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APH News: March 2018

Your monthly link to the latest information on the products, services, and training opportunities from the American Printing House for the Blind.

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

Tactile Algebra Tiles Guidebook cover

Read on to learn about these new products – now available!

A Message to Our Customers

Statement Regarding Availability of Orbit Reader 20

Thank you for your interest in the Orbit Reader 20. This refreshable braille display is the result of a partnership of the members of the Transforming Braille Group. Launched earlier this year, the Orbit Reader reduces the cost of refreshable braille, making it affordable to those who may not have been able to enjoy this technology previously.

As part of our quality control process, and based on feedback of some early users, we have identified some improvements in the functionality of the Orbit Reader 20. To ensure we are delivering the best product possible, we are holding on new shipments of the Orbit Reader until these changes can be incorporated into our production process. Manufacturing of these updated devices should begin shortly, and we anticipate that Orbit Readers will available for purchase this summer.

APH and KSB Host 8th Kentucky Regional Braille Challenge

photo of a young girl seated at a brailler

photo of the crowd of participants and parents at the award ceremony

Partnering with local organizations is a win-win for APH employees. Last month’s eighth annual Kentucky Regional Braille Challenge afforded APH employees the opportunity to support 34 Kentucky students who rose to the Challenge to compete in contests of braille skill and ability. The students were a part of the Kentucky Regional Braille Challenge, hosted by the American Printing House for the Blind and the Kentucky School for the Blind as part of the Braille Institute of America’s National Braille Challenge.

Participants were welcomed by mascots from the Louisville League of Mascots as they began their day of contests in spelling, reading comprehension, charts and graphs, proofreading, and speed and accuracy. Sergio Oliva, Director of National Programs at the Braille Institute, was the event’s keynote speaker. Oliva also met with students and their families, and assisted Craig Meador, APH President, and Jackie Williams, KSB Principal, in awarding medals and prizes to the contestants.

APH employs many certified braille transcribers who were on hand for the event to proctor, score, and support the day’s activities. APH’s Janie Blome and Jane Thompson served as co-planners of the event along with staff from KSB. The event also allowed employees across departments at APH to interact with students, families, and educators at the event.

Other activities during the day included a hands-on demonstration of the APH Graphiti, a visit from docents at the Louisville Zoo with animals and pelts, and a performance of “The Life of Louis Braille In Six Parts,” written and performed by fourth and fifth grade students at KSB.

The Kentucky Regional Braille Challenge is indebted to our many volunteers and to our sponsors, including the Lester E. Yeager Charitable Trust, the Emma L. Snyder Charitable Foundation, and the Readers Digest Partners for Sight Foundation.

New! Tactile Algebra Tiles

1-08410-00 – $159.00

Tactile Algebra Tiles Guidebook cover

A mathematical manipulative that provides students with concrete models for approaching abstract algebraic concepts and procedures.

Tactile Algebra Tiles is an accessible version of traditional algebra tiles, specifically designed for students with blindness and low vision. It includes magnetic tiles that students can manipulate on a steel board and uses tactile symbols to help students differentiate between tiles. Consistent with the traditional algebra tiles used by sighted students, Tactile Algebra Tiles allow students who are visually impaired to work together with their classmates in inclusive classrooms.

This product can be used by students in elementary through high school for adding, subtracting, and multiplying integers, simplifying expressions, solving linear and quadratic equations, and for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and factoring polynomials. A guidebook is provided where users can find examples of using algebra tiles to solve math problems.


  • Working Board and Storage Board (1 ea.)
  • Magnetic Algebra Tiles
  • Guidebook in Large Print and in Braille

Recommended ages: 6 years and up.

New! Holy Moly

6-77910-00 – $47.00

Holy Moly Cover image

open Holy Moly book, inside pages showing laces and holes

This colorful tactile board book with rhyming text and interactive components encourages young tactual learners to use their fingers to explore holes in a variety of sizes and locations, lift flaps, weave a cord in and out to tie a knot or bow, count the holes, and, discover that some holes aren’t what they seem! (Hint: they’re round scented stickers and textured appliques).

Holy Moly was designed for learners up to three years of age. The multisensory and interactive components engage the child in a movement or action that is connected to the text in a meaningful way. And as children keep hands busy exploring these features, they encounter the braille text and manipulate sturdy, easy-to-turn pages.

"The little one loved this book. The story is fun and rhythmical and the tactile illustrations are wonderful," commented one of our field testers. Engage a young child today in the fun of reading and experience the adventure of finding something new to touch and do on each page. Holy Moly, this could be fun!

Recommended ages: up to 3 years.

Updated! Expanded Dolch Word Cards

1-03560-01 – $42.00

These large print/braille flashcards can be used for reading practice or an informal assessment of a student’s ability to read words in contracted braille and spell words in uncontracted braille. Words are shown in contracted braille on one side and uncontracted braille on the other, with large print on both sides. Picture word cards contain a picture corresponding to the word.


  • 315 sight vocabulary words
  • 95 words with pictures
  • 75 blank cards
  • 54 indexing cards with tabs
  • storage box

Recommended ages: 5 years and up.

Updated! Braille Contraction Cards

1-03561-01 – $38.00

These large print/braille flashcards are for practicing the Literacy Braille contractions. Includes 282 cards, 78 blank cards, 30 indexing cards with tabs, and a storage box.


  • Alphabet and numbers
  • Punctuation and composition signs
  • One-cell whole-word and part-word signs
  • Two-cell contractions
  • Short-form words

Recommended ages: 6 years and up.

Field Tests and Surveys

Graphiti Field Testers Needed

photograph of Graphiti unit displaying an APH logo

The Graphiti is a refreshable tactile graphics display developed by Orbit Research and the American Printing House for the Blind. Graphiti’s breakthrough technology allows graphics to be represented by means of an array of variable-height pins. The unit consists of a 60 x 40 grid of variable-height, equidistant pins. Graphiti features the ability to detect touch, so the student can draw, zoom, or scroll directly on the display.
To watch videos of the Graphiti in action and see a list of features, visit our website @

APH is seeking field evaluators working with students or clients who are blind and visually impaired. Teachers will test software, hardware, connectivity design, and functionality of the Graphiti. Input is needed to inform the development of tactile graphics for specific content areas, and assessing the potential for use in the classroom and for online testing.

APH will begin field evaluations in the spring of 2018. If you are interested in helping to evaluate the Graphiti, please complete a field evaluator form @

Seeking Beta Testers for Flip-Over FACES, an iOS app

Flip-Over Faces logo features a cartoon of a smiling girl

APH is seeking beta testers for Flip-Over FACES, an iOS® app that is designed for students with visual impairments, specifically those with low vision and CVI, as well as those with additional disabilities, including autism. The app can be played in the company of sighted peers (and adults) of all ages! It allows students five years of age or older to learn about facial expressions within a versatile and fun context. Over a thousand face combinations and expressions can be generated with a simple finger swipe to change eyebrow position, eye direction, and mouth type. Choose from various hairstyles and eyeglass options to create a seemingly endless number of facial expressions—sad, happy, surprised, angry, skeptical, etc. An audio description of each facial feature is instantly accessible as new face combinations are generated. The background color toggles between black and white to allow for ideal visual contrast for the student and personal preference. Save your favorite face(s) in your own personal folder for later retrieval and sharing with friends.

A beta version of the app is expected to be available for testing in April 2018.

Requirements for beta testing the iOS version of Flip-Over FACES include the following:

  • Access to iPhone®, iPad®, iPad mini™, or iPod touch® with iOS 10.1 or later
  • Ability to directly test the app with students, 5 years of age or older, with low vision or CVI (with or without other disabilities) over a 2-month duration and complete an online product survey

If you would like to be considered for beta testing Flip-Over FACES, please complete this online survey by April 5, 2018:

IOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license. Apple, iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPod touch, TestFlight, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Products to Support Music Education

APH wants to know about your needs in relation to teaching the music braille code. Please take a few moments to complete a short survey on this topic. The music braille code survey can be found at

Help us out with this sticky issue!

photo of Feel 'n Peel Stickers kit

What additional Feel ꞌn Peel Stickers packages are still needed?

APH currently produces a variety of Feel ꞌn Peel Sticker packages (e.g., alphabet stickers, smiley/frowny face stickers, tactile point symbols, etc.) and is in the process of developing more options for teachers, students, and adult consumers to choose from. Please take a few minutes to identify tactile sticker packages that are still needed and provide feedback on your current use of the Feel ꞌn Peel Sticker series in this brief 12-question survey.

Thanks for your time and suggestions!

Light Box Ledge field test opportunity

Do you have students who work best using a light box in an upright or semi-upright position? Do items on the angled surface frequently slide off? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, consider field testing a ledge to help keep items on the lighted surface. The adaptive ledges fit to the APH Mini Lite Box and larger APH Light Box.

Light Box Ledge Initial Field Tester Survey:

APH’s Websites: We Want Your Feedback on Accessibility!

When accessing the web, are you a synthetic speech user, screen magnification user, or user of other accessible technologies? APH would like your feedback on the accessibility of our websites! If you have thoughts about the accessibility of the following: or, please email your comments to email hidden; JavaScript is required. We appreciate your time!

APH Winter Wonderland Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Winter Wonderland Sale 2018, January 1—March 31. As always, first come, first served.

STEM Corner

Science Teachers and TVIs!

Photo of Science Literacy book

Science Literacy: A Curriculum for ALL Students with Sensory Impairments is a publication from the Perkins School for the Blind guided by the principles of Universal Design. This resource details how to make science learning accessible to students with sensory impairments. Published in 2016, the book comprises a large binder divided into four sections, one for each grade division: K-2; 3-5; 6-8; and 9-12. The content is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core State Standards, as well as the Expanded Core Curriculum.

Edited by veteran professionals in the vision impairment and deafblindness fields, Kate Fraser and Mary Zatta, the book provides simple yet effective ways to bring life science, physical science, and Earth and space science into the classroom. It includes strategies, suggested materials, a scope and sequence as well as a resources section before the main text of the book.

Delta Gamma Foundation Awards $6,000 to Braille Tales Program

Delta Gamma Foundation logo features an anchor

APH is pleased to announce that Delta Gamma Foundation has awarded $6,000 to support APH’s Braille Tales program. The Delta Gamma Foundation fosters lifetime enrichment for members, promotes Service for Sight, and partners with the Delta Gamma Fraternity to ensure the future of their sisterhood. Their generous contribution will allow children 5 years of age or younger, who are blind or visually impaired, to obtain six free print/braille books per year through the Braille Tales Program.

Braille Tales is a partnership between the American Printing House for the Blind, the Dollywood Foundation and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to provide young children with print/braille books in audio formats. By enrolling in the Braille Tales Program, eligible families receive six free print/braille books per year until the child reaches his/her sixth birthday.

Delta Gamma is just one supporter of the Braille Tales program. To learn more about Braille Tales, including how you or your organization can sponsor a child for just $75 per year, please visit:

The Unforgettable Stars Contest is Back for Spring!

Unforgettable APH Star logo

The deadline for entries to the Spring 2018 Video Contest is Tuesday, April 24th. For complete contest rules and examples from past competitions, visit our contest page:

Recording a video about your favorite APH product is easy – just use your phone, tablet or other recording device and upload the video directly to our contest page.

Cash prizes up to $150.00 will be awarded to the top three videos as chosen by APH judge. There will also be an APH t-shirt for the teachers, parents or co-workers who record the winning videos.

Have fun!

2018 Sport Camps

Cartoon drawing of a child swimming

It is that time of year again to start thinking all things camp. Check out the 2018 listing of camps on the APH Physical Education, Recreation, and Health website.

If your state does not offer a camp, we have the “download” on how to start one.

News from the Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

There’s a new video on the Hall of Fame facebook page. Please check it out and "like" and comment if you can.

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to honoring the tradition of excellence manifested by the individuals inducted into the Hall who have provided outstanding services to people who are blind or visually impaired. The Hall of Fame is housed at APH and is a project of the entire field of blindness.

APH InSights Art Competition Reminder!

Picture of the Mona Lisa as rendered in simulated braille dots

This deadline for student artists from preschool through high school is March 16, 2018. The deadline for adult artists is March 23, 2018.

Rules and entry forms are available for download on the APH InSights Art webpage.

Share Your Story

Logo reads: APH 160th 1858-2018. Words are wrapped in a laurel wreath

In celebration of our 160 Year Anniversary, APH is hosting a national writing contest. Students and adults who are blind or visually impaired*, as well as professionals in the field are invited to share their stories about the impact of APH products on their lives, as well as celebrating their personal success stories.

The writing contest consists of five categories:

  • Grades 3-5 (maximum of 250 words)
  • Grades 6-8 (maximum of 500 words)
  • Grades 9-12 (maximum of 750 words)
  • Adult Consumers (maximum of 1,000 words)
  • Professionals (maximum of 1,000 words)

Each category has a specific essay topic. Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second and third places in each category. The deadline for all entries is June 1, 2018.

For additional information about rules, eligibility, and evaluation criteria, as well as official entry forms, please visit the contest website at Questions? Contact Nancy Lacewell at email hidden; JavaScript is required or 502-899-2339, or Lauren Hicks at email hidden; JavaScript is required or 502-895-2405.

*For the purposes of this contest, visual impairment is defined as corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, or a visual field limited to 20 degrees or less. This includes those who function at the federal definition of blindness (FDB), described above, due to brain injury or dysfunction.

Treasure From the Migel Library

Photo of Francis Burdett with many of his tools One example of the illustrations used to clarify Burdett's building challenges asks the reader to take a piece of 2 x 4 and a brace and bit and try to drill a straight hole.

Vahrenkamp, William, and J. W. Greenhalgh. The House the Blind-Man Built: Illustrated, a Synopsis of a Blind-Man’s Methods of Building a House, Showing Courage and Patience Seldom Found in Human Beings … William Vahrenkamp, 1928.

Francis A. Burdett was a jeweler who became blind at the age of 50. Twelve years later, he decided to fulfil a dream and build his own home. With absolutely no experience in homebuilding or assistance from other people, he was able to plan and construct a three-story, seven-room house in under three years. The builder and his accomplishment are extraordinary, but the way in which this book was written is impressive in its own right. It is unique in its use of examples, exercises, and “meditations” to help place the reader in the shoes of the builder through the whole process, allowing the reader to understand the difficulty of what Mr. Burdett was doing. Numerous illustrations further clarify the project with incredible detail. The House the Blind-Man Built has been digitized for Internet Archive at

Social Media Spotlight

Social Media Spotlight logo

APH’s Story Told on Our YouTube Channel

Have you viewed our YouTube videos recently? There’s plenty to see—product demos and how-to videos, our weekly Quick Tips that show products and tell you what’s happening at APH, Annual Meeting presentations, and amazing historical videos as well. Please “Like” your favorites, subscribe to our channel, and let us know what content you would like us to add. Start watching now!

"Like" APH at Our Facebook Page!

Facebook Logo

We invite you to visit our Facebook page and "Like" us! You can find APH at these social media sites: Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and at our blog, Fred’s Head from APH.

APH Braille Book Corner

APH offers a number of recreational books in braille available with Quota funds. Each of these titles was originally transcribed and produced by APH for the National Library Service which has graciously granted permission for this offering. As usual, these titles have been added to the APH Louis Database where you can find thousands of titles produced in accessible formats.

Note: all books are produced upon receipt of orders, therefore, please allow several weeks for delivery.

Abe Lincoln at Last
by Mary Pope Osborne: T-N1982-60 — $26.00
Annie and Jack set off in their next adventure to find the third item needed to help Teddy fix his wayward spell. The magic tree house whisks them back in time — first to Washington, D.C., then to Indiana — as they search for Abe Lincoln. Part of the Magic Tree House series. Grades 2-4. *(AR Quiz No. 148462, BL 3.5 Pts 2.0)

The Girl Who Could Fly
by Victoria Forester: T-N1963-20 — $93.00
When homeschooled farm girl Piper McCloud reveals that she can jump into the air and fly, officials whisk her away to a top-secret government institute for exceptional children. But Piper learns that the school is full of danger and longs to escape. Grades 5-8. *(AR Quiz No. 122797, BL 6.0 Pts 11.0)

The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World
by Trevor Cox: T-N2051-00 — $181.50
With forays into archaeology, neuroscience, biology, and design, Cox explains how sound is made and altered by the environment, how our body reacts to peculiar noises, and how these mysterious wonders illuminate sound’s surprising dynamics in everyday settings, from your bedroom to the opera house.

No Word from Winifred
by Amanda Cross: T-N1985-30 — $86.00
Winifred Ashby, the honorary niece of noted British author Charlotte Stanton, mysteriously disappears after agreeing to be interviewed for Charlotte’s biography. The biographer hires professor and sleuth Kate Fansler to try to locate Winifred. Some adult content.

Mad River (A Virgil Flowers Novel)
by John Sanford: T-N1963-10 — $124.50
Tired of small-town life, teens Becky, Jimmy, and Tom attempt to steal some diamonds — and shoot a woman during the robbery. They continue their violent murder spree through rural Minnesota, with investigator Virgil Flowers and local cops in pursuit. Some adult content.

*Accelerated Reader quiz number, book level, and point value. For more information on the Accelerated Reader program, see the January 2006 APH News or

Are You Quick Tips-Savvy?

Quick Tips Corner logo features a post with two street signs
APH Quick Tips logo: Short videos from APH

Do you know ALL about Quick Tips? For example, could you pass a Quick Tips quiz with flying colors? Have you been keeping up with them? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, congratulations: you are a Quick Tips genius! If you answered “No,” here’s your chance to increase your Quick Tips IQ (QTIQ): Study the following brief, educational, APH-centric videos, then go watch more of them at

And…if you’ve got a great idea for a Quick Tip, contact Kerry Isham at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


April 9-11, 2018
BANA Spring 2018 Board Meeting
Los Angeles, CA

May 8, 2018
Perkins Innovation Advisory Group
Watertown, MA

CIP Event

March 8, 2018
SFSU Lab Day
San Francisco, CA


March 2-3, 2018
Texas Focus Conference
Austin, TX

March 5-9, 2018
London, England

March 6-9, 2018
Lexington, KY

March 14, 2018
Focus on Vision Impairment & Blindness 2018
Norwood, MA

March 21-23, 2018
CSUN 2018
San Diego, CA

April 6-7, 2018
Iowa IESBVI Spring Family Conference
Vinton, IA

April 12-15, 2018
Los Angeles, CA

April 13-14, 2018
Perkins Hacks
Watertown, MA

April 23-24, 2018
Charting the CS: Cross Categorical Conference
Alexandria, MN

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APH News Credits

Dr. Craig Meador
email hidden; JavaScript is required

Dorinda Rife, Vice President, Educational Services and Product Development
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Malcolm Turner, APH Website Coordinator
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Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Paul Ferrara, Social Media Coordinator, Communications
  • Justin Gardner, Special Collections Librarian, Resource Services
  • Rob Guillen, Special Programs Coordinator, Public Relations
  • Rosanne Hoffmann, STEM Project Leader, Research
  • Kerry Isham, Field Services Representative
  • Leslie Knox, Director, Marketing and Communications
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director of Government and Community Affairs, Public Affairs
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Cecilia Peredo, Director of Grants, Development
  • Ken Perry, Programmer, Technology Products Research
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, Research
  • Mary Robinson, Assistant, Field Services
  • Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant, Research

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