possible Tactile Skills Online Matrix was developed and then presented by the project leader at a Product Input Session during APH's Annual Meeting. The chart detailed a general progression of identified tactile skills/concepts to support the tactile continuum from exploration of real objects to models to raised-line graphics. The tactile skills/concepts were pictorially cross-referenced with APH products. The project leader explained that the matrix would navigate the user (e.g., parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, etc.) to full product descriptions, a discussion of a specific product's rationale and methods, or video demonstrations in the style of YouTube. Theoretically, it would continue to be a living, online document that could be updated with video or written submissions from teachers and parents. The need for this online pictorial and interactive roadmap of tactile skills and related products was echoed by the audience of Ex Officio Trustees and other special guests who attended this Annual Meeting session.

Work during FY 2011

In late October 2010, the project leader prepared a Product Submission Form explaining the idea of a prominent link on APH's Web site that will guide the target audience (teachers, parents, administrators, and paraprofessionals) to a user-friendly, interactive, and accessible chart of tactile skills that promotes a foundation for tactile graphic reading ability and literacy. The product idea was supported by both the Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory and Review Committee in January 2011.

The project leader assembled staff from the Communications Department who are directly involved in designing and managing APH's Web site. Early advice was given to the project leader regarding possible visual layouts, as well as considerations for additional features.

Work planned for FY 2012

Actual construction of the Tactile Skills Online Matrix will characterize most of FY 2012. Identification and listing of important tactile skills paired with APH products will be outlined by the project leader. A trial run of the online, interactive page will be expert reviewed and altered (if needed) before official unveiling on the APH Web site.

TG TV

(Continued)

Purpose

To create an instructional video that gives real-time, specific examples of the thinking that goes into adapting print images into tactile graphics

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Background

The existing videos related to tactile graphics, from APH and elsewhere, speak either in very general terms about philosophy or in specific terms about working with materials. What is apparently lacking is an understanding of how to adapt the print graphic after deciding what is to be shown--that is, how to convert it into a readable design for a tactile.

The project leader has experimented with "screen-capture" programs, which record the onscreen editing of images in a drawing program along with voice-over narration. This seems promising as a relatively low-cost and direct way to illustrate the processes and should form the foundation of the video.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader selected textbook graphics to serve as the subject material of the initial videos and began to adapt them into tactile designs. A popular screen-capture software program was downloaded for trial use and will be purchased.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will work with in-house tactile graphics staff to develop outlines for the topics to be covered. One or more videos will be recorded, edited, and released. If accompanying materials are to be offered as tangible products, their development will begin.

Study Skills / Organizational Skills

Calendar Time

(Continued)

Purpose

To modernize the Classroom Calendar Kit and the Individual Calendar Kit to have them work interchangeably with each other, and have them meet the early childhood standards used by preschool and early elementary classrooms

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader

Donna Brostek Lee, Consultant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Background

Classroom discussions related to the calendar have become more than just learning months of the year, dates, and events. Several teachers of the visually impaired suggested that APH should review the Classroom Calendar Kit and the Individual Calendar Kit and make revisions to bring them in line with early childhood standards. Teachers of the visually impaired presently have to make their own individual calendars because of the following:

  1. Patterning is being emphasized during calendar time.
  2. Shapes, and colors, are being used for calendar activities, e.g., yellow circles, blue squares, orange triangles, red rectangles, pink stars, purple ovals, etc.
  3. Teachers mix and match the sets to create patterns on the calendar.

The current size of the classroom calendar board is appropriate. For the student-sized calendar, it is recommended that the board be made from plastic (rather than paper) with pieces that are attached with Velcro®; thus, the board can be reused with number sets instead of current paper version. Patterning with shapes and colors at calendar time relates to the integrated curriculum approach (date, reading, numbers, lettering, patterning, shapes, colors, etc.), and this revision will address this issue more appropriately and consistently. This modernization will be very beneficial to teachers of the visually impaired and other service providers, as they have to make these calendars as described, which is very time-consuming.

In 2008, work began on the modernization of the Classroom Calendar Kit and the Individual Calendar Kit. The project leader and the consultant met several times to discuss the modernization, and identified suggestions for consideration as the product idea moves forward. Based on sales of the current products Individual Calendar Kit 1-18971-00 and Classroom Calendar Kit 1-18970-00, these will not be replaced by the new Calendar Kit. Instead of a modernization, the new Calendar Kit, to be called Calendar Time, will be an additional APH product.

In FY 2009, a contract and timeline were established with the consultant. The project leader and consultant began to work with technical research on the design and materials of the calendars. Layout templates of the student-sized calendar pieces were completed. The consultant researched curriculum standards set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics as they relate to use of the calendar product. In addition, the consultant began to write the user's guide for the kit.

The consultant, project leader, and research assistant presented the Calendar Time kit during the 2009 Information Fair at the APH Annual Meeting. Prototypes of the student-sized and classroom-sized calendars, along with their calendar pieces, were shown. Comments from attendees were very positive, and people liked the idea of matching calendar boards. Many attendees expressed interest in field testing the product.

Components of the kit were further defined to include an instruction booklet; classroom size calendar and student size calendar; and Velcro pieces for the year, month, days, and numbers 1-31 in several shapes/colors.

Work during FY 2011

Progress on this product was delayed by the consultant's scheduling conflicts as well as the delay of prototype development.

Work planned for FY 2012

Tasks that remain for the development of Calendar Time are the following: content, design, and layout of the user's guide; the completion of kit prototypes; field testing and subsequent revisions. At this time, the project leader anticipates moving this project from active development and back to inactive development (i.e., the Parking Lot), until schedules permit progress to be made.

Labeling, Marking, and Organization: A Self-Help Guide for Persons After Vision Loss

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide information to adults who have lost vision about how to identify objects and materials in their environment

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Lisa-Anne Mowerson, Project Author/Consultant

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Background

An Independent Living Specialist in Kentucky suggested that APH create a set of large print labels for canned foods and pantry items. Input from a focus group of rehabilitation teachers led to the expansion of this product to include a consumer-oriented book that provides guidance in organizational techniques as well as labeling. A Labeling Tool Kit is also being considered as an accompaniment to the book. These materials will help visually impaired adults who are unable to access rehabilitation teaching services to understand and apply organizational and labeling principles. Rehabilitation teachers can also use these materials with students.

During FY 2004, Lisa-Anne Mowerson produced materials based on her years of experience teaching these skills to individuals and groups of persons with visual impairments. Editing, restructuring, and reorganization of materials for the first third of the book were completed. During FY 2005, revision and editing of materials in the second third of the book was undertaken. During FY 2006, the project leader completed the editing/writing of the middle third of the book. The consultant and project leader redesigned the structure for the final third of the book. This portion of the book was originally based on structure and presentation style used in face-to-face teaching; consequently, the book's material required major reorganization in order to support learning without the aid of a teacher and student group. During FY 2007, the consultant rewrote the final chapters of the book, and the project leader expanded and edited them. Because the project leader's time was required for other projects, essential work on the Labeling Book was postponed during FY 2008.

During FY 2009, the project leader rewrote sections of the book to reflect advances in auditory labeling systems and to include new MagneTacher labels available for sale from APH. Information about MagneTacher labels is available on the APH Web site: http://www.aph.org/advisory/2008adv01.html#P3

During FY 2010, the project leader and consultant completed revisions to the final third of the book, and a draft was prepared for field review. Field reviewers were selected and the field review process was begun.

Work during FY 2011

The field review process was completed, revisions suggested by field reviewers were made to the book, cover art was acquired, and final book content was completed. Layout for printing was initiated.

Work planned for FY 2012

Graphic design layout of the book will be completed. Braille translation and creation of HTML and DTB file production will be completed. It is anticipated that the product will be produced and made available for sale in FY 2012.

MiniBook

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide a quick and easy method for jotting down short braille notes

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Co-Project Leader

Fred Gissoni, Project Assistant

Background

When persons who can see need to write down a phone number or other small note, they quickly pull a pen from their pocket and write on a Post-it® pad, or other available paper within seconds. The quick note can be later transferred to a planner or other more permanent storage. APH provides several products that include small notebooks and small slates; such products allow a person who is blind to carry braillewriting materials with them in a large pocket or bag. However, when using these materials, it can take 30 seconds or more to get a slate out of a pouch or notebook pocket, put it onto a small piece of paper, get the stylus in a hand, and be ready to write. Frequently, a person who is blind must ask a speaker to repeat information because of the time it takes to get such braillewriting materials ready to write.

The MiniBook offers a solution to this problem because it is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, can hold a slate fastened to the first blank page in the book, and offers a stylus that can be easily removed from a pocket in the binder. During FY 2006, the size of the notebook was resolved and an appropriate-sized slate mold was ordered. Small twin-looped notebooks with detachable pages were added to materials for inclusion in the MiniBook series.

During FY 2007, prototype materials were developed as follows: small 2-ring notebooks; drilled paper packs; small spiral notebooks with perforated pages for easy page removal; a customized, 4-line, 15-cell slate; a brief guidebook for using the MiniBook materials; and tall and short APH flat styli. Field review was undertaken with 32 adult consumers, half of whom were frequent and half of whom were occasional slate-and-stylus users. Each of these groups was divided into two equal parts--one part testing the spiral notebook first, and the other testing the binder first.

During FY 2008, field test responses were collected from 29 of the 32 initial testers; two infrequent slate users and one frequent slate user did not complete and return assessment materials. Seven frequent slate users evaluated the binder first and then the notebook, and eight frequent slate users evaluated the notebook first and then the binder. Eight infrequent slate users evaluated the binder first and then the notebook, and six infrequent slate users evaluated the notebook first and then the binder. Although group size was too small to allow for application of rigorous analyses, comparisons of average group scores on evaluation and performance questions suggests that the frequency of slate use and the order in which components were tested were not related to testers' evaluations of the components.

Testers expressed strong preferences for a slate with notches in the top rectangle of the cell to help guide the stylus into appropriate dot positions; and a significant number experienced pain or discomfort when using the flat styli. As a result of this feedback, changes to the slate mold were initiated, and a saddle stylus, in addition to the APH flat styli, was provided.

During FY 2009, the initial slate prototype was redesigned, field testing on the redesigned slate was conducted, and additional slate design changes were made. After the initial design changes (adding dot indentations to the top cell rectangles) were made, slates made by the Rapid Prototype manufacturing method were received, in-house expert review was undertaken, recommendations for additional changes were received, and a new set of slates were obtained to meet the new design specifications.

Six of the original MiniBook field reviewers, selected according to their ability to articulate their responses and balanced for their strong opinions for or against slate design changes, tested new prototype slates for 2 weeks and returned evaluation forms. Based on these evaluations, one more change was made to slate drawings, and one more rapid prototype was created. After the final rapid prototype was created, mold drawings and bid requests for the slate mold were sent to three vendors.

Continued analysis of field test data indicated that testers found the binder rings to be very difficult to open and close. The 2-ring set used in the binder prototype did not have an opener tab; and the smallest ring set with this feature was approximately one half inch longer than the prototype ring set. Twenty-eight of the original 29 field testers were asked by e-mail if they would trade up a half-inch in binder size in exchange for rings that could be opened easily; one tester did not have an e-mail address and was omitted from this sample. Six messages were returned as undeliverable, and four additional e-mails received no response. Sixteen testers expressed a strong preference for rings that opened more easily and indicated that they could tolerate a half-inch increase in binder size to obtain this feature. One respondent had no preference, and another wanted both binders to be offered. Based on these results, the slightly larger binder with the ring-opener tab was selected for use in the final product.

Field testers expressed a variety of preferences about components that should be included in the final MiniBook kit. In the absence of consensus on this point, it was decided that components would be sold separately so that consumers and professionals could select the specific components that would work well for them. Final components will include the redesigned MiniSlate and saddle stylus, the MiniBinder, filler paper, and a pack of two MiniSpirals.

During FY 2010, two bids for producing the slate mold were received. Inquiries were sent to the third vendor who did not respond.

Work during FY 2011

A slate vendor was selected, a slate mold was made, the slate mold was revised per project leader and Technical Research staff requirements, and the mold was accepted as appropriate. MiniSpirals were made and packaged, slates were received and packaged with three styli (one saddle, one large, and one small flat stylus), and filler paper was prepared and packaged. Binders were ordered and received. The product was made available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2012

Because the MiniBook components became available for sale in FY 2011, the project is complete. Additional work is not anticipated on this project in FY 2012.

INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS

Food Portion Serving Utensils and Food Portion and Carbohydrate Counting Booklet

(New)

Purpose

To develop accessible materials that outline appropriate food group portions and teach carbohydrate counting skills for persons with diabetes and others who struggle with appropriate portion sizes and to provide appropriate measuring devices for food portions

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Debra A. Sokol-McKay, Author/Consultant

Background

Obesity and diabetes are highly prevalent in the United States population. Vision loss can be caused by diabetes. Many individuals with diabetes and visual impairment as well as non-diabetics with visual impairment cannot use visual guides to determine appropriate serving sizes and to count carbohydrates (one approach to diabetes management and more general weight management). This project develops a guidebook in accessible form that describes appropriate food portion sizes and carbohydrate amounts in various foods as well as utensils that measure appropriate portion sizes. The accessible guidebook would be produced in recorded, large print, and braille formats. Serving utensils would be marked tactually and visually so that persons who are blind or visually impaired could easily identify serving sizes for each utensil.

Work during FY 2011

A contract was developed with the author/consultant and initial plans to begin work on the project were made.

Work planned for FY 2012

A first draft of the guidebook will be written. A thorough review of existing calibrated serving utensils will be made to determine whether appropriate utensils exist or require development.

Table Setting Placemats in Braille and Large Print

(New)

Purpose

To provide a tactile and large print graphic of a table place setting to be used in teaching table setting to persons with visual impairments

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Background

Carolyn Brooks, who teaches etiquette at universities in Texas, proposed the development of tactile graphic and large print graphic table settings that show the correct placement of plates, cups, bowls, and silverware. A brief guidebook written by Brooks would accompany the braille and large print table setting graphics. This graphic could assist students with visual impairments to learn proper placement of table-setting items. It is anticipated that Brooks would serve as guidebook author and consultant on this project when contract arrangements are completed.

Work during FY 2011

The product was accepted for development by APH. The Adult Life Project Leader and Brooks discussed APH procedure for contract development and the scope of the work. A contract was sent to Brooks for her consideration.

Work planned for FY 2012

After a contract is developed, planning for and production of this product will take place.

ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY

APH Talking PC Maps

(Continued)

Purpose

To teach street layout and location literacy with an interactive, PC-based, talking, and onscreen United States map in which specific key strokes move students virtually along streets and past points of interest

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader

Background

In 2007, Mike May, CEO of the Sendero Group (a company noted for its development of accessible GPS systems for persons with visual impairments), proposed that APH develop, in collaboration with Sendero, a map exploration tool to be run on the BrailleNote® note taker made by Humanware Inc., and possibly later on a PC. The APH Product Advisory and Review Committee decided to pursue the development of such a product for the PC.

Ongoing dialog was undertaken among all interested parties, leading to the following conclusions about product development: first, working jointly to provide a GPS solution for the Braille Mobile Manager and a maps solution for the PC was not feasible because technical differences between operating systems precluded parallel and collaborative development; second, Talking PC Maps must present street data by itself to teach street layout and must also present combined street and Point of Interest data to teach the integration of landmarks, location awareness, and street layout; and third, Talking PC Maps must perform in accordance with a stipulated set of essential features, some of which will be stipulated as proprietary to the APH PC program.

During FY 2009, the project leader specified an overall program description, a set of essential features (some of which are proprietary to APH's PC software), a set of directions for describing intersection shapes and layouts, and a set of onscreen color combinations to be used to depict pertinent features.

During FY 2010, Sendero released a map product for the PC that included many of the basic, nonproprietary features of the APH product. In a new product proposal, Sendero indicated that more advanced and proprietary features could be easily added to their existing software to produce the product of interest to APH. In a contract between APH and Sendero, arrangements for purchasing the finished software product from Sendero were made.

Work during FY 2011

Version 1 of the software was developed with APH proprietary features and was field tested. After appropriate changes were made, Version 1 was made available for sale. Immediately after Version 1 was made available for sale, specified features for Version Two of the software were developed. Version Two features include the following: an onscreen graphical map as well as textual location information; navigation from one point of interest to the next; and the ability to record, save, print, braille, or export routes created by the user in addition to routes created by the software.

Work planned for FY 2012

The second version of the software is expected to be released for sale during FY 2012. Strategies for handling yearly map updates will be developed.

Concepts and Skills for Crossings with No Traffic Control

(New)

Purpose

To create audio/video/written instructional materials to help persons with visual impairments determine when it may be unsafe to cross an uncontrolled intersection independently

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Background

Dona Sauerburger, certified orientation and mobility specialist (COMS), has conducted numerous regional and national workshops for other COMS on the topic of teaching students to recognize situations of uncertainty for independently crossing at intersections with no traffic light or stop sign controls. Sauerburger's approach stipulates that, if a greater amount of time is required to cross a street than the time during which a student can hear or see the approach of an oncoming vehicle, it is uncertain that the student can cross the street independently and safely. Although Sauerburger's approach has gained acceptance in the O&M field, persons who are no longer O&M students (i.e., adults with visual impairments who completed O&M instruction in the past) have not been taught this life-saving strategy. Sauerburger's Product Idea Submission Form proposes the creation of auditory/visual videos and instructional materials to teach these individuals how to determine such situations of uncertainty and how to develop alternate, safe strategies for managing them. It is anticipated that Sauerburger will author the manual and record the videos and that she will be considered a consultant on the project after contractual arrangements are completed.

Work during FY 2011

The product was accepted for development by APH. Initial discussions of scope of work between the Adult Life Project Leader and Sauerburger were conducted.

Work planned for FY 2012

After a paragraph summarizing the scope of work is received from Sauerburger, a contract between APH and Sauerburger will be developed and signed. Creation of videos and written material will begin.

Echolocation

(New)

Purpose

To create a guidebook to teach persons with visual impairments the use of echo location to obtain information about surrounding space and environmental features

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Background

In her Product Idea Submission Form, Jo Hook proposed to collaborate with Daniel Kish, certified orientation and mobility specialist (COMS) and national orientation and mobility certification (NOME) on a manual with exercises to teach the use of echo location techniques. Kish, renowned for both using and teaching echo location methods, will provide content; Hook, noted rehabilitation practitioner and university instructor in the United Kingdom, will provide a vision rehabilitation perspective, structure, and writing expertise. It is anticipated that Hook and Kish will jointly author the manual and that both will be considered consultants on the project after contractual arrangements are completed. The manual proposes that echo location skills can be learned and used by persons with visual impairments to help pinpoint environmental features and move effectively through space. The manual will provide exercises to be done with a teacher or instructor or alone to help students build echo location skills.

Work during FY 2011

The product was accepted for development by APH. Initial discussions were begun between the Adult Life Project Leader and Hook regarding scope of work.

Work planned for FY 2012

After contract language to define intellectual property issues is developed and accepted by APH, Hook, and Kish, a contract will be developed and signed. Writing of the book will begin.

Nearby Explorer

Formerly GPS (Continued)

Purpose

To provide location, navigation, and routing functions to the Braille+ that are geared specifically to blind pedestrians

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Michael Borsuk, Project Consultant

Rob Meredith, Programmer

Tim Allen, Consultant

Marc Mulcahy, Consultant

Deanne Chance, Consultant

Background

Since the introduction of the Braille+, APH and its customers knew that location-based services are critical to a blind pedestrian.

While there are numerous GPS solutions available for sighted drivers, none is appropriate for use by blind pedestrians. Some speak route instructions, but none is accessible enough to let the blind traveler set the device or ask it for information. Devices designed for sighted users also use graphical representations of maps to provide information about location, points of interest, and routes. A blind pedestrian needs a virtual map that lets her use keys to command the program to move through map data in a logical and useful way. To this end, APH began designing software that lets the user navigate through virtual space by moving from point to point. That point can be a street or path intersection, a point of interest, or a distance.

Another feature not provided by commercial GPS devices is the ability to get information about the buildings or other features of the landscape around the user. Such a system might tell the user something like "Papa John's Pizza ahead and to the right" or even "three way intersection with traffic light control."One of the most frustrating experiences for the blind traveler is the inability to read signage that adorns businesses, public facilities, and other landmarks in the environment. Such a system provides this information as well. The user may receive this information upon request, or she may instruct the device to automatically announce each point of interest as she approaches it.

In terms of routing, the blind pedestrian obviously wants to be able to walk on streets that may be controlled in a certain direction for motor vehicle traffic, wants to avoid getting a route that has her walking on an interstate, and wants extra information about pedestrian specific characteristics of the environment.

Work during FY 2011

Staff evaluated several Software Development Kits (SDK) for the Android platform.

Work planned for FY 2012

The next major features for phase one of the project include the following:

O&M for Wheelchair Users

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide an electronic book with videos for Orientation and Mobility Specialists who work with individuals who have visual impairment in addition to being wheelchair users

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

J. Scott Crawford, Author

Larry Skutchan, Technical Advisor

Terri Gilmore, Art Director

Background

This product was identified by the Multiple Disabilities Focus Group. It was rated the ninth greatest need of 48 recommended products with a score of 4.15 (on a scale of 1-5) on the Multiple Disabilities Survey (2001). On a follow-up survey conducted at the 2006 Annual Meeting, it was rated the second greatest need receiving 12 points. The product rated of greatest need received 15 points.

Work during FY 2011

The editing of video and narration continued. Research along with trial and error resulted in the successful use of HTML5 with subtitles. This is new technology. The formatting of subtitles proved successful for use with a refreshable braille display. This makes the product accessible to a consumer with deafblindness who reads braille.

Work planned for FY 2012

Editing and narration will continue on the videos. A professional review of sample chapters will be obtained.

Step By Step: An Interactive Guide to Mobility Techniques

(Continued)

Purpose

To offer university students who are studying to become orientation and mobility specialists a visual tool that they can use outside of class time to learn, review, and practice the mobility techniques that they are learning to teach

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Co-Project Leader

Sandy Rosen, Author/Consultant

Background

In the Product Idea Submission Form that Sandy Rosen prepared for APH, she provided the following background information about this project. "A laserdisc prototype (developed through a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education) was originally field tested by students and faculty in orientation and mobility at three universities: The University of Texas at Austin, Western Michigan University, and San Francisco State University. Feedback from students and faculty not only revealed multiple effective uses for such a database and interactive learning tool, but it also confirmed that there were significant differences among the universities in how students were taught to perform mobility skills.

"Surprised by this finding, and wanting to develop a tool that would have national relevance, Dr. Rosen participated in a symposium at San Francisco State University in February 1993. University faculty in O&M from throughout the United States were brought together to share the methods of performing mobility techniques that they each teach at their respective universities and colleges. In this symposium, participants demonstrated their individual methods for performing each technique and, as a nationally representative group, came to a general consensus on acceptable basic standard and accepted alternate methods for performing techniques."

Compiling information developed at this symposium, Rosen produced the Step by Step program, which she describes in the Product Idea Submission Form. "Step by Step combines text, full-motion and stop-action video, and photographs to demonstrate and describe basic, intermediate, and advanced mobility skills used by travelers who are blind. It is an interactive instructional program that has been developed to supplement university professional preparation programs. Users of the program can test their understanding of the techniques, identify errors commonly made by those who are learning to travel, and determine appropriate measures to correct each error. It is a system that lends itself to both individual use and collaborative learning where small groups of students go through the activities together.

"The focus is on learning the elements of how each technique is performed, visually identifying common performance errors made by travelers who have visual impairments, and then learning how to correct those errors in order to enable a person to travel more efficiently, effectively, and to avoid potential injury."

Rosen provided APH with both written and DVD materials. Written materials included photos and detailed descriptions of all techniques covered by the symposium. Additional written materials provided a quick review of all techniques. Videos and electronic photos provided both demonstrations of techniques and assessments in which students selected the video that best answered a specific technical question.

Rosanne Hoffmann viewed videos and read all written materials. Written materials were well-prepared. They required correction of only a few keyboarding errors in order to be submitted for expert review.

Before FY 2008, cross-platform video materials originally developed with Macintosh® hardware presented a persistent problem when running on a PC: the cutting off of text in scroll boxes. This problem was solved by reprogramming by Rosen.

Five certified O&M specialists (three university O&M faculty members and two advanced graduate students) were selected as expert reviewers. Complete Step by Step video and print materials and a questionnaire were sent to them.

During FY 2009, all expert reviews were received, data were analyzed, and multiple, extensive changes to written materials were made based on reviewer suggestions. APH's in-house graphic designer prepared a color scheme and layout to be used throughout all modules of the printed materials. Based on this layout, design of the first Study Guide module, Human Guide, was completed. It was found that video scenarios that challenge the student to select the correct technique from a series did not operate properly; this problem was corrected by reprogramming by Rosen and her associates.

During FY 2010, Rosen provided a corrected set of video DVDs to serve as masters for the videos. Layout was completed for six of the eight Study Guide modules.

Work during FY 2011

Graphic design for the remaining two Study Guide modules has been completed. HTML files for all Study Guide modules and the Introduction/Appendices have been completed. The design for the Review Guide modules has been established, and all photos in these modules have been edited. Rosen is updating video DVDs so that they will run appropriately on newer Windows computers.

Work planned for FY 2012

Layout for the Review Guide modules will be completed. These materials will be produced as HTML and text files for inclusion on CDs in the volumes, and will be printed in book form. DVDs will be copied, and the product will be made available for sale.

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit

(Continued)

Tactile Town guidebook cover

Purpose

To provide a comprehensive kit of 3-dimensional items that can be used for orientation and mobility instruction, especially with young children who benefit from more realistic, concrete representations

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Christina J. Smerz, Project Assistant

Monica Vaught, Project Editor

Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Terri Gilmore, Guidebook Cover Layout

Rodger Smith, Programmer

Bisig Impact Group, Guidebook Layout and Photography

Background

Past research indicates the efficacy of using interactive, 3-dimensional models for teaching environmental concepts, especially to young children. From constructed 3-D representations, generalizations to the actual environment can be made. Realistic models allow information to be presented in small scale without the added complexity that raised-line displays can pose for inexperienced, young tactile readers.

The need for 3-D models for mapping purposes was revealed in compiled data from past field test activities and in the results from product-specific, online surveys. The need was also supported by multiple submissions of previously designed kits (e.g., Buddy Road Kit manufactured in New Zealand) for APH's review.

In 2003, the project leader conducted an online survey regarding the need for a 3-D O&M kit. The survey requested feedback as to needed components if development of such a kit was undertaken. The results of the survey revealed the following:

In August 2007, with permission from the Product Advisory Review Committee, the project leader transferred the 3-D O&M Kit from "PARC-ing Lot" status to active development.

The project leader and pattern/model maker focused attention on the development of the prototype throughout the third and fourth quarters of the fiscal year. Notable activities encompassed the following: designing 3-D models of cars, pedestrians, and buildings; determining amount and structure of grassy areas, railroad tracks, roads dashes, and other manipulatives; tailoring components around a newly designed tri-fold Velcro® board; acquiring commercially-available labeling materials; and authoring accompanying lesson plans.

The project leader and pattern/model maker had the opportunity to conduct a Product Input Session on Tactile Town at APH's 140th Annual Meeting. The session was well attended and participants representing teachers of the visually impaired, O&M specialists, and Ex Officio Trustees expressed great enthusiasm for the product and had lots of suggestions for additional parts and a toolbox-like storage container. Encouraged by the feedback, the project staff hurried to construct multiple prototypes for field testing purposes. Because of the complexity of the kit and the number of uniquely built pieces for each kit, prototype preparation occupied most of the first quarter of the fiscal year. Activities carried out by the project leader and pattern/model maker consisted of the following:

Other pre-field test activities included reviewing the kit with two orientation & mobility instructors at the Kentucky School for the Blind, who were so impressed with the kit that they wanted to participate as field test evaluators. The project leader also conducted a Research Department meeting attended by other project leaders and research assistants to review ways to acquire performance outcome data. It was determined that the project leader's Skills Checklist could be utilized for this purpose.

Identified field test evaluators were a blend of respondents to an APH News request for field test evaluators, as well as attendees of the Annual Meeting Product Input Session who indicated an interest in reviewing the final prototype. The number of respondents to the APH News posting was overwhelming, thus reaffirming the great need for this product.

The prototypes of Tactile Town were shipped to evaluators on February 23, 2009. The evaluators were given until the end of May to use the materials with students. With the exception of one, all evaluators returned their field test evaluation forms, along with three separate progress reports on each participating student over the 3-month evaluation period.

All of the field test evaluators were Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, with 72% having over 11 years of teaching experience; of those, 43% had teaching experience exceeding 21 years. They represented the states of Connecticut, Kentucky, Tennessee, Hawaii (2), Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota (3), California, Michigan, Texas, and Ohio. The majority (64%) of the field test sites were reported as itinerant settings, 21% as residential settings, 7% as a combination of itinerant/residential, and 7% as resource settings.

The field evaluators used the prototype with a total of 114 visually impaired and blind students. The student sample reflected a range of ethnic backgrounds: 61% White, 13% Hispanic, 11% African American, 5% Asian, 4% Native Hawaiian, 4% "two or more races," and 3% "Other" (e.g., from India or Somalia). Nearly half (47%) of the students were braille readers, 25% were large print readers, and 10% read regular print. The rest of the student sample included nonreaders, combination print/auditory or print/braille readers, and pre-readers. The students ranged in age from 4 to 21 years of age, with 13% between the ages of 4 and 6, 30% between the ages of 7 and 9, 19% between the ages of 10 and 12, 18% between the ages of 13 and 15, 15% between the ages of 16 and 18, and 5% between the ages of 19 and 21. The largest percentage of students (31%) were in grades 1-3; 28% of the students were in grades 4-8; 20% were in high school; 14% were preschoolers or kindergarteners; and smaller percentages were either post-high school/transition (4%), or unreported grade level (3%). Students reported as having additional disabilities represented exactly half of the student sample. Examples of other disabilities reported included speech/language impairment, autism, learning disabled, seizure disorder, cerebral palsy, and hearing loss.

One hundred percent of the evaluators indicated that Tactile Town offered specific advantages over other available tools/materials for teaching orientation and mobility skills. Specific comments included the following:

With regard to ideal target populations, an equal percentage of evaluators (93%) thought Tactile Town was appropriate for preschoolers, as well as tactile readers in grades K-3 and low vision readers in grades K-3. Eighty-six percent of the evaluators thought it was appropriate for both tactile readers and low vision readers in grades 4-6; 71% indicated that it was appropriate for tactile and low vision readers in grades 7-8; 79% indicated it was appropriate for both tactile readers and low vision readers in high school; and 71% indicated that it was appropriate for students with multiple disabilities, blind adults, and sighted peers. These results highlighted the potential impact of Tactile Town on a wide and varied student audience.

One-hundred percent responded "Yes" to the following questions posed on the evaluation form:

Over 90% of the evaluators responded "YES" to the following:

The only component receiving less than a 70% approval rating was the 2-tiered, commercially-available storage container, which some evaluators reported as not durable or awkward to carry.

Specific ratings of each individual Tactile Town manipulative, based upon a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), yielded the following results from the evaluators:

Tactile Town Component Overall Rating 5 = highest possible rating 
Pond 4.8 
Railroad Tracks 4.8 
Arrows 4.8 
Stop Signs 4.7 
Dividing Lines 4.5 
Buildings 4.4 
Road Dashes 4.4 
Pedestrians 4.2 
Crosswalks 4.2 
Traffic Lights 4.1 
Sidewalks 4.1 
Cars 4.0 
Grassy Strips 3.7 

Considering students' reactions to the prototype as direct indicators of the expected usefulness and popularity of the kit, the project leader asked evaluators to comment on whether or not their students enjoyed using Tactile Town. One hundred percent of the evaluators responded "Yes." Below are examples of actual comments received from the teachers:

In July 2009, the project leader conducted a Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting to acquaint other APH staff with the expected components of the kit. A complete product timeline was established.

By the end of the fiscal year, the project leader and pattern/model maker had initiated improvements to the kit's design based upon field test feedback, such as the incorporation of an upright traffic light, more durable grassy areas, additional building structures, and pieces to facilitate a roundabout setup.

The project staff continued to make product enhancements based upon feedback from field evaluators. Tom Poppe prepared necessary hard tooling (e.g., thermoform patterns and silkscreen art) and related specification drawings (e.g., cutting die layouts) that are needed internally and/or by outside vendors to mass produce the product. This information was provided to Technical Research who inserted the model maker's designs into the product specifications document.

To increase momentum on the project, the project leader held biweekly PDC meetings to keep all department staff versed in the expected components and planned production processes--whether in-house or via an outside vendor. Detailed charts of all known information about each specific component were provided; information included quantities, colors, production methods (e.g., liquid resin, urethane parts, etc.), and replacement parts. The pattern/model maker made duplicates of the cars, pedestrians, stop signs, etc., as well as full sets of the green grassy areas, so that Purchasing staff could obtain multiple bids from outside vendors. An ideal vendor to stitch around the periphery of each green "grassy" area was located; this sewn feature addresses the durability concern aired by field evaluators. Added components, such as a custom carrying case with a compartment tray insert, were also designed. The project leader located a new vendor for Inkjet Hook Paper [see separate report], a package of which will be included in each Tactile Town kit.

Beginning in March 2010, after all component details and quantities were known, the project leader turned attention to the content update of the accompanying guidebook. The guidebook provides suggested activities for each of the following layouts:

The project leader also added new sections such as "Tactile Town Games" and/or enhanced and expanded other sections (e.g., Skills/Concepts Checklist).

On April 8, 2010, the product received Quota approval from the Educational Products Advisory Committee.

Throughout June and July, the project leader and Christina Smerz, a graduate student at the University of Louisville, worked together to edit and expand each layout activity. The content was carefully proofed before provision to the outside graphic designer for final text page layout. Numerous supporting photos (approximately 150) were professionally taken. By the end of August, the first proof of the entire guidebook was received for review and was proofread in its entirety by Monica Vaught-Compton. The end of the fiscal year witnessed the review and final preparation of the guidebook layout, the cover art, and the CD label.

Work during FY 2011

Steady effort to bring the tooling of the product to a conclusion characterized most of FY 2011. Specific tasks involved preparing braille translation and HTML conversion of the guidebook, preparing hard tooling for in-house production, and identifying outside vendors for the urethane parts, liquid resin 3-D manipulatives, sewn green grassy areas, and the carrying box/compartment tray. Production specifications were prepared. On June 9, a Specifications meeting was conducted; all production tooling was in place. The last quarter of FY 2011 witnessed the initial delivery of materials (e.g., assorted polyblend, cutting dies, etc.) from outside vendors necessary for the kit's production, as well as in-house production of many of the environmental accessories (e.g., railroad tracks, crosswalks, and sidewalks). The pilot run for this kit was scheduled for December 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

The production of Tactile Town will be very involved and complex and will demand close monitoring by the project leader, model pattern/maker, and manufacturing specialists to ensure quality. Depending on the success of the pilot run, a production run of a larger quantity of kits will be initiated in the second quarter of 2012. The project leader will prepare content for the product brochure and continue to present the kit at conferences and workshops.

Teaching Street Crossings

(New)

Purpose

To provide a guidebook summarizing promising pedagogical methods for teaching street crossings to persons with visual impairments

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Tessa Wright, Project Author/Consultant

Background

Tessa Wright, PhD, COMS, and Coordinator of the Visual Impairment Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln noted in her Product Idea Submission Form that, although techniques for successfully crossing streets by persons with visual impairments are well established, little is known about effectiveness of various pedagogical methods for teaching these techniques. Using data derived from her doctoral dissertation and acquiring additional data from a proposed methodologically rigorous survey of practicing certified orientation and mobility specialists, Wright will develop a guidebook to point to promising pedagogical practices for teaching street crossings to persons with visual impairments. This guidebook will assist instructors to recognize their pedagogical practices and add new ones to better support student skill acquisition.

Work during FY 2011

A contract was developed and signed by APH and Wright. A procedure was developed for provision of funds from APH through the University of Nebraska to Wright for purchase of mailing lists and other project necessities. Wright has developed a survey to be sent to selected COMS and is currently awaiting research approval from her university's Institutional Review Board.

Work planned for FY 2012

After research approval from the Institutional Review Board has been obtained, Wright will select research participants via randomization and geographic balance, will send out surveys, and will analyze results. Writing of the guidebook is expected to begin in FY 2013.

Travel Tales

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop a story book that models appropriate orientation and mobility skills used by young blind and visually impaired protagonists

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T). Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Suzette Wright, Emergent Literacy Project Leader

Background

Sighted children learn from other children and adults who model relevant travel skills; they see people waiting for walk lights, boarding public transportation, and moving safely through the environment on television, in books, and almost everywhere in visual range. Blind children do not benefit from sighted models for two reasons: first, they cannot see the behaviors being modeled; and second, many travel skills used by sighted persons are not relevant to the travel needs of blind children who must learn an alternate set of travel skills to enable them to move safely and effectively through the environment without seeing it. Because blindness is a low incidence disability and because accurate portrayal of effective blind travelers by the media is extremely rare, blind children generally do not have access to models from whom they can learn more about the value and applicability of the orientation and mobility skills that they develop in school.

The original Travel Tales book made story teaching materials--with a young blind traveler as protagonist and model--available to the orientation and mobility field. When Mostly Mobility, producers of this book, stopped production, they opened a dialog with APH regarding their material.

After careful review, it was determined that the original work, if revised, could provide an excellent resource for use with young people as they develop their orientation and mobility skills. Full rights to the material were obtained by APH.

Suzette Wright and Terrie Terlau met to discuss content to be updated. Wright described a story idea that would introduce the collection and help reluctant cane users be drawn into the book. This introductory story and additional expanded content could make the book an effective tool for modeling and for motivating orientation and mobility students.

Work during FY 2011

Project leaders' full schedules did not allow for work on Travel Tales between FY 2009 and FY 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

As the project leaders' schedules permit, new content and story revision will be undertaken. Revisions planned include the expansion of some stories; the inclusion of ethnic/racial/gender diversity in protagonists; and the development of a sequence of stories about children with low vision who use low vision orientation and mobility techniques.

Treks

(Completed)

Purpose

To develop a game to reinforce compass skills, orientation and travel concepts, and familiarity with cardinal and secondary compass directions

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Paul H. Olson, Original Concept and Design

Background

A game called Compass Attack was submitted by Paul H. Olson, who created it for use with mobility students at North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind. The instructions are both simple and flexible, so the game has initial appeal and the potential for keeping interest through adaptation. The educational aspect is promoted by the requirement that students announce the compass direction of every move they make as they send pieces across the board.

The project leader, in consultation with Mr. Olson, made numerous revisions to the game and wrote a new game booklet. The revised game includes rule variations that can make the game simpler or more complex. At the suggestion of in-house staff, overlays have been added; these change the focus of the game from cardinal compass directions to secondary directions or street names.

Prototypes were field evaluated in the winter of 2007/2008. A total of 52 students, elementary age through adult, used the prototypes at sites in 11 states. In addition to qualitative evaluation of the game's design and presentation, the field test included a set of tasks designed to show the impact of the game on students' speed and accuracy in naming compass directions. The results were very positive and held across age groups: In all five tasks, when students were not already proficient at indicating directions before playing the game, approximately two out of three students improved their speed and accuracy after playing just a few times.

A major fire at the plant where the game boards were to be manufactured brought production of the game to a halt in the fall of 2008. That company eventually produced a sample game board and tooling for the game logo in 2010.

Work during FY 2011

A vendor for making the game pieces was located, and after some trials, the company provided workable finished parts. The parts from the game board vendor were also approved.

Production specifications for the product were completed, and a pilot production was completed in September. The game became available for sale on September 27, 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

A production de-briefing meeting will be held so that any problems encountered in the process can be fixed. The project leader will monitor sales and customer comments, but no further work is planned.

RECREATION AND LEISURE

Games of Squares (Redesign)

(Continued)

Photo of original Game of Squares

Purpose

To redesign and reintroduce a game that has long been a product staple in APH's catalog

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker

Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker

Andrew Dakin, Pattern/Model Maker

Background

In October 2008, a facility fire experienced by an outside vendor for many of APH's urethane products destroyed the tooling for Game of Squares, specifically the grid board. This fire was the impetus for the redesign, update, and/or re-tooling of many of APH's products.

The Game of Squares is an adaptation of the two-player pencil and paper game in which dots are connected to make squares. Two players alternate placing white plastic "sides" on the board to enclose a square. Completed squares are covered with the player's marker. The markers differ in texture and color. The player who covers the most squares wins. The original game board has a 16-square, blue game grid and storage areas for game pieces.

Expecting that the game still had merit, but could benefit from an aesthetic and tactile "facelift," the project leader conducted a survey to garner feedback from those using the original version. Feedback received from survey respondents indicated that the original version of the game, although still valuable, could be improved in the following ways:

One teacher noted that "the game develops strategy and problem solving skills. Because of the grid layout, it reinforces many spatial concepts (rows, columns, left, right, etc.). Like all interactive games, it encourages peer interaction and turn-taking." With this reassurance that Game of Squares was still worthwhile with some updated design features, the project leader submitted a Product Submission Form in January 2009. In March 2009, the product was approved for development by the Product Advisory and Review Committee.

In April 2009, with in-house approval to proceed with the update and reintroduction of the Game of Squares, the project leader conducted a "Brainstorming" Product Development Committee meeting to request additional ideas from staff representing various APH departments. The project leader came to the meeting with some preliminary ideas, including a mock-up of a new game layout that involved a decorative border around a larger grid area. Masking overlays were suggested to minimize the playing area, if needed. Intention to utilize the same u-channel "side" pieces was proposed, allowing game players to snap them onto clear, vacuum-formed grid dividers. Visual/tactile game tokens of a more interesting style were suggested as well.

Product activities were a bit sluggish the remainder of FY 2009 due to the project staff's involvement in higher priority and closer-to-availability projects. However, by August, some actual construction of the game grid was underway.

Work during FY 2011

In December 2010, the project leader and Tom Poppe originated a two-sided, two-color pedestal game token. Several renditions of the game token were molded and tested with other APH staff to determine the best design for tactile discrimination and grasping. Multiple game tokens were then built and constructed for field test purposes.

Concurrently, the thermoformed grids were prepared by Katherine Corcoran. The project leader experimented with various print designs of the game board to complement and align with the tactile grid. In January, the outside graphic designer initiated work on the final print layout; by February, a final layout was approved. Multiple copies of the game board were printed in-house on a wide-format printer.

Remaining prototype construction tasks included the following:

 Photo of Games of Squares prototype

By the end of the second quarter, multiple copies of the game board and related pieces were ready for field testing. The project leader posted a request for field evaluators in the April issue of APH News. A total of 18 summer field test sites were selected from those who expressed interest. Prototypes were mailed to evaluation sites on May 31, 2011. Each evaluator was given until mid-August to use the game board with as many students with visual impairments and blindness as possible; blind adults were also involved in field testing. Field test sites represented the states of Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska (2), New Mexico, North Carolina (2), Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will utilize the field test results to implement needed product revisions before final production. Tooling preparation will likely extend throughout the entire fiscal year. If needed, game art will be updated, game tokens enhanced, sorting tray redesigned, and game instructions expanded to address the field evaluators' suggestions. Necessary in-house meetings will be conducted with various department staff to review all expected components and to plan production processes. A final product timeline will be determined. Availability of the game will likely occur in FY 2013.

Spangle Tangle

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a toy and educational aid that can be used by children--who have limited motor skills and visual impairment or blindness--independently for short periods of time on a wheelchair tray without the toy falling off the tray

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Marie Amerson, Author/Consultant

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Andrew Dakin, Model Maker

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

APH currently sells the APH Tangle Toy, a custom-made toy that has pop-apart segments that are color and tactile specific. Work on SAM: Symbols and Meaning brought to light that more products are needed that can be used on a wheelchair tray without the items constantly falling off the tray and out of the child's reach. This new toy and its specifically-designed stand will allow children to experience success instead of frustration. The existing APH Tangle Toy can be used with the new Tangle Stand, but the stand will ship with the new Spangle Tangle, which is a shiny chrome Tangle Toy that has both smooth and textured segments. The reflective property of the Spangle Tangle will appeal to some children with low vision and to some with cortical visual impairment.

Work during FY 2011

The author completed the manuscript and APH staff completed editing. The model maker designed and made 12 prototypes of the Tangle Stand and the tube stands. The project leader located a product to use on the bottom of the stands so they will stick to a wheelchair tray.

Work planned for FY 2012

Field test sites will be indentified, and field testing will take place.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 7]

(Continued)

Purpose

To continue the development of new issues of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine that feature an assortment of activities for developing young children's tactile skills within a recreational context

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Project Leader/Tactile and Visual Designer

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker

Andrew Dakin, Pattern/Model Maker

Bisig Impact Group, Print Booklet Layout/Cover Design

Front cover of SQUID Issue 7

Background

The premier issue of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine debuted in FY 2005. This magazine series is intended to encourage young children's development of important tactile skills within a recreational context. Each issue's activities reflect a variety of tactile methods such as thermoform, embossed paper, and thermography for the purpose of familiarizing young children with a variety of raised-line images. Visual counterparts of all the tactile activities are included as well with the expectation that they can be used by peers with low vision and sighted parents, teachers, and siblings. The momentum to continue the development and production of the SQUID series was quickened by the positive reception of the first issue; nearly 1,000 issues were sold in less than a year's time. Unlike a "subscription" ordering method, customers are able to order needed amounts of SQUID issues for their children/students. The Premier Issue and all future issues of SQUID will remain available for future generations of children to enjoy. SQUID issues will hopefully become commonplace in home settings where children can acquire early tactile skills within a relaxed atmosphere with their family and friends.

By April 2010, the project leader had completed the design of 24 original activities for SQUID: Issue 7. These activities, like those included in earlier issues, represent a variety of tasks (e.g., coloring pages, find the differences, hidden pictures, simple mazes, and puzzles). Activities included the following:

A Wink and a Smile
ABC Recall
Circular Code
Daisy's Doodles
FISH Coloring Page
Follow that Fly!
Knot that Hard
Lone Star Larry
Missing Numbers
Mittens for Kittens
Parasol Puzzler
Party Hats 
Penny Apiece
Rectangle Tangle
Ruff Maze
SQUID Squares
Table Sitting
Take Note
That's the Ticket
TREE Word Search
Triangle Teaser
Undercover Clover
Window Pain
Word Play 

A sheet of clear point symbol stickers are included for the completion of the "SQUID Squares" activity.

In May 2010, the project leader prepared a detailed matrix to specify the following for each activity: type of activity, planned production method, number of pages, page orientation, and thermoform pattern assignment (if not an embossed paper or Green Machine graphic).

Significant project activities throughout May and June involved the following:

By mid-July 2010, all tooling for all components of SQUID: Issue 7 was in place for production.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader provided Technical Research with necessary information for the development of the Specifications document. The Specifications meeting was conducted in November 2010 and the product timeline was updated. The production of this kit (originally scheduled for April 2010) was greatly delayed due to the production of higher priority products. The availability of this issue is not expected until the first quarter of FY 2012.

Work planned for FY 2012

Post-production activities will include preparing marketing information, showcasing the product at workshops/conferences, and initiating work on SQUID: Issue 8.

Sudoku Partner

(Completed)

Purpose

To devise an inexpensive, easily portable, and practical way for blind users to set up and solve sudoku puzzles

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

Tom Poppe, Model Maker

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Background

With the sudden and expanding popularity of these number-based puzzles for both recreational and classroom use, finding a tactile adaptation for them seemed appropriate. Investigation online indicates that sudoku is used in school classrooms with sighted students from 4th grade upward for developing logic, memory, and spatial awareness. There are also adult blind users who have devised their own adaptations, with varying degrees of complexity and success.

Based on the common practice (among sighted puzzle solvers) of using pencil marks to keep track of possible answers, the project leader wanted to design a tactile system that allows for a similar kind of note-taking without the need for a multitude of small numbered parts. This feature would set the product apart from other braille-adapted sudoku boards being sold by various companies.

The FY 2008 "pilot" field evaluation suggested that adding braille numbers to the raised bumps on the solving board would be helpful; after some experimentation, project staff succeeded in doing this. The version that went out for field testing in February 2010 included the braille numerals and other revisions made after the initial trial.

Schools or agencies in Arkansas, British Columbia, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia (two sites) participated in the full field evaluation. Twenty-seven students ranging from elementary age to adult, several with significant additional handicapping conditions, were involved.

The project leader decided on further revisions needed, including the addition of print divider lines, and final tooling was produced by the model maker and technical assistants.

Work during FY 2011

Production specifications were written, and the initial production run was completed in July. A de-briefing meeting was held, at which the difficulties encountered in production were discussed. Steps were taken to alter the tooling registration to prevent mishaps in future production runs.

The product is now for sale and is eligible for Federal Quota.

Work planned for FY 2012

Although evaluators urged the development of a full-size 9 x 9 board using the same system, plans to move ahead on this version will wait until feedback from customers indicates a need for that work to take place.

Talking Word Puzzles

(Continued)

Purpose

To produce an accessible educational game on CD that uses hidden word or crossword-type puzzles

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

Mario Eiland, Programmer

John Hedges, Programmer

Rodger Smith, Programmer

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Background

The need for an educational type of game like hidden word and crossword puzzles has been long expressed by customers and experts in the field. APH's Product Advisory and Review Committee supported the idea for such a project in May 1998, and the programming group began work on the program in FY 2000. Project staff wrote program specifications for the program. Features planned include an intuitive text-to-speech and large print navigation system through the puzzle grid. The interface includes appropriate, responsive speech and highlighting feedback as the student uses the shift key along with the arrow keys to mark a word in the grid and distinguishable characteristics as the student moves across words already marked. Specifications also call for a creation process that allows the teacher to enter either a list of words or a list of words and clues to those words in the case of a crossword puzzle. These data are committed to persistent storage and all puzzles are dynamically generated from this information.

Work during FY 2011

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2012

Future enhancements will be made as identified.

Touch'em All Baseball

(Continued)

Purpose

To replace the APH Baseball Game with a version that is more interesting, educational, and enjoyable to play

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Background

The previous APH baseball game had been in need of replacement for a long time, as it was overly simple, awkward to handle, and uninteresting to play. The fire at the vendor plant in the fall of 2008 destroyed the mold for the game; this event served as the impetus to begin developing a replacement.

The goal is to devise a game that is more accurate in its scoring, more realistic in its graphic format, more educational in its potential for variations and extensions, and more fun for a variety of ages.

The project leader mocked up and tried several playing formats extensively. These included various playing field surfaces and sizes and different combinations of cards and spinner designs. The chosen design uses spinners for the pitcher and the hitter, with areas of unequal size to represent the probability of different events. The playing field will have fabric areas for dirt and grass, raised bases, and game tokens to represent runners and fielders.

A field evaluation was carried out in the summer of 2010 in the following states: Maryland (two sites), New Hampshire, New York (two sites), Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. Seventy-two students were involved, of which 38 were female and 34 male. Students' grade levels ranged from 1st-12th and 19 participants were identified with additional handicapping conditions besides blindness (most commonly cognitive or learning disabilities).

A clear result of the evaluation was the need for a simplified or introductory level of play in addition to the full-featured game that was tested. Reactions from teachers and students were generally enthusiastic, and there was broad support for the method of play, game board, and spinner design.

Work during FY 2011

A simplified set of spinners was devised to accommodate players at a very basic level. The game board was enlarged slightly to expand the area where most of the tactile exploration takes place (namely, between the bases).

Several kinds of felt and other fabrics were tried, and two colors of "headliner" material were chosen to represent the playing field. The model maker devised a multi-layer setup for the field that will protect the fabric edges and delineate the dirt and grass areas. Project staff also settled on original designs for the stick figure diagrams, spinner pointer, umpire card, and outfield wall and created the tooling needed for each of these.

The project leader revised the Rules booklet and made the teaching suggestions and extension activities into a separate document. In order to streamline the kit and lower the cost for recreational players, the teacher's guide and figure diagrams are being pulled out as a separate Teacher's Kit.

Work on writing production specifications began.

Work planned for FY 2012

Specifications will be completed, and a date for the pilot production run will be set.

SELF-DETERMINATION

V-file

Formerly: Personal Vision Portfolio

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide students, teachers, counselors, and parents of students who are visually impaired a tool to collect, organize, and document pertinent information and materials that will aid in transition from Kindergarten through adult life

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant (Project Leader)

Edith Ethridge, Consultant

Jennifer Stocker, Consultant

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Bryan Rogers, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

Edith Ethridge developed the Personal Vision Portfolio during her tenure as low vision specialist at the Kentucky School for the Blind. She used this portfolio with students across Kentucky through the Outreach Program at the school. This portfolio becomes a working file of activities, documents, and resources used by the student and teacher. It is an aid to students through a variety of transitions; from teacher to teacher, middle to high school, from high school to college, and work/adult life. Edith retired from her position on July 1, 2006. The popularity and continued demand for the sharing of her work by groups and organizations around the U.S. led to a product submission.

In January 2006, the product idea was approved by the PET and PARC Committees. Ethridge agreed to serve as a consultant. The initial work of writing and revising the portfolio began.

The consultant continued to write, revise, and update the text for the teacher's manual as well as the various forms to be used in the portfolio. Work has been delayed due to illness of the consultant.

Work during FY 2011

The consultant continued to write, revise, and update the text for the teacher's manual as well as the various forms to be used in the portfolio. Technical Research developed models of the parts of the eye that could be used with a story board as well as patterns for tactile graphic of the eye.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project staff will complete a prototype of the V-file for field evaluation.

SENSORY EFFICIENCY SKILLS

SLK: Sensory Learning Kit (Revision)

(Continued)

Purpose

To update this successful product using feedback from the field and to add a video component to match its sister product, SAM: Symbols and Meaning

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Millie Smith, Consultant and Author

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

The Sensory Learning Kit (SLK) is the first of three sequential products that APH offers as a communication/intervention continuum--Sensory Learning Kit, SAM: Symbols and Meaning, and Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication. The SLK has been on the market since 2005. During that time, APH has co-hosted numerous training events across the country. We have learned from the field additional information, resources, and educational aids that teachers and parents would like to have in the kit. Through field testing SAM, the second product of the continuum, we learned how valuable videos are to the user. We decided to incorporate videos into the revision of the SLK.

Work during FY 2011

The text changes for the 2nd edition were written. The video component has remained on hold until the changes to documentation are done.

Work planned for FY 2012

The videos will be edited and voice-overs will be written. The kit items, documentation, and product presentation will be reviewed.

Cortical Visual Impairment

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Projects and Needs

(Continued)

Purpose

To help APH determine both short and long term goals for future research and product development in the CVI field

Project Staff

Christine Roman, Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Background

The groundwork established by the CVI Synergy Group in 2002 led to the completion of several projects in 2004-05. The Research Department named Christine Roman as CVI Project Leader, working on a part-time basis. Several projects were developed from the list of ideas presented by CVI Synergy in May 2002. Plans to establish a CVI Advisory Committee were begun. The CVI Advisory Committee will resume the work initiated by the CVI Synergy Group. This Advisory Committee will provide input to the project leader in terms of future projects and field testing of new CVI products.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader and staff continued to work on a comprehensive functional vision evaluation designed for students with CVI. The CVI Sequences is complete and has been available for purchase since October 2010. The images used in CVI Sequences have been made available on the APH CVI Web site and can be downloaded for educational use. Updates have been made to the APH CVI Web site and requests for additional postings or submissions to the Web site are ongoing. The CVI Assessment Kit and the CVI Lightbox to Literacy projects are nearing completion. The CVI Assessment Kit is a set of materials designed for use with the CVI Range. This kit has a set of photo guidebooks and test item cards that can assist vision professionals in conducting functional visual assessment for individuals who have CVI. The Lightbox to Literacy Kit contains materials that support vision education professionals in the design and implementation of literacy materials for young children and students who have CVI.

Work planned for FY 2012

Development of the CVI Assessment Kit is projected for completion. It is based on the CVI Range developed by Christine Roman. The kit will contain a copy of Cortical Visual Impairment: A Guide to Assessment and Intervention, published by the American Foundation for the Blind. The evaluation kit will contain assessment techniques, guidebooks, and photo supplement support materials. The addition of an instructional video is an additional component planned for the CVI Evaluation Kit.

The CVI Lightbox to Literacy Kit will continue to be developed in FY 2012. It will contain instructional methods and materials designed to facilitate literacy in students with specialized learning needs associated with CVI. A new project, CVI Leisure Time Activities, is in the early stages of development and may be submitted as a new product idea. Updates to the CVI Web site will continue to be made.

The CVI Advisory Committee will assemble and continue to advise the CVI Project Leader regarding products for children and students who have CVI. Specific topics to be considered include the CVI Web site, the use of the iPad or other technologies to assist students with CVI, and products designed to promote communication and literacy.

CVI Assessment Kit

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide educators with materials that will facilitate functional vision assessment of students with CVI. It will include a text that can be used for background information and instructions/procedures for conducting the CVI Range (Roman, 2001, 2005). Materials in the kit will be aimed at assessment of students who have severe (Phase I), moderate (Phase II), or mild (Phase III) CVI.

Project Staff

Christine Roman, Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

APH Production Staff

Background

CVI is the primary cause of visual impairment in children in the U.S. and developed nations and presents unique challenges to educators. Most educational assessments and materials designed for students with ocular visual impairment are ineffective with students with CVI. The CVI Range provides educators with a specialized protocol for determining the degree and extent of CVI. Since functional educational visual assessment is mandatory for eligibility and program planning, this kit will support teachers in their efforts to make these decisions.

Work during FY 2011

Kit components were determined. This kit will contain a copy of the text by the project leader, Christine Roman (Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention). The book is complete and available for purchase. The text, published by the American Foundation for the Blind, contains assessment forms and assorted materials that may be used to conduct the assessment. This text forms the foundation for the specialized assessment used to evaluate the functional vision of infants, children, and older students who have CVI. The Assessment Kit will contain concrete materials, photo guidebooks, and additional guidelines for the completion of the assessment. A video component is being planned, but may be completed as a separate component/product that can be used in conjunction with the CVI Assessment Kit.

The CVI Materials Starter Kit, now integrated into the Assessment Kit product, will include "raw materials" and a list of materials used to make CVI-specific adaptations to functional objects and materials used in daily routines. A guidebook will accompany this kit.

Work planned for FY 2012

Materials used in assessment will be completed and will coordinate with specific aspects of the text. Instructional photo guidebooks will provide examples of assessment materials and are meant to be integrated with individual assessment strategies. An APH product review will be completed; changes will be made according to reviewer comments and recommendations.

CVI Complexity Sequences

(Completed)

Purpose

To help students with CVI practice locating a figure against backgrounds that increase in visual complexity. This product would be comprised of a series of sets in which the student would be asked to locate a common figure (apple, ball, shoe...) against backgrounds that increase in complexity. The overlay backgrounds would be overall patterns that begin with low complexity design. Overlay cards would increase in complexity requiring the student to extricate the figure from greater degrees of visual "clutter." Each set would have five cards, one figure card, and four overlays of complexity.

Project Staff

Christine Roman, Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Candace Jaworski, Graphic Designer, Bisig Impact Group

Background

This product addresses specific needs related to the CVI characteristic of visual complexity. Many students with CVI have difficulty visually attending to 2-dimensional images and identifying salient details of pictures or symbols especially when the image is against a patterned background.

This product was developed in conjunction with Candace Jaworski from Bisig Impact Group. Jaworski prepared illustrations that represent the salient image as well as the images that add complexity. A manual was developed to provide instructions and suggestions for use. An APH product review was completed and changes were made according to reviewer comments and recommendations.

Work during FY 2011

This product became available for sale in October 2010. Card images from the kit were added to the CVI Web site and can be downloaded for educational purposes.

CVI Lightbox to Literacy

(Continued)

Purpose

Lightbox to Literacy is intended to provide professionals and parents a set of materials and suggested methods to plan and implement pre-literacy and literacy activities for children and students who have CVI. This product will contain activities that begin with materials designed for use with the APH Lightbox (students in Phase I or II CVI) and proceed to beginning picture books, intermediate books, and finally books or materials that use symbols including communication symbols, letters, and sight words (students in Phase III).

Project Staff

Christine Roman, Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

APH Production Staff

Bisig Impact Group

Background

Federal mandates such as No Child Left Behind have placed increasing emphasis on literacy for all students. Students with CVI frequently require special methods and materials due to their unique visual needs. The materials in CVI Lightbox to Literacy will be designed in accordance with best practices in literacy and in CVI. The activities are designed to match the individual student's level of CVI (Phases I-III) as determined by the CVI Range.

Work during FY 2011

The outline of the project was completed. Consultations with literacy and reading specialists continued to assist in the development of a basis for the progression of skills. Prototypes of sample materials were developed and presented to professionals and parents of children with CVI for initial product evaluation. A guidebook containing the principles used to create individual materials was continued. Prototypes were presented to APH staff for review and input.

Work planned for FY 2012

Additional samples will be designed to meet the needs of a variety of student age and interest levels. A comprehensive guidebook will continue to be developed and product reviewers will be selected. It is hoped that this product may have implications for use with an iPad or similar technology. This will be further discussed with APH staff and with the CVI Advisory Committee.

CVI Web site

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide accurate and beneficial information to families, educators, and medical personnel who work with individuals with cortical visual impairment

Project Staff

Christine Roman, Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Inge Formenti, Librarian

Malcolm Turner, Web Master

Background

CVI Synergy, a group of nine professionals, representing both education and medicine, met at APH in May 2002. The group agreed to act as advisors via a listserv to help APH develop a new website dedicated to CVI. Unable to attend the meeting, Dr. Jim Jan served via telephone and e-mail as the medical advisor.

In 2003, the Multiple Disabilities Project Leader developed the outline for the website and with a research assistant began writing text for the site and requesting submissions from the field. The APH Librarian obtained permissions on articles recommended by CVI Synergy to be placed on the website. Photographs of children using homemade and APH products were taken.

In May 2003, Dr. Jan organized CVI Synergy West in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This second group, also representing medicine and education, addressed the issue of definitions associated with CVI. This meeting resulted in the medical-based definition and the education-based definition for CVI that APH uses on the website. APH announced in January of 2004 that Christine Roman would serve as the new CVI Project Leader/Consultant.

Work during FY 2011

Updates on the CVI Web site include any new definitions of CVI, educational programming suggestions, information on materials and articles in publication, and current CVI issues. Featured Presentations provide updated information pertaining to special topics of interest. The CVI Web site has a Contact Us link that is available for individual comments, questions, and suggestions. These communications are gathered by the research assistant and responded to by the project leader. A number of changes and additions were made based on suggestions from APH staff and comments offered through the Contact Us link on the website. Card images from the CVI Complexity Sequences have been added to the CVI Web site and can be downloaded for educational purposes.

Work planned for FY 2012

The website, a continuing project, will be updated as new information is gathered. A reprint of an article on the use of CVI adaptations in a special education classroom will be added. There are plans to use parent- or teacher-made videos that show methods used for interventions and materials used to adapt environments or objects. There have been submissions for adapted ways to use the CVI Complexity Sequences, which will be added to the CVI Web site.

Low Vision

Barraga Visual Efficiency Program

(Continued)

Purpose

To update and modernize APH's Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning, originally created by Dr. Natalie Barraga

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Millie Smith, Lead Author

Background

Millie Smith, who was a graduate student and worked with Barraga on the original product, is the lead author. Other recognized professionals are contributors.

Preliminary Research

The need to revise the original product has evolved and been documented for many years:

Barraga demonstrated that school-age children with low vision could learn to use their vision more efficiently within a program that taught visual perceptual skills.

Hall and Bailey conceptualized a model for training vision functioning that incorporated three methodologies: 1) visual skills training, 2) visual environment management, and 3) visual dependent task training.

Ferrell and Muir suggest that the environment be designed so that the use of vision is practical, and instruction in the use of vision be incorporated into daily tasks rather than as an individual lesson or component of a program. 

Work during FY 2011

The three components of the product: the Barraga Visual Efficiency Program, the Barraga Visual Efficiency Evaluation, and the Instruction for Design were written and sent to the Advisory Panel for review and feedback.

Work planned for FY 2012

The three main components of the product will be finished and the appendices written.

Better Vision Magnifier

(New)

Purpose

Students and teachers have long requested a good lighted magnifier that provides students with the right color of light and sufficient light to do close work. The Better Vision Magnifier has 24 light emitting diodes (LEDs) that surround a 5x round magnifying lens. It is unique for two reasons:

1. The LEDs are a 2700 Kelvin temperature, which means they emit light mainly in the pink range.

2. The LEDs completely surround the magnifying lens and provide even, comfortable light that does not get hot, nor does it cause glare.

The Better Vision Magnifier comes with an informational book about light, head-borne lights, lighted magnifiers, and LED lights specifically.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design Artist

Background

Even though students, teachers, and parents have requested appropriate lighting for magnifiers for several years, until recently nothing was on the market that was bright enough, adjustable, affordable, and offered the right emissions for people who had low vision. In the first decade of the 21st century, many lighted magnifiers became available as the possible uses of LEDs were translated into products. Many came close to meeting the needs of persons with low vision, but everything that was bright enough emitted too much blue light.

The problem with most lighted magnifiers is that they have only one source of light, usually from the handle. This means the surface to be lit and magnified is unevenly lit. In addition, the emissions are usually in the 5000-6100 Kelvin range, which is very heavy in blue light, known to cause glare problems and even retinal cell death in the eyes of people who are exposed to them. But the Better Vision Magnifier solves all those problems.

Project Research

The project leader has researched the lighting weblogs, websites, and literature for several years to monitor the development of the well-projected LEDs. When they became available, the project leader accessed the following sources:

Klipstein, D. L., Jr. (2008). LED types by color, brightness, and chemistry. Available from http://donklipstein.com/ledc.html

Klipstein, D. L., Jr. (2009). LEDs 101. Available from http://donklipstein.com/ledd.html

Klipstein, D. L., Jr. (2009). The most efficient LEDs and where to get them! Available from http://donklipstein.com/led.html

Li, R. (2010, April 12). LED flashlight mysteries, What is a LED emitter? Retrieved August 23, 2011, from http://ezinearticles.com/?LED-Flashlight-Mysteries,-What-is-a-LED-Emitter?&id=4094084

Murray, M. (2010). Revolutionary 100mm LED downlight. Durham, NC.

Note: These are the first five of many sources. For a complete list of sources, please contact the project leader, Elaine Kitchel.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader procured several samples of the Better Vision Magnifier and tested them for color temperature, brightness, durability, flexibility, utility, emission projection, and luminosity. She then proposed the Better Vision Magnifier as a product to PARC and it was accepted. Additional research is now underway to provide information for a booklet called LEDs and their Uses for People with Low Vision. This booklet will be part of the Better Vision Magnifier kit.

Work planned for FY 2012

Research will continue until the booklet, LEDs and their Uses for People with Low Vision, is complete. At that time, the booklet will be laid out and edited. Once edited, the Better Vision Magnifier and booklet will be field tested. Publishing and availability are expected near the beginning of FY 2013.

Decision Making Guide

Formerly: Determining Appropriate Visual Reading Media for Students with Low Vision

(Continued)

Purpose

The purposes of this project are twofold:

1. Conduct basic research to determine visual accommodation needs, requirements, and strategies of students with low vision when reading passages of continuous text

2. To develop a decision tree product, based on the results of data analysis from the basic research

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, APH Project Leader

Amanda Hall Lueck, Project Consultant

Ian Bailey, Consultant/ Research Optometrist

Helen Dornbusch, Consultant/Research Optometrist

Rajiv L. Panikkar, Consultant/Low Vision Specialist

Jane Erin, Consultant/ Expert

Background

This project was the third in a sequence of studies on how magnification, accommodation, and the visual reserve affect reading efficiency in students with low vision who already know how to read.

Production of reading passages was completed. The team developed comprehension questions for the selected passages and conducted pilot testing. Data were collected, analyzed, and published.

The data analysis was incorporated into a report and published in the Journal of Blindness & Visual Impairment in 2006. A decision tree was developed to help teachers and interventionists select appropriately-sized learning media for students with low vision. A model of the decision tree and a user's guide were developed and reviewed by APH and two experts.

Work during FY 2011

Editing of the history, concepts, and user's guide continued. Since the product is technically very complex, the project leader suggested that low vision consultants or experts who were not involved in the development of the product, and who are familiar with the needs of teachers, review the product for relevance, usefulness, and usability. Two reviewers, Dr. Jane Erin and Mr. Rajiv Panikkar reviewed the materials. They found the concepts sound and the materials were somewhat helpful, but all needed to be more user friendly. They asserted that teachers would have a difficult time using the decision tree because of the many steps involved and the general lack of understanding the concepts upon which the decision tree is built.

Work planned for FY 2012

The project leader will continue to edit and format the materials with the purpose to make the materials more user-friendly. At that time, field test sites will be identified; and shortly thereafter field testing will take place. Changes to the product will be made based upon field testing. A CD of both the decision tree and the manual will be developed for purposes of accommodation. Once these processes take place, the project will go into production phase. It is planned for this project to be completed in FY 2013.

ReadWrite Stand

(New)

Photos of ReadWrite Stand used by low vision adults for reading and writing tasks Photos of ReadWrite Stand used by low vision adults for reading and writing tasks

Purpose

To provide a portable, lightweight slant board that serves as both a reading stand and a writing stand in order to reduce equipment needs for students and adults with visual impairments and to help with reading distance and posture

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker

Background

APH currently offers two popular reading stands, the Desk Top Reading Stand and the Grandstand: Portable Reading Easel. Both reading stands continue to be in high demand despite years of availability. The Desk Top Reading Stand sold nearly 600 units in 2010, and the combined sales of the yellow and black versions of the Grandstand surpassed 1,600 units in the same year. However, the Desk Top Reading Stand is rather large and clunky for convenient portability, and the Grandstand has cut grooves on the facing surface that prevent writing tasks. The ReadWrite Stand attempts to merge reading capability with the writing capability into one portable format with varying angles/resting positions. This product addresses a specific need documented in a Product Submission Form by Jane Redmon, a teacher of the visually impaired in Illinois. She requested, "I would like to see APH (or someone) develop a portable, light weight, bookstand/writing board. The small APH yellow or black book stand is great for books, but I have also needed a writing board for my students and would like to see one device for both purposes."

Work during FY 2011

The project leader's initial efforts were focused on reviews of existing reading and writing stands produced by other vendors. For example, a combined read/write stand manufactured in Australia was ordered and reviewed by low vision APH staff; although the stand accommodated various reading angles/positions, it was very heavy, large, and not as durable as desired. Failing to find a slant board that ideally addressed the described need and function, APH decided to design an original, "home-grown" read/write stand.

A prototype demonstrating the expected end-product was built by Tom Poppe in December 2010. The color, size, and slant options were directly influenced by early feedback garnered from APH staff with low vision. Blue was the unanimous color selection by those queried. The project leader researched and located a vendor for a low-profile clip; this clip style was incorporated into the design.

The product proposal was approved by the Product Evaluation Team on January 5, 2011 and supported by the Product Advisory and Research Committee on January 12, 2011. In March, the project leader conducted a meeting with the Product Development Committee to give known details about the product's design and to establish a product timeline.

The production of multiple prototypes of the ReadWrite Stand was initiated in March. The model/pattern maker built necessary tooling for die-cutting, thermoforming, and production assembly. The final design measures 18 inches wide x 14-1/8 inches high and can be positioned at four distinct angles--5 degrees (at rest), 15 degrees, 30 degrees, and 45 degrees; the three latter angles are accommodated by a metal apparatus designed by Tom Poppe for the APH Light Box. Weighing approximately 2-1/2 lbs., the ReadWrite Stand has two handles incorporated for convenient portability. The project leader authored an accompanying Instruction Sheet and took needed photos of the ReadWrite Stand in use by large print readers.

Eight prototypes were available for field testing in mid-June. The project leader's remaining tasks included preparing content for the product instructions, taking needed photos, and identifying ideal field test sites. Prototypes were mailed to seven evaluators working with students and adult clients of varying ages and visual acuities; some students had multiple disabilities as well. By mid-September, field test was underway.

Work planned for FY 2012

The final design of the ReadWrite Stand will be determined based upon the feedback received from field test evaluators. Necessary in-house committee meetings will be held to prepare the product for final production, the timeline will be updated accordingly, and final tooling and product specifications will be readied. Availability of the final product will likely occur in the first half of FY 2013.

Teach Me to See

Formerly: Appropriate Intervention Techniques

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide educators and interventionists with a video that displays and discusses appropriate practices for interventions with young children who have visual impairments. These interventions are for the purpose of identification of visual skills deficits, and the development of appropriate visual skills to fill the deficits.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader

Amanda Hall-Lueck, Lead Consultant

Toni Heinze, Consultant

Carol Roderick, Research Assistant

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design Artist

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant (Consultant)

Background

There are many interventions and steps practitioners take when they perform functional vision evaluations on very young children with vision impairments. Today, practitioners see very complicated children who have neurological, cognitive, and physical deficits as well as vision problems. Guidelines are needed to identify appropriate practices, and to provide guidance to the practitioner who deals with children who have disabilities that range from uncomplicated, to very involved and medically-complicated.

Dr. Amanda Hall-Lueck, an educator and researcher in the fields of low vision and early childhood, proposed and worked on this project. The resulting video/DVD is expected to be of great assistance to the practitioner who is seeking to find ways to resolve function of the visual system and lead the young child through appropriate developmental stages. The product will be primarily helpful to students who plan to become teachers of students with visual impairments.

Drs. Hall-Lueck and Heinze videotaped interventions they performed with young children who had a wide range of abilities. Once the raw footage was obtained, Dr. Hall-Lueck wrote a script to accompany it. The footage and script were turned over to the project leader for development of a professional video. Dr. Hall-Lueck also developed a short sample video to use at professional conferences.

Work during FY 2011

Expert reviewer opinion showed enough interest, accuracy, and feasibility to press forward with production. This was determined even though there was a necessity to use footage that had video interference and sub-standard audio. Video clips were merged with story boards, introductions, credits, voice-overs and music. Editing continued until the video content, subtitles, and audio captions were complete. The DVD was made available for sale on September 12, 2011.

Wow Light

(New)

Purpose

Students and teachers have long requested a good head-borne light that students could wear to keep their hands free and their desks clear of clutter and hazards. The Wow Light is designed to be worn on the head. It is an extra-bright LED lamp that has three brightness levels, three directional settings, and is easy to use. The Wow Light is designed to provide light to

1. Students who do not have enough desk space for a task lamp.

2. Students who cannot get access to an electrical outlet.

3. Students for whom task lamps and cords present a hazard.

4. Students who must hold their text very close to their faces.

5. Students who need light to supplement task lamp emissions.

The Wow Light comes with an informational book about light, head-borne lights, lighted magnifiers, and LED lights specifically.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design Artist

Background

Even though students, teachers, and parents have requested head-borne, bright light for several years, until recently nothing was on the market that was bright enough, adjustable, affordable, and offered the right emissions for people who had low vision.

In the first decade of the 21st century, many head-borne lights became available as the possible uses of light emitting diodes (LEDs) came into being. Many came close to meeting the needs of persons with low vision, but nothing was quite bright enough or flexible enough.

The problem with LEDs is that they do not project the light very far compared to other sources of light. Much improvement has taken place recently to equip LEDs with reflectors and other technology that will project the light several feet. Fortunately APH can take advantage of this new development to provide students with the head-borne light that they need. This item is now the Wow Light.

Project Research

The project leader has researched the lighting weblogs, websites, and literature for several years to monitor the development of the well-projected LEDs. When they became available, the project leader accessed the following sources:

Klipstein, D. L., Jr. (2008). LED types by color, brightness, and chemistry. Available from http://donklipstein.com/ledc.html

Klipstein, D. L., Jr. (2009). LEDs 101. Available from http://donklipstein.com/ledd.html

Klipstein, D. L., Jr. (2009). The most efficient LEDs and where to get them! Available from http://donklipstein.com/led.html

Li, R. (2010, April 12). LED flashlight mysteries, What is a LED emitter? Retrieved August 23, 2011, from http://ezinearticles.com/?LED-Flashlight-Mysteries,-What-is-a-LED-Emitter?&id=4094084

Murray, M. (2010). Revolutionary 100mm LED downlight. Durham, NC.

Work during 2011

The project leader purchased two samples of the Wow Light LEDs and tested them for color temperature, brightness, durability, flexibility, utility, emission projection, and luminosity. She then proposed the Wow Light as a product to the PARC, and it was accepted. Additional research is now underway to provide information for a booklet called LEDs and their Uses for People with Low Vision. This booklet will be part of the Wow Light Kit.

Work planned for 2012

Research will continue until the booklet, LEDs and their Uses for People with Low Vision, is complete. At that time, the booklet will be laid out and edited. Once edited, the Wow Light and booklet will be field tested. Publishing and availability are expected in early FY 2013.

SOCIAL INTERACTION SKILLS

Getting To Know You: A Social Skills/Ability Awareness Curriculum

for Students with Visual Impairments and Their Sighted Peers

(Continued)

Purpose

The purpose of this curriculum is two-fold: 1) to provide an opportunity for students with visual impairments and their sighted peers to learn and teach each other about the social skills needed to get along in the world and how both sighted people and people with visual impairments may differ in how they project themselves in social situations and 2) to have students with visual impairments teach sighted students the techniques they use to be independent in life. The lesson plans are divided into three levels: Lower Elementary (K-2), Upper Elementary (3-5), and Middle and High School. Each lesson includes an objective, targeted skill areas, an introduction, a list of materials needed, and an activity section that explains how to conduct the lesson. Lessons were designed to be conducted during a short half-hour period, preferably during students' shared lunchtime.

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader

Nita Crow, Consultant

Stephanie Herlich, Consultant

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Consultant

Cathy Senft-Graves, Research Assistant

Background

There are well-documented articles and books written on the need for social skills training for students with visual impairments. There are also studies that have found that teachers of the visually impaired often teach social skills incidentally and not on a regular basis. They do not have concrete materials needed to teach social skills and time has not been set aside to address these skills. There is less published information about the curiosity that sighted students have with regard to how their peers who are visually impaired get around in the world and conduct everyday tasks. While the two topics appear to be quite different, we found that including them both in this curriculum provided both groups with the opportunity to learn about each other and do so in a safe and accepting environment. The targeted group for every lesson in our curriculum is both students with visual impairments and their sighted peers.

This curriculum focuses on learning those skills that will help students understand each other and learn how they are similar and different. The lessons teach students various skills either in the area of social development or adaptive techniques. Understanding each other and getting along in the world are two of the best educational principles that a student can learn. This curriculum was originally developed in 1997-1999 and the lessons have been expanded in the subsequent years. The authors have used this curriculum for 8 years with various groups and presented the curriculum at two California State conferences and at the Denver AER International Conference. Additionally, at least three other teachers in California have used or reviewed this curriculum and two peer reviewers on the East coast have also reviewed the curriculum. Feedback from peer reviewers has been positive. One suggestion that many reviewers mentioned was a desire for the inclusion of some of the specialized materials listed in various lesson plans. They felt this would make the curriculum a great deal easier for them to use.

In 2008, the project leader and consultants met twice to review the curriculum and make revisions to the original document. In addition, a great deal of time was spent discussing what items to include in the kit to accompany the curriculum guidebook. The project leader developed a plan to make some of the items to include in the kit. Some discussion took place as to whether or not a training video should be considered. The final decision was that this was not needed at this time.

The project leader worked with Bisig to begin the process of having the curriculum guidebook prepared for printing. Bisig prepared a draft of the guidebook, and several illustrations have been identified to be included in the guidebook. The project leader and Bisig planned to have pictures of students taken as illustrations to depict a variety of the activities in the guidebook. The Getting to Know You kit was reviewed and revised. Graphics and illustrations needed for the guidebook were identified. Items for the kit were discussed and a preliminary list made.

In FY 2009, the project leader worked with the consultants to finalize the components of the kit to accompany the guidebook. The project leader began to build the prototype of the kit, which included purchasing items and creating others. Illustrations were completed for cards to be used in the kit. The project leader worked to identify a source for the vision simulators; it was determined that three vision simulators will be included in the kit and these will have to purchased, rather than made specifically for the kit. Pictures and illustrations for the guidebook were completed. A research assistant reviewed the guidebook, and revisions were made.

In FY 2010, additional sections were written for the guidebook; this included a description of kit components and their use in activities. Kit components were readied for field test: CDs containing files to be used in activities were made for field testing; a source for the vision simulators was identified, and samples of these for field testing were purchased; and Facial Expression Cards and Go Fish Cards were printed and brailled. Reviewers were sought via the APH News and APH Field Tester Database. Prototypes and the evaluation form for this product were sent out for field test.

Work during FY 2011

Field testing was completed. A total of seven reviewers provided feedback about the Getting to Know You curriculum. Five of the seven completed the field test evaluation form. Reviewers represented the states of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Texas, and Vermont. One hundred percent of field reviewers recommended that APH produce Getting to Know You and make it available for sale on Quota. The reviewers also provided constructive feedback. Suggested revisions included the following: the inclusion of five blindfolds in the kit; a revision of the illustrations on the Facial Expression Cards, so kids would have an easier time identifying them; and the use of color-coded grade levels (e.g., blue tabs for Middle/High School). The APH graphic designer made necessary revisions to the Facial Expression Cards; these were approved by the project staff. The CD label art was approved.

Work planned for FY 2012

Content and guidebook revisions will be made based on feedback from evaluators. Final tooling and specifications will be completed, and kit items will be purchased for stock. The product will become available for sale.

Nonverbal Communication Curriculum

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop an instructional curriculum to help adults who are blind or visually impaired understand and integrate nonverbal communication skills into their daily lives

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Karen McCulloh, Author/Consultant

Background

The ability to communicate nonverbally is an essential skill for successful functioning in occupational and interpersonal situations. Because learning about and producing nonverbal communication is derived from visual modeling and is based on availability of visual information, persons with visual impairments may experience difficulties in both understanding the meaning of nonverbal behavior and producing understandable nonverbal communications. They may need specific educational experiences to help them understand what is going on around them and to develop positive methods of nonverbal communication.

This project will result in a curriculum to help people who are visually impaired learn how to integrate nonverbal communication skills into their daily interactions. Topics such as gestures, posture, social distance, appearance, voice intonations, and facial expressions will be covered. This curriculum will help blind or visually impaired individuals become more successful in interpersonal communication situations such as job interviews, professional meetings, advocacy situations, and everyday social interactions.

Karen McCulloh submitted materials to be used to select and prepare students for the instructional course. Scheduling complications slowed down progress, but materials submitted have been excellent; McCulloh plans to continue to submit material as quickly as her schedule permits. During FY 2010, McCulloh resigned from her full-time position and is devoting work time to this project. She completed preliminary materials and submitted all curricular materials for the first three group sessions. The project leader edited this material.

Work during FY 2011

McCulloh submitted curricula for sessions Four through Seven.

Work planned for FY 2012

It is anticipated that McCulloh will submit materials for approximately 13 sessions. The project leader will edit these materials.

Social Thinking Curriculum

(Continued)

Purpose

To adapt a social thinking curriculum, originally authored by Michelle Garcia Winner, for the visually impaired population, specifically for students with moderate cognitive impairments, as well as high functioning students, in elementary and middle school grades, who need to develop social thinking and social problem solving skills

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Brett Page, Project Consultant/Author

Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Consultant

Background

In December 2009, Brett Page submitted a formal product submission form to suggest the adaptation of Michelle Garcia Winner's social thinking curriculum for students who are visually impaired. Garcia Winner is an internationally recognized therapist in the areas of autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities. The purpose of her curriculum is to provide therapists, teachers, and parents with a fun, motivating, and non-threatening way for students to explore social thinking concepts while increasing their awareness of their own behaviors with strategies taught through a series of worksheets and comic books. The published curriculum can be reviewed in further detail at the following Web site: www.socialthinking.com

The consultant indicated that the social thinking curriculum can be used with therapists in individual and group counseling environments, by teachers within the classroom, and by parents through interactions with their children at home. The program is most effective if all key adults in a child's life use the curriculum together. As the consultant explains in the product submission form, "I use the curriculum in my groups then have our teachers reinforce the concepts daily within the classroom environment while providing the students social thinking homework assignments. I also communicate/share the curriculum with our children's parents to reinforce and use at home." The consultant has observed that a majority of students with visual impairments/blindness exhibit tremendous weaknesses in this skill set. Not developing these skills hinders these students' ability to successfully transition from high school to college or to the workplace. This curriculum addresses this need in a highly engaging and effective manner. The ideal target groups for this product are elementary and middle school students, and in some cases, high school level students.

In January 2010, the product submission form was reviewed and approved by both the Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory and Review Committee.

During the summer of 2010, the consultant initiated work on the modifications/companion notes to the initial chapters of Michelle Garcia Winner's Thinking About YOU Thinking About ME, a book that provides the philosophy behind the curriculum and is extremely necessary for those who coordinate social-education programs. The adaptation of this book was discussed with Garcia Winner. The consultant envisions the entire curriculum being "a truly interactive, hands-on experience."

Work during FY 2011

The project leader continued to become familiar with the related materials (e.g., Superflex comic books). The project leader suggested the possibility of incorporating the various characters of "Social Town"--that is, the Unthinkables and Superflex--into a board game that would encourage the review of socially appropriate behaviors within a fun context. Commercially-available social game boards/cards were researched and reviewed.

The consultant continued the preparation of a companion manual to Thinking About YOU Thinking About ME, giving detailed adaptations for the visually impaired student on a chapter-by-chapter basis. In March, the prologue, introduction, and first three chapters were submitted to APH; editorial updates were made by the project staff. Research articles and similar APH social curricula (e.g., Getting to Know You) were provided to the author for review and reference within the companion chapters. [See separate report on Getting to Know You.] A teleconference call was conducted that allowed the project consultant to discuss accessibility issues with other research staff from various areas--low vision, early childhood, multiple disabilities, adult life, etc.

In July, the author visited APH and worked exclusively on Chapter 4. The author and project leader broadened possibilities for tactile components and accessories (e.g., playing cards, print/braille worksheets, an interactive, tactile facial expression board, etc.). By the end of the fiscal year, the project consultant had completed the summary for Chapter 5.

Work planned for FY 2012

Based upon product design recommendations by the consultant, the project leader and project assistant will coordinate the preparation of this companion manual, as well as other related materials (e.g., braille/print worksheets, tactile components), for the purpose of expert review and/or field evaluation with teachers, parents, and students.

Tests and Assessments

Accessible Answer Documents

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide well-designed, accessible answer documents in braille and large print for use in classroom tests, test preparation, and in actual statewide testing situations

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader

Kerry Isham, Accessible Tests Editor, Project Assistant

Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader

Eleanor Pester, Braille Project Leader

Andrew Dakin, Model Maker

Frank Hayden, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

As states moved toward No Child Left Behind (NCLB) compliance, the need for accessible answer documents became evident. If students with visual impairments are to take the tests independently and successfully, they must know how to use a variety of answer document styles. The original project goal was to collaborate with a major test publisher on development of a machine scorable and accessible "scannable answer sheet" or "bubble sheet," for use by braille and large print readers. Such sheets are now totally inaccessible to blind and low vision students. VI students' answers must be transferred by a sighted person onto a machine scannable document, allowing for errors to be introduced and barring independence.

Between FY 2005 and FY 2007, the project leader made several contacts with test publishers and research entities, but a committed partner could not be identified. As a result, the answer document project remained on the PARCing Lot through the end of FY 2007.

In the first quarter of FY 2008, the project leader pulled this project into active development. A survey about kinds of answer documents needed by teachers and other service providers was developed, and in March 2008 was posted on the APH Web site. Over 123 people from 24 states and numerous agencies submitted a survey. The project leader and assistant analyzed survey results in the last quarter of FY 2008.

During FY 2009, results of the survey were gathered into a report. A field review questionnaire was developed in preparation for field testing. During FY 2010, Kerry Isham, Project Assistant, presented a poster session on accessible answer documents at APH Annual Meeting in October 2009. Results of the answer document survey were presented. In Spring 2010, the project leader began to work on designs for a "pop a dot" (plastic dots that can be popped up or down) answer sheet with model maker Andrew Dakin, and on braille answer sheet designs with Technical Research Manager Frank Hayden. Progress was made toward development of prototypes for field testing in November 2010. Field test sites were identified.

Work during FY 2011

Sixteen field reviewers carried out product trials in 11 sites in the U.S. and Canada with 40 students in grades 3-12. Results were summarized so that revisions to prototypes could be made in the last quarter of the fiscal year.

Work planned for FY 2012

Product(s) will be made available for sale.

Boehm Test of Basic Concepts, Third Edition (Boehm-3): Braille/Tactile and Large Print Adaptations

(Continued)

Purpose

To fill the need, expressed by the field, for a large print and a tactile version of this test of basic concept acquisition in very young children

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader

Ann Boehm, Project Consultant

Kay Alicyn Ferrell, Project Consultant

Tom Poppe, Model Maker

Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

Andrew Dakin, Model Maker

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Artist

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Art & Layout

Background

Based upon feedback from the field, it was determined that a student large print and a tactile adaptation of this testing instrument should be developed using a research-based model. The first Boehm Test had been adapted in tactile format by APH in the 1970s, so there was a tradition of interest in and recognition of the importance of this testing instrument for our populations. Evaluation of the development of basic relational concepts in visually impaired children is crucial.

Permission to do an adaptation of the Boehm 3rd edition was sought from the publisher, Pearson Assessment, as part of a research project using the adapted materials. The project was proposed by Dr. Kay Ferrell and Dr. Jane Farber, with the approval of Dr. Ann Boehm (author of the test).

The project idea was brought forward through PET and PARC Committees in the 3rd quarter of FY 2010. The project leader did preliminary library research into the Boehm Test, including past research studies and publications about basic concept development in blind children. The concepts covered in the Tactile Treasures Kit by Karen Poppe at APH were partially based upon those in the original Boehm Test. Poppe's ideas about production methods on Tactile Treasures helped to inform the model maker's development of the current prototype.

The project leader held a teleconference to discuss a possible presentation at Annual Meeting with Dr. Kay Ferrell and Dr. Ann Boehm in early September 2010. Unfortunately, Dr. Boehm was unable to attend Annual Meeting.

Work during FY 2011

Dr. Kay Ferrell and the project leader presented a product development input session at APH Annual Meeting in October 2010. Input from the field subsequently influenced the design of the Boehm-3 tactile and large print adaptations for field testing. Dr. Ferrell was at APH for the Executive in Residence program in the Spring of 2011 and worked with the project leader to design layouts of tactile stimuli. Project Leaders Suzette Wright and Loana Mason, each provided valuable input on design of the tactile prototype. Elaine Kitchel reviewed the picture manual for low vision and color vision deficiency considerations.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of the field study was sought in late May by Ferrell at the University of Northern Colorado. Ferrell worked through the summer to finish instructions for administration of the Boehm-3 Preschool prototypes. The first kit of materials for field testing was sent out by the project leader on August 10, 2011. Four additional sites received materials in early September. Some results were expected back to APH before September 30.

Work planned for FY 2012

Once results of the preschool edition field test are documented and revisions are completed, work on the adaptation of the Boehm-3 (BTBC-3) school-age test will begin. Field testing of that product will be carried out in a similar fashion. Release of both products is slated for the final quarter of FY 2012.

Brigance® Diagnostic Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills II (CIBS-II,© 2010): Braille Edition and Large Print Edition [a.k.a. Brigance Green]

(New)

Purpose

To fill the need, expressed by the field, for updated large print and braille editions of this trusted and widely used criterion-referenced test

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader

Background

Based upon feedback from the field, it was determined that a large print and a braille edition of this popular criterion-based assessment were needed to ensure students with visual impairment are tested using the same version of the test as their sighted peers.

Copies of the new tests were ordered in FY 2010 and reviewed by the project leader.

Work during FY 2011

An in-depth review of CIBS-II materials revealed that the content differs dramatically. An entirely new transcription is needed. The idea to update the earlier version will not be possible, so the new edition was submitted to PET and PARC Committees. The project was approved in August 2011, removed from the parking lot, and brought into active development. Editing work was started.

Work during FY 2012

Project staff, including a consultant, will be identified. The project leader will continue to edit, in preparation for braille transcription and large print formatting. When the prototypes are developed, field testing/review will commence.

Brigance Diagnostic Inventory of Early Development II (IED-II): Large Print Edition and Tactile Edition (a.k.a. Brigance Yellow)

(Discontinued)

Purpose

To provide accessible versions of this early educational skills inventory, to be utilized by early interventionists and diagnosticians who work with infants and preschoolers with visual impairments

Project Staff

Barbara Henderson, Project Leader

Monica Coffey Turner, Co-Project Leader

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Art & Layout

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

In keeping with an APH tradition, a tactile supplement to the Brigance Yellow tests was planned upon publication of the new print edition in FY 2004. The project leader proposed adding a large print edition of the updated assessment; APH had done only a braille/tactile edition in the past. The project idea was brought before appropriate APH committees and was approved.

In FY 2005, permissions were sought from the publisher. The electronic files were also requested. Curriculum Associates® were very cooperative and provided these materials quickly and free of charge. Project staff was assigned within a few months of receiving the files and preliminary designs for product structure were documented.

In the first quarter of FY 2006, a PDC meeting was called to brainstorm methods of presentation of manipulative items, and a timeline was developed. Bisig Impact Group worked with the publisher's files to create a working document for editing the examiner's manual. A separate document was created for layout of the large print examinee's pages and for the braille transcription. The co-project leader began to revise the examiner's manual.

Work on the large print reformatting and on the braille transcription continued toward prototypes. Field review and field testing at six sites was initiated in the last quarter of FY 2007.

Field testing continued through the first two quarters of FY 2008. Monica Coffey Turner, co-project leader, left the Accessible Tests department, so Barbara Henderson assumed the role of project leader. With a new assistant, the project leader worked to compile field test results and summarize findings. The project leader categorized types of revisions needed. It was determined that an annotated bibliography of resources was to be supplied on CD along with the tactile and large print test materials.

In FY 2009, an annotated bibliography and updated resource list were developed by the project leader beginning in the new fiscal year. An additional field test site and expert reviewer were identified in order to address issues found with tactile materials for younger children. Results from that site were received in February 2009 and analyzed. Work on the bibliography continued. Communications with the publisher revealed that updates to the IED II for 2010 would consist mostly of graphical changes to update the "look" and would not involve any major changes in content.

In FY 2010, the project leader reviewed the new 2010 copyright editions and discovered that the "slight changes" discussed with the publisher were much more extensive. Major changes and repagination in most sections made it necessary to do an entirely new transcription. In fact, the publisher notified the project leader that a completely new edition will be released in 2014. In order to make the changes necessary for even the 2010 materials, an entire rework of braille and large print prototypes would be called for. Plans to shelve the project until a later date were discussed with the department director.

Work during FY 2011

In discussions with the test publisher about new content, it was determined that APH should wait until the next edition is normed and published. Visually impaired children will be included in this process for the first time, and the publisher has agreed to partner with APH by furnishing pre-publication drafts for use in a more timely adaptation of the materials. It was decided that we will wait until 2013 to revive the project, at which time the publisher will furnish pre-publication proofs for APH's use.

Functional Assessment

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide assessment tools for daily living/functional skills for students in primary grades, middle school, secondary school, and transition classes

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader

Diane Bender, Project Author/Consultant

Barbara Henderson, Test & Assessment Project Leader

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Background

As the Expanded Core Curriculum becomes increasingly important in the education of students who are blind or visually impaired, a systematic method for assessing a student's progress in learning functional skills becomes essential. Many schools for the blind, university training programs, and rehabilitation agencies have developed their own strategies for assessing different aspects of self-care and daily living tasks. However, a systematic assessment process that incorporates a criterion-based scoring system and utilizes core curriculum skills in all levels of its functional assessment has not been made widely available. The need for such a comprehensive system has been expressed by numerous educators of persons who are blind or visually impaired.

Dianne Bender's assessment system for functional skills has been developed during her extensive teaching career in a residential school for the blind setting. Bender's system is being used as the basis for the Functional Assessment project because of its comprehensive coverage of functional skill areas; scorable testing protocols; and concise, clear testing directions.

Telephone conferences with Bender resulted in the finalization of four areas to be included in the Functional Assessment: Food Management, Clothing Management, Personal Management, and Home Management. Based on this plan, Bender submitted revised materials for all four levels of each of these modules. Item editing/revision and creation of additional items by Bender and the project leader have continued.

During FY 2009, the project leader reviewed all items at all levels in all modules of the system. She prepared suggested item changes throughout all modules and levels of the assessment to support more standardization across assessors and to equalize weights given to similar items across module levels. She spoke with Bender about these issues; provided general descriptions of and rationale for item changes; and prepared specific item change suggestions in spreadsheet format. Spreadsheets with specific item content changes were sent to Bender for consideration and review.

During FY 2010, in monthly telephone conferences, Bender and the project leader reviewed changes to support test-retest and inter-rater reliability, redesigned the scoring system to enhance psychometric properties of the test, determined final rewrites of items in the Clothing Management and Food Management sections of the test, wrote scoring scenarios and item explanations for these sections, and developed plans for content of the Home Management and Personal Management sections.

Work during FY 2011

Bender and the project leader continued to refine the test scoring system, rewrote scoring scenarios for previously completed modules to conform to new test scoring procedures, and wrote items and scoring scenarios for the Personal Management Module. Because of extensive reworking of previously completed modules in order to improve standardization strategies and potential for high inter-scorer reliability, new item development was confined to the Personal Management Module, with work on the Home Management Module postponed to FY 2012.

Work planned for FY 2012

Item content, item explanations, and scoring scenarios will be completed for the Home Management Module. The Test Manual and Answer Booklets will be prepared for field testing, field testers will be located, and field testing will be initiated.

Jumping into the Johns Informal Reading Inventory Administration Made Easy

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a tool that can be used to train both current and prospective teachers of students with visual impairments (TSVI) on the proper administration of the Basic Reading Inventory by Jerry Johns and on the appropriate interpretation of its results for a variety of readers with visual impairments

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Braille Literacy Project Leader

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Bryan Rogers, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Cathy-Senft Graves, Research Assistant

Jayma Hawkins, Accessible Media Editor

Aileen McPhillips, Accessible Media Editor

Carol Roderick, Research Assistant

Erica Rucker, Research Assistant

Deanna Scoggins, Consultant

Michael Haynes, Large Print Textbook Coordinator

Barbara Henderson, Test and Assessment Project Leader

Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader

Eleanor Pester, Braille Project Leader

Background

Irene Topor, adjunct associate professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson, submitted this project idea to APH in November 2009, and the Product Evaluation Team and Product Advisory and Review Committee approved this product for development in December 2009.

This project stemmed from a grant Dr. Topor received to produce a 30-minute DVD and guide booklet that demonstrates proper administration and scoring of the Basic Reading Inventory by Jerry Johns. Dr. Lisa Serino was videotaped administering this assessment to a braille reader, and Stephen Goudinoff did the final edits on the DVD. Angela Davis and Dr. Topor wrote an accompanying manual that included filled-in scoring sheets. Dr. Serino and Pam de Steiguer served as editors of both the video and the manual. This completed project was shown at the Arizona AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired) Conference where it was well received.

The Basic Reading Inventory is one of the most widely used instruments for determining the most effective literacy modalities for students with visual impairments. It is included in the Assessment Kit: Part 3 from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and is recommended by the Functional Vision and Learning Media Assessment (FVLMA) from APH. However, there is little guidance available on how to best adapt administration and scoring procedures and how to accurately interpret the results in a manner that allows for effective educational programming for students with visual impairments.

In order to address this need, the case studies of students with visual impairments depicted in the video footage will be expanded to include regular print users (with and without the use of optical aids), large print users, and braille users who are beginning readers, struggling readers, and proficient readers. The training manual will also be expanded to include implications for educational programming based on the interpretation of results from each of the case studies. The final product is expected to consist of a DVD and a print/braille training manual.

Given the fact that potential consumers of this training video and manual will be teachers who themselves are blind and visually impaired, it was determined that an accessible version of the administration manual for the Basic Reading Inventory needed to be developed first. Thus, APH decided to create one through the Accessible Textbooks Department (ATIC). During this process, it was also brought to our attention that the commercially available, student assessment materials contained braille errors and did not adhere to APH's large print accessibility guidelines. Therefore, production of both the administration manual and student assessment materials were undertaken by ATIC in September 2010.

Work during FY 2011

ATIC completed the braille translation and large print formatting of the Basic Reading Inventory in February 2011. Due to the complexity of the scoring forms in the administration guidebook, production efforts focused on completion of the student assessment materials first.

The project was then turned over to Bisig Impact Group for layout and graphic design, and accompanying administrator notes were developed by the project leader to describe formatting changes used in the accessible versions. The final content was finalized in August and turned over to production in September. The goal is to have the contracted braille edition, the uncontracted braille edition, and the large print edition of the Basic Reading Inventory: Student Word Lists, Passages, and Early Literacy Assessments (10th ed.) available for sale in December 2011.

Due to the impact that braille mechanics has on braille reading fluency, video was taken of a sample of braille users reading select passages from the Basic Reading Inventory. This footage is unique in that it shows hand and finger movements recorded from below a transparent reading surface so that each finger can be seen in relation to each braille character, and in fact, it is even possible to see which fingers the student applies the most pressure to while reading. This footage will help the TSVI better understand the impact that braille mechanics has on reading speed and accuracy.

Work planned for FY 2012

Content of the administration guidebook for the Basic Reading Inventory: Pre-Primer through Grade Twelve and Early Literacy Assessments (10th ed.) will be completed this next fiscal year and made available for sale.

Before production on the video can begin, passages containing common errors need to be created in order to ensure that TSVIs are being trained using case studies that accurately represent the reading traits exhibited by students with visual impairments. The most common errors will be determined by analyzing approximately 200 different informal reading inventory samples taken from individuals with visual impairments.

Key Math®-3: Braille Adaptation

(Continued)

Purpose

In keeping with a long-time collaborative tradition between AGS/Pearson Assessment and APH, a braille/tactile adaptation will be developed. This instrument has been widely used to assess math skills of students who are visually impaired.

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader

Background

Continuing a long tradition of working with AGS Publishing to develop the original KeyMath® and KeyMath® Revised in braille/tactile formats, APH requested permissions from the new publisher, Pearson Assessment, to develop adapted versions of KeyMath®-3. APH requested the approved pre-production copy ahead of the print publication date in order to expedite production of the braille and large print editions. The project leader reviewed all test materials.

Pre-publication copyright permissions were again requested from the publisher. The project leader and project advisors reviewed all test items for bias, and editing for braille translation began.

Since permissions were not received, the project was returned to the PARCing Lot.

Work during FY 2011

Application for copyright permissions was made again, with better communications with the publisher having been established during FY 2011. The project was removed from the PARCing Lot and brought into active development again.

Work planned for FY 2012

A consultant will be identified and editing for braille translation will resume. Tactile graphics will be designed toward a braille/tactile prototype. Field testing sites will be chosen.

NewT: New Tools for Use with FV/LMA

(Continued)

Purpose

FV/LMA, which is a set of protocols used to conduct functional vision and learning media assessments requires a set of tools for practitioners to use. The protocols within FV/LMA often require such tools as colored markers, print samples of varied sizes, photos, pictures, cartoons, rulers, etc., to be used with them. In the past, practitioners have been responsible for the development of their own set of tools. However, there is value in standardization and accessibility. When tools are standardized, other practitioners, optometrists, teachers, and all people of a student's vision care/educational team understand how the results of the functional vision and learning media assessments were gathered and analyzed. They all understand what the results mean. With the development of NewT, practitioners across the country will be able to interpret results from their colleagues' reports when a child moves to a different state, for example. The NewT product will be accessible to all persons with blindness or low vision.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader

LaRhea Sanford, Consultant

Laurianne Matheson, Consultant

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design Artist

Yoshi Miyake, Freelance Graphic Artist

Background

FV/LMA became available in 2008. Dr. LaRhea Sanford, one of the originators of FV/LMA has done several workshops through the National Instructional Partnership. After each of her presentations, practitioners, teachers, and early interventionists call APH to request sets of tools such as the kind NewT would provide. They are very interested in having the tools to complement their FV/LMA products. During the development of FV/LMA, Drs. Sanford and Burnett developed their own set of tools and made a list of those items. The project leader and other staff are working out ways to make all the tools and materials accessible for practitioners who have blindness or low vision. In June 2009, the project leader and consultant met to determine the scope of the product, and to brainstorm about which items would go into the array of tools in NewT. The project leader then met with the manufacturing specialist assigned to the product and discussed the projected specifications.

Project Research

Burnett, R., & Sanford, L. (2008). FV/LMA: Functional vision and learning media assessment for students who are pre-academic or academic and visually impaired in grades K-12. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind

Koenig, A. J., & Farrenkopf, C. (1995). Assessment of braille literacy skills. Houston, TX: Region IV Education Services Center.

Koenig, A. J., & Holbrook, M.C. (1995). Learning media assessment. Austin, TX: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Sewell, D. (1997). Assessment kit of informal tools for academic students with visual impairments, part 1 - assessment tools for teacher use. Austin, TX: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Sewell, D. (1997). Assessment kit of informal tools for academic students with visual impairments, part 2 - large print reading assessments for student use. Austin, TX: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Sewell, D. (1997). Assessment kit of informal tools for academic students with visual impairments, part 3 - braille reading assessments for student use. Austin, TX: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Work during FY 2011

The project leader sought feedback from many of those who had attended the FV/LMA workshops to determine specific guidelines and grade levels for the NewT materials to meet. She and the manufacturing specialist then identified which items in the tool array would be made within APH, and which ones would need to be procured outside APH. The project leader then examined several items procured outside APH to determine if they would be suitable for use in the NewT array. The project leader worked with the consultants who had specific requests about what they wanted in Nigel Newt's Portfolios. Work continued on the products to be made within APH.

Work planned for FY 2012

The consultants have developed a short informational booklet for use by the consumer. The project leader is developing grade-specific materials for use by teachers and practitioners who have low vision. These are the materials in Nigel Newt's Portfolios. The project leader will continue to develop, format, and finalize Nigel Newt's Portfolios. Field testing will take place, and data will be analyzed. Revisions will be made based upon field test data. A search for an appropriate carrying case will take place. Specifications will be updated and finalized immediately after tooling is completed. Projected completion is expected sometime in FY 2013.

Tadpole

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide teachers of students with low vision and other disabilities with a standardized array of classic tools, strategies, and graphics to conduct functional vision assessments and vision development activities with learners of the developmental ages of 0-2 years. Guidelines for the uses of the tools and materials are to be included.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader

Millie Smith, Consultant

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Bryan Rogers, Manufacturing Specialist

Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design Artist

Background

Numerous requests from practitioners in the field led to a project named ToAD that provides a standardized set of tools, toys, reflective materials, lights, cards, and overlays commonly used by practitioners to conduct functional vision evaluations and/or vision development activities with young children. Practitioners stated that toys and lights developed by toymakers come and go according to fads. If APH made the array and materials, they would not go out of style or become unavailable. The array would also be available on Quota. An array of objects and print/graphic materials was developed and field tested along with a practitioner's guidebook. During the field test stage, teachers who worked with students with severe, complicated disabilities in addition to low vision commented that the ToAD activities as well as the 2-dimensional graphic materials were not appropriate for children 2 years and younger. They also commented that many of the tools were very appropriate, but needed to be used in a simpler and less-complicated way, to serve the needs of students who are ages 0-2. The project leader, with approval of PARC, and with advice from Millie Smith, developed a sequence of developmental activities and visual materials for use by children 0-2 and their teachers called Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book. The project leader then developed a practitioner's guidebook to accompany Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book and sent them to the consultant for her review and comments. The project leader made changes based upon the consultant's feedback.

Work during FY 2011

Print production began in March 2010, but due to difficulties printing on the heavy polymer paper, printing was not completed until January 2011. An additional item, Soft Snap Puzzles, was added late in the process in order to provide a more advanced visual/perceptual task to the materials and to save stock that was bound for the trash heap. Those were also completed in 2011.

Work planned for FY 2012

The product is available for purchase. No work is planned for 2012.

Teacher's Pet

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop a program used to create and take tests and practice drills and to provide student progress record keeping

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader

John Hedges, Programmer

Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Background

APH has long been interested in providing an accessible means of creating and delivering test content to students who are blind and visually impaired. An early attempt at this goal, Teacher's Pet for the Apple II, was a huge success. Members of the Research Department continue to receive requests for a Windows-based program that would perform similar functions. The group designed a new program to deliver content and record progress using Extensible Markup Language (XML) as its native file format. The design specifications call for software that is self voicing with easily adjustable display characteristics and a simple user interface that provides mechanisms to repeat or more closely examine test material. The program must also store and retrieve student statistics and access settings and provide an interface to make the teacher's job of preparing the test simple through modern drag and drop capabilities for multi-media objects like graphics and sounds. Teacher's Pet must also manage and display student records.

Staff wrote program specifications that include the support for a variety of question types including open-ended, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, matching, information, and multiple choice. Programmer John Hedges created a prototype of the application in March 2000 using JavaScript as the programming language. (This was APH's first venture into this language in its attempt to identify a language that provides rapid deployment possibilities yet supports accessible design concepts.) He created techniques for providing user interface elements supporting universal design concepts and incorporated the APH digital audio component and APH Speech Environment to provide some of the core services the software required.

The programming team successfully solved a number of access and design issues. The program received such capabilities as an automatic integrated sound recording and playback facility that includes the ability to limit the time of the recording (through the APH Digital Audio Control), Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) support for flexible display adjustment, selection and display routines, a dialog to open and identify Teacher's Pet test files, evaluation functions that are extensible enough to permit a variety of formats for acceptable answers, and functions to preserve and restore user preferences and access settings. The programmers added the user interface and input mechanism that lets the student enter the answer in whatever format the teacher or parent specifies and the dialog and input routines that lets the teacher or parent create the test material. Functions were written to present the question, to navigate from question to question, and to move through long questions as is the case when there are several paragraphs or pages of text to read.

Work during FY 2011

Version 1.3.1, February 2011

Version 1.3, October 2010

Work planned for FY 2012

This project is complete. Future updates should move toward a more online version that lets teachers create tests that can be administered via the Web.

Teachers on the listserv suggest adding the ability to publish tests online. This lets them create a test once, and then administer it to as many students as they wish.

Test and Assessment Needs

(Continued)

Purpose

To determine the needs of the field with regard to testing and assessing students who are blind or visually impaired

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader

Carol Roderick, Research Assistant

Background

Meeting the needs of TVIs and others who are called upon to assess students who are visually impaired is the focus of this home project. In order to provide information about which tests are currently available in accessible formats, the project leader worked with the Directors of Accessible Tests and Communications in FY 2007 to develop the first Assessment Catalog and with Research Department staff to review current assessment products for obsolescence or modernization. The project leader also worked with Malcolm Turner to update the Accessible Tests Web page. Comments received on how the field has come to view the Accessible Tests Web page included "the best information source out there."

Commercially-available products for development of Daily Living Skills, Job Skills Assessment, and Career Interest Inventories were reviewed by project staff because of their particular importance for instructors who transition students who are visually impaired.

During FY 2010, relevant customer service calls and e-mails were forwarded to the project leader by Customer Relations and other APH staff for more detailed information than they could supply on the topic of tests and assessments. The project leader spent a lot of time with customers answering questions about the newly released Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement- Braille Adaptation.

Recent publications on visually impaired English Language Learners (ELLs) were gathered and reviewed. The new assessment needs survey was delayed until after the FY 2012 test administration so that new topics can be identified. The project leader was asked to concentrate on the Test Ready Project as a priority. As a result, the project leader was asked to return to the Research Department where projects were revaluated and new projects planned for FY 2011. One new project was brought forward in FY 2010 [Boehm 3].

Work during FY 2011

The project leader reviewed several new commercially-available assessments. Due to the project leader's new role, Debbie Willis, Director of the Accessible Tests Department and staff took over the project to update Test Access: Guidelines for Computer-Administered Testing. The project leader agreed to assist Willis with finding resources and reviewing drafts. A package of articles and references were shared with Willis and staff in early FY 2011. The project leader also assisted Willis by reviewing chapters in a best practices document Willis was reviewing for a test publisher. In August 2011, the project leader was invited to serve on a Common Core Curriculum advisory panel as Senior Advisor regarding accommodations for students who are visually impaired.

Work planned for FY 2012

A new assessment needs survey will be circulated in order to identify new trends. The project leader will review new commercially available assessments.

Test Ready® Test Preparation Series

(Continued)

Purpose

To make generic test preparation/practice materials available in accessible formats (braille, large print, and audio) for the purpose of preparing K-12 students who are visually impaired and blind to take achievement tests. Adult students preparing for the General Education Diploma (GED) or for college entrance exams may also utilize the advanced levels of these materials.

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader

Kristopher Scott, Accessible Tests Editor, Project Editor

Michael Sell, Consultant/Editor

Dena Garrett, Accessible Media Editor, Project Editor

Cathy Senft-Graves, Research Assistant

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Bryan Rogers, Manufacturing Specialist

Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Art/Layout

Terri Gilmore, Graphic Artist

Background

The project leader reviewed commercially-available test preparation and practice test materials prior to proposal of a new product. In response to a recommendation from the EPAC and ESAC committees, the project leader selected and brought forward the Test Ready® Series from Curriculum Associates. Subject areas chosen were Math, Reading, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.

Plus Mathematics and Plus Reading, each comprised of seven levels and seven teacher guides, were the first subjects produced because of their high priority for students who are visually impaired (refer also to NCLB regulations). Students who are visually impaired have traditionally done poorly on math compared to their sighted counterparts due to lack of accessible test materials. Math test practice is therefore especially important for braille readers.

During FY 2010, work continued on the Plus Math books. Plus Math Grade 7 and Plus Math Grade 3 were placed in stock. Production will continue to funnel the grade levels through the system. Transcription and large print formatting work began with Bisig Impact Group on the Plus Reading books.

Work during FY 2011

The Plus Math series was completed and stocked. Good progress was made on the Plus Reading books with braille transcription and layout for large print. Editing work on Language Arts, the third subject area, was completed. Braille transcription began in July.

Work planned for FY 2012

Braille transcription and layout on large print booklets will continue for Language Arts, with Science and Social Studies to follow.

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement-Braille Adaptation

(Completed/Erin Research Study)

Purpose

To make this widely used Psychoeducational Assessment instrument available in braille/tactile format, and to be able to utilize score reports for future research

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader

Lynne E. Jaffe, Ph.D., Learning Disabilities and Reading Specialist,

Project Consultant

Carol Anne Evans, Ph.D., School Psychologist, Farmington, UT Schools,

Project Consultant

Lana McClurg, M.A., TVI (deceased), Arizona Schools for the Deaf &

Blind, Project Consultant

Dena Garrett, Accessible Media Editor, Project Advisor

Nancy Etter, Braille Transcriber

Priscilla Walker, Braille Transcriber

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Bisig Impact Group, Design and Layout

Background

The Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III) Tests of Achievement (WJ III ACH) are widely known and trusted, and commonly used to assess academic strengths and weaknesses in children and adults. More than any other single title, practitioners in the field of visual impairment have expressed their desire to have APH provide an adaptation of the Woodcock-Johnson for braille readers. The WJ-III continued to be identified by recent focus groups, workgroups, and in assessment surveys as one of the top three needed tests alongside Brigance Green (CIBS-R) and Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT). WJ-III ACH was brought forward as a project in 2001 in preparation for publication of the 2001 test revision by Riverside Publishing. Copyright permissions were sought from the publisher and a search for qualified consultants was carried out.

Written permissions arrived in FY 2003. Consultants were hired, prototypes of three of the tests were developed, and field testing/expert review was carried out in nine locations across the country. Braille transcription was ongoing for the remaining tests and review of the braille was performed by the consultant(s) and project leader as each was completed.

When field test/review results came back, the project leader analyzed reviews and initiated appropriate revisions. Review and revision occurred between FY 2004 and FY 2005. Revised braille tests were again reviewed by the consultants.

The project leader and Bisig Impact Group collaborated to design cover art and regular print product components. Work in this area continued through FY 2006.

Writing of the Examiner's Manual and the Supplemental Manual for the Braille Edition was finished in early FY 2007. In the same period, the project consultant conferred with the author, Dr. Richard Woodcock, who became very interested in the edition for braille/tactile readers. He proposed substituting certain "equivalent" tests for existing tests in the WJ III, so that all clusters would remain intact. In this manner, no parts of the test would be biased against persons who are visually impaired. Additionally, Dr. Woodcock offered to furnish a special Compuscore® CD for the braille adaptation as his contribution to the project. A teleconference was held with Riverside Publishing staff and the staff of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation in Olympia, WA, to discuss the Compuscore programming. During this timeframe, the project leader and the project consultant began work on the new test items from Dr. Woodcock with the assistance of APH braille transcribers.

In FY 2008, the project leader and consultant facilitated creation of the Test Record for the Braille Adaptation. Programming on the special Compuscore CD began and was completed by Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation staff, and Quality Assurance was carried out by outside contractors with the assistance of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation. The project leader worked closely with the programmers at the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation, and the project consultant to supply information and content for the software program and packaging; a desktop icon was designed for the special software program; new cover artwork was designed by Bisig Impact Group for the software splash screen and packaging. The project leader and transcriber continued to work on development of the new braille tests from Dr. Woodcock and made revisions on existing tests.

Revisions and new transcription of tests were finalized in the first quarter of FY 2009. The project leader worked with Technical Research staff to complete templates for the print component of the braille tests and with the consultant and Bisig Impact Group to finalize content on product manuals. The final product was released and became available to customers in September 2009.

The project leader and staff began to plan training workshops on the WJ III-ACH braille adaptation targeted at school psychologists and test administrators. The first training occurred in Phoenix, AZ, as a National Instructional Partnership Event in FY 2010, with Lynne Jaffe presenting a two-day session on Administering.

Related Research: The Erin Study

In FY 2010 and FY 2011, Dr. Lynne Jaffe presented WJ III ACH-Braille test administrator's trainings in 11 states. When the braille test had been available for 6 months, Dr. Jane Erin of the University of Arizona proposed a study to collect score reports for analysis. APH agreed to collaborate, and Barbara Henderson began to solicit anonymous score reports from across the country. The hope was to receive at least 200 scores, with at least 10 students at each grade level, so the test items that are easy and difficult could be identified. Erin wanted to look for items that are outliers--in other words, missed by many children before a series of items are passed--and to identify test clusters that are related. To date, only 50 score reports have been received.

Erin and Henderson will accept score reports during FY 2012 so that a larger sample can be gathered. Please contact them if you have tested a student using the WJ-III ACH-Braille and are able to share your work.

Technical Research and Model Shop


Frank Hayden, Manager

Technical Research and Model Shop Activities

(Continued)

Purpose

The Technical Research Division and Model Shop function as a "bridge" between the concepts of the project leader's product and the concrete reality on the production floor. These areas are concentrations of specialized skill sets within the Educational Research Department. The purpose of these areas is to remain as faithful as possible to the project leader's intent and function of the product while making it as inexpensive and as easily produced on the manufacturing plant floor as possible. These areas are involved in all aspects of the product including design work, materials selection, tooling development, vendor selection, and process development. While both areas are involved in process and tooling development, the Model Shop's primary focus is the physical development of tooling. Technical Research is heavily involved in tooling, materials, and process development and research with an emphasis on the documentation of the product's specifications and manufacturing processes. After developing and documenting the product's specifications the Technical Research Division works with production workers, floor supervisors, upper levels of APH management, and outside vendors to shepherd the project leader's product throughout its entire pilot and first production runs.

Some of the contributions Technical Research and the Model Shop make to product development on a regular basis include the following:

This development, documentation, and preparation of the product for actual manufacture, along with the monitoring of the manufacturing process by these two areas, help to ensure the greatest probability of success for a new product.

Division Staff

Frank Hayden, A.A.S., C.E.T., Manager

Katherine Corcoran, B.S., B.F.A., Model/Pattern Maker

Andrew Dakin, B.F.A., Model/Pattern Maker

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Nancy Etter, Administrative Assistant

Andrew Moulton, B.S., M.E., Manufacturing Specialist

Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker (part-time)

James Robinson, M.S., E.E., Manufacturing Specialist

Bryan Rogers, A.A.S., Manufacturing Specialist

Anita Rutledge, Manufacturing Specialist (part-time)

Work during FY 2011

Accessible Answer Documents, Braille/LP

(Continued)

Prototypes were completed and sent out in January and returned in May. The project leader is analyzing the results prior to prototype revision.

Adapted Science Materials Kit

(New)

This kit will consist of materials that APH will purchase from outside vendors and make in-house as well. Work is ongoing with the original individual who modified items in this kit to determine if any existing tooling can be used, to determine the specific fabrication processes for items in the kit, and to determine sources for those items that will be purchased. Technical Research met with the project leader on May 11, 2011, to examine the items and determine in-house modification and production of the adapted items. Work is ongoing on this project.

Addition/Subtraction Tables

(Completed)

Technical Research continued to monitor this project through its production and into stock on January 25, 2011. The project ran smoothly with no reported problems on the production floor.

Address Earth: Section 2

Address Earth: Section 2 Maps and Charts

Address Earth: Section 2 Large Print Textbook Set

Address Earth: Section 2 Braille Textbook Set

Address Earth: Section 2 Symbol Guide

(Continued)

This product went out for field testing in October 2010; the materials were returned in January 2011. Changes are being made to the product based on the feedback. Work on specifications has begun. Technical Research is working on the design of the binder for the maps/overlay pages to try to minimize page tearing. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this product.

Address Earth: Section 3

Address Earth: Section 3 Maps and Charts

Address Earth: Section 3 Large Print Textbook Set

Address Earth: Section 3 Braille Textbook Set

Address Earth: Section 3 Symbol Guide

(Continued)

Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

APH Insights Calendar 2012

APH Insights Calendar, Custom 2012

(Completed)

Technical Research monitored this project through its production and into stock on June 1, 2011.

APH Insights Calendar 2013

APH Insights Calendar, Custom 2013

(New)

Technical Research will schedule a meeting to establish a timeline for the production of these products.

APH Light Touch Brailler

(New/Completed)

This was a pass-through product in conjunction with Perkins. This product was made available for sale on March 16. No major problems were encountered in the production of this product.

APH Talking PC Maps

(Completed)

Technical Research continued to monitor this project through its production and into stock on March 9, 2011. Technical Research held a virtual debriefing on this item. No problems were reported on the production floor on this item.

APH Talking PC Maps Version 2

(New)

Betas are being tested and new features added. Technical Research reviewed version 1 of this product and advised the project leader of anticipated impacts to the physical content of this product. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Barraga Visual Efficiency Program

(Continued)

Formerly Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning, 2nd. Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

Beginning Braille: Power at Your Fingertips--VIPs Series

(Continued)

Technical Research met with project leader to update the timeline. The project leader plans to send this out for field testing in the fall. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

The Best for a Nest

(Completed)

The specification meeting in February was canceled when two new items were introduced into the product and the specs had to be rewritten. The specification meeting was held on March 3, 2011. The manipulative pieces to this product were completed in July. The storybook itself was completed and put into stock in August. Final packaging work on this product began in August. Product was completed and made available for sale in August. Technical Research will conduct a de-briefing on this product.

Better Vision Magnifier

(New)

New project added March 9, 2011. The project name will have to change due to potential trademark infringement issues. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor this project.

Boehm Test of Basic Concepts

(New)

This product was added to the timelines report in mid-August. The first planning PDC meeting with Technical Research was held on February 15. The need for the quick completion of the prototype was stressed. The Model Shop did a great job of getting the tactile prototypes developed. All work on other projects was halted and all personnel in the Model Shop worked exclusively on the prototypes. When it became apparent that the existing plastic stock would run short, Technical Research called a vendor and secured more plastic. Field test target was set for May/June. The consultant examined initial prototypes and determined that changes needed to be made. The project leader worked with Technical Research to utilize a binder/bookstand combination that was designed for Newt. Field testing has been delayed by the end of the school year, except for one or two possible sites that have summer sessions.

The Boy and the Wolf Storybook, Moving Ahead Series

(Completed)

Technical Research continued to monitor this project through its production and into stock on January 12, 2011. There were no major problems to report with the production of this item.

The Boy and the Wolf, Braille Reader's Guide

(Completed)

Technical Research continued to monitor this project through its production and into stock on January 12, 2011. There were no major problems to report with the production of this item.

Braille Beads

(Continued)

Preliminary field testing is completed. A meeting was held March 23, 2011, to discuss the next steps. The project leader and the Model Shop worked on a custom tray design. The project leader ordered sample jars for storing the beads. Technical Research found a U.S. company interested in bidding for the molds. The project leader is applying to the William Wood Foundation for a grant to cover cost of tooling. Technical Research is investigating two more vendors for the mold work.

Braille Buzz

(New)

The project leader and Technical Research met on design of the keyboard overlay. Technical Research and the Technology group worked on prototype, using small coin vibrating motors placed in the keys of an old Pocket Braille keyboard. Lower vibration strength was desired; Technical Research incorporated three levels of strength of vibration via a user-operated switch. Basic design of the circuitry is started, and the Technology Group is reviewing IC data furnished by Technical Research. Prototype work hinges on the capabilities of the IC. Work on this project is ongoing.

Braille DateBook Calendar 2011

Braille DateBook 2011 Calendar Tabs

(Completed)

Technical Research continued to monitor this project through its production and into stock on October 20, 2010. This product did have problems with the braille embossing of the date tabs. This portion of the product had to be re-run due to low braille. One of the causes was a vendor re-formulation of the materials used on the tabs. The new formula was a slightly harder plastic. Technical Research has investigated other types of plastics and has located a new formulation that embosses better.

Braille DateBook 2012 Calendar

Braille DateBook 2012 Calendar Tabs

(Continued)

Technical Research gave information to Braille Transcription and new braille plates were generated. The project experienced slight delays due to paperwork issues and waiting for the new plastic to come in. The plastic arrived in August and is in-process of being embossed. Technical Research continues to monitor this product.

Braille Docking Station

(Continued)

This item is used with the Braille+ and will be a pass-through item. Technical Research will continue to monitor this item through its first production run.

Braille Drill System

(Continued)

Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Braille Plus and Refreshabraille Combo

Braille Plus and Refreshabraille Combo, Case

(Completed)

Technical Research continued to monitor this project through its production and into stock on September 10, 2010.

Braille Series

(New)

Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Brigance Yellow

(Continued)

This project was returned to the Parking Lot per PARC on April 13, 2011.

Building on Patterns: Grade 1 (Units 2 through 7 materials)

(Continued)

Unit 7 became available for sale on January 12, 2011. The Posttest Consumable Pack (Print and Braille) became available for sale on March 28, 2011. Technical Research held a specification meeting for the Unit 6 Animal Shapes/Pages Set. This is a new product associated with the 1st grade materials consisting of four vacuum-formed pages and four sets of foam "animal crackers" to match with the recessed shapes on the page. Work on this portion of the project is ongoing. Materials are arriving and work on the production floor is anticipated to begin shortly. The Print and Braille Teacher's Edition Reference Volumes became available for sale on April 25, 2011. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Building on Patterns: Grade 2

(Continued)

Technical Research held a meeting on April 19, 2011, to discuss basic items and possible catalog numbering. In late April, Technical Research submitted a drawing of a possible game board for use in Unit 5 materials. Upon review, the consultant requested a greater number of game squares on the board. Technical Research worked with the board to determine the overall size increase needed to contain 50 squares. A second drawing of the board was submitted but was determined to be too large. The board design reverted back to the original 29 square design. Technical Research engraved a mold master and the model shop is currently making a production vacuum-form mold from this engraving. A PDC meeting was held to go over Grade 2. The BOP writers were at APH the week of June 20. Specifications for all eight items associated with Unit 1 were completed in late August and a specifications meeting was held August 23. All tooling is complete for Unit 1 items. Bills and routings for these items are in SYSPRO (APH production computer system). Production of these items is anticipated to begin in September. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader as well as production to monitor the progress of this project.

Calendar Time

(Continued)

The project leader anticipates asking for this project to be put back on the Parking Lot.

Comprehensive Motor Development Curriculum

(New)

New project added April 13, 2011. Technical Research will begin to develop specifications once more information has been received.

Concepts and Skills for Crossing with No Traffic Control

(New)

New project added March 9, 2011. The consultant has been contacted regarding scope of the work. The project leader is working on getting a contract. Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

Crafty Graphics DVD

(Completed)

Technical Research held the specification meeting in October. The delivery date was pushed back to February. The product became available for sale on March 2, 2011, and Technical Research conducted a virtual debriefing in March.

CVI Assessment Kit

(Continued)

Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

CVI Complexity Challenges

(Continued)

Many features of this kit were combined and incorporated into the CVI Complexity Sequences kit. It is believed CVI Complexity will be abandoned and not produced as a separate item. Technical Research continues to monitor PARC committee meeting minutes to obtain information on this item.

DNA Twist

(New)

New project added January 12, 2011. After the PCD meeting in February, a small prototype was developed. The project leader met with Technical Research to discuss what plastic will be used on the sides and about the sizing. Another prototype was developed in the Model Shop. Prototypes to be used in field testing are currently being fabricated in the Model Shop.

DNA/RNA Kit

(New)

New project added January 12, 2011. The project leader would like to match colors with the other DNA project. Prototypes are being developed in the Model Shop.

Decision Making Guide

(New)

Technical Research will begin to develop product specification once more information has been received.

Desktop Food Pyramid, Primary (10 Pack)

Desktop Food Pyramid, Primary Kit

Desktop Food Pyramid, Secondary Kit

Desktop Food Pyramid, Secondary (5 Pack)

(Completed)

Problems plagued this series of products in November and December. Registration issues between the print and braille were encountered due to machine capacity limitations. The braille was plate re-tooled to fall within the embossing area capabilities of the machine. Another piece of the product encountered perforation issues. The perforations were left too close to the apex of two triangles, making them too easily torn when removing the piece from the sheet. Perfs were removed from the die near the apex of the two triangles. Parts were then successfully run. A third part had issues when embossed--the paper was breaking. It was investigated and found that the prototypes were embossed on clamshell press and had less height on the embossed lines and no breakage. Technical Research requested two new plates be tooled for use on a clamshell in December. The project leader approved the last component of the Primary Tactile Pyramid on January 26, 2011. All products were stocked by mid-February. However, the posters in the two full kits were reversed (primary poster packed in secondary kit and secondary poster packed in the primary kit). This required the opening of both kits, swapping posters and resealing the kits. This product became available for sale on March 1, 2011. A debriefing meeting was held in March. It was decided that, since the two pyramid posters were accidentally stocked under the wrong part number that both posters would have the part number actually printed on the poster for future runs and stocking of future shipments. Technical Research facilitated this change in April.

Echolocation

(New)

New product added April 13, 2011. The project leader is working on contracts. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this product.

Emergent Literacy--VIPs Series

(Continued)

The project leader is working to have product ready for field testing in the fall. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Everybody Plays

(Continued)

A meeting was held in Technical Research where it was decided to make a mock book with blank pages to determine the spine size and feasibility of stapling. The mock book looked good. Technical Research met with the project leader on May 27 to establish timeline dates. Technical Research has written "mini-specs" for the production of prototypes for field testing. This material should be turned over to production on August 24 with a target date of September 30 for completion of 24 prototypes (12 print and 12 braille). Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this product.

Expanded Beginner's Abacus Kit

Expanded Beginner's Abacus Print Guidebook

Expanded Beginner's Abacus Braille Guidebook

(Continued)

Field testing began in January at 14 test sites and continued until April. One abacus arrived broken and was returned. The breakage was due to the abacus frame being a RPM part. Final molded production parts will be more durable. As a result of the field testing, there are three items to be addressed: 1) Loose beads on three of the abaci have prompted a second look. Technical Research examined the construction and made some adjustments. 2) Velcro® strips will be included for the purpose of coupling two or more abaci together when needed. 3) A page will be added to the Instruction for Use booklet to address teaching strategies and other concepts that can be taught using this abacus. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this series of products.

Experiential Learning: Activities for Concept Development

(Completed)

The product name was changed from Experiential Learning Kit. Specifications were turned over on this product in February. Tooling was also completed in February. Technical Research continued to monitor this project through its production and into stock on August 1, 2011. No problems were reported on the production floor when producing this product.

EZeeCount Abacus

(New)

This was sent out for field testing on December 30, 2010. Technical Research attended the PDC meeting on April 21, 2011. Project leader is currently in contact with the vendor and is finalizing custom textures for the beads. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this product.

EZ Track Calendar 2012

(Completed)

Technical Research continued monitoring this project through its production and into stock in July 2011.

Feel'n Peel: Carousel of Textures

(Completed)

Technical Research continued monitoring this project through its production and into stock in November 2010. Technical Research held a debriefing meeting February 8, 2011. There were some issues regarding the adhesive sheets included in the kit. Two sizes (8.5x11 and 9x12) needed to cure to be fully effective. A note was included in the kits asking customers to allow the adhesive to cure 48 hours after application prior to using the adhesive. Technical Research worked with the project leader to arrive at an acceptable replacement. This replacement will be used on future production runs of this kit.

Flip-Over Concept Book: Fractions

(New)

Name changed from Flying Through Fractions. The project leader has been working with Technical Research on the design of this product. Decisions were made on binding, design of binder/tripod stand, number and size of "cards" to be displayed. Technical Research, the project leader, and the Model Shop have met several times to establish the size and basic layout of the cards. Technical Research is in the process of making a CAD drawing for one of the patterns to cut on a CNC router and have the model shop pour the pattern. This pattern, along with the associated silkscreens will be run through as a test of the design before making the full set of vacuum-form patterns. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

Flip-Over Concept Book: Textures

(New)

New project added in January 2011. Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

Food Portion Control Serving Utensils and Basic Food Portion Carbohydrate Counting Booklet

(Continued)

Project moved to active timeline from Parking Lot in January 2011. Debbie Sokol-McKay agreed to work as consultant. The project leader will begin prototype development once the contract is signed by the consultant. Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

Focus in Mathematics; 2nd Edition Print Kit

Focus in Mathematics; 2nd Edition Braille Kit

(Completed)

Technical Research continued monitoring this project through its production and into stock in October 2010. A de-briefing meeting was held; there were no problems encountered on this series of products on the production floor.

Focus On Fingers: Preparing Little Hands to Enjoy Tactile Learning and Literacy

(Continued)

Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

From Lightbox to Literacy

(New)

Technical Research has no information on this product at this time.

Fun Functional Reading

(New)

New product added April 2011. Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

Functional Skills Assessment

(Continued)

Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Games for People with Sensory Impairment

(Completed)

Technical Research created a dummy book to confirm paper choice and binder size. A specification meeting was held February 11, 2011. Tooling was completed in March. Technical Research continued monitoring this project through its production and into stock in June 2011.

Games of Squares (re-design)

(Continued)

The prototype of the sorting trays was formed in the Model Shop. Field testing began May 31, 2011, and will run till mid-August.

GED Basics: 2002 Update Flash Card

GED Basics: 2002 Update CD

(Completed)

This was added in March 2011. Technical Research completed specifications in March. These products became available for sale in April 2011. A virtual de-briefing was held via e-mail with no problems encountered in the production of this product.

Geometro 12 Decagon Set

Geometro 6 Octagon Set

Geometro 3 Velcro Rods Set

Geometro 6 Rectangles Set

Geometro 6 Isosceles Triangles Set

(Completed)

Specifications were completed and turned over in November 2010. The kits were packaged in February and became available for sale on March 28, 2011. Technical Research held a virtual debriefing in April. No problems were encountered on the production floor on this series of products.

Getting in Step with Little Feet

(Continued)

Name changed from The Early O&M Guidebook. The consultant visited in September to set up a work plan and a time frame with the project leader. Technical Research will continue to monitor this project.

Getting to Know You: Social Skills/Ability Curriculum

(Continued)

Prototypes were completed and sent out for field testing in August 2010. Field testing was extended to April 15, 2011. Technical Research met with the project leader in May to update the timeline. The field test evaluations have been analyzed; the project is going to move forward with only a few changes. Technical Research met with the project leader in July to discuss the project. Work is beginning on product specifications.

Giant Textured Beads with Pattern Matching Cards

Pattern Matching Cards

Giant Textured Beads

(Continued)

The project leader and Technical Research met to review needed part numbers for all kits. Silkscreen art work was finalized and is ready for screen to be prepared. Die drawings were prepared. Thermoform patterns were prepared for production. Technical Research acquired costs for textured non-skid backing for the trays as well as prices on flocked material. Model Shop worked on the production pattern design for the tray. Technical Research provided part numbers for three separate documents. The project leader and Technical Research met in February to go over the basics of the products. The specification meeting was held on May 31; production dates and quantities were determined. Cutting dies were received in June. Silkscreens were completed in August. Work has begun on this project on the production floor. A rubber backing material for the tray in the kit was received from the vendor as an incorrectly sized (too small) sheet. This shipment was rejected, and Technical Research is working with the Purchasing Dept to expedite replacement material. Technical Research will continue to monitor this project through its completion and availability for sale.

GOOD LOOKIN' I-Save DVD

(Completed)

Technical Research completed specifications in April. Tooling was also completed in April. Technical Research monitored this product through production and into stock in June.

Graphic Aid for Math

(Revisions)

This was sent out for field testing in October and the evaluations were compiled. The project leader and Technical Research met to go over the scope of the product. The project leader gave Technical Research a list of kit components to use when the specifications are written.

Holy Moly: First Touch Books

(Continued)

Technical Research met with the project leader to discuss the product. Technical Research has fabricated several options of attaching a cord to one of the pages in the book. Project leader is reviewing these samples. An outside vendor is in-process of fabricating the prototypes needed for field testing.

Inkjet Hook Paper

(Completed)

Technical Research monitored this product through production and into stock in November. A virtual de-briefing on this product was held via e-mail. No problems were encountered on the production floor with this product.

ISAVE Revision

(Continued)

Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor this product.

Jumping Into the Johns

Basic Reading Inventory

(New)

Technical Research provided the project leader with two different size binders and the page amounts each can hold. The project leader has decided that this will be both spiral bound AND three-hole punched. Technical Research and the project leader met on April 8 to discuss product information and again on April 20 to discuss preliminary written specifications. The project leader expressed a desire for several changes in the product; Technical Research made revisions to the product specifications four times. Product specifications are finalized on three of the five products in this series. Specifications on these three items (print student materials, contracted braille student materials, uncontracted braille student materials) will be completed and turned over to production once content is finalized and the project leader supplies final page counts. Specifications have not yet started on the two teachers' items. Technical Research will continue to monitor this series of products and work on specifications for the final two items in this series of products.

Labeling Booklet, Print

Labeling Booklet, Braille

(Continued)

This was sent out for expert review in November; all the reviews were returned. The project leader analyzed the data from the reviewers, and she and the consultant have agreed on the changes to be made in the book. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Life Science Tactile Graphics Kit

(Completed)

This product required a major amount of attention from Technical Research, particularly during the plastic printing stages. Production was completed on this item, and it was made available for sale in December. Technical Research held the debriefing meeting in February. This project had a host of difficulties. Some of the 16 files had corrections made and turned over to the Purchasing Department. Purchasing had to replace the files at the vendor with the new files. Plastic sheets had to be back-trimmed at the printer prior to printing. This increases the accuracy of the print registration for vacuum forming. A second run of this product encountered much less registration issues as a benefit of the back-trimming process.

Lighting Guide DVD

(Continued)

Technical Research held a specification meeting on February 16, 2011. This product became available for sale April 20, 2011. A virtual de-briefing was held via e-mail. No problems were encountered on this item on the production floor.

Little Breath of Wind (Le Petit Soufflé de Vent)

(New)

New project added April 13, 2011. Technical Research is working with the project leader, the Purchasing Department, the Marketing Department, and the vendor to work out the details and specifications for this pass-through product. Technical Research is furnishing information on child safety requirements and potential European testing labs that can be used to certify the product for child safety. A pass-through meeting was held on May 18. Technical Research will continue to assist on this product.

Low Voltage Lightbox

(Completed)

The Model Shop modified three drilling fixtures to accommodate the new design in December. Step-by-step assembly drawings for the new design were completed in late December. The new assembly procedures were turned over to production in January. The circuit boards came in and Technical Research tested them; they passed. Technical Research built two sample Lightbox bottoms for Manufacturing to use as a guide. This product became available for sale on June 28, 2011. A debriefing meeting was held July 13. Several small changes will be incorporated to the design of the circuit board to make assembly of the product easier. There is also a problem with the availability of the connector assembly for the fluorescent tubes. Technical Research has located a second supplier and has given that information to the Purchasing Department. Technical Research continues to work with the circuit board vendor to incorporate the new design features.

Magical Moments--VIPs Series

(Continued)

The project leader is working to have product ready for field testing in the fall. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Match It Up

(New)

This was sent out for field testing in February and was due back in May. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

MathBuilders Units 2, 3, and 4

(Continued)

The project leader met with Technical Research on March 18 to begin work on the manipulatives that will be needed for the last three units. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

MathBuilders Unit 5 Print Kit (Measurement)

MathBuilders Unit 5 Braille Kit (Measurement)

MathBuilders Unit 5 Print Teacher's Guide (Measurement)

MathBuilders Unit 5 Braille Teacher's Guide (Measurement)

MathBuilders Unit 5 Consumables Pack (Measurement)

MathBuilders Unit 5 Manipulatives Set (Measurement)

(Continued)

The project leader met with Technical Research and Educational Aids to review the materials from ETA; it was decided to ask for some changes in packaging and a sample box for the manipulatives. It was agreed to ask ETA to provide a box packed with all pieces for review. When the sample box arrived, Technical Research, the project leader, and Educational Aids met to review the sample. Everyone felt the sample box was too small for safe packaging of the braille embossed materials. The vendor was contacted and asked to furnish the items in a larger box. The new sample box was sent in and approved. Specifications were completed in August. A specification meeting is anticipated in September. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this series of products.

MathBuilders Unit 7 Print Kit (Fractions)

MathBuilders Unit 7 Braille Kit (Fractions)

MathBuilders Unit 7 Print Teacher's Guide (Fractions)

MathBuilders Unit 7 Braille Teacher's Guide (Fractions)

MathBuilders Unit 7 Consumables Pack (Fractions)

MathBuilders Unit 7 Manipulatives Set (Fractions)

(Completed)

Some fraction bars that were part of the manipulative kit came in and were bad--they had rough corners. The vendor repaired the parts. This product became available for sale on April 7, 2011. A de-briefing was held on this product. Two of the purchased items had problems from the vendor (fraction bars). The vendor was instructed not to leave sharp corners on the bars. This had been part of the original part specification. This point was re-emphasized with the vendor.

MiniBook Slate with Stylus

MiniBook 3-ring Binder

MiniBook Filler Paper

MiniBook Spiral Notebook (2-pack)

(Completed)

Final bids were received for the mold and the vendor was selected. Work was started on the injection mold in December. Because of accuracy failure of the slate, rapid prototype only design drawings were sent to the slate vendor for use in making the injection mold. Sample slates were received from the new slate mold. The sample slates tested by the project leader and Technical Research were found to come apart when opened fully. Suggestions were given to the vendor for mold changes to prevent this. The vendor was able to do the first suggestion (lengthen the pin in the hinge) but not the second. Samples were submitted with the lengthened hinge; these worked much better and were approved by the project leader in April. Technical Research held the specification meeting on May 10. The slates were received in July, and three of the four kits were packaged in July. The new binders were received in August, and the fourth and final kit was packaged on August 25. Technical Research will conduct a de-briefing meeting on these four products in the near future.

Multiplication and Division Tables [Modernization]

(New)

New product added in April. This product will look much like the new Addition/Subtraction Table. Technical Research made and submitted new artwork for this item in April. Technical Research also worked with the Tactile Graphics department to tool the embossing plate for this item. Prototypes were provided for in-house review. After the review, Technical Research made a change to the table so that the grid lines were consistent with the Addition/Subtraction Table. The specification meeting was held July 20. This product is currently in production. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product through its availability for sale.

Nemeth Across Time

(New)

Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

Nemeth Code Recognition Kit

(New)

New product added in January. A PDC meeting was held. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor this project.

Newt: New Tools for Functional Vision Assessment

(Continued)

Color Sample Cards and the card layout were completed by Technical Research. However, outside vendor samples were not acceptable. Technical Research met with the project leader in February to quantify parts needed for field test prototypes. Technical Research has assisted the project leader to procure materials for the field test prototypes. Materials already gathered are being stored in Technical Research. All materials were located and stored for field test materials in August. Project leader continues to develop content. Once the content is complete, prototypes will be sent out for field testing. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

NonVerbal Behavior Curriculum

(Continued)

The project leader is editing materials. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Number Line Device

(Continued)

Name changed from APH Number Line Device. The number line board has been completed as well as the manual. Work on the number strips was delayed due to a broken router. The router has been repaired, and Technical Research has resumed work on the drawings of the new number lines.

O & M Manual for Wheelchair Users

(Continued)

Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

On the Way to Literacy Storybooks, Revised

(Continued)

Technical Research scheduled a meeting to discuss inventory on the existing books, procedures for turnover of the new files, and how to transition from the sales of old books to selling and marketing the new books. Technical Research held a meeting on May 18 to discuss progress in changing print art so the books can be produced on the iGen equipment. Technical Research continues to work with the project leader and graphic designer to complete new print files for this series of books. Whenever possible, the books will be moved from outside vendor printing to in-house printing. This will enable lower quantities of the books to be run without a high cost increase. Technical Research will continue to work on and monitor these products.

PAVII Revision

(Continued)

Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the process of this project.

Paint Pot Palette

(New)

New project added in November. This will be a pass-through product. Vendor has furnished child safety data on the materials. PlayAbility pulled the project from the vendor who was working on it due to lack of timely responsiveness. PlayAbility met with another vendor who they have worked with before; as soon as they can get the plastic injection molds transferred to them, PlayAbility will proceed with the Paint Pot Palettes for testing. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Parenting Book, Print

Parenting Book, Braille

(Continued)

This was sent out for expert review, and the project leader compiled the responses from the questionnaires. Changes will be made after data has been analyzed. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

Picture Maker DVD

(Completed)

Technical Research held a specification meeting on February 16. This became available for sale on April 20. A virtual de-briefing via e-mail was held on this product. No problems were encountered on the production floor on this product.

Quick and Easy ECC: The Hatlen Center Guide

(New)

Name changed from Adventure ECC: The Hatlen Center Guide. Technical Research met with the project leader to discuss binders and is holding 30 binders for the prototypes. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

Quick Check: Index of Literary Braille Signs, Print

Quick Check: Index of Literary Braille Signs, Braille

(Completed)

The specification meeting was held in October. The print file was complete and available to the production floor in late December. However, there were several proofs going back-and-forth on the braille version. Technical Research has worked to bring Translation and the project leader together to ensure better communication of the desired changes and final form of the translation. Final approval of the Braille Translation files for the braille version was obtained. Technical Research continued monitoring this project through its production and into stock on March 28.

Reach for the Stars

(Revision)

Technical Research met with the project leader on May 27 to update the timelines. This project has been sent out for field testing and the reviews were due back in June. The project leader received a lot of good feedback from the reviewers, as well as suggested revisions. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

ReadWrite Stand

(New)

New project added in January, and originally called the All-In-One Bookstand/Writing Board. A Brainstorming PDC meeting was held March 2. The Model Shop prepared a vacuum-form pattern for back support to stand and is building the prototypes for field test purposes. The project leader is contacting selected field test sites and plans to send prototypes out by September 15. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

Rigby Platinum Edition Contracted Braille Kit

Rigby Platinum Edition Contracted Label Pack

Rigby Platinum Edition Uncontracted Braille Kit

Rigby Platinum Edition Uncontracted Label Pack

Rigby Nonfiction Contracted Braille Kit

Rigby Nonfiction Contracted Label Pack

Rigby Nonfiction Uncontracted Braille Kit

Rigby Nonfiction Uncontracted Label Pack

(New)

New product added to the timelines in July. This series of books is the next set being produced in the Early Braille Trade Books line of products. Currently the project leader and Technical Research are in-process of submitting the books for braille translation. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

SALS (Submersible Audio Light Sensor)

(New)

New project added in May. The submitter met with APH staff to go over the basics of the product and to present a proposed business plan. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

SAM: Symbols and Meaning Kit

SAM: Symbols and Meaning Guidebook, Print

(Continued)

The project leader met with Technical Research and Purchasing on June 3. Print layout of material for this kit is complete. Braille translation was started in August. Technical Research is attempting to put together bid packages for the various purchased items in the kit. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Sense of Science: Astronomy

Sense of Science: Astronomy Large Type Manual

Sense of Science: Astronomy Braille Manual

Sense of Science: Astronomy Worksheets

Sense of Science: Astronomy Quick Fact Cards

(Completed)

Technical Research continued monitoring this project through its production and into stock on January 12, 2011. Technical Research held a debriefing meeting on February 23. Several items needed follow-up including art work, vendor dyne levels in the plastics, and specifying a standard for opacity of ink coverage for in-house testing/inspection. Opacity of coverage will also need to be communicated to the vendor. Purchasing was to follow up with the vendor regarding ink opacity. Technical Research and the Model Shop worked together to replace/re-work several of the silkscreen masters. Silkscreens were remade in August and production of the newly revised parts was started. One silkscreen was damaged as it was set up and will need to be replaced. This should be done in early September. Technical Research will continue to follow up on this project until the new parts are completed.

Sensory Learning Kit (SLK) Revision

(Continued)

Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Singing Your Way Thru Braille

(Continued)

Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

Six-Ring Notebook Permabraille Sheets

(New)

New product added in January. Technical Research had a meeting with the project leader in February. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and the vendor. Technical Research learned that there is a minimum of 11,000 pounds to purchase. This would be the equivalent of 6,129 packs of the permabraille sheets. After numerous attempts to work through things with Purchasing, Technical Research called the vendor directly to obtain information to formulate a plan and present it to the project leader. This project will have to be piggybacked on other orders. The material was ordered and arrived on August 24. This material must be 6-hole drilled and packaged. Work on this is anticipated to start in September. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Slide, Twist 'N Solve

(Completed)

A pass-through item added in May. This became available for sale on June 8. A virtual debriefing was held on July 8. No production problems were encountered with this item, but the item is under review to include operating instructions in print and braille.

Social Thinking Curriculum

(Continued)

Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

Spangle Tangle

(Continued)

The Model Shop created a design for a clamp for the tangle toys that can attach to a wheelchair tray. The design was finalized in November. The model maker and manufacturing specialist from Technical Research are working to fabricate eight sets of prototypes for field testing. All items were fabricated as of August. However, there is a double-sided suction material (repositionable) that is on order and is holding up the prototypes. The manuscript has been edited. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Special Ed: A Tour Through the Jungle--VIPs Series

(Continued)

Technical Research met with the project leader on May 27 to update the timelines. The project leader is working to have product ready for field testing in the fall. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

SQUID, Tactile Activities Magazine Issue 7

(Continued)

The specification meeting was held in October. Technical Research checked on the status of Squid 7 and learned that it was delayed due to costs for items in the kit not being set up in SYSPRO. Once costs were entered and parts were ordered, there was a delay in a plastics shipment. The plastics shipment arrived in early August, but a portion of the shipment had been damaged in transit. The material was sorted with the good material retained. The vendor will either replace the damaged material or issue a credit to APH for the damaged material. The product now has a new production date of September 2011. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

Step by Step: An Interactive Guide to Mobility

(Continued)

Technical Research met with the project leader on February 15 to discuss the specifics of the project. A product structure meeting was held on March 4 and a follow-up meeting on March 23. The project leader and the consultant are currently working on the content of the product. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Student Model ALL-IN-ONE Board (Small-In-One Board)

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with Purchasing to secure bids for the three new pieces to be purchased for this product. Technical Research prepared a sketch of the carrying bag for inclusion into the specs. The Model Shop has built two locating fixtures for production to use for positioning the dry erase boards. The specification meeting was held March 17; production dates were set for August. Carry bags arrived from the vendor, and Technical Research and the project leader checked them and approved them. The molded handle pieces have met with several delays but are expected in September or early October. At that time, work will begin on the production/assembly of this item. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Student Workbooks for Geometro

(Continued)

This will now include a Teacher's Manual, Student Workbook (print/braille), additional Geometro manipulatives, "Straw" models, magnetic tiles, and a magnetic board for tiles. The project leader found some Magnetic Paper (3-hole punched pages) to use with the magnetic tiles. Technical Research met with the project leader on April 26 to discuss the Green Machine tactiles needed. There will be 52 separate tactiles. Technical Research will scan sketches by the consultant and use those to create the Green Machine files for tactile reproductions. The project leader received drawings from the consultant and turned them over to Technical Research. The project leader is now reviewing and editing the Teacher Manual. The consultant has the straw models but is still working to improve the sturdiness. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Sudoku Partner 6x6

(Completed)

Technical Research held the specification meeting on January 6. Work was started on the companion pieces. There was a delay in getting the foam material for the backs of the boards. The material arrived and production began on the boards. There were several registration problems during the production of the game boards. Production could not use the registration fixtures provided and had to assemble the pieces by hand, adjusting each piece as they went. Every effort was made to keep from having to scrap the parts with problems. This project became available for sale in July and a debriefing meeting was held August 2. The decision was made to re-examine and adjust all tooling to the vacuum-form pattern. Tooling needing evaluation consists of the clear overly file generated by computer, the silkscreen set up part, and three different die cutting registrations. This is currently in-progress. Technical Research has re-designed the clear overlay guide and turned it over to the Model Shop. The Model Shop is currently re-registering the cutting dies. When the next run goes through production, Technical Research will monitor silkscreening and establish a new registration part. Also, technical research has provided the silkscreen area with an actual molded clear overlay to use to check the registration of the silkscreening as the run progresses. Technical Research suggested, and all parties agreed, to have a small pilot run with available materials once Technical Research and the Model Shop staff have realigned all the setup files and tooling to match the approved vacuum-formed part. Technical Research will monitor this small pilot run through its completion on the production floor.

Table-Setting Placemat LP and Braille

(New)

New project added March 9. The project leader is waiting on a contract. Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

Tactile Book Builder

(Continued)

The project leader is adding some new information based on input from the multiple disabilities focus group and exposure to the European tactile books. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Tactile Science Posters/Puzzles

(Continued)

The project leader met with the Model Shop about production of a prototype poster. Preliminary discussions focused on size, method of art creation and tactile representation. Technical Research completed a scan of the human skeleton poster to be used for scaling of the project. The scan is a template only, and the drawings will be highly modified/simplified. The scan was completed, and the graphics designer generated final artwork. Several sheets were printed on a wide format printer and used by the Model Shop to begin clay buildup of the areas desired to be vacuum formed. Work is ongoing on the clay vacuum-form pattern master at this time. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

Tactile Skills Online Matrix

(New)

New project added in January. A PDC brainstorming meeting was held April 4. This product may be Web-based and not need factory support. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

Tactile Tangrams

(Continued)

Technical Research provided the project leader with a sample of a clear, re-sealable pouch that could store the three types of tangram puzzles in a binder. The project leader met with the Model Shop to review needed tooling. Laser-cut parts of acrylic puzzle pieces were received from the vendor. These samples were needed to verify dimensions before sizing puzzle frames on vacuum-form patterns. A PDC meeting was held on May 9. The Model Shop has worked on the thermoform patterns and masters. Technical Research is starting work on the silkscreen tooling and is working with a binder vendor to obtain a custom binder for the vacuum-formed pieces. Technical Research continues to monitor the progress of this product.

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit (Continued)

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Teacher's Guidebook, Print (Continued)

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Teacher's Guidebook, Braille (Continued)

The project leader held weekly meetings with Technical Research and the Model Shop in November and early December. Technical Research held a Product Structure Meeting on March 24. Technical Research and the project leader met on May 9 to review the specifications document. The specification meeting was held on June 2, and production dates were set. All of the dies have come in and most of the material from Laird has been received. Screens were delayed by the screen making room renovation but are now in-process. The longest lead times of materials expected are the green Veltex® material and the sewn pieces for the grassy area pieces of the kit. Much of the die cutting work is already started. Proof approval has been given for the print manual and the printed box label. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Tactile Treasures [Modernization]

(New)

Project added on April 6. A PDC meeting was held on June 22. The project leader met with Technical Research and Model Shop on August 5 to review expected components and tooling. Tooling will consist of 16 vacuum-form patterns and screen art for multiple colors for each pattern. Existing cutting dies can be used since the size and layout of the sheets on the vacuum-form pattern have not been altered. Technical Research is working with a binder vendor to obtain mock-up samples of a custom binder needed for this kit. Technical Research will work to create new specifications for the revised product and will monitor the progress of this project.

TADPOLE Kit

Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book Print

Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book Braille

Tasha Tadpole Practitioner's Guide, Braille w/CD

Tasha Tadpole Practitioner's Guide, Print w/CD

Tasha Tadpole's Object Cards

Tasha Tadpole Light-Box Overlays

Tadpole Black & White Coloring Cards

TADPOLE Report of Visual Skills (10 pack)

Tadpole Soft Snaps Puzzle (8 pack)

There was a print problem on the Tadpole Puzzle Book. Several pages had been printed with improper orientation. Rather than scrap the expensive material, a product was developed to use this material called Soft Snap Puzzles. Technical Research developed and documented the design for the Soft Snap Puzzles and ordered the die. Specifications were completed and a meeting was held. Technical Research continued monitoring this project through its production and into stock on February 14, 2011. This entire series of products was put on hold due to missing files on the CD. It was suggested that the kit be released with a sticker on the outside of the box and the missing files be made available free online. The kit was on hold while the labels/stickers were made. The kits in Shipping had stickers added, and the others were to be added when brought to Shipping. A miscommunication resulted in the kit staying on hold. The kit was released for sale. A de-briefing was held on this series of products and, other than the print orientation problems, no other problems were encountered on this series of products on the production floor.

Talk to the Wilson

(Completed)

A pass-through item added in May. This became available for sale on June 15. A virtual debriefing was held on July 8. There were no problems encountered on this product on the production floor. However, this item is being reviewed to have instructions in print and braille for future production runs.

Talking Cooking Thermometer

(Completed)

A pass-through item added in May. This became available for sale on June 6. A virtual debriefing was held on July 8. There were no problems encountered on this product on the production floor. However, this item is being reviewed to have instructions in print and braille for future production runs.

Talking Protractor

(Continued)

This product changed project leaders. New and old project leaders met with Technical Research to discuss the product, the previous prototypes, and the mechanics. Technical Research also met with the Technology Group to discuss this product. On January 31, the project leader met with the Technology group and Technical Research to look at the commercial digital protractor made by Wixey. The Technology group is working with Wixey to develop a talking version of their digital protractor. Work on this project is ongoing.

Tangible Symbol Cues

(Continued)

This is a pass-through project. The vendor is to be responsible for fabricating all materials and complying with all child-safety laws. The product is to arrive at the APH dock complete and fully packaged. Technical Research participated in a conference call with Ellen Trief and Adaptive Design to work on the timeline. Prototypes were received in August but had to be reviewed by the project leader due to errors in the product. The project leader is still reviewing the materials. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

Teach Me To See DVD

(Completed)

Proposed changes to the CD were implemented. The project leader wanted the specifications to reflect that this is both close-captioned and subtitled. Technical Research held the specification meeting on June 3, and production dates were set. At this point in time, the print materials are completed and in stock. However, there is still editing in-progress for the master DVD and, at this time, the DVDs cannot be produced. Work is expected to be completed on the master DVD in the near future and production will resume at that time. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Teaching Puzzles for Light Box

(Continued)

The project leader reports that he is making progress on this project. Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications when more information has been received.

Test Ready Language Arts (Books 3 through Advanced)

(New)

This project was added to the active timeline in July. The project leader turned in prepared files and paperwork to begin the braille transcription of Test Ready Language Arts. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

Test Ready +Math (Books 3 through Advanced)

(Continued)

Work on Book 3 was completed, and it was available for sale in October. Book 4 was completed and available for sale in January. Books 5 and 6 were completed and available for sale in March. In reviewing proofs for Book 8, the project leader discovered problems with the Green Machine braille. The project leader conferred with Technical Research on the rejection and gave them some samples of earlier +Math books with more satisfactory braille. The project leader met with Ralph and Frank to discuss the Green Machine problem. Technical Research ran several test samples while trying to adjust the amount of powder applied. Braille is going to run some samples on papers. Those samples and the samples Technical Research ran will be reviewed at a meeting to talk about how production can be made more consistent and of higher quality. Book 8 and Advanced are on hold until this is resolved.

Test Ready +Reading (Books 3 through Advanced)

(New)

Technical Research held the specification meeting for both Book 3 and 4 on August 9. Work is now under way on the specifications for Books 5 and 6. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

TG TV-DVD

(Continued)

Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications when more information has been received.

Touch'em All Baseball

(Continued)

Field testing is completed; revisions to the product are underway. The Model Shop has been working on tooling and making samples. The project leader met with Technical Research to go over the scope of the product and get advice on print layout. The Model Shop, Technical Research, and the project leader have had several discussions about parts, part numbers, and processes involved in this kit. Work on this project is ongoing.

Transition Tote Kit (Continued)

Transition Tote Back Pack (Completed)

Transition Tote Student Manual, Print (Continued)

Transition Tote Braille and Print Forms (Continued)

Transition Tote Student Manual, Braille (Continued)

Transition Tote Print and Braille Forms (Continued)

Transition Tote Facilitator's Guide, Braille (Continued)

The Transition Tote Back Pack became available for sale on January 12, 2011. Technical Research held a virtual debriefing on February 1. No problems were noted with this product. Technical Research confirmed the catalog numbers for the rest of the series of products. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of these products.

Treks

(Completed)

The vendor was able to produce a game board by molding the holes in the board at the time of part fabrication rather than drilling the holes into the part post production. This saved considerable money on the cost of the part and valuable APH production floor time. The sample board was approved but found to have slight protrusions in the holes so that the pieces didn't sit correctly. Technical Research contacted the vendor and received a sample board with no dimples. Technical Research met with the project leader on March 7 to go over product specifications. A few minor changes were requested. Changes were made and specifications were completed. Technical Research had a box vendor in and the box has been finalized. A specification meeting was held May 12. Minor tooling changes were made to the pegs to make them fit the game board holes better. This has been turned over to Production. The renovation to the screen making room delayed the silkscreens for this project; the renovation is complete and the silkscreens for this project were made in August. Purchased parts for this kit are all in-house. Work on the APH-made parts is underway. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Turtle and Rabbit Storybook

(Continued)

Technical Research ordered a die for the storyboard pieces. The dies for the storyboard have been made. Technical Research held a specification meeting March 11. Art files were given to Purchasing on April 26, and the files were sent to an outside vendor for print production. All tooling has been completed. The print pages arrived from the vendor; and as of August, the Green Machine graphics have been started. The storyboard pages have come in and have been run through the Green Machine process and are in the process of being die cut. During die cutting, it was noticed there was missing tactile information from the Green Machine process. Further investigation revealed a misadjusted control on the Green Machine. Rather than scrap the printed/tactile/die cut materials, it was decided to create a supplemental set of parts to replace the missing pieces from the original production run. Technical Research worked with the graphics designer, production, and an outside die maker to obtain tooling for this one-time fix. Future runs will use the correct settings. It is anticipated this product will be available for sale in October or early November. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product through its production and availability for sale.

Turtle and Rabbit, Braille Reader's Guide

(Continued)

Technical Research has completed product specifications and reviewed them with the project leader. The project leader and the graphic designer finalized the print files. A production schedule was set for this product at the specifications turnover meeting in March. This product was produced and stocked in June and will be released for sale when the book is completed.

TWiG 1, Contracted Braille Kit (completed)

TWiG 1, Contracted Braille Labels (completed)

TWiG 1, Uncontracted Braille Kit (completed)

TWiG 1, Uncontracted Braille Labels (completed)

TWiG 2, Contracted Braille Kit (completed)

TWiG 2, Contracted Braille Labels (completed)

TWiG 2, Uncontracted Braille Kit (completed)

TWiG 2, Uncontracted Braille Labels (completed)

A specification meeting on both TWiG 1 and 2 was held in September. It was decided to work on the two TWiG products consecutively rather than concurrently due to the expense of the printed books included in the kits. TWiG 1 (4 products) products were produced and made available for sale January 25. TWiG 2 (4 products) were produced and made available for sale February 18. A de-briefing meeting was held on these products on April 11; no major production problems were reported. APH was notified by a customer of an extraneous line of braille on the labels of one book in the set (I See You). APH investigated and found that in some instances the coding for the braille file was actually reproduced on the label. Labels were pulled from stock and replaced with good labels. Customer service is working with customers of sales prior to the knowledge of the problem to rectify the situation. Technical Research continues to monitor this product after production to ensure good customer resolutions of any difficulties encountered.

U.S. and Canada Basic Atlas

(Continued)

The project leader sent this out for a second field test and has compiled the results. Based on the field test results, this project is going forward as planned before the work on it was suspended earlier in the year. The project leader will get together with Technical Research to discuss the project needs.

The Universal Interface

(New)

New project added in January. Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

v-File Vision Portfolio

(Continued)

The consultant met with Technical Research and others to review the process of developing electronic forms. Technical Research completed a handmade paper prototype of the eye model. A meeting was held February 4 to review the prototype and discuss the manual. Technical Research completed a second prototype of the eye model. This second prototype was used by the consultant with students at the Kentucky School for the Blind. She met with Technical Research to discuss the findings. Technical Research met with the project leader on May 13 to finalize the drawings of the eye model. Following this meeting, the seven dies needed to make the prototypes were ordered. The dies were received in July, and 24 prototype eye models were die cut and collated in zip lock bags. The consultant continues to develop curriculum; Technical Research continues to work with the consultant and project leader on other components of the kit. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

Verbal View of Excel 2007

(New/Completed)

New product added in January. Technical Research met with the project leader in February and established dates for the first half of the project. Technical Research held the specification meeting on April 4, and production dates were set. This product was completed in August. Technical Research conducted a virtual de-briefing via e-mail. No problems were noted on this product on the production floor.

Verbal View Word 2007

(Completed)

Technical Research completed specifications and held a specifications meeting in September. Once a finalized master for CD production was completed, production of the product proceeded. This product became available for sale on April 4. Technical Research conducted a virtual debriefing in April. No problems were noted on the production floor with this product.

VIYM--Visually Impaired Yoga Mat

(Continued)

New product added July 2010. The project leader gave documentation to Technical Research and it has been delivered to Braille Translation. Prototypes were sent out for field testing. Field test results were compiled, but the results were mixed in the reviews of the product. The project leader met with the Director of Research for clarification on the direction of the project. The project leader is now waiting for school to start in order to obtain the evaluation forms from Illinois and Indiana Schools for the Blind to give more data/responses on the features of the product. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Wilson Reading System

(Continued)

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Kit One

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Reader One

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Workbook One A

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Workbook One B

Wilson Reading System Braille Supplemental Worksheets One

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Kit Two

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Reader Two

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Workbook Two A

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Workbook Two B

Wilson Reading System Braille Supplemental Worksheets Two

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Kit Three

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Reader Three

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Workbook Three A

Wilson Reading System Braille Student Workbook Three B

Wilson Reading System Braille Supplemental Worksheets Three

Wilson Reading System: Print/Braille Cards Set

Wilson Reading System: Print/Braille Magnetic Tiles

Wilson Reading System LP Teacher's Kit

Wilson Reading System Braille Teacher's Kit

Field testing on this series of products was conducted from September to May. The project leader and consultant are currently evaluating field test results. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this project.

WOW Light

(New)

New product added in March. Technical Research will begin to develop product specifications once more information has been received.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books

(Completed)

See previous entries for TWiG 1 and 2 products.

Other Technical Research Projects

Plant Safety

The Technical Research area is the lead area for safety programs on the second floor in the back portion of the plant. Technical Research continues to conduct monthly safety meetings and monthly safety inspections of all departments in this section of the plant. All paperwork and recordkeeping are maintained and turned in monthly in a timely fashion. No safety incidents have been reported in any department in the area. Technical Research has the longest running record of consistent recordkeeping in the safety program. Not a single meeting has been missed nor has one report not been filed on time in the 7-year history of the safety program. Technical Research is the only area that has this uninterrupted record of holding meetings, making inspections, and filing the proper paperwork in the entire safety program.

Product Updates/Redesigns and Special Projects

Technical Research worked on redesigns and updates for many products this year. One project has involved converting products from VHS style video tapes to DVD format. Technical Research worked with the research, graphics design, marketing, production, and production support departments to convert these products to modern DVDs. This involved getting the master converted for DVD production, updating all bills of materials and production processes to reflect DVD production, and writing new product specifications. A second project was for Technical Research to facilitate the conversion of cassette-recorded items (instructional tapes, recorded curriculum, etc) to audio CDs. Technical Research worked to establish a system for converting the audio content from tape to a CD master, obtaining new labels for the product, and incorporating the new version of the recorded material into the bills and routings for the product impacted. This conversion was necessary due to the recording tape and cassette shells being phased out by the recording industry and becoming more and more difficult to procure. Most of this work was done on the raw material levels of parts for kits or catalog items. The catalog items themselves only reflected the changing from cassette tape components to CD components. All cassette recorded materials have now been converted to audio CD recordings. Future production of recorded instructional materials for catalog items will be in the digital format and not in analogue audio cassette tape format.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)

Technical Research has remained vigilant on new products in development, watching for child safety issues. Technical Research continues to work with the Purchasing Department and the materials manager to coordinate testing by outside vendors on new and existing products. One of the main developments in CPSIA this year has been the exemption of regular printed books from testing requirements. This portion of the law was placing an undue burden on the printing industry as a whole with little or no benefit in consumer safety. Added to that were the unintended consequences of potential testing or restrictions of books in public libraries. The printing industry presented its case on this point to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and, in August of this year, the standards for print books were relaxed to allow more free exchange of books and ideas. Technical Research will continue to monitor the laws' progress and work with internal company personnel to keep them informed and to support them as needed/requested.

Light Box

(Product Re-Design)

Technical Research developed a new design for the full-size light box. Circuitry was developed that enabled the light box to run using a 28VDC adapter rather than the current 120VAC mode of operation. This lowered the voltage in the unit itself and eliminated the requirement for UL testing of the light box unit. The adapter itself was UL tested by the manufacturer and arrived at APH pre-certified for UL compliance. The unit emits a 20% brighter light and is 24% lighter in weight. The unit retains the full range of dimming of the light. In addition to product improvement, one of the goals in re-designing the unit was to simplify the assembly process, specifically the wiring of the unit. The new design eliminated more than 30% of the parts used in the current light box and reduced the number of assembly operations on the production floor. Circuit boards were produced and arrived at APH in April. Samples of the boards were inspected and met specifications. Production on this item began in May with the product becoming available for sale in June. A debriefing meeting was held in July with only minor problems noted in the production of this item. It was also noted at the meeting that per unit assembly time was reduced dramatically. Technical Research is working on three minor circuit board revisions that will facilitate the unit assembly even further. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product until the printed circuit board designs are final and are tested in production.

Mini-Lite Box

(Product Maintenance)

The earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan impacted the factory making the bulbs used in the mini light box. The factory was closed for nearly 2 months. During that time, Technical Research worked with the overseas broker to locate and test new suppliers of the bulbs used in the product. Despite repeated efforts and tests, no suitable bulb could be located. Bulbs tested either failed or were not the correct temperature of light best suited for use by low vision users. The bulb factory was able to reopen. This delayed the production of the current run of product, but the next shipment of mini light boxes is anticipated in October or November. A second item on this product that caused some difficulties in production was the variable resistor in the dimming circuit of the product. The vendor had some difficulties obtaining the correct taper (the rate of change in resistance for a given movement of the dimmer control) for the dimmer control. Technical Research worked with the vendor to resolve this issue and keep production on schedule.

On the Way to Literacy, digital conversion of art

(Special Project/Product Maintenance)

The On the Way to Literacy series of children's book consists of 19 individual books requiring various skill levels of tactile reading. Recent books in the series had the artwork for the books done as digital graphic files. However, most of the original books were done over 20 years ago as film negatives for printing plates. Currently, the printing industry is relying heavily on digitally-produced printing plates. Supplies for film-based plates are becoming scarcer and the original films are deteriorating from time and use. Technical Research worked with the project leader, the APH graphic designer, and production areas to help coordinate the conversion of this material from film to digital files. Film or production copies of the books are being scanned and used to maintain registration of the print and tactile materials. The books are being given a more modern appearance and visual aesthetics are being incorporated into the books. To date "Something Special", "That's Not My Bear", "The Littlest Pumpkin" and "Jennifer's Messes" have been completed; "Giggly, Wiggly, Snickety Snick" is converted but in-process of having proofs made for final pre-production approval; and "The Blue Balloon" and "the Longest Noodle" are in-process of being converted. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of these titles. Work on this is ongoing.

Print/Vacuum Form Registration Issues

(Special Project/Product Maintenance)

One product released for production last fiscal year experienced excessive scrap rates due to registration issues between the printed sheet and the tactile objects vacuum formed on to the sheet. This was a new production process where an outside vendor would offset print the plastic and APH would vacuum form it. One product in particular, the Line Paths Flip Over Concept Book experienced a 10.68% scrap rate due to registration issues during its initial production run in October. Technical Research began to investigate this problem in February after the first production run of the product. Working with the printing vendor, Technical Research learned that the vendor was using a different method of registration for printing than APH was using for the vacuum form work. Compounding this problem was that sheet sizes of the plastic were varying as much as 5/16" (0.313") upon arrival to the printer. After discussions with the printing plant, the method of registration at the printing press was altered to more nearly match APH's registration methods. Also, it was decided to trim all incoming stock upon arrival at the printer to ensure less variance in sheet size. By reducing this sheet size variation, the print registration would match APH's vacuum form registration nearly exactly in spite of the slight differences remaining in the two registration methods. At the same time, Technical Research worked with the Engineering Dept on an idea to effectively eliminate the punching labor for the plastic sheets that are vacuum formed. The punching operation improvements from Engineering coupled with the improvements in registration yielded a reduction of 33.5 hours of labor needed to punch and vacuum form the sheets for this product in its second production run in late February. The scrap rate for this product was reduced from the initial October production run's 10.68% to the February scrap rate of 0.32%. This is an approximate 3,237% improvement in the product's scrap rate from the October 2009 production run to the February 2011 production run.


Presentations & Workshops

Boyer, B. (2010, October). Best for a nest. Poster session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Boyer, B. (2010, October). Migel medal ceremony. Presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Burnett, R., Ratzlaff, K., Sanford, L., & Kitchel, E. (2010, October). Functional vision and learning media assessment across America. Product input session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Cole, M., Skutchan, L., Borsuk, M., Creasy, K., Meredith, R., & Perry, K. (2010, October). American ingenuity: Technology products input. Product input session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Halley, K., & Mason, L. (2011, April). Preparing pre-service teachers to better serve students with significant cognitive and visual impairments. Poster presented at the Teacher Education Division's Kaleidoscope Session at the Council for Exceptional Children's Annual Convention & Expo, National Harbor, MD.

Henderson, B. (2010, October). Are your students ready for computer-based testing? Poster session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B. (2010, October). Are your students ready for testing? Poster session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B., & Ferrell, K. A. (2010, October). Building the Boehm 3: Helping us design the Boehm test of basic concepts, 3rd edition (Boehm 3). Product input session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Hoffmann, R. (2010, October). TeachDNA: A three-dimensional model informed by universal design. Poster session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Holbrook, C., Pester, E., & Senft-Graves, C. (2010, October). A guided tour through building on patterns. Product Training Sessions presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Holbrook, C., Pester, E., Mason, L., & Senft-Graves, C. (2010, October). Mapping the way to braille literacy. Product Development Input Session conducted at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2010, October). Address: Earth, section II. Poster session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2010, October). ISAVE revision: Technological options for assessment and visual skills development. Workshop presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2010, October). TADPOLE: Tools for the assessment and development in vision of children with visual impairments, level 0-2. Poster session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2011, February). Understanding light and its effects on human physiology especially in persons with low vision. [Multimedia]. Presented to Indiana and Kentucky Interior Design Symposium, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2011, July). Color, text, and graphic guidelines for the development of test documents and computer tests for students with low vision. Presented at the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Mason, L. (2010, October). Quick check indexes: The ultimate guide to braille. Poster presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Mason, L. (2011, July). You expect me to teach what? Making the ECC EZ. Paper presented at the 18th Annual Gateways to Independence Conference, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Mason, L., & Ferrell, K. (2011, March). Quick and EZ ECC: Finding ways to fit it all in. Paper presented at the 2011 KAER State Conference, Carrolton, KY.

Mason, L., & Skutchan, L. (2011, February). Blindness 101. Lecture presented to new employees at the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

May, M., & Terlau, M. T. (March, 2011). Seven accessible GPS options: From the iPhone to the PC. Workshop presented at the California State University at Northridge Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, San Diego, CA.

Otto, F. (2010, December). Making a tactile baseball game for blind players. Presented at "Creative Solutions" badge activity for Girl Scouts, APH Museum, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2011, April). Teaching touch. Presented to Vanderbilt University In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2011, February). Life science tactile graphics. Session presented at the Meeting of the Minds, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F., & Hoffmann, R. (2011, March). Approaches in adapting science diagrams in tactile form. Session presented at the 2011 KAER State Conference, Carrolton, KY.

Pester, E. (2011, April). Building on patterns and quick check: Index of literacy braille signs. Presented to Vanderbilt University In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E., & Mason, L. (2011, August). Braille literacy essentials. Workshop presented at the Louisiana School for the Blind, Baton Rouge, LA.

Pester, E., & Senft-Graves, C. (2010, October). The why's, how's, and what's of building on patterns first grade. Poster presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2010, October). Adapted obstacle course demonstration. Exhibit hall demonstration and timed races conducted at the Florida Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport, Orlando, FL.

Pierce, T. (2011, April). Product showcase: Multiple disabilities and physical education. Presented to Vanderbilt University In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2011, February). Product showcase: Multiple disabilities and physical education. Session presented at the Meeting of the Minds, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2011, July). Product showcase: Physical education. Session presented at the 18th Annual Gateways to Independence Conference, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2011, March). Effects of using tactile food pyramids with visually impaired students. Poster session presented at the AAHPERD 126th National Convention & Expo, San Diego, CA.

Poppe, K. J. (2010, August). RolandUV printer: Readability of braille and tactile point symbols. Presentation to APH staff, American Printing House for the Blind, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2010, October). A touch of color: Flip-over concept books. Poster session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2010, October). Recreational tactile products for children with visual impairments. Radio interview on Soundprints with Carla and Mike, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2010, October). Tactile literacy products for children. Presented at the First Annual 12-State Vision Midwest Conference, Madison, WI.

Poppe, K. J. (2011, April). New tactile graphic products. Presented to Vanderbilt University In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2011, February). Showcase of new tactile graphic products. Session presented at the Meeting of the Minds, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2011, July). Sense of science series. Webcast, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2011, June). Important tactile skills for literacy. Webcast, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J., Otto, F., & Hatlen, P. (2010, October). Oh, say, can you feel a tactile continuum of learning? Real object to models to raised-line graphics. Product input session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Roman-Lantzy, C. (October, 2010). When red, white, and blue is too much: CVI complexity sequences. Session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (August, 2011). Assistive technology for orientation and mobility instructors and their students from the American Printing House for the Blind. Workshop presented at the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Regional Conference, Boston, MA.

Terlau, M. T. (January, 2011). O&M family booklet software helps instructors communicate with students' families. Workshop presented at the 2011 conference of the Assistive Technology Industry Association, Orlando, FL.

Terlau, M. T. (July, 2011). APH software for O&M. Workshop presented at the 18th Annual Gateways to Independence Conference, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (October, 2010). O&M family booklet software helps instructors communicate with students' families. Workshop presented at the 2010 conference of the Assistive Technology Industry Association, Chicago, IL.

Terlau, M. T. (October, 2010). Orientation and mobility family booklet software is for you. Poster session presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (October, 2010). The orientation and mobility family booklet software: A tool for collaboration between instructors and O&M students' families. Product training session conducted at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Trief, E., & Pierce, T. (2010, October). Born in the USA: The use of a universal set of tangible symbols for students who are visually and multiply impaired. Input session at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. (2010, November). Early braille trade books. Presented at Jefferson County Public Schools Teacher In-Service, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. (2010, October). Beyond Dick and Jane - early braille trade books. Presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. (2011, April). Product showcase: Word play house, early braille trade books, and Wilson reading. Presented to Vanderbilt University In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. (2011, February). Early braille trade books & MathBuilders. Session presented at the Meeting of the Minds, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. (2011, June). Standards for mathematics and curriculum materials for students who are blind and visually impaired. Presented at the Jefferson County Public Schools Teacher In-Service, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J., & Baker S. (2010, November). KY's common core state standards for mathematics and curriculum materials for students who are blind and visually impaired. Presented at the KY Council of Exceptional Children Conference, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2011, April). Emergent literacy materials from the American Printing House for the Blind. Presented to Vanderbilt University In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2011, February). Moving ahead: Tactile graphic storybooks from the American Printing House for the Blind. Session presented at the Meeting of the Minds, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Product Materials

Henderson, B. W. (2011). Introduction to the student large print edition: Test ready language arts, grades 3 through 8. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Henderson, B. W. (2011). Large print picture manual. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Henderson, B. W. (2011). Large print record form: Boehm-3 Preschool. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Henderson, B. W., & Ferrell, K. A. (2011). Directions for administering the Boehm-3 preschool large print analog. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Henderson, B. W., & Ferrell, K. A. (2011). Directions for administering the Boehm-3 preschool tactile analog. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Henderson, B. W., & Ferrell, K. A. (2011). Tactile record form: Boehm-3 preschool tactile analog. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2010). Acceptable colors and adjacent color combinations. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2010). Acceptable fill patterns and adjacent fill pattern combinations. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2010). Guidelines for the use of color, fill, and font. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2010).TADPOLE practitioner's guidebook. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2011a, 2011b, 2011c, 2011d, 2011e, 2011f, 2011g, 2011h, 2011i, 2011j, 2011k, 2011l, 2011m, 2011n, 2011p, 2011q, 2011r, 2011s, 2011t, 2011u, 2011v, 2011w, 2011x, 2011y, 2011z, 2011aa). A rooster in my closet, Ali gets a job, All about Maggie, All about the moon, All kinds of water, Bird child, Blueberries, Dogs with jobs, How much rain fell at your house?, If I went to work, It started with the harvest moon, Jake, Jokester, Jolly Dr. Chung, Liberty--One in a million, Little Pig Shipley looks for a job, Molly saves the day, Night of the big rescue, Poems, Riding along, Snow and ice, Tasty blueberry smoothies, The good idea, The great wave, The long wait for lunch, Weather, Where the palm trees grow, Where's the spinach? In Building on patterns: The primary braille literacy program: Second grade. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E., & McGee, D. (2010). TADPOLE object cards. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E., & McGee, D. (2010). TADPOLE overlays. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E., & McGee, D. (2011). TADPOLE soft snap puzzles. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E., Sanford, L., Burnett, R., & McGee, D. (2010). TADPOLE: Tasha Tadpole's puzzle book. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Lueck, A., Heinze, A., & Kitchel, E. (2011). Teach me to see. [DVD]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind

Otto, F. (2010). Life science tactile graphics: Teacher's guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Otto, F. (2011). Sudoku partner 6 X 6: Teacher's guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Otto, F. (2011). Treks: Teacher's guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2010). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 6. Assessment check-up forms (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2010). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 6. Braille kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2010). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 6. Lesson monitoring sheets (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2010). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 6. Print kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2010). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 6. Student textbook: Going and doing (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2010). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 6. Teacher's edition (print). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2010). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 6. Teacher's edition (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2010). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 6. Worksheets (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011) Building on patterns: Grade 1. Posttest consumables pack. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1. Teacher's edition reference volume (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1. Teacher's edition reference volume (print). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1. Teacher's posttest manual (print). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1. Teacher's posttest manual (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 7. Assessment check-up forms (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 7. Braille kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 7. Lesson monitoring sheets (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 7. Print kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 7. Student textbook: Animal tales (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 7. Teacher's edition (print). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 7. Teacher's edition (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 1 Unit 7. Worksheets (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (Ed.). (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 2 Unit 1. Braille kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (Ed.). (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 2 Unit 1. Print kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (Ed.). (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 2 Unit 1. Teacher's edition (print). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (Ed.). (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 2 Unit 1. Teacher's edition (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (Ed.). (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 2 Unit 1. Student textbook: That's so silly! (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (Ed.). (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 2 Unit 1. Worksheets (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (Ed.). (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 2 Unit 1. Consumable unit assessment packet (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (Ed.). (2011). Building on patterns: Grade 2 Unit 1. Lesson monitoring sheets (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010) Sense of science: Astronomy: Quick fact cards. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Feel'n peel sheets: Carousel of textures: Product instructions. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Feel'n peel stickers: Nemeth braille/print numbers 0-100: Product instructions. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Giant textured beads with pattern matching cards: Guidebook. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Giant textured beads: Overview. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Pattern matching cards. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Sense of science: Astronomy: guidebook. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Sense of science: Astronomy: Worksheets. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). SQUID: Tactile activities magazine: Issue 7. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Tactile town: 3-D O&M kit: Guidebook. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2011). Student model ALL-IN-ONE board: Product instructions. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Roman, C. (2010). CVI complexity sequences. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Smith, D., & Wicker, J. (2010). MathBuilders Unit 7, fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals: Teacher's guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Terlau, M. T. (2011). APH talking PC maps user's guide. American Printing House for the Blind: Louisville, Kentucky.

Wicker, J. (2010). Addition and subtraction table: Instruction booklet. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Wicker, J., & Boyer, B. (2010). FOCUS in mathematics: Teacher's manual. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Wright, S. (2011). The boy and the wolf: Reader's guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Publications

Kitchel, E. (2010). Guidelines for the development of power point presentations for audiences that may include persons with low vision. Chicago, IL: Chicago State Board of Education Document Guide.

Kitchel, E. (2010). The effects of fluorescent light on the ocular health of persons with pre-existing eye pathologies. Westerville, OH: National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs Newsletter.

Kitchel, E. (n.d.). Ultraviolet A, blue light and children. Available from Council of Citizens With Low Vision International Web site: http://www.cclvi.org/contributions/ultraviolet.htm [Cited in FiztGerald, S. (2011). The effects of black lights on vision. Available from href="http://www.ehow.com/about_6711132_effects-black-lights-vision.html]

Kitchel, J. E. (2011). Guidelines for APH document design. [Webpage]. Available from http://www.aph.org/edresearch/lpguide.htm

Mason, L. (2010). President's message. D.V.I. Quarterly, 56(1), 3.

Mason, L. (2011). Epilogue: The wisdom of friends and families. In K. A. Ferrell (Ed.), Reach out and teach (2nd ed.) (pp. 415-416). New York, NY: AFB Press.

Mason, L. (2011). President's message. D.V.I. Quarterly, 56(2), 3.

Mason, L. (2011). President's message. D.V.I. Quarterly, 56(3), 3.

Mason, L. (2011). President's message. D.V.I. Quarterly, 56(4), 3.

Poppe, K. J. (2011). APH tactile graphic methods. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2011, February). Oldies but goodies: DRAFTSMAN: Tactile drawing board. PowerPoint posted in APH News, Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind. Available from http://www.aph.org/products/presentations/DRAFTSMAN.ppt

FY 2011
New Products

PRODUCT NAME GRANT # CATALOG # 
Addition and Subtraction Table Kit 437 5-82699-00 
APH Insights Art Calendar 2012 68 5-18971-12 
APH Insights Art Calendar Custom 2012 68 5-18972-12 
APH Light Touch Brailler 68 1-00815-00 
APH Talking Pc Maps 398 1-04105-00 
BOP 1st Grade Brl. Teacher's Ed. Ref. Volume 364 6-78461-RV 
BOP 1st Grade Prt. Teacher's Ed. Ref. Volume 364 8-78461-RB 
BOP 1st Grade Unit 6 Animal Shapes & Pages Set 364 6-78467-00 
BOP 1st Grade Unit 7 Assessment Check-Up Form 364 8-78466-U7 
BOP 1st Grade Unit 7 Braille Kit 364 6-78460-U7 
BOP 1st Grade Unit 7 Brl Teacher's Edition 364 6-78461-U7 
BOP 1st Grade Unit 7 Lesson Monitoring Sheets 64 8-78463-U7 
BOP 1st Grade Unit 7 Print Kit 364 8-78460-U7 
BOP 1st Grade Unit 7 Prt Teacher's Edition 364 8-78461-U7 
BOP 1st Grade Unit 7 Student Textbook 364 6-78463-U7 
BOP 1st Grade Unit 7 Worksheet Packs 364 6-78464-U7 
BOP 2nd Grade Unit 1 Braille Kit 373 6-78470-U1 
BOP 2nd Grade Unit 1 Brl Teacher's Edition 373 6-78471-U1 
BOP 2nd Grade Unit 1 Consumable Unit Assessment Packet 373 8-78476-U1 
BOP 2nd Grade Unit 1 Lesson Monitoring Sheets 373 8-78473-U1 
BOP 2nd Grade Unit 1 Print Kit 373 8-78470-U1 
BOP 2nd Grade Unit 1 Prt Teacher's Edition 373 8-78471-U1 
BOP 2nd Grade Unit 1 Student Textbook 373 6-78473-U1 
BOP 2nd Grade Unit 1 Worksheets Pack 373 6-78474-U1 
BOP Gr1 Posttest Consumable Pack 364 8-78465-00 
BOP Grade 1 Posttest Teacher's Manual (Brl) 364 6-78462-00 
BOP Grade 1 Posttest Teacher's Manual (Prt) 364 8-78462-00 
Braille Datebook Calendar 2011 68 1-07899-11 
Braille Datebook Calendar Tabs 2011 68 1-07898-11 
Braille Datebook Calendar 2012 68 1-07899-12 
Braille Datebook Calendar Tabs 2012 68 1-07898-12 
Brl: A Different Approach-Inst. CD 67 5-16750-CD 
CD Exercise Braille Writing Dot By Dot 67 7-17401-CD 
Crafty Graphics DVD 67 1-30013-DVD 
Desktop Food Pyramid, Primary Kit 10-Pk 409 1-03017-00 
Desktop Food Pyramid, Secondary Kit 5-Pk 409 1-03019-00 
Experiential Learning: Activities for Concept Development 356 8-50705-00 
EZ Track Calendar 2012 68 1-07900-12 
Feel'N Peel Sheets: Carousel of Textures 432 1-08863-00 
Filler Paper for MiniBook 365 1-07852-00 
FOCUS In Math 2nd Ed. Braille Kit 382 1-08281-01 
FOCUS In Math 2nd Ed. Braille Manual/Guide 382 5-08281-01 
FOCUS In Math 2Nd Ed. Print Kit 382 1-08280-01 
FOCUS In Math 2Nd Ed. Print Manual/Guide 382 7-08280-01 
GAMES for People with Sensory Impairment Brl Gdbk 423 5-08609-00 
GAMES for People with Sensory Impairment Prt Gdbk 423 7-08609-00 
GED Basics: 2002 Update Flash Card 67 D-53866-FC 
GED Basics: 2002 Updated CD 67 D-53866-CD 
Geometro 12 Decagons Set 68 1-03025-00 
Geometro 3 Velcro Rods Set 68 1-03027-00 
Geometro 6 Isosceles Triangles 68 1-03029-00 
Geometro 6 Octagons Set 68 1-03026-00 
Geometro 6 Rectangles Set 68 1-03028-00 
Good Lookin' I-Save DVD 67 1-30001-DVD 
Inkjet Hook Paper 68 1-04970-00 
Insert EZ Track Calendar 2012 68 1-07901-12 
Life Science Tactile Graphics 347 1-08840-00 
Lighting Guide Kit DVD 68 1-30018-DVD 
Low Voltage Light Box 67 1-08669-00 
MathBuilders Unit 7 Brl Kit 112 5-03564-00 
MathBuilders Unit 7 Brl Teacher's Guide 112 5-03564-01 
MathBuilders Unit 7 Consumables 112 5-03564-02 
MathBuilders Unit 7 Print Kit 112 7-03564-00 
MathBuilders Unit 7 Print Teacher's Guide 112 7-03564-01 
Mini Spiral Notebook (2 Pk) 365 1-07853-00 
MiniBook Slate With Stylus 365 1-07850-00 
Permabraille Sheets 5.75x3.75 50-Pack 479 1-08886-00 
Picture Maker DVD 68 1-30008-DVD 
Quick Check Alpha Index Of Lit. Brl Signs--Brl 446 5-35960-01 
Quick Check Alpha Index Of Lit. Brl Signs--Prt 446 7-35960-01 
Refreshabraille 18 With A Free Carrying Case 68 1-07445-05 
Refreshabraille 18 With A Free Combo Case 68 1-07445-06 
Sense of Science Brl Manual 225 5-08991-00 
Sense of Science Prt Manual 225 7-08991-00 
Sense of Science Quick Fact Cards 225 1-08993-00 
Sense of Science Worksheets 225 1-08992-00 
Sense of Science: Astronomy 225 1-08991-00 
Six Ring Binder for MiniBook 365 1-07851-00 
Slide, Twist 'N Solve 495 1-03991-00 
Student Model ALL-IN-ONE Board 466 1-08833-00 
Sudoku Partner 6 X 6 408 1-03719-00 
Tactile Food Pyramid, Primary Kit 409 1-03016-00 
Tactile Food Pyramid, Secondary Kit 409 1-03018-00 
TADPOLE B&W Coloring Cards 5-Pack 257 1-08155-05 
TADPOLE Kit 257 1-08155-00 
TADPOLE Lightbox Overlays 257 1-08155-03 
TADPOLE Object Cards 257 1-08155-02 
TADPOLE Pract Gdbk Brl 257 5-08155-00 
TADPOLE Pract Gdbk Prn 257 7-08155-00 
TADPOLE Report, Visual Skills (10-Pack) 257 1-08155-04 
TADPOLE Soft Snap Puzzles 8-Pack 257 1-08155-06 
Talk to the Wilson 494 1-03993-00 
Talking Cooking Thermometer 493 1-03992-00 
Tasha Tadpole Puzzle Book Brl 257 5-08155-01 
Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book Lp 257 1-08155-01 
Teach Me to See DVD 418 1-30044-DVD 
Test Ready +Math Bk 3 Student Bk, Brl 302 5-00506-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 3 Student Bk, Lp 302 7-00506-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 3 Tea. Guide, Brl 302 5-00505-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 3 Tea. Guide, Lp 302 7-00505-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 4 Student Bk, Brl 302 5-00508-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 4 Student Bk, Prt 302 7-00508-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 4 Tea. Guide, Brl 302 5-00507-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 4 Tea. Guide, Prt 302 7-00507-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 5 Student Bk Brl 302 5-00510-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 5 Student Bk Prt 302 7-00510-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 5 Teacher's Guide Brl 302 5-00509-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 5 Teacher's Guide Prt 302 7-00509-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 6 Student Bk Brl 302 5-00512-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 6 Student Bk Prt 302 7-00512-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 6 Teacher's Guide Brl 302 5-00511-00 
Test Ready +Math Bk 6 Teachers' Guide Prt 302 7-00511-00 
The Best for a Nest 390 5-12301-00 
The Boy and the Wolf 205 6-77900-00 
The Boy and the WolfBrl Reader's Guide 205 6-77904-00 
The Wilson Digital Recorder Version 3 67 1-03993-01 
Transition Tote Back Pack 259 1-08211-00 
Treks 370 1-08910-00 
TWiG Kit 1 Contracted Braille 391 3-00205-00 
TWiG Kit 1 Labels Contracted Brl Packs 391 3-00205-CL 
TWiG Kit 1 Labels Uncontracted Brl Packs 391 3-00206-UL 
TWiG Kit 1 Uncontracted Braille 391 3-00206-00 
Verbal View of Excel 2007 386 D-10520-00 
Verbal View Word 2007 386 D-10518-00 
Wright Group: TWiG 2, Labels Contracted Braille Pack 391 3-00207-CL 
Wright Group: TWiG 2, Labels Uncontracted Braille Pack 391 3-00208-UL 
Wright Group: TWiG 2, Uncontracted Braille 391 3-00208-00 
Wright Group: TWiG Kit 2, Contracted Braille 391 3-00207-00 

Completed Projects (Chart I)

This is a summary of 128 Completed Projects. See Project Status: Chart VI for details.

Active Projects (Chart II)

This is a summary of 250 Active Projects. See Project Status: Chart VI for details.

Parking Lot Projects (Chart III)

This is a summary of 21 Parking Lot Projects. See Project Status: Chart VI for details.

Pipeline Projects (Chart IV)

This is a summary of 50 Pipeline Projects. See Project Status: Chart VI for details.

Compilation of Projects (Chart V)

This is a compilation of data for all projects. See Project Status: Chart VI for details.

Project Status (Chart VI)

Status of Product Development
as of September 30, 2011 
Category Pipeline Parking Lot Active Complete Grand Total 
Assessment 74 28 107 
Assist. Tech. & Elect 10 24 
Career Ed. & Trans     
Communication Modes & Lit Ed 16 54 32 105 
Daily Living 10 12 31 
Early Childhood 26 12 45 
English & Language Arts       
Fine Arts       
Health     
InSights / Special Touch     
Math 23 16 46 
O&M/Concept Development 15 
Physical Education     
Recreation & Leisure 11 
Social Studies & Geography 12   15 
Science   10 13 
Science & Health       
Self Determination       
Social Interaction       
Visual Efficiency & Low Vision   11 
Grand Total 50 21 250 128 449