American Printing House

For The Blind



Research

&

Development Activities



Fiscal 2004

Mission

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.

Introduction

Letter from Director of Research

October 15, 2004

Dear Reader:

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is pleased to present the 2004 Educational Research Annual Report. I want to acknowledge and thank the dedicated APH staff, consultants, field sites, and advisors who have made this work possible. The work described within this report is primarily applied or action research that focuses on the development of products to meet needs identified by consumers, professionals, and APH staff through our Product Submission process (http://www.aph.org/products/prodideas.htm).

APH owes a debt of gratitude to the many contributors to the National Agenda for Children & Youth with Visual Impairment, Including those with Multiple Disabilities. (http://www.tsbvi.edu/agenda/national-ppt.htm). Our research is sensitive to the needs identified not only by the core curriculum but also the expanded curriculum. It is our mission to research, develop, produce, and market products that will assure that students and other consumers have access to all parts of the curriculum that will lead to successful and independent lives.

This research report not only summarizes the work of the past, but sets out a plan for research in 2005. We welcome your comments, your research agenda ideas, and suggestions on how the Research Department of APH can become a better partner with consumers and professionals. Recently, I read a September, 2004, article titled Engagement, Capacity, and Continuity: A Trilogy for Student Success, funded by the GE Foundation, and authored by Jolly, Campbell, and Perlman (http://shrinkster.com/uc). The article addresses the authors concern, shared by many of us, that students are not choosing to pursue mathematic, scientific, and other quantitative coursework that leads to a more productive and higher quality of life in our society. The closing begins with a quote from Tom Kibler, who developed the "pure of heart model." According to the article, Kibler developed the pure of heart model to help explain why so many people are hesitant to collect and use data about the programs they love. Kibler says that this has happened due to the thinking that, "If my intentions are good and my heart is pure, then I must be doing the right thing." Jolly, Campbell, and Perlman state, "We have for decades wanted to do the right thing, to inspire, to teach, and to create pathways and opportunities for every child's success. Enough passion, in the right circumstance, can lead to success but too often it does not. The passion that drives educational reform must be matched by a will to assess and cooperatively deliver an environment in which every child . . . has the Engagement, Capacity and Continuity necessary to succeed. . . We have often said to children, 'You can be whatever you want, as long as you work hard enough.' But children need access and support in order for that to happen. . . We don't need to do it all, but we must see that it all gets done."

APH doesn't need to do it all, but, in partnership with you, we must see that it all gets done. Ours is an opportunity of a life time. Let us respond to the challenge as our leaders and legends have done before us. Together we will make a difference.

Sincerely,

Ralph E. Bartley, Ph.D.
APH 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 Services Advisory and Educational Products Advisory Committees. FY 2004 committee members were:

Educational Products Advisory Committee:

Chair - Kathy Brown (MI)

Alternate

2004 - Rosie Pridgen

Educational Services Advisory Committee:

Chair - Louis Tutt (CO)

Alternate

2004 - Teresa Lacy (AL)

Department of Research Staff

Educational Research
Aicken, John, M.B.A.Product Development Manager
Bartley, Ralph, Ph.D.Director
Cox, ValerieAdministrative Assistant
Creasy, Keith, B.S.Programmer III
Eiland, Mario, B.A.Programmer I
Hedges, John, B.S.Programmer II
Hoffmann, Rosanne, Ph.D.Research Assistant
Kitchel, Elaine, M.Ed.Research Scientist
Meredith, RobProgrammer III
Otto, Fred, B.A.Research Associate (part-time)
Pester, Eleanor, M.S.Research Scientist
Pierce, Tristan, M.I.A.Research Associate
Poppe, Karen, B.A.Senior Research Associate
Poppe, TomModel and Pattern Maker
Roderick, Carol, B.A.Research Assistant (part-time)
Roman-Lantzy, Chris, Ph. D.Consultant/Project Leader (part-time)
Smith, Rodger, A.A.S.Programmer I
Skutchan, Larry, B.A.Research Scientist
Terlau, Terrie, Ph.D.Research Scientist
Travis, Ann, B.A.Research Assistant
Vaught, Monica, B.A.Research Assistant
Wright, Suzette, B.A.Research Associate (part-time)
Wright, Tessa, B.A.Research Assistant


Technical Research Division
Donhoff, DarleneTechnical/Clerical Assistant
Hayden, FrankManager
McGee, DavidManufacturing Specialist
Robinson, JamesManufacturing Specialist


Accessible Tests Department Staff
Allman, Carol, Ph.D.Consultant/Instructor
Coffey, Monica, B.A.Accessible Test Editor
Garrett, DenaAccessible Media Editor
Henderson, Barbara,M.A.Test & Assessment Project Leader
Scott, Kristopher, M.A.Accessible Test Editor
Willis, Deborah, M.A.Director

Agencies Participating in Research

In addition to the agencies named here, appreciation is also extended to the many other agencies that cooperated with APH's research efforts by permitting members of their staffs to serve as consultants, reviewers, or respondents to requests for information.

Consultants

In addition to the consultants formally acknowledged in this section, appreciation is extended to the many individuals who have willingly given of their time and expertise in cooperating with the various research and development projects underway by responding to questionnaires, by answering less formal queries for information, and by working with research staff in countless ways such as: (a) identifying particularly talented teachers and other professionals to serve on committees and/or as expert reviewers; (b) recommending programs, teachers, and students to participate in field tests; and (c) facilitating field evaluation efforts. Only through the splendid and continuing support of professionals working in the field and the people they serve is APH able to maintain an effective research and development program.

Field Evaluators

Alphabet Scramble

Braillable Labels and Sheets

Braille Production Study

Collegiate Bold Line Spiral Notebook

Invisiboard

Primary Math Units

Rolling Right Along Construction Kit

Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding

Sound Ball

World Maps


Accessible Tests

Department

Activities

FY 2004

Deborah H. Willis

Director


Accessible Tests Department

Deborah H. Willis


Accessible Tests Department

(Formerly Test Central)

(Continuing)

Purpose

In response to recommendations by APH's Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) 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 blind and visually impaired individuals during test development, and to enhance the test performance of blind and visually impaired individuals through research, education, and communication.

Project staff

Core Team

Council

Background

During a brainstorming session concerning 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 some 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. Basic research into test-related issues.

Test Central received significant federal support throughout FY 2002 and 2003. Just prior to APH's 2002 Annual Meeting, a group of Annual Meeting attendees assembled for a preliminary meeting to begin drafting guidelines for making tests accessible to blind and visually impaired individuals.

A Test Central Council was formed and met at APH in March 2002. Recommendations of the Council included:

A training workshop for test editors was conducted in FY 2002. The test editor trainees were tested to determine their level of test editing skills. Tests were scored and feedback was provided to each of the 21 trainees who had completed the take-home test. Throughout FY2002, Test Central project staff attended and presented at numerous relevant workshops and conferences.

Two test editor positions were approved and two of the Research Assistants in the Department of Educational and Technical Research accepted these permanent, full-time positions. During the last quarter of FY 2002, APH decided that Test Central would become its own department, working side-by-side with ATIC staff, under the general direction of the Vice-President of Products and Services, Bob Brasher. During the last quarter of the 2002 fiscal year, Test Central began taking on some pilot projects to edit tests and test prep materials for presentation in braille, with accompanying tactile graphics.

Test Central activities soon included drafting position papers that address a variety of test-related issues and areas of concern. The first position paper was written by Dr. Terrie Terlau and Fred Gissoni of APH and addressed use of the abacus in test-taking situations.

At the beginning of FY 2003, a second Test Editor Training Workshop was held at APH. The trainees, made up of teachers and transcribers, came from Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Information conveyed focused on the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Presentation of sample test items offered ample opportunity for the trainees to work in small and large groups to practice and discuss what they had learned.

In January 2003, APH Test and Assessment Project Leader, Barbara Henderson, joined Test Central in order to unify effort, maximize service to the field, and increase consistency in test editing and presentation. Identification of high priority test needs that result in catalog items, as well as test-related work done on a contract basis, were redirected to flow through a single channel, Test Central, rather than through different departments. At this time, Barbara took on primary responsibility for working with APH's web site coordinator to develop site content and construct a direct link from APH's main page to Test Central's page. Test Central staff agreed upon a logo for their new department.

The second meeting of the Test Central Council (TCC) was held at APH in early February 2003. Three major test developers and publishers, Harcourt, CTB McGraw-Hill, and Data Recognition Corp. (DRC) were represented at this meeting. TCC members, along with special guests Alice Golden from DRC and Linnie Calland from Kentucky Department of Education, were joined by an array of APH staff that included Test Central Core Team members. Several discussions focused on common problems involved in testing students with disabilities.

Some of the recommendations that resulted from the Second TCC included:

APH's Test Central sent a letter of support for National Center on Educational Outcome's (NCEO) proposed research project on An Examination of the Use of Multiple Modalities for the Achievement of Literacy Standards by Students with Disabilities. NCEO received funding for this project from Office of Special Educational and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) Research and Innovation to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities.

In spring 2003, the name of the department was changed from Test Central to Accessible Tests Department. APH also became an Educational Testing Service (ETS) certified "test safe" vendor.

During FY 2003, over 100 tests were edited and Notes for Test Transcribers were written by Accessible Test Editors Kris Scott and Monica Coffey for presentation of tests in braille/tactile format. Most of these tests also required Test Administration Notes.

After completing its experimental project, it was decided that the department would create a sample test that would demonstrate most promising practices of making test items accessible. Released test items were used with permission from Illinois and Ohio Departments of Education. The three testing media (large print, braille, audio) were coordinated to be usable independently and in a small workshop environment.

In Sept. 2003, 24 staff members from ten different test publishers participated in an Accessible Tests workshop. The purpose of this workshop was to provide information on test development and adaptation to help ensure accessibility so that No Child is Left Behind. The sample test that had been created in multiple accessible media was used at the Test Publishers Workshop.

In the last quarter of FY 2003, APH Accessible Tests Department was awarded its first contract to edit and produce the 2004 statewide assessments in large print for an individual state. The Accessible Tests Department's charge was expanded at the request of the Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) which met in May of 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, Barbara Henderson developed a short online survey that was posted on APH's web site. Let's Get Ready for Testing asked trustees and vision teachers which practice materials and/or test prep materials they are currently using and what materials are needed. Results showed overwhelmingly that this was a very high priority need and that each state used different materials. Generic test prep materials were selected for adaptation into braille and large print and a new project was embarked upon.

Work during FY 2004

Starting with APH's 2003 Annual Meeting, Barbara Henderson presented a poster session on the Accessible Testing Universe, and Carol Allman and Monica Coffey presented a poster session on Accessible Test Department Services. Project leader Barbara Henderson and Monica Coffey, Accessible Tests Editor, presented a conference session entitled Challenges in Assessing Students with Visual Impairments at the No Educator Left Behind: 39th Annual Programs for Exceptional Children Conference, Louisville, Kentucky, November 23-25, 2003.

A second Accessible Tests workshop was presented at APH on January 14-15, 2004. Departments of education in 12 states plus several test publishers were represented. Evaluations indicated a high level of satisfaction with the material presented and the atmosphere of the workshop.

As an invited guest speaker, Barbara Henderson presented a plenary session on Accessible Computerized Testing at Space Science the Special Way with a Twist from Assistive Technology Conference, February 11-13, 2004, at the Science Museum of Richmond, Virginia.

Accessible Tests Editor Monica Coffey attended the Association of Test Publisher's (ATP) Innovations in Testing Conference in Palm Springs, California, February 2-5, 2004.

Consultant, Carol Allman, Ph.D., provided a daylong workshop on November 14, 2003, for the Florida Department of Education entitled Universal Design in Testing with Special Attention to Visually Impaired Individuals. Her presentation was on Testing Literacy: What We Need for Success, Dec. 5, 2003, at the Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition, Carol presented a session at the May 17-21, 2004, meeting of the Division on Assessing Special Education Students (ASES) in Washington, D.C.

Gage Brogan and Transcriber Bev Pfister provided presentations on guidelines for test transcribers and APH test specifications during Beyond the Guidelines Phase II: Textbook and Test Transcription Training for APH Outsources, February 23-25, 2004, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In March 2004, Mary Nelle McLennan, Advisor to the President, and Debbie Willis, Director, planned and facilitated the Accessible Tests Department Strategic Directions

Planning Session. Bob Brasher, Carol Allman, and Accessible Tests staff participated. New departmental goals and priorities were set as a result of the session.

Two new position papers were written by Carol Allman and edited by Kristopher Scott: Use of Extended Time and Use of Testing Accommodations. Both are available on the APH Accessible Tests Department web page at http://www.aph.org/tc/index.html. 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 (CCSSO) Conference, June 20-23, 2004, in Boston, Massachusetts. It was also used as a teaching tool with participants of the Accessible Tests Department's Accessible Tests Workshop, held at APH on September 15-16, 2004.

Contract work for various states continued, 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 both Measured Progress, a test publisher, and the Michigan State Department of Education, on development of accessible versions of their alternate assessments. Additionally, staff reviewed large print tests for accessibility at the request of a major test publisher and acted as advisors on several state assessment projects. Additionally, staff were consulted by the Arkansas State Department of Education on preparation of their Request for Proposal (RFP).

The department collaborated on research efforts by several university groups: Dr. Jane Erin of the University of Arizona on Effects of Test Medium, the ABC Braille Study by Dr. Anne Corn at Vanderbilt, et al., Dr. Gaylen Kapperman at Northern Illinois University on Results of Math Items for Visually Impaired Students, and the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) at the University of Minnesota, which sought and were awarded additional funding for their study called An Examination of 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 proof-readers from the braille department participated in the 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. The test was revised accordingly, with Monica Coffey coordinating the project in all three media.

Barbara Henderson served for the second year on the Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT) Bias Review Committee. The committee met in February, June, and July to review Spring 2005 test items. Barbara also continued her work with American Foundation for the Blind's (AFB) National Literacy Center: Bridging the Gap (BTG) Leadership Workgroups. As an extension of her work on Accessible Tests for Adult Basic Education students in 2003, Barbara became leader of the Production and the Test Development workgroups.

In March 2004, Barbara Henderson worked with the APH Web Master, Malcolm Turner, to give the Accessible Tests web page a facelift. Accessible Tests Department staff worked in April with the APH Communications Group to write and design the Accessible Tests Available Services Brochure. The new brochure can be downloaded at http://www.aph.org/tc/services.html.

In April the department was fortunate to get a new member, Dena Garrett. Dena is an Accessible Media Editor in the ATIC department. Dena, a 30-year veteran braille transcriber who has worked on tests for ten years, is sharing her time between the two departments. She also serves on the BANA Braille Formats Technical Committee.

A third Accessible Tests Workshop was presented in the last quarter. Workshop for State Assessment Personnel: Making Tests Accessible to Students With Visual Impairments, September 15-16, 2004, 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.

Work planned for FY 2005

Three Accessible Tests Workshops are scheduled for FY 2005. The first will be a special one-day event sponsored by Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey, November 9, 2004. ETS staff will learn general information about challenges in assessing persons who are blind or visually impaired. Carol Allman and Barbara Henderson will facilitate the session. The second workshop will be coordinated with CTEVH in San Francisco, California, March 3, 2005. The one-day workshop will target Department of Education staff, teachers, and test publishers/developers. Finally, a third workshop will be presented as a pre-conference session in conjunction with the CCSSO Large Scale Assessment Conference in San Antonio, Texas, June 19-20, 2005. This event will be of interest to test publishers and department of education staff attending the conference.

Accessible Tests staff will facilitate an on-site focus group meeting in FY 2005. Possible topics include Alternate Assessment practices and student feedback on accessible test materials. A meeting of the Accessible Tests Council is being planned for late in the year.

The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) three 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 will serve 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) has 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 and Accessible Tests staff will collaborate on phase two.

Several new position papers will be written and posted on the Accessible Tests web page. PowerPoint presentations about Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments and other assessment topics will be placed on the web page as well. Finally, staff will begin work on modular presentations for use in traveling workshops.

Current state contracts being facilitated will continue through the Spring and Fall 2005 testing seasons. However, contract jobs are expected to increase in fiscal year 2005, with the realization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) compliance deadlines. One state has already contacted the Accessible Tests Department for assistance in putting their released items into braille and audio formats. These items will be used as practice tests prior to the Spring and Fall 2005 testing seasons.

A new research collaboration will begin with a major test publisher in the area of adult literacy. APH Accessible Tests staff will prepare materials for a field study that will look at how adults with low literacy skills perform on contracted versus uncontracted braille tests.


Tests

&

Assessments

Barbara Henderson


Accessible Answer Documents

(New)

Purpose

To provide well-designed, accessible answer documents in braille and large print for use in curricular activities as well as in actual testing situations.

Project staff

Background

As more and more states move toward No Child Left Behind (NCLB) compliance, materials such as accessible answer documents must be supplied if the student is to take the test independently and successfully. It is also hoped that a collaboration with a major test publisher will result in development of an accessible "scannable answer sheet" or "bubble sheet," for use by a braille reader or a large print reader, which is machine scoreable. Such sheets are now totally inaccessible to blind and low vision students, preventing them from full participation in assessment opportunities alongside their peers.

Work during FY 2004

The project leader and project advisors discussed possible designs for a large print/braille answer document template. This template would allow use of a print scannable answer document which would be nestled inside. The template would guide proper marking of the sheet.

Work planned for FY 2005

In prioritizing FY 2005 commitments, it was decided that extensive research into proper design considerations is necessary before continuing, as is establishing a publisher-partner in this venture. Until such time as the project staff can devote the time this project warrants, it has been returned to the PARCing lot. As time allows, work will resume.

Functional Assessment

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide assessment tools for daily living/functional skills for students in primary grades, middle school, secondary school, and transition classes.

Project staff

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. Ms. Bender's system is being used as the basis for the Functional Assessment project because of its comprehensive coverage of functional skill areas, scoreable testing protocols, and concise, clear testing directions.

Work during FY 2004:

Telephone conferences with Ms. Bender have resulted in the finalization of five areas to be included in the Functional Assessment. Ms. Bender has submitted some additional materials for areas not previously covered. Ms. Bender is also developing strategies to assess a child's readiness to learn and be tested on functional skills.

Work planned for FY 2005

Completion of new materials to be included in the Functional Assessment is anticipated. Prototype development is expected to be completed and expert review and field testing is planned.

Kaufman Functional Academic Skills Test (K-FAST)

Braille and Large Print Editions

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide a functional mathematics and reading skills assessment in accessible formats for visually impaired and blind individuals between 15 and 85 years of age.

Project staff

Background

Information from teachers and service providers has indicated that there is a great need for functional skills assessments in accessible formats for high school students and adults. The K-FAST is being acknowledged as one of the best assessments of its kind, and the Kaufman tests are well-known and respected in assessment circles. Appropriate for testing mastery of real-life skills, K-FAST can be administered in a short session. In addition, the layout of K-FAST lends itself well to adaptation for both large print and braille readers.

Results of the online survey compiled in October 2001, indicated that K-FAST ranked third in terms of priority amongst five frequently requested testing titles. Thirty-nine persons from across the country responded: school psychologists, teachers of the visually impaired, testing coordinators, and heads of instructional materials centers, etc. It was clear from the results that practitioners were familiar with K-FAST and desired access to braille and large print versions of the test.

In early November of 2001, a project consultant was hired. Betty Hudgins, Testing Coordinator at Georgia Academy for the Blind, made a trip to APH for a working meeting at the end of November. An item by item analysis revealed the need for two separate editions rather than a combined large print and braille edition. Product specifications and plans were revised accordingly.

In early FY 2003 artwork for the covers was drawn and approved by the project leader. Layout of the diagrams and text for the large print edition was begun by APH Communications Group staff and proofread by project staff. Specifications and electronic files for the production run were finalized and forwarded to production personnel in the last quarter of FY 2003. Lastly, braille transcription and large print masters were begun.

Work during FY 2004

Braille transcription, large print reproduction, proofreading, and quality control checks were completed. The production run occurred between April 2004 and September 2004. Both the large print and braille versions of K-FAST were stocked and available for sale in September 2004.

Large Print / Braille Toss-Away Protractor

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide an accurate, inexpensive, disposable, and easy-to-use protractor with both large print and braille markings to be used primarily by blind and visually impaired students in a testing situation.

Project staff

Background

Blind and visually impaired students taking tests do not always have appropriately designed protractors provided to them in the testing situation. Sometimes they don't get a protractor at all because protractors aren't included with the tests. A well-designed, affordable, print/braille protractor provided as part of the assessment tool and available for classroom use before the exam will optimize testing outcomes. The protractor will be included with tests calling for the use of a protractor, as well as being available as a separate item.

After a 2002 survey of the kinds of protractors being used by math students across the country (part of the field test results on the large print/braille ruler field test), the development of the Large Print/Braille Disposable Protractor (now called Large Print/Braille Toss-Away Protractor) was put on hold and pulled back to the PARCing Lot. It was determined that several different protractors are being used by school systems across the country (including the APH Braille/Print Protractor with Goniometer). It was noted that training in use of the particular protractor being used for testing is considered very important for the best testing outcomes. In addition, protractors come in several sizes, not all of which are appropriate for use with large print and/or braille tests. Therefore, further research is being done to decide if a protractor can be successfully produced in paper, and, if so, which design and size(s) should be used.

In 2003 the project leader received several new inquiries from test publishers and assessment personnel regarding the desire for a disposable braille protractor so this project was revived and removed from the PARCing lot in July 2003. A project assistant was assigned, and a review of currently available tactile protractors was begun.

Work during FY 2004

Prototype design began, with Tom Poppe doing a preliminary prototype or model and diagrams. Specifications for the spacing, font size, etc., were written. A company specializing in precision measurement was asked to provide a quotation for design and development of the special protractor. However, it was determined that the cost was prohibitive. APH will now do the design and execution of production parameters internally.

Work planned for FY 2005

A state department of education made the initial inquiry which aroused new interest in development of this product. Teachers and DOE personnel will have input into the product design and will supply field testers. Field testing will be carried out in early Spring 2005.

National Literary Braille Competency Test Revised (NLBCT)

(Discontinued)

Purpose

To collaborate with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) to help formulate and produce a revised competency test that ensures braille teachers meet standard qualifications for knowledge of the literary braille code.

Project staff

Background

In recent years, concern has been expressed about the amount and quality of braille instruction provided to blind children and adults. In response to this concern, the Committee on Joint Organizational Effort requested that National Library Service (NLS) develop a literary braille competency test. Work on this test began in 1989. Administration of the test began in 1994. In 1996, the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) began a validation study of the test, conducting a thorough job analysis and furnishing recommendations for revising the test's content so that it closely matches the current knowledge and skills required of braille teachers. In April of 1998, NLS approached APH with a proposal for a joint effort in revising this test. A meeting was conducted at APH in May 1998 with personnel from HumRRO, NLS, and APH to review the validation process and recommendations.

In July 1998, an agreement between APH and NLS was concluded. APH's goals were maintenance of a test item bank database and production of test-related materials. NLS was responsible for administering the pilot study, identifying proctors, handling the application process, and supervising test administration sites. APH and NLS agreed to be jointly involved in the revision phase of the project. Joint staff identified members of two standing committees: the Administrative Issues Committee and the Test Development Committee.

In 1999, under the direction of HumRRO staff, the Administrative Issues Committee met in January at NLS and in July at APH, and the Test Development Committee met in March at NLS and in June at APH. New test items were developed based on HumRRO's research, and test administration manuals were drafted and reviewed.

In 2000, an in-depth review of test items, the candidate's guide, and the test administrator's manual were conducted by NLS and HumRRO. APH worked with HumRRO on development of a machine scoreable, multiple-choice, answer sheet for both print and braille users. A prototype has been used successfully with ten blind APH employees and was subsequently incorporated into the pre-test.

In 2001 the Test and Assessment Project Leader became involved in this project. NLS rescheduled the timeline during 2001, setting project completion for 2002. Pre-test materials were produced at APH for phase I, a scoring protocol was developed, and the pre-tests were administered and scored by both NLS and APH personnel, ensuring scoring consistency and test validity.

Scoring of the pre-test was completed in FY 2002. When scoring results were in, feedback from all participants and scorers of the pre-test were assembled into appropriate revisions. With revisions completed, materials for the next phase, the pilot test, were produced by APH. Test portions were produced in three media: braille, large print, and recorded cassette. NLS arranged for shipment of materials to each pilot test candidate and each test administration site.

The Operational Pilot Test was administered in Fall 2002 and Spring 2003. Members of the Test Development Committee arranged for test candidates and participated in administration of the pilot test. Each member offered feedback about test instructions and scoring protocols. Scoring of the test was done by both APH and NLS to assure test validity.

Work during FY 2004

Due to funding considerations, NLS placed a hold on all project activity during FY 2004.

Work planned for FY 2005

Work by APH on this project has been completed, with no work planned for FY 2005.

Psychoeducational Assessment of Visually Impaired Persons:

Video Update

(Completed)

Purpose

To revise and update the existing video. The video provides excellent general information on assessing visually impaired and blind children as well as identifying specific testing instruments designed for this purpose. However, certain information was incorrect due to new editions of tests being published.

Project staff

Background

The project to update the video was brought to Product Evaluation Team (PET) in 2003. The update was approved by PET and placed on the PARCing lot for further development, for such time as staff could embark upon the project. It was decided that the excellent content might be salvaged and used for at least two more years.

In May 2003, the project leader again discussed the idea of updating the video. The project was pulled from the PARCing lot for further work such as cost estimates, scripting ideas, and suggested revisions. A project assistant was assigned.

Work during FY 2004

The video was edited to correct some information, reviewed for any additional aspects such as sound quality and transitions, and closed captioning (CC) was added. The revised product became available in the last quarter of FY 2004.

Test Access: Guidelines for Computer Administered Testing

(Completed)

Purpose

To develop guidelines for computer administration of tests and assessments to students/clients who are blind and visually impaired.

Project staff

Background

Because it identified an important educational trend, this project was a specially funded initiative for FY 1999. Each year, more and more school systems will deliver their assessments via computer. If we are to ensure that students with visual disabilities are not excluded from educational experiences, it is crucial to develop and provide the field with a set of guidelines for computer-based testing.

Initial work during FY 1999 consisted of initiating an investigation of the status of computer-based testing of students in school systems nationwide. A new Test and Assessment Project Leader joined the Department of Educational Research in January 2000. The project leader contacted test publishers and reviewed demonstration software for accessibility, subsequently meeting with the Project Advisors to discuss problems with commercially available software and the possible applicability of Teacher's PetTMto this project. An outline of sections and a tentative timeline for the project were drafted. Three expert consultants in the areas of technology, blindness, and low vision were contacted and agreed to join the Project Team. The consultants wrote drafts of the guidelines sections.

In 2001, the technical investigation and drafting of sections of the Guidelines continued. An evaluation form was developed, reviewed by the survey committee, and revised as needed. Six professional reviewers, representative of the target audience, were chosen for their expertise in the areas of technology, test design, and testing practices for visually impaired students/clients. The review was made available online in order to provide timely and totally accessible review documents and forms. Final reviews of the document were received in-house by July 31, 2001.

Since results of field reviews indicated some structural problems, extensive reorganization of the document was outlined for better accessibility. Editing of the document was begun and continued through most of the second and third quarters of FY 2002. Cover design, layout, and production specifications were completed.

The project leader and project advisor, Larry Skutchan, attended several meetings of the Universal Design for Learning Workgroup of the Kentucky Department of Education's Exceptional Children's Services. Both Larry and Barbara collaborated with the Kentucky group to ensure accessibility for the upcoming trial of Kentucky's Online Assessment Test, CATS Online, in Fall 2002.

In FY 2003, the project leader and project editor presented a poster session on Test Access at the APH annual meeting, October 2003. In the new year, the project leader and James Allan, lead project consultant, made a poster presentation at the Association of Test Publisher's (ATP) Conference on Technology in Testing, Amelia Island, Florida, February 24-26, 2003. Response to the information was excellent.

With passage of No Child Left Behind, the decision was made to offer Test Access: Guidelines for Computer Administered Testing as a free download on the APH web site. Last edits were completed in March 2003, and a final check of electronic citations and links was done just prior to going to press. An accessible html file was formatted first and placed on the web site in April, with a braille-ready version following in May, and a printable PDF file posted in June.

Work during FY 2004

APH Technology Project Leader Larry Skutchan and APH programmers developed a DAISY Digital Talking Book (DTB) format of Test Access: Guidelines for Computer Administered Testing, which is available at http://sun1.aph.org/tech/dtb_info.htm. Work on the project is now complete.

Test and Assessment Needs

(Continuing)

Purpose

To determine the needs of the field with regard to testing and assessing students who are blind or visually impaired.

Project staff

Background

In FY 2003, the project leader discussed results of a short survey completed by the Deafblind Focus Group with Sandi Baker, APH Field Services Representative, and Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader. Acting as a team, they researched currently available training videos and DVDs for possible sale through the APH Catalog. The project leader collaborated with Tina Tucker at the National Foundation for the Blind (NFB) on Adult Assessment Issues. As a new member of the Bridging the Gap training group, Barbara provided workshop materials on adult assessment tools available in accessible formats for the National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs (NAASLN) Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Additionally, the project leader networked with Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) staff on needs of adult English as a Second Language (ESL) learners with visual impairments and large print guidelines.

Work during FY 2004

The project leader facilitated a workshop on Challenges and Solutions in Assessment of Adult Students at the Bridging the Gap Leadership Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, October 31-November 1, 2003.

The project leader and accessible tests staff presented poster sessions at APH Annual Meeting 2003 on the topics of Accessible Tests Department services and The Accessible Testing Universe. During the poster sessions, ideas from the field and identified needs were documented and considered for future planning.

The project leader presented a short session during the FY 2004 meeting of the Deafblindness Focus Group at APH. Participants made suggestions for new products and were asked to fill out a second survey on assessment needs. The project leader and Sandi Baker worked together to identify sources for existing videos and CD ROMS on assessment of Deafblind students.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project leader will continue work with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Accessible Tests Workgroup and will act as secretary/treasurer of AER Division IV:

Psychosocial Services. A new assessment needs online survey will be posted approximately every six months on the web site.

Test Preparation Materials (Test Ready®)

(Continuing)

Purpose

To make generic test preparation/practice materials available in accessible formats for purposes of preparing K-12 visually impaired and blind students to take achievement tests. Adult students preparing for the GED may also utilize these materials.

Project staff

Background

During Spring 2003 meetings of the APH Educational Products and Educational Services Advisory Groups (EPAC and ESAC), practice/test preparation materials in accessible formats were identified as a high priority need. Even if students are able to get their tests in accessible formats in a timely manner, there is no guarantee that they will have the same access to test prep materials. The advisory groups expressed their desire to see APH make such materials available as a catalog item. Furthermore, as an extension of the stated goals of the Accessible Tests Department, "provision of practice/test prep materials in accessible formats" was added at the request of the advisory committees.

In FY 2003 the project leader reviewed commercially available test prep packages prior to proposing the new project. In June 2003 the project leader, with the help of the APH librarian and an assistant, did a complete search of all currently available generic practice materials for standardized and achievement tests. A review of the materials was begun.

Work during FY 2004

Once the best package was selected from among those available, the project leader contacted the publisher to secure approval for the project. The Test Ready® series was deemed most appropriate for our purposes. The publisher, Curriculum Associates, has been very supportive of our efforts and has agreed to provide any print materials needed. Copyright permissions statements were secured and editing of practice tests was begun.

Work planned for FY 2005

Materials in both braille and large print will be produced and field tested in mid FY 2005, with production to follow.

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement:

Braille Edition and Large Print Edition

(Continuing)

Purpose

To make widely used Psychoeducational Assessment materials available in braille and full-color large print.

Project staff

Background

The Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III) Tests of Achievement are widely known and used to assess academic strengths and weaknesses in children and adults. Practitioners in the field of visual impairment have long expressed their desire to see APH do an adaptation of WJ for the braille reader. Identified by focus groups and in assessment surveys as one of the top three needs alongside Brigance Green (CIBS-R) and Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT), WJ-III was brought forward as a project in 2001 in preparation for publication of the 2001 revision. Permission of the Riverside Publishing was sought and two expert consultants were hired: Lynne Jaffe, Ph.D., Learning Disabilities Specialist, Technical Assistance to Schools Assessment Team, Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind and Carol Anne Evans, M.Ed., School Psychologist, Davis School District, Farmington, Utah.

The project leader and the consultants met in early FY 2003 to plan the project timeline. Editing of the standard battery for braille was all but completed during the weekend meeting. Editing of the extended battery was completed in the following two months. Work was outlined for the test administrator's manual. A project assistant and project editor were assigned and work was begun on the markups for braille transcription.

Work during FY 2004

Work on the test administrator's manual and markups for the braille transcription continued. Completion of product specifications occurred in late 2003. Braille transcription began for the prototypes. The project leader worked with the graphic artist and transcriber to make formatting and design decisions.

Because of the desire to do a full-color edition, it was decided that the large print formatting would be done by APH ATIC staff using their current techniques. Editing for the large print edition was begun in late Spring and completed in mid-summer. ATIC staff worked with the project leader to format the large print prototype.

Field testing/field review sites were established, with plans to carry out field testing in summer and early fall 2004. However, due to some production snags in development of the prototypes, field testing has been delayed until late fall or early spring 2005. Layout of cover art, packaging and other product elements were discussed with the graphic designer.

Work planned for FY 2005

Field testing/review will proceed, after which any revisions will be made. Samples of cover art, packaging and other product elements will be reviewed by the project staff. Final large print and braille production masters will be made in preparation for the production run.


Research

Department

Activities

FY 2004

Ralph E. Bartley, Ph.D.

Director


Adult Life

Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau


Adult Life Needs

(Continued)

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

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, have continued to characterize the development of products for adults.

Work during FY 2004

APH Adult Life products and their applications to specific populations were presented by the Adult Life Project Leader as follows: Helping Students and Adults Find the Right Tool for the Right Task, Workshop presented at the Biennial Conference of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Orlando Florida, July 2004; Helping Low Vision Elders Thrive: An Interactive Approach to Rehabilitation Referral and Service Utilization, Workshop presented at the Annual Joint Conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on the Aging, San Francisco, California, April, 2004; New Electronic Travel Devices and the Teachable Moment: Types, Tips, and Test Drives, Poster presented at the National conference of the Orientation and Mobility Division of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, New Orleans, Louisiana, December, 2003.

FY 2004 product development milestones and products that have become available for sale during this fiscal year are described in the remainder of this section.

Work planned for FY 2005

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.

Bold Line Pocket Notebook Paper

(New)

Purpose

To give persons with low vision access to a pocket-sized notebook that meets their needs.

Project staff

Background

Pocket-sized address books and other small notebooks are readily available for use by persons whose vision is within the "normal" range. Persons with low vision also need an easy method to record and retrieve information when they are on the go. However, such pocket notebooks do not offer the features that persons with low vision need.

APH's Pocket Notebook, catalog number 1-0428-00, was developed for braille users and has braille filler paper and index tab accessories. The Bold Line Pocket Notebook Paper will enable persons with low vision to use this notebook easily and effectively.

The Pocket Notebook Tabs, catalog number 1-04389-00, two sets of index pages for the notebook, can also be used with the filler paper to make the notebook into a low vision mini-organizer. More information about the Pocket Notebook and Pocket Notebook Tabs can be found at http://www.aph.org/catalogs/cat_html/prod_cat0405.html#i11.

Work during FY 2004

Decisions about filler paper material and design were made in accord with currently effective strategies as follows. The Bold Line Pocket Notebook Paper is to be a package of 250 sheets of 3-3/4"x5-3/4"65# paper punched with six holes, allowing it to fit into the APH Pocket Notebook. It will have bold lines 9/16" apart going across the 5-3/4" dimension on both sides of the sheet. The paper stock chosen has been used effectively by persons with low vision in the APH EZ Track product series. This paper minimizes glare, offers good color contrast, and is heavy enough that pens and markers do not bleed through to the other side of the page. Because line spacing and paper stock are demonstrably effective in other APH low vision products and because the Pocket Notebook has stood the test of time, this filler paper will not require field testing.

Work planned for FY 2005

It is anticipated that the Bold Line Pocket Notebook Paper will be available for sale early in FY 2005.

Braille DateBook

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide a braille monthly calendar and appointment-keeping system that is small, durable, and easy-to-use with a slate and stylus or a braillewriter.

Project staff

Background

Until the advent of the Braille DateBook, a braille calendar/planner that is attractive, durable, and easy-to-use with a braillewriter or a slate and stylus was not available. Although many blind persons use electronic note takers or digital recorders to store appointment information, such devices are often prohibitively expensive and information is not available when batteries die. Many blind consumers and professionals in the field have expressed the need for a hard-copy appointment book with a set of specific features that are incorporated into the Braille DateBook. The padded vinyl binder has a closure to protect planner pages, pockets to hold a slate and stylus, and sturdy rings to hold 4" by 6" braille sheets. Other materials include one year of monthly calendar pages, braille filler paper, and tabs for dividing the binder into customizable sections. The monthly calendar pages are tabbed so that the appointment pages can be stored behind the appropriate month and easily located by reading the month abbreviation on the tab. Braille and print guide books describe how to use these materials to create appointment books, planners, address books, homework assignment books, family events calendars, and combinations of these.

Work during FY 2004

Prototype development, field testing, modifications based on field test results, specification development, and final tooling were completed prior to this year. Production was completed and the product was made available for sale near the beginning of FY 2004. Procedures were established to ensure that the next year's calendar will be produced and available for sale by June of the preceding year.

Additional information about the Braille DateBook, catalog number 1-07899-05, can be found at http://www.aph.org/catalogs/cat_html/prod_cat0405.html#n2.

Work planned for FY 2005

Because the product is available for sale, no work is anticipated for FY 2005.

Braille Financial Record Keeper

(New)

Purpose

To offer adult braille users a system for storing and easily locating personal financial information.

Project staff

Background

While field testing and presenting the EZ Track Financial Record Keeper (a product for persons with low vision), the project leader was asked repeatedly by blind consumers, rehabilitation teachers, and other educators when a similar product would become available for persons who use braille. The low vision product provides an organized system for recording and retrieving static financial information that is otherwise available only in small print and in a number of locations. Braille users typically braille important information and develop their own filing system for it. However, whether or not a particular piece of information is important may not be apparent until it is needed. The Braille Financial Record Keeper would offer blind persons the option of recording a broad range of financial information in a manner that is easily retrievable.

Work during FY 2004

After the project leader articulated the product concept, approval by relevant APH committees was obtained and a brainstorming Product Development Committee meeting was held.

The product is defined as a binder that can hold 8.5" X 11" pages divided into tabbed sections, each section containing durable braille paper with question stems and ample space allotted for brailling information. Sections will be provided for each of the following types of information: banking, credit cards, utilities, income and taxes, insurance, mortgages and loans, investments, retirement, and health care and estate plans.

Work planned for FY 2005

The material to be used for braille pages will be determined and the exact layout of information on pages will be defined. It is anticipated that field testing will be initiated.

EZ Track Financial Record Keeper

(Completed)

Purpose

To offer adults with low vision a system for storing and easily locating personal financial information.

Project staff

Background

Consumers and professionals have requested a tool for organizing and accessing financial information for persons with low vision. Prototype development, field review, and revisions based on field review findings have been completed. The EZ Track Financial Record Keeper uses 22 point type and allows ample space for writing financial information. The product offers tabbed sections for recording information about banking, credit cards, utilities, income and taxes, insurance, mortgages and loans, investments, retirement, and health care and estate plans.

Work during FY 2004

Most product development procedures were completed prior to FY 2004. During this year, the guide book was completed and the EZ Track Financial Record Keeper became available for sale. Additional information about this product can be found at http://www.aph.org/catalogs/cat_html/prod_cat0405.html#n9.

Work planned for FY 2005

Because the product is available for sale, no additional work is anticipated.

Labeling Book and Tool Kit

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide adults who have lost vision information about how to identify objects and materials in their environment, particularly household items, and a tool kit to assist in labeling.

Project staff

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 will provide guidance in organizational techniques as well as labeling. A labeling tool kit will also be developed to accompany 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. Teachers can also use these materials with students whom they see infrequently.

Work during FY 2004

The project leader and consultant have conducted telephone and face-to-face meetings to redefine the book's structure and content. A final draft of the first third of the book has been completed and consultant submissions continue on a regular basis. The tool kit has been discussed and its elimination or reduction is being considered.

Work planned for FY 2005

It is anticipated that the final draft of the text will be completed by the summer of FY 2005. Field reviews and revisions based on review results may also be completed.

LumiTest

(New)

Purpose

To provide blind persons with an affordable device that signals the presence and intensity of light and that also signals contrasts, the degree of lightness-darkness of objects.

Project staff

Background

Light probes are devices that detect and signal the presence and intensity of light. These devices emit a tone when pointed toward a light source and the tone increases in pitch as the light becomes brighter (i.e., as the device is moved toward the light). When the contrast feature is turned on, the light probe makes a lower pitched sound when placed against a dark colored object and an increasingly higher pitched sound as it is moved across increasingly lighter colors. The greatest sound contrast is produced when the probe is moved between a black and a white surface.

Light probes without the contrast feature are readily available from numerous vendors who specialize in adaptive equipment for persons who are blind. However, there are no light probes available in the United States that accurately detect contrasts.

The value of the contrast feature in a light probe becomes clear when considering only a few of the tasks that a blind person can perform when using it. With the contrast feature turned on, a blind person can: determine whether there is print on a page; determine whether a page is single or double sided (important when scanning print materials for reading with a computer); identify whether a garment is light, dark, solid, or patterned; and locate the signature line on a form.

The contrast feature is built into the ColorTestTM, a high-end color detector available from APH. However, the high cost of this product precludes many blind consumers from purchasing it. CareTec LTD, the Austrian manufacturer of the ColorTest, also produces the LumiTest, a light probe that incorporates the contrast feature. Because the LumiTest is not a color detector, its cost is in a range significantly more affordable to blind consumers.

Work during FY 2004

The LumiTest was tested at APH. Although the LumiTest performed as advertised, it made a black mark on paper when it was pressed against a page. CareTec discovered that there was a significant carbon content in the black plastic case. When the material was changed, a lighter color was used and external light shining into the device distorted the contrast readings. A new material has resulted in a product that leaves no marks on paper and that provides accurate information about light and contrast.

Work planned for FY 2005

Cassette documentation for the product will be completed. It is anticipated that the LumiTest will be available for purchase during FY2005.

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

Background

Keeping bank account records on a computer provides a reliable method of maintaining check registers and account balances. However, main stream bank account management software presents some access obstacles to experienced 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 will be 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.

Work during FY 2004

The following program features have been 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 on-screen grid views; and the software logo. Specifically, programmers completed the following tasks:

Work planned for FY 2005

Final prototype features will be implemented. Field testing and modifications will be completed and the product will be made available for sale. Specifically, continued coding, testing, and finalizing the design will be the top priority for the first quarter of 2005. Next, after internal quality control is completed, the documentation will be written, and the software will be submitted to the field.

Nonverbal Communication Curriculum

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop an instructional curriculum that will help adults who are blind or visually impaired understand and integrate nonverbal communication skills into their daily lives.

Project staff

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 that will 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 within interpersonal communication situations such as job interviews, professional meetings, advocacy situations, and everyday social interactions.

Work during FY 2004

The project leader and Ms McCulloh have conferred by phone and in person about the structure and content of the curriculum. Ms. McCulloh has submitted an updated outline including additional instructional material. All contract issues appear to be resolved and collaborative work on this project will begin as soon as possible.

Work planned for FY 2005

A first draft prototype of the curriculum will be developed. Expert review and/or field testing may be initiated.

Orientation and Mobility Family Book

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide orientation and mobility specialists with an interactive computer-based tool to create individualized orientation & mobility (O&M) progress booklets for a student and his/her family.

Project staff

Background

In order for a student with visual impairments to integrate orientation and mobility skills into his/her daily life, the student must use these skills in a variety of home and school settings. The more information families have about their child's orientation and mobility needs and about the skills that their child is currently learning, the more they can encourage and support their child's use of orientation and mobility skills at home and in the community. Orientation and mobility specialists attempt to establish and maintain communication with their students' families. However, large case loads and busy family schedules may not allow enough time for individualized communication about a number of essential topics. Many orientation and mobility specialists and the families they serve could benefit from an easy-to-use, standardized method of communication about a child's orientation and mobility skills and needs.

Betsy O'Donnell and Fabiana Perla, experienced orientation and mobility specialists, developed and field tested a booklet that an orientation and mobility specialist could complete for the family of a particular student. Ms. Perla and Ms. O'Donnell are working with the Adult Life Project Leader to develop a software package on CD-ROM that would guide an orientation and mobility specialist through the process of creating such a book for a particular student and her/his family.

The software package under development contains information found effective in Ms. Perla and Ms. O'Donnell's original work. The resulting booklet provides information about the purpose of orientation and mobility and the types of skills taught. The software also includes sections to be customized by the instructor according to the child's eye condition, the functional implications of this condition, the orientation and mobility skills that the child is learning, and the child's current level of mastery of these skills. Additional sections explained the important role of the family in utilizing teachable moments and participating in various types of games and activities to enhance development of particular skills. The software allows the instructor to choose from a list of helpful activities or write individualized ones.

Work during FY 2004

Ms. Perla and Ms. O'Donnell have provided expanded materials based on their original work. The project leader has created a screen-by-screen outline of the prototype. Ms. Perla and Ms. O'Donnell have continued to refine sections of the book based on the project leader's outline. Programming has begun.

Work planned for FY 2005

Ms. Perla and Ms. O'Donnell will complete refinement of prototype content and the project leader will complete the final edit of text. Programming will near completion. Field reviewers and testers will be sought.

Parenting Book

(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

Background

Janet Ingber, a blind mother, submitted a draft outline and three chapters of a parenting book based on interviews with seventeen 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 Janet Ingber's work has been undertaken.

A database was developed to record, store, and manipulate information to be 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 raising 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.

Work during FY 2004

Development of the data base in which to transcribe preliminary questionnaire information and data from parent phone interviews was completed. The project leader continued to contact interested parents and remind them to send in their Consent Forms and Parent Information Questionnaires. Ms. Ingber conducted telephone interviews with 62 parents, from whom completed questionnaires had been received. The project assistant transcribed questionnaire data into the data base. Ms. Ingber transcribed interview data into the data base. The project leader and project assistant have begun analysis of parenting data. Ms. Ingber has completed a first draft of the first chapter of the parenting book, which provides information about parents who were interviewed for the book.

Parents have come from 38 states and one Canadian province and have been generally well distributed across the United States. The majority of the group (79%) were women. Parents came from a variety of racial/ethnic groups; 82% were Caucasian, 6.5% were African-American, 4.8% were Hispanic, 3.2% were Mexican, and 3.2% were Native American. Most parents lost at least some vision before adulthood; 76% of the parents experienced vision loss at birth, 21% lost vision before age 18, and only 3.2% lost vision after age 18. 48% of parents had no light perception; the remainder had light perception or some functional vision, though all were legally blind. 48.4% of the parents had at least one child at home under age 12 and 77.4% had at least one child at home under 18.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project leader and project assistant will complete data analysis. Janet Ingber will complete the first draft of the book based on the results of the parent data analysis. Kevin O'Connor, a parenting expert, will read book draft and suggest any revisions necessary to ensure that the book reflects current promising practices in the parenting field. Deborah Kendrick, author and journalist, will suggest revisions based on her expert knowledge of the field of visual impairment and parenting. Additional expert reviewers will be sought prior to completing the prototype.

Pocket Notebook Tabs

(Completed)

Purpose

To organize material stored in the APH Pocket Notebook.

Project staff

Background

The APH Pocket Notebook, catalog number 1-0428-00, is small, reasonably sturdy, and affordable. When index tabs are used in the notebook, material can be organized and located more easily. More information about the Pocket Notebook and Pocket Notebook Tabs can be found at http://www.aph.org/catalogs/cat_html/prod_cat0405.html#i11.

Work during FY 2004

The tab prototype was developed, a manufacturer was found, and the final product was made available for sale. The final product consists of two sets of three-cut tabbed sheets that fit into the Pocket Notebook. The reinforced tab is sturdy and easy to locate tactually. Because this is a simple accessory, field testing was not undertaken.

Work planned for FY 2005

This product is currently available for sale and no further work on it is anticipated.

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

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 congenitally blind persons 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.

Ms. 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 Ms. 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.

Work during FY 2004

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 reconceptualized 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.

Work planned for FY 2005

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.

Field test prototypes for the learning pages will be developed. A guide book for teachers will be written and a printing template based on the braille slate will be developed. Field testing will be undertaken.

Sewing Without Sight

(Discontinued)

Purpose

To produce an up-to-date, user-friendly instruction book for hand and machine sewing, using techniques that can be mastered by blind students with the help of a rehabilitation teacher or on their own.

Project staff

Background

Mike Cole, Administrator of the Orientation Center for the Blind in Albany, California and Ex Officio Trustee of the American Printing House for the Blind, noted that APH's only instructional book for sewing was outdated. He indicated that the sewing instructor at the Orientation Center could provide material for an up-to-date book that could be appropriate for use by visually impaired consumers in center-based and home-based rehabilitation programs or without rehabilitation teacher support.

Preliminary discussions of book content were initiated with the project consultant, a chapter outline was proposed, and contract negotiations began.

Work during FY 2004

The project consultant realized that, due to heavy work load, she was unable to undertake the development of this project at this time. It proved difficult to locate a consultant with the teaching experience, sewing expertise, enthusiasm, writing skill, and time needed to develop this project. For these reasons, this project has been removed from active development. However, the project is very worthwhile and will be reinstated into active development either when the original consultant is again available or when an appropriate consultant is located.

Work planned for FY 2005

Because this project has been removed from active development, no work on it is anticipated for FY 2005.

Student Miniguide

(Formerly Student Electronic Mobility Aid)

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop a small, user-friendly, and reasonably sophisticated electronic travel device that will provide a blind student with information about obstacles, environmental features, and landmarks that can not be as easily detected by the long cane by itself.

Project staff

Background

On June 23-25 of 2002, a focus group comprised of nine orientation and mobility specialists from eight states met at the American Printing House for the Blind to delineate product needs in the Orientation & Mobility (O&M) field and to derive a list of product concepts that APH might develop to meet these needs. High on the list of product concepts was an electronic travel device that was small and user-friendly and that could introduce students from a young age to the benefits of acquiring environmental information that is not available with a cane alone.

Desirable features in an electronic travel device were delineated. On-the-market electronic travel devices were evaluated through on-line surveys, telephone interviews with experts, examination of videotapes of travelers using such aids, and trials by orientation and mobility specialists and blind travelers.

Work during FY 2004

APH evaluations indicated that the Miniguide, produced by GDP Research and distributed in the United States by the Sendero Group, offered many of the features that orientation and mobility students needed in a travel device. GDP Research agreed to produce a device with modifications required by APH that would be distributed exclusively by APH in the United States and its territories. One prototype has been received and a second is under development. The product being developed by GDP Research meets APH's specifications as follows: it has a hard plastic case instead of a canvas cover; it is controlled by two large buttons instead of the single, tiny button, which was very difficult to locate and press; it has an easy-to-use interface for changing settings; with the use of an earphone or an external speaker accessory, it can provide both tactile and audible output; and it has the capacity to send its tactile output to an accessory so that an instructor can feel the same tactile feedback that the student feels.

Two accessories for the Student Miniguide have been discussed with the developer: an Instructor Drum, which connects to the Student Miniguide and reproduces the tactile feedback felt by the student; and the collar button, a small speaker to be attached to a collar or neck line that produces auditory feedback from the Student Miniguide.

Work planned for FY 2005

The final prototype and production models of the Student Miniguide are anticipated. The Operations Manual will be completed. Because the evidence supporting the effectiveness of the Miniguide also applies to the Student Miniguide, additional field testing will not be undertaken. The product is expected to be available for sale late in FY2005. The development of two Student Miniguide accessories - the Instructor Drum and the Collar Button--will begin.

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

Background

In light of the high unemployment rates for people who are blind or visually impaired, the 1993 Educational Research and Development Committee of the American Printing House for the Blind 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 and because it's carrying case has not 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. The Transition Tote Case is not sturdy enough to transport electronic equipment, note takers, and computers safely.

The Transition Tote Case appearance issues were corrected by a new vendor. However, the new case stock does not resolve issues related to transport of electronic equipment.

Changes to be considered in a new version of the case were discussed in an informal meeting with a developer of the original project. An additional text section was also discussed. Alterations to case design and drafting of a new section will be considered when the desired consultant has free time to pursue work on this project. Additional information about the Transition Tote System can be found at http://www.aph.org/catalogs/cat_html/i11.

Work during FY 2004

No work has been undertaken on this project during FY 2004.

Work planned for FY 2005

Updating materials is anticipated when the desired consultant is available.

Travel Tales

(New)

Purpose

To develop a story book that models appropriate orientation and mobility skills used by young blind and visually impaired protagonists.

Project staff

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 TV, in books, and almost everywhere in visual range. Blind children do not benefit from sighted models for two reasons: first, they can not 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 that will 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.

Work during FY 2004

After careful review, it was determined that the original work, if revised, could provide an excellent resource for use with young persons as they develop their orientation and mobility skills. Full rights to the material were obtained by APH.

Work planned for FY 2005

Revisions planned include the expansion of some story; the inclusion of ethnic/racial/gender diversity in protagonists; and the development of a sequence of stories about children with low vision using low vision orientation and mobility techniques.


Art

Staff


Textured Paper Collection

(Completed)

Purpose

To produce a package of colored paper and vinyl sheets with distinctive textures that can be used in making tactile graphics, worksheets, artwork, and labels. Some sheets will be provided by an outside vendor and others will be created in-house. Some sheets have peel-and-stick adhesive; for those that do not, an adhesive is provided in the kit.

The audience is teachers and parents of visually impaired students, and visually impaired students themselves from elementary age through adult. The users will cut shapes from the textured sheets and apply them where desired.

Project staff

Background

Over time, project developers and the model maker at APH have created numerous distinctive textures by embossing or thermoforming paper or vinyl sheets. Recognizing that these have benefits for blind readers, project staff began to assemble a collection of the textures and evaluate them for discriminability, durability, pleasantness to the touch, and other factors. At the same time, staff were in contact with Lois Lawrie of Tactile Colour Communications about carrying some of her colored, textured adhesive sheets as a complementary part of the APH set of materials.

Staff weighed the benefits and costs of adding adhesive to the sheets made in-house versus supplying a separate adhesive for users to apply and chose the latter option.

Field testing was conducted at nine sites over the summer, including programs in Maryland, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, New York, Louisiana, Guam, and Australia.

Work done during FY 2004

Revisions were made as dictated by the field evaluation. Final colors of paper and vinyl sheets were chosen based on contrast for low-vision users. A cost roll-up was used to determine quantities of sheets to be included to maintain an affordable kit. Packaging and graphic presentation of the product were established, and final product documentation written. The project was completed and the product was made available for purchase.

Work planned for FY 2005

No further work is planned for the project. Staff will observe sales and customer comments to determine if later changes are required.


Braille

Eleanor Pester


Alphabetic Braille and Contracted (ABC) Braille Study

Submitted by Robert Wall, Ph.D.

(Continuing through 2007)

Purpose

The Alphabetic Braille and Contracted Braille (ABC Braille Study) is a five-year exploration of literacy environments, skills, and experiences of children who are totally blind or have light perception only. The main organizing factor of the study is a comparison of students who are initially taught contracted braille and those initially taught uncontracted braille. The study is also collecting data on the larger issue of how the learning environment impacts acquisition of literacy skills, especially in the context of braille reading. Children in the United States and Canada are enrolled.

Core Team

For the ABC Braille Study, Dr. Anne Corn (Vanderbilt University) functions as the principal investigator. Dr. Alan Koenig (Texas Tech University) and Dr. Sharon Sacks (California State University, Los Angeles) are Quantitative and Qualitative Research Team Leaders, respectively. Functioning as Interim Quantitative Team Leader is Dr. Jane Erin (University of Arizona at Tucson). Other observers and researchers include: Ms. Liz Barclay, California School for the Blind; Dr. Chris Craig , Southwest Missouri State University; Ms. Frances Mary D'Andrea, American Foundation for the Blind; Ms. Stephanie Anne Herlich, a teacher of students with visual impairments, Dr. Cay Holbrook, University of British Columbia (Canada), Ms. Julia Ituarte, Southwest Missouri State University, Ms. Debbie Sitar who is employed by the study as a teacher of students with visual impairments, and Dr. Diane Wormsley, Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Dr. Robert Wall of Western Michigan University is a researcher and also functions as the statistician and oversees data storage for the study. Ms. Eleanor Pester and Dr. Ralph Bartley represent the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) on the study group.

Background

The Alphabetic Braille and Contracted Braille Study (ABC Braille Study) is a five-year study of literacy acquisition in children who are braille readers. The ABC Braille Study explores the development of literacy skills and charts literacy experiences of children who initially learn contracted braille as well as those who initially learn uncontracted braille.

While this study seeks to develop guidance for teachers of students with visual impairments with regard to initial instruction in braille, it also provides the first in-depth look at how young blind children are learning to read, write, and spell. This study is also the first time a consortium of eight universities, two organizations, and a special school for the blind have joined forces to conduct research.

Children in the study reside in the U.S. and Canada and attend special schools and local education agencies, as well as pre-k programs, e.g., Head Start. They are enrolled in the study in either pre-kindergarten or kindergarten and will be followed through the fourth grade.

Work during FY 2004

Twenty children from the first year of data collection were carried over to the second year. Twenty new children were added to the slate of participants. The current number of children is close to the maximum the researchers can realistically handle. Currently there are 17 children in the study learning contracted braille and 23 children in the study learning uncontracted braille. Enrolled children reside in 12 U. S. states and one Canadian province with children coming from a range of educational environments.

Each June the full research team meets to review protocols and ensure that the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the study are addressing the most pertinent issues. At the June group meeting, hosted by the American Foundation for the Blind's National Literacy Center in Atlanta, some changes were made to interview forms used in data collection. The core approach of combining quantitative measures of reading, braille contraction knowledge, and tactual reading efficiency with qualitative measures of classroom observations and interviews of all involved parties remains firm. An important part of qualitative data collection is an ongoing response to the incoming data in order to develop better methods of data collection for the next years of the study and subsequent studies that may be developed in the future. Changes to forms or procedures have been instituted to better answer the intended research questions.

Following discussions of the researchers' first two years, the group decided that there should be a way to capture their experiences. Never before have so many people observed how children who are blind are learning literacy as well as how they are educated in schools. As part of the effort to capture the gestalt of the children's environments, each researcher who observes a child will be asked a series of questions to preserve any significant impressions from that year's observations. These questions will be developed by Dr. Chris Craig.

Dr. Jane Erin has developed a writing analysis of the composition and structure of writing and applied the analysis to writing samples from the first year's data. Dr. Diane Wormsley continues to subject videotape data to hand movement analysis. These analyses, along with braille miscue analysis and the reading scores from the Johns and Brigance reading tests will become more important beginning in the current year as the first students enrolled in the study are beginning to become more proficient readers and are starting to reach the level at which these measures will be able to detect differences in the groups.

A first report on the study's findings was presented in December 2003 at the conference, Getting In Touch with Literacy, in Vancouver, Canada. The progress of the study was also presented at the Association for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) Conference in Orlando as well as at several state conferences and meetings.

The group of researchers have decided that data analyses will not be made public knowledge until the study is completed. The data being collected are vast and complex and afford few easy answers. As such, it would be considered reckless to submit tenuous theories based on half-collected data. There is a danger of misunderstandings of intent and misuse of findings unless a unified presentation of findings is made available after the study's completion.

Work planned for FY 2005

During this 2004-2005 school year, five more children will be added to each of the contracted and uncontracted groups. The addition of these students will maximize the power of the findings and provide more generalizability for the study. New forms will be generated to reflect small changes in wording or the addition of questions to interviews. Researchers will continue to collect data on the existing 40 students.

Annotated Bibliography on Hand Skills for Reading Efficiency

(Completed)

Purpose

To consolidate research on hand skills for braille reading which was being reviewed for several braille reading projects and to make it available for easy reference at APH and on the APH Website.

Project staff

Background

While reviewing literature for the braille reading programs under development at APH, this was one of the topics that seemed to garner special interest for beginning reading instruction. By annotating the articles, there will be a permanent record of the articles reviewed for these projects. This information will be readily available for staff use later, and by putting it up on the APH Website, this information will be available for others who might also be interested in researching this topic.

Work began on this project soon after Kris Scott finished a similar bibliography on Contracted and Uncontracted Braille Research that was posted on the APH Web Site in 2002. Monica Coffey, who was a research assistant at the time, pulled together much of the research for this bibliography. Later in 2002, when Monica joined the Accessible Tests Department, she passed the work that she had done on to Tessa Wright who found additional sources, wrote the annotations, and organized the bibliography. Eleanor Pester and Inge Formenti made suggestions from time to time about articles that should be included in the bibliography. In FY 2003, Tessa Wright completed a draft of the bibliography, which was reviewed by Eleanor Pester and Inge Formenti.

Work during FY 2004

Final revisions and additions were made to the bibliography, and it is posted on the APH Website. http://www.aph.org/edresearch/handskills.html

Braille Code Recognition Program

(Continuing)

Purpose

To increase braille reading efficiency through contraction recognition training and testing.

Project staff

Background

This is a revision of a product that has been in our catalog since 1965. It is based on research that is valid, but the materials are badly in need of redesign for use with students in today's special education programs. In FY 2003, both the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) and the Product Evaluation Team (PET) approved this product for redesign.

Work during FY 2004

A sample of customers who have purchased this product over the past few years were contacted to determine how they were using the current product, to ask for suggestions for the redesign of the product, and to get their opinions on some specifics being considered for the redesign. The current product materials were reviewed thoroughly, and the product redesign is expected to include student practice exercises and test materials in braille, and a teacher's manual in both print and/or braille. The teacher's materials were content edited, and are being prepared for outside review.

Work planned for FY 2005

Prototype materials will be completed and sent out for review. Based on the results of the review, the materials will be revised and put on the production timeline.

Braille Literacy for Older Blind Students

(Continuing)

Purpose

To develop a set of braille materials to introduce older blind students both to the skills required for literacy and to Grade 2 Braille.

Project staff

Background

As braille bills have become more prevalent and there has been an increased emphasis on the importance of braille literacy, older blind students are being identified who have never fully learned the important skills of reading and writing. Although there are a number of good programs available for teaching braille to adults and even a few for adolescents, all of them are built on the premise that the students already have developed the skills necessary for reading and that they are just learning a new code. Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program, developed at the American Printing House for the Blind, has been very successful at teaching children to read braille, but Patterns does not meet the needs of older students whose interests and learning styles are different from children's. Therefore, a new program needs to be developed to better meet the needs of older blind students who have poor or no reading and writing skills.

Articles, research studies, and instructional materials on adult literacy, methods of teaching adult literacy, braille reading and writing, hand movements for braille reading, and methods of increasing reading rates for braille reading were reviewed. A product advisory committee was formed with teachers who have called requesting materials to teach literacy to older blind students, master teachers identified earlier during field testing and visits to observe prototypes in use, and recommendations of trustees. The committee met in March 2000 to develop product specifications for these materials. A directing editor for the project was selected and a team of writers was assembled. Development of project materials was initiated. To build background for the writing, consultants met at APH, toured the facility, and spent time talking to blind employees about problems adults who are blind often face as well as activities people who are blind enjoy in their leisure time. In FY 2002, development of the program continued, and members of the writing team attended the National Symposium on Literacy for Adults with Visual Disabilities, sponsored by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). In FY 2003, development of the language strand of the lessons was completed and the phonics strand continued at a slower, but steady pace. The Project Leader worked on six introductory lessons which introduce braille reading and writing; informally assess listening comprehension, tactual discrimination, sound discrimination (phonemic awareness), and language development, and assess past reading achievement with a reading inventory. The plan for introducing phonics and braille concepts for reading was modified for better vocabulary generation and tactual contrast.

Work during FY 2004

Development of the phonics strand of the lessons continued.

Work planned for FY 2005

Development of the lessons will continue.

Braille Production Study

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide guidelines for production methods to be used for materials for young braille readers.

Project staff

Background

This project grew out of a discussion of the best method to use to produce captions in picture books for emergent readers who will be using Braille. This will be some of the first braille the child will really be examining. APH utilizes a number of methods for producing braille, but very little research has been done to compare the readability of the braille produced by the various methods.

This study compared the accuracy and speed with which subjects in kindergarten through third grade discriminated braille letters on nine one-character items, three two-character items, and three, three-character items to make stimulus matches with the following materials:

Subjects were individually administered four different tests in random order. Ideally, data would be collected from 20-25 subjects at each grade level.

Work during FY 2004

This project was delayed a bit when proofreading before testing revealed some errors, and the test materials had to be rerun. Data collection began with a pilot test conducted by four research assistants with four students at the Kentucky School for the Blind. Based on the results of this pilot test, it was decided that teachers would be asked to administer the tests themselves rather than sending APH staff out to do it for the following reasons: to cut down on the distraction of having an unfamiliar person with whom the children work, to enable children that would otherwise have been inaccessible to participate in the study, and to eliminate the cost and unpredictability of trying to schedule travel to administer the tests. Directions for administering the tests were revised to reflect these changes. Data from 49 subjects were collected and returned to APH for scoring and recording, and then were sent to Joe Petrosko at the University of Louisville for analyses. A preliminary report shows that although we did not have as many subjects in each grade level as we would have liked, we may have enough to tell us what we want to know without adding additional subjects.

Work planned for FY 2005

The final report will be completed. Based on Dr. Petrosko's recommendation, we will add additional subjects, or publish the findings and begin using them as guidelines for production at APH.

Fun with Braille Book

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide additional practice in using various contractions for students who are learning braille.

Project staff

Background

In a recent survey conducted by APH to determine needs in Uncontracted and Contracted Braille, practice materials for braille contractions were identified as a need for both students learning to read initially using Uncontracted Braille and for those using Contracted Braille. Research has shown that practice in identification of the contractions increases reading speed and comprehension. Books with short stories, lists of words, tips on usage, puzzles, and game-like activities, based on knowledge of braille, would offer practice in a way unique to braille readers. The Product Advisory Review Committee (PARC) approved this project, and a focus group met to share ideas and develop a detailed set of specifications for the project in September of 2001. Participants included the following:

During FY 2002, ideas were collected slowly for use in the books, while efforts were concentrated on Quick Pick Braille. Then at the California Transcribers and Educators for the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH) Conference in FY 2003, a very creative teacher, Robin Mengel, gave a wonderful presentation entitled, Fun Ideas for Teaching Braille with many fun ideas for practicing confusing characters and contractions. She seemed like the ideal person to develop this project and was approached and given a contract.

Work during FY 2004

A prototype book of 35 activities with an answer key and an introduction was completed. The project leader and the graphic designer developed a prototype cover. Evaluation questions were written, and the book was prepared for review.

Work planned for FY 2005

The prototype book will be evaluated by the focus group to see if the book meets their specifications and expectations. Then it will be revised as necessary, put on the production timeline, and produced.

Patterns Library Series, Print Editions

(Continuing)

Purpose

To develop print editions of the Patterns Library Series Books suitable for use by sighted adults to help the young braille reader.

Project staff

Background

In response to numerous requests through the years, which have increased as more braille readers were mainstreamed and working with sighted teachers and parents who did not read braille, print editions of the Patterns Library Series are being developed. The Print Edition of the Preprimer Level, the first level in the Patterns Library Series, was back translated by Warren Figueiredo, an Ex-Officio Trustee from Louisiana and produced by APH in 1998. This edition has been well received.

Work began on the print edition of the Primer Level of the Patterns Library Series when two teachers from North Dakota, Diana Mihulka and Donna Iszler, offered to do the back translation and their offer was accepted. After receiving the translation on disk, consideration was given to producing the print edition in larger print, but the decision was finally made to keep the print size the same as that used for the Preprimer Level, but use a more readable font. To allow the sighted person to better help the young braille reader with word attack skills, a new feature was added inside the front cover that walks the print reader and the child through possible steps that could be used to identify the word. The print edition of the Primer Level of the Patterns Library Series was completed in FY 2003 and is now available.

Soon after this, work began at APH on the First Reader Level of the Patterns Library Series. Since this level includes a number of books available commercially in print, it was necessary for Inge Formenti, our librarian, to contact the copyright holders and seek permission to use their books in this special print edition. When this was done, Diana Mihulka and Donna Iszler, who had offered to help us once again, were told that they could go ahead with the back-translation for the project.

Work during FY 2004

When braille back-translation for the First Reader Level of the Library Series was completed, it was taken to the Product Advisory Review Committee (PARC) and the Product Evaluation Team (PET) where it was approved along with the Second and Third Reader Levels as well. A product development meeting for the First Reader Level was held and the production timeline was developed.

Work planned for FY 2005

Productions will be scheduled for these levels as soon as the permissions for each level are received.

Quick Pick Braille Contractions

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide additional practice in using various contractions for students who are learning braille.

Project staff

Background

In a recent survey conducted by APH to determine needs in Uncontracted Braille and Contracted Braille, practice materials for braille contractions were identified as a need for both students learning to read initially using Uncontracted Braille and those using Contracted Braille. Research has shown that practice in identification of the contractions increases reading speed and comprehension. The Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) approved the development of braille practice materials. When a focus group met in September of 2001 to discuss possible practice materials, the first suggestion from the group was to create Quick Pick Braille.

In 2002, work began on Quick Pick Braille which incorporates all of the contractions and shortforms in Contracted Braille into a kit of two packets of cards. A contraction or shortform is shown in the upper left hand corner. Possible uncontracted equivalents are shown above each hole in the pack for the reader to use to select an answer. It was decided that field testing would not be necessary since this format has already been used successfully with younger students and the content is set.

Work during FY 2004

Quick Pick Braille Contractions are in the process of being tooled for production.

Work planned for FY 2005

Production of this product is expected to be complete by May of 2005.

Reading for Adults in Uncontracted Braille

(On hold)

Purpose

To provide ongoing and up-to-date reading practice of interest to older readers who read only uncontracted braille.

Project staff

Background

More materials in uncontracted braille have been needed for quite some time. Since older, adventitiously blind readers usually begin reading braille by learning the letters, additional practice reading materials in Uncontracted Braille could be of benefit to quite a large number of people. Additional practice could help these new braille readers develop fluency and speed. Research shows that older adults, the segment of the population most likely to lose their vision, need more time and practice materials to learn new things. Surveys, including one done recently at APH, show that there is a need for such materials. Some adults will read uncontracted braille indefinitely, and they would enjoy short selections on the same variety of topics as their sighted peers. Excerpts from a popular and familiar periodical would offer an ongoing source of new reading material and would be motivational to many. This would fill both educational and recreational needs for older students. The Product Advisory Review Committee (PARC) approved this project. In FY 2003, APH personnel met and discussed what would be involved in producing such a periodical and what the next steps should be.

Work during FY 2004

Because of a shift in priorities, this project has been put on hold for the present time. It is still considered a need worth addressing at a future date.

Revision of Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program

(Continuing)

Purpose

To revise and update Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program.

Project staff

Background

Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program was designed to teach reading to children who will 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 five years old are considered outdated, Patterns is now ancient history. Times have changed, and for some years full inclusion has been in vogue, first with whole language and then with phonics playing important roles as methods of teaching reading. Some teachers are having a difficult time justifying use of a program the age of Patterns. Young braille readers, however, still need a firm foundation of 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 revision of Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program. Decisions were made regarding features that should be kept, features that should be changed, 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 personnel. 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 1st grade level of the program. New approaches to teaching reading continued to be investigated.

In 2001, work continued on the kindergarten and 1st grade levels of the program. A draft of the kindergarten level was completed and turned over to APH.

In 2002, work continued on the preparation of the kindergarten level for field testing and on the development of the 1st and 2nd 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 then 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 1st grade, whole words like and and for were introduced as part words. Long vowel sounds with various spellings and other vowel sounds with contractions such as ar, er, ed, in, en, one, ow, and ou were presented. Context clues continued to be stressed. Additional vocabulary was introduced in anticipation of using it later with currently published stories that can be transcribed into braille and included in the pupil texts, a recommendation of the project advisory committee. Simple raised-line illustrations were included.

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 ten 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. Activities and lesson parts were written to illustrate that consonants appear at the beginnings and at the ends of words. This was done with phonemic awareness activities (listening activities) and sound and symbol association activities. Word patterns were used to show children how to use their knowledge of sounds and symbols to make words they can read and write (decodable words). Decodable words were used along with words presented in the lessons in context. Part words and, for, of, the, and with continued to be used to help the children make additional decodable words. Stories that can be used in separate little books or worksheets to give children additional practice with reading, using both taught vocabulary and recognizable decodable words, were written. Library and book store research was done to see what sighted children are reading and to find out if some of the current material can be transcribed into braille. Such books and stories can be used in reading lessons and for recommended additional reading. Braille contractions en, ed, er, ar, and others such as ch, sh, th, and wh were presented and used. Children were taught to build words with CVCe, een, and eed long vowel sound patterns. Some dot 5 words were taught in the first grade and more were taught in the second grade. The endings s, ed, ing, er, and est were added to known and decodable words. Vocabulary was picked up and rearranged so that all new and decodable words do not come at later levels.

Work during FY 2004

The project leader finally managed to clear her schedule enough to complete content editing of the kindergarten level. This included supplementing the terms used to emphasize phonemic awareness and the alphabetic principle, 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. In braillewriting sections of the lessons, letters as well as letter words were introduced, and the mechanics of braillewriting were taught early to allow the child to be as independent as possible as early as possible. Assessment/review lessons were augmented with a checklist for the mechanics of braillewriting to help the teacher track what the child still needs to work on, with a braille production section covering braille words and letters introduced since the last assessment section, and an oral language/concept review activity added at the end of each assessment lesson just for fun. Some selections written especially for the original Patterns were edited to relate better to kindergarteners, to emphasize concept development for a visually impaired child, and to give better rhythm and rhyme. The colors brown and black were added to complete the basic set of eight, and the previous six color introductions were moved around to make room for the two new ones. Decisions were made about how the books should be divided, and each book was given a title and introduced in the first lesson of that book. 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 on the first draft of the first grade level was completed by the end of FY 2004. This included adding ed and ing to CVC words and doubling the final consonant; using ea for words in initial, medial, and final position; and introducing ound; many of the dot 5 words; and ch, sh, th, wh , and st. Classical and popular children's literature selections were incorporated into lessons, and original stories and activities were also created for the lessons. During the summer, the project leader planned and 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.

Work planned for FY 2005

The kindergarten level of the revision will be put into production in preparation for evaluation. The first reader level of the revision will be copy and content edited.


Cortical

Visual

Impairment

Staff


Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Projects and Needs

(Continuing)

Purpose

To help APH determine both short and long term goals for future research and product development in the CVI field. Current project is development of a CVI web site.

Project staff

Background

The Multiple Disabilities Focus group identified the need for APH to provide a compilation of materials related to CVI. It ranked as the third greatest in the field on the Multiple Disabilities Survey. APH hosted CVI Synergy in May 2002. The group of nine professionals, representing both education and medicine, agreed that a clear, understandable, education-based definition of CVI needed to be established. It was decided that APH should develop a web site dedicated to CVI.

The Educational Research Department held a planning meeting with Christine Roman to outline and categorize possible CVI products for development. Ideas were developed from the list of ideas presented by CVI Synergy in May, 2002.

Work during FY 2004

Two projects were completed for the CVI population, Invisiboard and the APH CVI Website. The list of needed CVI projects was compiled and prioritized.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project leader and staff will continue to prioritize and begin work on proposed CVI projects. In 2005 these will likely include updating the APH CVI Website, creating an assessment tool, and the CVI Play Pack.

CVI Synergy Web Site

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide accurate and beneficial information to families, educators, and medical personnel who work with individuals with cortical visual impairment.

Project staff

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 listserve to help APH develop a new web site 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 web site and with the 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 web site. Photographs of children using homemade and APH products were taken.

In May, 2003 Dr. Jan organized CVI Synergy West in Vancouver, BC, 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 web site.

Work during FY 2004

APH announced in January of 2004 that Dr. Chris Roman would serve as the new CVI Project Leader/Consultant. At this point transition of the web site, review of CVI issues, and planning for future CVI products/projects was commenced. Staff review of the work on the website was completed. This draft was distributed primarily to members of CVI Synergy and APH staff for expert review. After making the appropriate additions/deletions, the website was made available by APH on September 1, 2004.

Work planned for FY 2005

The website, a continuing project, will be updated as new information is gathered. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section will be added once feedback warrants the new section.

New Promise for Students with Cortical Vision Impairment

(New)

Purpose

Most people working in the field of blindness and visual impairment recognize a serious dearth of materials for describing cortical vision impairment, and offering curricula and suggestions for helping and teaching students with the diagnosis. The purpose of this project is threefold:

Project staff

Background

The project co-leaders discussed the purposes of the project and concluded that the best way to fulfill them would be to create a video on DVD. The medium would contain three separate presentations, one for parents, one for educators and interventionists, and one for doctors.

Work Completed in 2004

An outline was drawn up to guide the taping and editing of the video material. A videographer was contacted to do the videotaping. In June, videotaping began in earnest in Pittsburgh.

Work to be completed in 2005

Videotaping will continue until completed. The taped material will be screened, time coded, and categorized into usable clips. A script will be written and the clips will be inserted into the script. Editing will continue until the three separate videos are perfected. The presentations will be closed captioned and fitted with video description, then duplicated.


Early

Childhood

Suzette Wright


Alphabet Scramble

(Continuing)

Purpose

The purpose is to provide additional braille/print, tactile/visual storybooks encouraging emergent literacy skills and to provide opportunities to practice and refine hand movements, track braille, and become familiar with braille symbols.

Project staff

Background

Alphabet Scramble features braille and large print letters, colorful backgrounds, and a rhyming read aloud story, offering students opportunities to develop braille tracking skills and become more familiar with the braille alphabet. Alphabet Scramble was first developed and field tested with the On the Way to Literacy III set of books. At that time, evaluators requested the book be produced; however, they indicated that very young students seemed to prefer books in the On the Way to Literacy series that feature more obvious tactile illustrations. Advice was sought from expert reviewers, and the book's text and graphics were rewritten to incorporate varied spacing between letters, progressing in difficulty. The redesigned book was evaluated with kindergarten through second grade students; six evaluators returned teacher questionnaires indicating the book should be produced. All but one evaluator agreed the book would benefit potential braille readers in kindergarten through second grade; however, only two child data forms were returned (far fewer than anticipated). Additional expert reviewers were contacted in an effort to determine the book's target audience and value for this audience. They agreed the book was most appropriate for upper preschool and kindergarten level students. It was also suggested that some students with multiple disabilities might benefit from the book's presentation of single lines of the same braille letter. Most reviewers were positive about the book's usefulness for students and suggested another attempt be made to evaluate the book with more students, including students with multiple disabilities. The project was returned to the parking lot until the project leader's time permitted work to begin again. The project was removed from the parking lot in the summer of 2003. Tessa Wright joined the project staff.

Work during FY 2004

A few revisions to the text and braille tracking lines were made based on reviewers' comments. The APH in-house graphic designer prepared samples of simple, colorful background art to increase the book's interest for typically sighted peers and students with remaining vision, a feature that has been repeatedly requested by parents and teachers. A Notes to the Reader document was prepared, covering the book's purposes, proper tracking techniques, and limited information about tactual recognition of braille symbols and alphabet knowledge. Prototypes of the book were created, and in the spring of 2004, prototypes, accompanying Notes to the Reader, and sample background art were sent for field evaluation over a six to eight week period. Teachers were directed to use the book a minimum of two to three times with students who were not yet reading but were likely to become braille readers and who might benefit from opportunities to learn and/or improve braille tracking skills. Seventeen teacher-evaluators returned forms collecting student information and the evaluators' assessment of the book. Testing occurred with 29 students with visual impairment ranging in age from preschool through 2nd grade; ten students were reported as having no additional disabilities. Six students had mild additional disabilities (mild cognitive impairment, learning disabilities, and mild motor involvement). Eight students were described as having multiple disabilities including moderate cognitive impairment and a third moderate to severe disability; three students were reported as having both severe cognitive impairment and a severe learning disability. In July, results of the field evaluation of the Alphabet Scramble storybook were compiled and analyzed. Evaluators recommended Alphabet Scramble for preschool through 1st grade students and students with multiple disabilities up to age 12, excluding those with severe cognitive or motor impairments. Teachers indicated that 90% of their students benefited from using Alphabet Scramble during the 6 to 8 week evaluation and could benefit from using the book over a longer period. Ninety-three percent of the students were reported to be interested in the book; 89% were interested in tracking the braille lines, and teachers indicated the story format of the book motivated tracking for 90% of their students. Before using Alphabet Scramble, 79% of the students were cited as having little or no proficiency in tracking braille. The tracking skills of 73% of all students improved after using the book, teachers said. (Of the eight students who did not improve, teachers indicated seven had received limited exposure to the book--two or fewer complete readings--and the eighth had severe fine motor impairment.) Teachers indicated that the following additional skills were developed through using Alphabet Scramble: emergent literacy skills including braille awareness, recognition of specific braille letters, knowledge of letter names and the sequence of the alphabet, and knowledge of braille contractions and special signs. One evaluator said of the book, "A nice tool that grows with the young braille reader." Many other positive comments were made concerning the book's usefulness and the need for additional books of this kind. A few small revisions to the rhyming text have been made; final files have been prepared and all materials are ready for the graphic designer to begin creation of final tooling.

Work planned for FY 2005

Final tooling, including all files and materials necessary to produce the book and accompanying Notes to the Reader, will be readied; final specifications to guide production will be written by Technical Research. The book's printed pages will be provided by an outside vendor since color contrast of the visual art is critical. The first run of Alphabet Scramble will be produced; the product will be costed; and made available for purchase.

Early Books Needs

(Completed)

Purpose

To identify needs within the field for early books for students birth to eight years and to prioritize needs in order to plan development of new materials

Project staff

Background

Reading aloud has been cited as the most important contributor to future success in learning to read, giving a young child exposure to written language in a context that is both meaningful and enjoyable. Reading aloud increases vocabulary, provides opportunities to model comprehension strategies, and to talk about words--increasing the child's awareness of individual sounds (phonemes) and letter-sound relationships. Typically sighted children and their parents have access to a wide variety of books for reading aloud. Young children who will read braille, however, have a limited selection of books in braille; in particular, print/braille book selection is narrow, restricting print-reading parents who would like to read to their young braille reader. Young potential braille readers also lack access to pictures provided in books for typically sighted children. Appealing illustrations add interest and meaning for a child who is not yet a reader. For the emergent braille reader, tactile pictures can provide a similar, though more limited service, helping the child take a more engaged role in story-reading. However, the selection of books with tactile pictures designed to be meaningful to a young blind child is particularly limited. Considering the needs of a slightly older child beginning to engage in real reading, there are also few early books in braille that offer brief, simple texts to support more independent reading. At this time, many such books must be transcribed for individual students.

Work during FY 2004

With so many books needed in both home and school settings over the age range from birth to age eight, APH made strong efforts to poll the field to determine needs, then sought help in prioritizing those needs. In December, a small group of parents and educators met for a discussion of early book needs during the Getting In Touch with Literacy conference. In April, a survey was posted at the APH website; the survey collected information from 156 respondents regarding a wide variety of types of books and formats suitable for the target audience aged zero to eight years. For pre-readers, survey respondents requested that books feature braille text (96% of those responding), tactile illustrations (93%), high-contrast visual illustrations (81%), and large print (56%) or regular print text (44%). Books with few words and simple illustrations were the top need identified for a very young child (90%). For beginning braille readers, respondents again requested books with few words and simple illustrations (78%), leveled books matching the reading level of the student (68%) and recent children's bestsellers and award-winning books (67%). The project leader also reviewed needs expressed by individual parents, teachers, ex-officio trustees, and past evaluators of early books produced by APH. A focus group was held in June to assist APH in exploring and prioritizing needs. The need for transcriptions of leveled books for beginning braille readers (such as those produced by the Wright Group, McGraw-Hill) was the group's top priority. Both narrative and informational texts were requested. The development of books by New Zealand educator, Gayle Lamb, was named second priority. Inexpensive books with simple texts were named third priority; additional storybooks in the Moving Ahead series were fourth in priority. The focus group suggested APH make use of award-winning and/or highly recommended books when producing early books, unless an original text afforded an advantage that could not be found in existing books. Focus group participants agreed to serve as an advisory panel regarding submissions of original books from the field and for other matters related to early books produced by APH. The project leader has completed tentative plans and budgets for two projects meeting the group's top needs.

Work planned for FY 2005

The two new projects will be planned in greater detail and submitted for review and approval to the PET/PARC committees.

Moving Ahead: Tactile Graphic Storybooks

(Continuing)

Purpose

The purpose is to develop print/braille storybooks for upper preschool, kindergarten and first grade students featuring tactile graphics designed to encourage tactual exploration, refine tactual discrimination, and introduce tactile symbols, simple keys, and maps in the context of a story

Project staff

Background

Symbolic visual displays, such as maps and diagrams play an increasingly important role in textbooks and computer displays for students with typical vision. This presents a special challenge for students with significant vision loss. Observers have suggested the difficulty many individuals experience in interpreting tactile displays may be due, in part, to lack of early exposure. Storybooks developed in this project are designed to provide young students with opportunities to explore and interpret tactile displays that use raised symbols, lines and areal patterns to represent story elements and depict spatial relationships among elements. Of equal importance, the storybooks offer exposure to braille and foster emergent and early 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 a choice of contracted or uncontracted braille) offers opportunities for the student to explore and read single words and short phrases.

Initially, project leader efforts focused upon identifying objectives and selecting or creating story texts and graphic media to support these. Lois Harrell agreed to serve as project consultant, authoring two books and reviewing drafts of other books. Story drafts were selected based on input from expert reviewers. A variety of tactile media were considered. Paper embossed graphics were chosen for the first book and the Tactile Visions process was chosen as the medium for three books, as it permits fine detail and can be combined with colorful graphics to create tactile/visual displays at a reasonable cost. Time was spent testing paper stocks, temperature and processing speeds for the Tactile Visions process as well as investigating means of registering visual and tactile images. A new "palette" of lines and symbols were created to accommodate the Tactile Visions medium. Sample tactile displays were presented to five typically sighted adults and four adults with visual impairment to assess discernibility.

Art, text, and layout for four books were completed: Goin' On a Bear Hunt, Splish the Fish, The Boy and the Wolf, and Turtle and Rabbit. Eight prototypes of each of the four titles were hand-produced. Storyboards featuring symbols from the story mounted to Velcro-backed pieces were developed to enable students to create their own tactile displays. A brief Reader's Guide was written to accompany the books. Seven teachers at seven sites participated in the field evaluation of the books and accompanying storyboards. Evaluators based their feedback upon use of the books for an eight to ten week period with 23 students ranging in age from 4.5 to 11 years of age. (Four students over age seven were identified as functioning below age level.) Twelve students primarily used the books' tactile graphics; 11 students used both tactile and visual graphics. Teachers identified 17 as braille users, four as combination readers, one print reader, and one "uncertain." The books appear to cover the target audience well; without dissension, teachers indicated texts and tactile graphics for all four books were interesting and appropriate for kindergarten and first grade students. Two of the books were considered to be more simple and were rated by all evaluators as appropriate and interesting for upper preschool; a majority also extended the books' value upward to second grade students. Teachers reported 94-100% of the students 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: "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;" "helped tracking skills." The tactile graphics were also credited with enhancing understanding of the stories (90% of the students). Teachers observed students engaging in a range of emergent literacy tasks. The accompanying storyboards were strongly endorsed by the teachers, who agreed their use improved comprehension, offered students an important opportunity to create their own graphics, and were highly motivating. A majority of evaluators 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. All three project consultants also reviewed prototype books.

Final revisions were determined for the books based upon field evaluation results. The Reader's Guide was lengthened to offer more information. 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. Final text, scale drawings, and layout for the first book, Goin' On a Bear Hunt, were given to the graphic designer for creation of final art.

Work during FY 2004

The project leader and graphic designer worked closely to ensure accuracy of the detailed files and registration of all graphic layers. Tooling was completed for all four books' embedded words; these are to be provided as clear stick-on labels. Technical Research completed final specifications; these and final art were provided to Production in mid January 2004. The book's preprinted pages were produced, braille plates were created and a production run of the first book was begun in September 2004.

As the graphic designer completed final art for the first book, the project leader completed revisions to the second book Splish the Fish. Project leader's files were given to the graphic designer for preparation of final art. The Early Literacy Project Leader and Low Vision Project Leader reviewed and approved visual art samples provided by the graphic designer. The graphic designer completed final art, and the project leader reviewed each piece and layer for accuracy. Sample tests were run using production paper stocks to ensure compatibility of the outside vendor's inks and the Tactile Visions process; several problems were encountered and resolved. Technical Research has also been actively involved in testing the registration of tactile illustrations produced using the Tactile Visions process to pre-printed pages from the outside vendor to troubleshoot this stage in production of the storybook. Final specifications for the book are being prepared. Final tooling for the accompanying Reader's Guide, storyboard, and embedded words packet has also been completed.

Work planned for FY 2005

Goin' On a Bear Hunt will be completed, costed, placed in inventory, and its availability announced. Final specifications for Splish the Fish will be completed and it will enter the production phase, then be costed and made available. The third and fourth books will move through their pre-production phase and final specifications will be written before these also enter production.

Revision of the Handbook,

On the Way to Literacy: Early Experiences for Visually Impaired Children

(Continuing)

Purpose

The purpose is to revise this handbook for parents and teachers to provide the most current information concerning emergent literacy for children with visual impairments

Project staff

Background

Dr. Josephine Stratton was the primary author of the first version of the handbook written in the late 1980's and published by APH in 1991. One hundred-twelve pages in length, it presents a framework for developing the abilities that form the foundation for literacy in blind and visually impaired children from infancy through the preschool years. Communication, tactual exploration and hand skills, concept development, and experiences with books and exposure to braille are addressed. Book lists guide readers in selecting appropriate books for their child, and resource lists suggest additional readings to extend parent/teacher knowledge. Since publication of the handbook, knowledge in the field of emergent literacy for typically sighted and visually impaired students has expanded. A contract was negotiated with Dr. Stratton to revise and expand the handbook; both she and the project leader would again co-author the book. In FY2003, the project leader and project consultant reviewed recent literature regarding emergent literacy for typically sighted and visually impaired children. The project leader and research assistants gathered information to update the handbook's resource lists and suggested reading lists. A wide range of new materials for parents and teachers were located and reviewed and annotated appendices were written. Commercially available children's books were reviewed in order to update the handbook's lists of recommended storybooks for children with visual impairment.

Work during FY 2004

The effort to update book lists and appendices has continued throughout FY2004, as new materials are constantly becoming available. As writing proceeded, it became apparent that a new organization of the material in the original handbook would be needed. The original handbook was organized by functional age; the new handbook is organized by developmental strands. This allows better integration of new material and eliminates repetitious discussion. A new chapter on the purpose, benefits, and limitations of tactile pictures, as well as materials and means for producing tactile storybooks was written by the project leader. Dr. Stratton has given the project leader drafts of chapters addressing emergent writing and the period when the child begins to transition to early reading, as well as sections discussing phonemic awareness, tips for reading aloud and using story boxes. The project leader has worked on editing these. The project leader is completing the first draft of an expanded chapter on concept development. She has also worked with the in-house graphic designer and Impact regarding illustrations to be used. The project leader and consultant continue to share information to be added to the revised handbook and review each author's drafts. In May 2004, the project leader attended the annual conference of the International Reading Association, attending a day-long seminar on Reading Research, a special institute on preschool literacy and public policy, and regular conference sessions on emergent literacy, early literacy, and phonemic awareness. Information gathered there and at the extensive exhibits confirmed that information in the handbook relating to emergent literacy ad early reading instruction of typically sighted students was current.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project leader will assume responsibility for completing and editing Dr. Stratton's drafts, in addition to completing drafts for portions of the handbook for which she already bears responsibility. New material will be integrated into the original material. The completed draft will be reviewed by teachers and parents, revised accordingly, and prepared for final editing. Updated cover art and illustrations, as well as a larger print format will be used in the producing the new handbook. The project leader will work closely with the graphic designer in identifying the illustrations that are needed and their placement throughout the book.

Turbo Phonics

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide kindergartners and their teachers with phonemic awareness and phonics software designed to be visible and meaningful to children with low vision and to develop their emerging literacy skills.

Project staff

Background

In the year 2000 a report came out from the National Reading Panel that maintained that phonemic awareness and phonics presentation were the methods that worked best and proved the most efficient in teaching students to read. The problem is that most materials made for emergent literacy, even though many have graphics larger than books for 4-6 grade, still do not have graphics and print of a size needed by most students with low vision. Even computer-based early literacy programs, often contain too much visual clutter, items too small to be recognized, and graphics with colors that do not contrast well enough to be interpreted by a child with low vision. Video/Audio Phonics Presentation would solve those problems and present phonemes and first-step phonics in large sizes, with high contrast, paired with audio presentation and feedback for appropriate learning and reinforcement.

The product idea was presented to Products and Research Committee and accepted in 2003. The Project Leader found a reading expert to act as a consultant on the project. Contracts were drawn up between APH and its consultants. Lessons were received from the reading consultant and were paired with meaningful pictures. The engineering consultant then put together specifications for the software. Work on programming was begun in earnest in September 2003.

Work completed in FY 2004

Additional lessons were developed and graphics and audio files were found to accompany them. The first four lessons, which have no graphics, were then developed and sent to the project leader who is putting them in a usable format for the manual.

Work to be completed in 2005

Once prototype is ready, find field test sites and send it out for field testing. Make revisions based upon testing data. Develop product documentation, final product specifications, and perform final tooling. Duplicate product from the master. Make product available.


Educational

Games

Staff


Armadillo Army

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide a simple, high contrast game that lets the student practice and perfect his lateral eye movements, vertical eye movements, searching skills, timing skills, visual discrimination skills, peripheral detection skills, eccentric viewing skills, and eye-hand coordination, while doing a leisure activity like those of his/her peers.

Project staff

Background

Armadillo Army is a maze game that uses three mazes that have wide and bright lanes. The maze is a two-dimensional overhead view as with Pac-Man, but much larger. The maze is a ten-unit by ten-unit grid, rendering 100 squares in which to move, camp out, or grab goodies.

The main character is Tex, a yellow humanoid with a yellow ten-gallon hat, whose goal is to gather up goodies in the maze, yet keep away from the armadillos that roll at random through the maze. As Tex gathers up goodies, he gets points. When he gets enough points, he accumulates power with which he can send out a yellow ray from his finger to zap armadillos and make them disappear. When he does zap them, his accumulated points decrease and he cannot zap again until he accumulates enough points again. When Tex gets through all the maze levels he wins the game.

In previous years game design and specifications were developed. And programming began in order to build a game prototype. Levels were added as were an introduction screen, a name screen, and artwork.

Work Completed in 2004

Programming, debugging were conducted. Accommodation features were finalized, and beta testing was conducted. Bugs were identified and fixed during beta testing. The test and correct cycles continued until all reasonable issues were addressed and the game was completed. The CD master was produced, and the game was duplicated and made available.

Work Planned for 2005

The project is complete.

Talking GlowDice

(Formerly Electronic Talking Dice)

(Completed)

Purpose

To develop a custom-made, accessible "talking dice" that can serve as a stand-alone product or be used with commercially-available board games by children and adults with visual impairments and blindness

Project staff

Background

During initial efforts on the Web Chase game [see separate report], the project leader recognized the need for an accessible dice (other than existing tactile dice) that could simultaneously display and audibly announce the number "rolled." Additional features desired for the battery-operated unit included the ability to generate truly random numbers, the provision of optimal visual contrast, a PLAYBACK feature, a stationary and compact case, and a contemporary appearance that is attractive to sighted peers as well.

First-year development activities involved the project leader working with the in-house circuitry designer to develop an initial working prototype. The first working model contained red LED's (in an H-configuration) that mimicked the dot patterns of a conventional dice, an easily activated ROLL button, a convenient PLAYBACK button with a No-Cheat Beep that distinguished the playback number from the "rolled number," a clear digitized voice feedback, a Sleep feature that saves battery power, and a lightweight, durable case featuring non-skid pads.

After a few refinements to the first working model, including the substitution of blue LEDs, added clear diffuser caps, and enhanced two-color/textured ROLL and PLAYBACK buttons, multiple prototypes were readied by the end of August 2002 for field test purposes.

Field testing was completed in October 2002. Twenty-one teachers, representing the states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, California, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, Iowa, and Louisiana, used the Talking GlowDice with a total of 87 students and adults. The students and adults ranged in age from 3.5-58 years old. Twenty were adults; ten were five years or younger; 31 were between the ages of 6-11; and 26 were between the ages of 12-17. Of those reporting a primary reading medium, 31 were braille readers, 23 were large print readers, and 18 were regular print readers. Twenty-six percent of the student/adult sample had additional disabilities (e.g., cerebral palsy, hearing impairment, ADHD, developmental delays).

The strengths of the device, as detailed by the reviewers included the following: its auditory and visual access, its small and portable size, its fostering of social skills and independence, its simplicity (both operational and appearance), its clarity and quality of the spoken numbers, and the playback feature. The most significant revisions made to the device based upon evaluators' feedback were the inclusion of an ON/OFF switch and a volume control selection (i.e., HIGH and LOW volumes). In May 2002, the Educational Product Advisory Committee (EPAC) granted quota approval.

Once James Robinson made final updates to the circuitry schematic, Tom Poppe updated the outer case design. The ROLL and PLAYBACK buttons were enhanced by adding braille and print labeling to each, making them tactually different (one smooth and one textured), and assigning a high-contrast colors to each. The edges of the case were sloped slightly to add a sleeker design. Artwork was prepared for the bottom of the case as well, which included the APH logo, OFF designation beside the three-position slide switch, the catalog number, and product name. The project leader then prepared final content for the Product Instructions. This information was provided to the customer in both large print and cassette formats.

The last quarter of FY 2003 was dedicated to locating a dependable overseas vendor to produce a working model based upon the readied circuitry design and outer case artwork. The selected overseas vendor modified the existing drawings by replacing a screw-attached bottom panel with a separate clip-style battery panel, one that could be easily accessed and removed by a visually impaired/blind user. The separate battery panel would also prevent unintentional handling or disruption of the circuitry board.

Work during FY 2004

Multiple working models of the Talking GlowDice were received from the overseas vendor during the first quarter of the year. The vendor was responsive to making updates to the first models that lacked the quality that APH expected. Additional models were furnished that maintained the LED brightness and voice quality originally specified, however the first complete shipment of the dice were returned to the overseas vendor due to improperly affixed diffuser caps; loose caps were assessed by APH as a choking hazard. The diffuser cap design was quickly retooled to prevent unwanted detachment. A corrected production run was received in June.

Work planned for FY05

The product is officially completed and available to the public. No further work on this project is planned.

Tootle Tiles

(New)

Purpose

To provide students with high-contrast, large imaged computer games that are the equivalent of games their peers commonly use for recreational purposes.

Project staff

Background

Tootle Tiles is a tile game based roughly upon the ancient game of Mahjong. Students will match exterior tiles in three dimensions until all tiles are cleared from the screen. The tiles will need to have simple, high-contrast designs on them. This is very different from Mahjong, in which the tiles have complicated designs of Chinese characters. The game will also have sound elements added for positive or negative feedback, as well as added programming elements to allow students with blindness to play the game.

Work Completed in 2004

Research was conducted to determine characteristics of images that would provide the most clarity and differentiation. Color selection was also researched. A list of game elements and features was developed, and programming needs were considered. Audio and graphic files were developed and collected. Specifications and rules of the game were developed as well. Programming the parameters and features of the game has begun including the outline, the base tier, the structure design, the clue commands and the accessibility formats. Product documentation as a readme file is also under development by the technology group.

Work planned for FY 2005

The product programming will be completed, and audio and graphic files will be inserted into the game elements. Game specifications will be further developed and finalized. The game will then be beta tested and revised according to tester feedback. Documentation will be drawn up as well as product routings and specifications. The game will then be produced and made available to consumers.

WebChase

(Completed)

Purpose

To develop an original, recreational board game that allows children with visual impairments and blindness to develop needed tactile skills within a fun context. As players navigate their "hungry spiders" through an insect-laden web, they learn to do the following: trace various raised lines, identify point symbols, and discriminate textures and shapes. Other concepts and skills promoted include counting, visual and tactual scanning, turn taking, spatial relationships, organization methods/sorting skills, reading skills, strategic planning, and following directions.

Project staff

Background

The project leader originated a board game design using a spider web layout which seemed ideal for presenting a variety of line paths, various textures, and point symbols encountered in many tactile graphic displays. In general, the players of the game navigate their spider token game pieces (each identifiable by a unique point symbol) through a web path of raised solid and dotted lines with the goal of capturing the most prey (represented by different textured pieces or basic shape pieces) scattered on Velcro® landing pads. While playing the game, young children develop much needed tactile skills (e.g., tracking, scanning, discrimination of textures, shapes, and lines), an understanding of symbolic representations, and the interpretation of legends/keys. The inclusion of Obstacle and Advantage cards in large print and braille encourage spatial concepts and give children a chance to practice their reading skills within a fun context. The product idea transitioned from the PARCing Lot (a residing place for pre-approved product ideas by in-house committees) to the active development stage in June 2002.

The first quarter of FY 2003 was dedicated to the fabrication of multiple prototypes of WebChase. This stage of product development focused on the following tasks:

Prototypes were completed one month ahead of schedule by the core project team and were mailed to field test reviewers in January 2003. A total of fifteen teachers, representing the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Louisiana, Arizona (two), Pennsylvania (four), Texas, Iowa, Colorado, Delaware (two), played Web Chase with a total of 65 students with visual impairment and blindness in a variety of settings (resource, inclusive, residential, private school). The students ranged in age from 4-17 years old. Specifically, 2% were between the ages of 4-6; 34% were 7-9 years old; 45% were 10-12 years old; 15% were 13-15; and 5% were 17-years-old. The gender category was almost evenly divided with 52% males and 48% females. Of those reporting a primary reading medium, over 60% were braille readers and 23% were large print readers; the remaining percentage were reported as utilizing regular print, auditory output, or two or more media. Nearly half (45%) of the sample had other disabilities (e.g., cerebral palsy, hearing impairment, speech impairments, cognitive delays). Many of the students included in the sample played the game with sighted peers.

The evaluators' comments about the game were extremely positive with 100% agreement that the game should be produced and made available. The evaluators stressed the need for recreational games such as this one that put students with visual impairments and blindness on an equal playing ground with their sighted peers. In general, the evaluators were very pleased with the visual contrast [94% rated as very good or excellent], the tactile contrast [93% rated as very good or excellent], and overall appearance [93% rated as very good or excellent]. The spider tokens received 100% approval with regard to color, durability, tactile symbols, contrast to surrounding prey, and overall shape. The teachers unanimously agreed that both types of prey (basic shape and textured) were important to developing necessary tactile skills. Among other strengths noted were the following: great tactile practice, very flexible/versatile, enjoyable, easy to understand, and "fun for everyone." Many of the necessary changes were very cosmetic in nature including simplification of cartoon characters and higher elevation of dotted lines; extra pieces of some of the items were also requested. The playing alternatives suggested by reviewers were documented in the final game instructions.

The third and fourth quarters of FY 2003 were focused exclusively on the modifications to the game's design and components based upon evaluative reviews.

Work during FY 2004

Final tooling and product specifications for this product were extremely involved due to the number and types of materials needed, original artwork created, thermoform masters required, and the die-cutting and embossing methods planned. These efforts spanned the first and second quarters of the fiscal year. The project leader spent a great deal of time coordinating efforts between outside vendors and in-house staff to achieve these goals, as well as providing tactile/visual art direction and final approval on the end design of the spider tokens, Obstacle/Advantage cards, product instructions, card holder, prey pieces, lunch trays, game box, and game board itself.

The pilot run and initial production run were completed in June and July, respectively. The project leader monitored quality of the production units produced in-house, as well as components produced by outside vendors. Post-production activities included preparing marketing information and demonstrating Web Chase at conferences and workshops.

Work planned for FY 2005

The product is officially complete and available to the public. The project leader will continue to demonstrate the product at various conferences and workshops, and troubleshoot material-substitution needs if they arise. The project leader will continue to explore the creation of additional game designs for the purpose of tactile skill development.


Low Vision

Elaine Kitchel


Best Intervention Techniques

(New)

Purpose

To provide educators and interventionists with a video displaying best practices for interventions with young children who have visual impairments.

Project staff

Background

There are many interventions and steps practitioners take when performing a functional vision evaluation on a very young child with a vision impairment. Today, practitioners see very complicated children with neurological, cognitive, and physical deficits in addition to the vision problem. Guidelines are needed to point up better practices, and to provide help to the practitioner when dealing with a very involved and medically complicated child.

Dr. Hall-Lueck, a highly respected educator and researcher in the fields of low vision and early childhood, has proposed this project with will be of great assistant to the practitioner who is seeking to find way to resolve function of the visual system and lead the young child through appropriate developmental stages.

Work during FY 2004

Drs. Hall-Lueck and Heinze got permission from San Francisco State University to engage in interaction with human subjects. They identified children who had the traits needed for intervention examples and got parental permissions. In May they began video taping interventions.

Work planned for FY 2005

Videotaping will continue until completed. The taped material will be screened, time coded, and categorized into usable clips. A script will be written and the clips will be inserted into the script. Editing will continue until the video is perfected. The presentation will be closed captioned and fitted with video description, then duplicated.

Collegiate Boldline Spiral Notebook

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide collegiate-ruled paper with bold lines, non-glare paper, and other features of the original Boldline Spiral Notebook needed by students with low vision.

Project staff

Background

Since the development of the Boldline Spiral Notebook, tens of thousands of them have been purchased for use by students. Older students in college preparatory classes have asked for lines that are a little more narrow but still bold. They have also asked for paper that is not white. This project will satisfy both needs. Previously, dimensions for the spaces and lines were researched and finalized. Research was conducted on the cover stock and paper stock. A cover design was chosen and prepared. Product development meetings were held and more were planned.

Work during FY 2004

Field testing was conducted. Each participant tested two line-spacings and three colors of paper. The narrower spacing (3/8") and white paper proved to be the preferred materials. Yupo, a plastic polymer, proved to be a very satisfactory cover material when a chipboard back was used. After making these decisions and slightly shifting the cover art, the notebooks were turned over to production which began in August 2004.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project is complete.

ENVISION I: Vision Enhancement Program for Distance Devices

Braille Version

(Completed)

Purpose

To bring the multi-disciplinary approach to the provision of optical devices and materials for training students to develop skills in using optical aids for distance viewing after the student has had a low vision examination and a prescriptive recommendation from a licensed clinician, to the braille-reading teacher.

Project staff

Background

In 1998 APH hosted a Low Vision Focus Group. Experts in low vision from around the country gave ideas for products needed by students with low vision. The first priority of the group was to develop a curriculum, which embodied the most promising practices and included optical devices for training use by teachers and their students. The ENVISION product was developed to meet that need. All parts were developed in 2003 except the braille teachers manuals which were completed in 2004.

Work during FY 2004

Work was completed to translate the teacher's manuals into the braille code. Samples were proofread and put onto a CD master for use during the embossing process. After proofreading was complete, copies were embossed and put into stock.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project is complete.

ENVISION II: Vision Enhancement Program for Near Magnification Devices

Braille Version

(Completed)

Purpose

To bring a multi-disciplinary approach to the provision of optical devices and materials for training students to develop skills in using optical aids for near viewing after the student has had a low vision examination and a prescriptive recommendation from a licensed clinician, to the braille-reading teacher.

Project staff

Background

In 1998 APH hosted a Low Vision Focus Group. Experts in low vision from around the country gave ideas for products needed by students with low vision. The first priority of the group was to develop a curriculum, which embodied the most promising practices and included optical devices for training use by teachers and their students. The ENVISION product was developed to meet that need.

Work during FY 2004

Work was completed to translate the teacher's manuals into the braille code. Samples were proofread and put onto a CD master for use during the embossing process. After proofreading was complete, copies were embossed and put into stock.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project is complete.

ISAVE 101 DVD and VHS

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide ISAVE users with a handy overview of ISAVE and its offerings to the teacher or practitioner who is working to conduct functional vision assessments on very young or hard-to-test children.

Project staff

Background

Calls and communications were received by APH indicating a need for an overview of ISAVE for the teacher or practitioner who wants to use ISAVE, but feels intimidated by it. An introduction to ISAVE, How to put ISAVE together, What is contained in ISAVE, How does one prepare to administer ISAVE, and What are the uses of ISAVE, has been proposed and accepted as a project in the form of a video.

The Project Leader conceived the video content and how the video would look. She then wrote the script and defined all the audio and video elements. Then the set and the props were defined and acquired for use in the video taping. The taping took place at two sites. Work on the animated character and special effects were completed. The editing phase of the video began and three rounds of editing took place. The theme song was written and recorded along with the closing credits. A narrative was recorded for the descriptive video portion of the DVD.

Work during FY 2004

Expert review was conducted and revisions were made according to those reviews. The product cover and packaging were drawn and finalized. Final product documentation, specifications and tooling followed. The product was then closed captioned and video description was added as well. The product was duplicated and placed on the shelf after quality control reviews.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project is complete.

Large Print Atlas

(Continuing)

Purpose

To develop guidelines for the creation, formatting and appearance of Large Print Maps. To establish a working relationship with the University of Louisville Geography Department. To get useful product input from highly-trained consultants in the production of a truly accessible large print atlas for students with low vision.

Project staff

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 print. 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 in order to develop the guidelines. 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 work on writing 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 for the purpose of exploring the potential for a joint effort in producing a large print atlas. In establishing these conversations, it became apparent that APH processes and National Geographic processes were not compatible and collaboration was not feasible. The decision was made to continue work on the atlas with the expert help available from the University of Louisville.

With information about the latest technology, guidelines for the content and proposed format of the Student World Atlas were shaped. The consultants and APH staff undertook work on the first two chapters and completed them in August 2003. The Project Leader and lead consultant met in August to finalize the format and devise a sample chapter and questionnaire for field testing. Twice monthly, conference calls kept all parties informed and allowed for input and feedback from all parties working on the project.

Work completed in FY 2004

The Project Leader and research assistants worked with the consultants to provide thoroughly researched and edited text to cover the Indian Sub Continent, Southeast Asia, China, Mongolia, and North America. A test of the formatting and packaging was conducted and changes were made to the format and packaging based upon feedback. The newly-formatted text along with maps and sample packaging will be field tested and reviewed for both content and format. The project leader will work with the University of Louisville Geography Dept. to provide maps for the atlas that are made according to the Essential Characteristics of Large Print Maps, a list of guidelines drafted by the Large Print Atlas Focus Group. Revisions, according to field testing, will be made. Decisions about final content, materials, printing and other processes will be made as well. The actual production of the Large Print Student Atlas is expected to take place in fiscal year 2006.

Work planned for FY 2005

Field test results for Section One will be tabulated and evaluated. Changes will be made to the text, maps, format, bindings and/or packagings according to valid field test results. The product will then be prepared, documentation will be developed and the product will go into the production phase. While production is taking place, development will begin on Section Two of the atlas. Text will be written and edited, photos will be identified, maps will be drawn and the whole of Section Two will be prepared for field testing.

Optimizing the Reading of Continuous Text in Students with Low Vision

(Continuing)

Purpose

To conduct basic research to determine visual accommodation needs, requirements, and strategies of students with low vision when reading passages of continuous text.

Project staff

Background

This was the third in a sequence of studies on how magnification, accommodation, and the visual reserve affect reading efficiency in students 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. Recording forms were designed and finalized. The research team met with on-site school staff to set up testing dates and details. Testing began with 4th grade subjects with low vision at UC Berkeley School of Optometry Low Vision Clinic. Data was collected and analyzed.

Work completed in FY 2004

The data analysis must be written into a report. Publication of the report will be sought. The results of the study will then be used to develop a decision tree to help teachers and interventionists select appropriate sized learning media for students with low vision.

Work planned for FY 2005

It is projected that the actual work of final typesetting, drafting of specifications, and the production of the manual and CD will take place during FY 2005.


Mathematics

Staff


Braille Transcriber's Kit: Math

(Product Revision)

(Completed)

Purpose

To incorporate design and production improvements in the Braille Transcriber's Kit: Math, adding new items and omitting others, while keeping the product affordable.

Project staff

Background

This consumable kit, available for several years as an aid to transcribers in making math-related tactile diagrams, has received positive responses along with requests for additional items and small changes in the design of current items. Additionally, the project leader wished to include a new description of the uses of low-relief graph sheets based on APH research studies. The overall changes to the kit necessitated treating the revision as a new project.

The project leader worked with Braille Department staff to design new components and modify existing ones. Proof samples were experimented with to make sure they fit the requirements as specified by transcriber comments. Since the product is an established one and all changes were dictated by customer responses, a formal field evaluation was deemed unnecessary.

One element of the revised kit, the .4" embossed graph paper, was spun off as a separate product.

Work done during FY 2004

The revised kit was produced and made available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2005

No further work is planned for this project; however, future revisions may be made as customer suggestions are collected.

Magnet Mate Math

(Continuing)

Purpose

To enable sighted teachers who do not know braille to convey mathematical formats and expressions to students who are blind.

Project staff

Background

Fred Gissoni, APH Customer Support Specialist, saw Rebecca Worrell, a math teacher in South Carolina, give a presentation on the Magnet Mate Math. He presented the metal board with magnetic braille/print symbols to the Product Review Committee in June 2000. It was approved with the stipulation that preliminary field-testing be done to determine the product's usefulness. An overseas vendor with the specific printing process needed for this product has been identified and samples showing the quality of their work have been approved.

Work during FY 2004

The print vendor completed the artwork. The short run (200 samples) of the letter tiles and the symbol tiles has been placed on hold pending the identification of a new die cutter.

Work Planned for 2005

Print short run. Design the carrying case and work tablets.

Primary Math Units

(Continuing)

Purpose

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

Project staff

Background

Math achievement of blind students 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 visually impaired students. This project received special funding as part of a three-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 visually impaired students; 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 Dr. 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. Because work on the program proved to be more extensive than originally thought, development of the materials continued, and field testing was postponed.

In July 1997, project consultants, Dr. 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 an overview of the program and provides information on such specialized topics as adapting materials, using the Cranmer Abacus, and writing the mathematical braille code was developed by the Project Leader later in FY 1997. In FY 1998, worksheets were developed to supplement the Primary Math Units. Lessons for Unit 1: Matching, Sorting, and Patterning for kindergarten through third grade were checked against the original concepts to be taught, and lessons were rewritten to better meet the needs of students who are visually impaired and to better present the concepts being taught. In FY 1999, worksheets for Unit 1 were checked for coordination with the lessons they were to accompany, and the number of worksheets was expanded to better cover the concepts presented in the lessons. In FY 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. Rosanne Hoffmann began seeking evaluation sites for the program

Work during FY 2004

The evaluation forms, Guidelines (introductory material), and Unit 1 Lessons were finalized and turned over to Rosanne Hoffmann and John Aiken to produce in print or braille for the teachers at the field test sites. 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 on which Rosanne has done a very nice job. Meanwhile Jenny Dortch has been working on Units 2, 3, and 4 and has completed most of Units 2 and 3 from kindergarten through third grade. These units cover Number Concepts, Place Value, and Number Operation--the real heart of the primary curriculum as well as the place where alternative methods such as the use of Nemeth Code and Cranmer Abacus are introduced to the braille reader.

Work planned for FY 2005

A meeting is planned near the beginning of FY 2005 for Jenny Dortch, Rosanne Hoffmann, and Eleanor Pester to go over the results of the field testing. Jenny plans to finish Units 2-4 and then continue preparing the remaining four units. Units 2-4 will be prepared for field testing as a group.

Quick Pick Counting

(Completed)

Purpose

To explore the effectiveness of using sets of Quick Pick Counting with blind and visually impaired students.

Project staff

Background

As part of the Elementary Math Aids project, APH produced braille/print versions of Quick Pick Addition, Quick Pick Subtraction, Quick Pick Multiplication, and Quick Pick Division. Another set of materials, Quick Pick Counting, can be used to introduce counting with tactile symbols. This is an important step that should directly follow exercises in which students count real, concrete objects. For the tactual learner, however, this step is often omitted. Since illustrations used in textbooks can be very difficult to interpret tactually, the early levels of the textbooks are often not produced in tactile format at all.

During FY 2000, preparations were made for field testing Quick Pick Counting. Prototype copies of Quick Pick Counting for evaluation were developed. Production of copies for field testing was begun. An evaluation form was drafted. In FY 2001, evaluation forms and procedures were finalized. Because of unanticipated delays caused by production problems, prototype copies for field testing were not ready until school was out for the summer so field testing began at National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Kids Camp and Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) Summer School. In 2002, field testing occurred in Tennessee with young academic students, multiply handicapped students, and older developmentally delayed students. This completed the field testing which pointed out that the braille needed to be printed a little farther from the case to make reading easier and that heavier paper would be preferable since it would be more durable. In preparation for production, a number of paper samples were brailled, printed, examined tactually, compared for cost, and a different paper was selected in an effort to improve the quality of this product. The final copy was prepared for production. Production specifications included raising the braille one more line above the case for easier reading. In FY 2003, tooling for production began for both print and braille.

Work during FY 2004

Production was completed and this product is now available.


Microcomputer

Applications

&

Products

Larry Skutchan


APH Digital Audio Component

(Continuing)

Purpose

To create digital audio recording, playback, and navigation components for use in several educational, application, and utility programs under development.

Project staff

Background

With the close work APH does with the Digital Audio Information System (DAISY) consortium, the National Library Service (NLS), and its own needs, both in a professional digital studio application and in educational software under development, it became apparent that a core set of "digital audio recording, playback, and navigation" (DARPAN) services that were robust and reliable needed to be deployed.

Several of the educational software projects in development, including Book Wizard Reader, Book Wizard Producer, Book Port Transfer, Studio Recorder, Talking Typer, Termite Torpedo, Armadillo Army, and Teacher's Pet require a digital audio recording and playback component. In addition to its 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.

Work during FY 2004

Programmers made a number of internal enhancements to Digital Audio Recording Playback and Navigation (DARPAN). Some of the most significant work involved:

See the write-up under Studio Recorder for the user interface to the underlying functionality to most of these enhancements.

Work planned for FY 2005

There are still several advanced features that require significant amounts of research to implement. Among these are the addition of noise floor detection, a band pass filter, pattern detection, and some advanced functionality in APH Studio Recorder that prepares all four sides of a cassette for the digital bin that is used to make the cassette copies of a tape. One expressed need is index tone detection from an external source. Another growing concern is the 2GB file size limit imposed by standard wave files.

Staff needs to study the implementation details of Windows Direct X and deploy APH's time scale modification algorithms as a Direct X plugin. This provides the opportunity to offer this technology to the end user and to make the technology available from within other commercial applications that may not actually know anything about Time Scale Modification (TSM). Such pattern detection also opens up other interesting possibilities. These include the ability to find an unusual sound, to identify and find a particular word or sound, and possibly the ability to replace one sound with another.

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 gets transferred.

APH Speech Environment

(Continuing)

Purpose

To develop a reusable foundation for current talking software from APH.

Project staff

Background

APH is developing new 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 stand-alone 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. Customer support representatives use an application written by research programmers to generate a unique number derived from two pieces of information--the name of the program and the customer's name or email address. Once the customer enters that unique number, the application is converted from a demo into a fully registered version of that program.

Now, as APH experiments with development 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 must be 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 expands, 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.

In addition to its first focus on speech access, ASE's progress in braille is equally important and essential in future endeavors. APH purchased the source code to a well-known braille translation program that runs under DOS and began converting it to Windows and adding functionality.

Work during FY 2004

Programmers made minor modifications to better support the new high-quality speech component distributed with some APH software. They also corrected an issue that prevented the component from finding some engines when the user had more than 100 engines installed on his system.

Work planned for FY 2005

Programmers will add key echo functionality to ASE and will examine what it takes to provide that keyboard feedback with digitized human speech, as well as, adding speech feedback for word by word cursor movement in edit controls. The programmers will add speech support through ASE for two new controls--the Rich Edit control and the html document object model through the Internet Explorer-Server control. These two controls are in use in the Book Wizard program (see separate write-up) and intelligent speaking cursor algorithms will need to be developed.

Book Port

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide a hardware tool for reading electronic books in a means convenient to the student and professional.

Project staff

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. This device, the Road Runner, is no longer available. Road Runner's 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 immediately. So, when its unavailability became apparent, staff began design on a new device that addresses 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 needs to be able to accommodate memos, so the number of keys was increased to allow braille input for making annotations. The unit also needs to be able to play digitized audio so that it may play Digital Talking Books.

Given the expensive and time consuming process of creating a new hardware device from scratch and writing its associated software, APH partnered with another company to use its hardware base with the specific needs identified by customers, experts in the field, and focus groups comprising both experts and consumers. Book Port is a device based on the hardware from that company combined with software written specifically for APH.

Book Port is a portable device designed to read electronic books to blind students and professionals. Measuring only 2.75 X 4.75 X 1 inches, its small size, large storage capacity, and battery operation make it the perfect hand-held device to take reading with the user wherever he goes. Book Port features its own high quality text-to-speech synthesizer (for reading electronic text and Web pages) and it plays digital audio files such as MP3, audible.com, and DAISY Digital Talking Books.

Book Port contains state-of-the-art hardware such as a universal serial bus connector (USB) to make the connection between the device and the PC as simple as possible and a Compactflash® card slot for removable mass storage. It contains a built-in microphone and supporting hardware to let one record and playback memos on the device. Book Port features its own date and time clock and a sleep timer that automatically turns off the unit after a predetermined amount of time in case the user falls asleep while reading.

The software that comes with Book Port makes it easy to send documents and Web sites from the computer to Book Port without leaving the application in use, and it provides capabilities especially geared toward blind students and professionals. Such enhanced capabilities include multiple levels of phrase detection for spoken word content digital audio files and reverse translation for electronic contracted braille files such as those found on Web Braille. Digital Talking Books such as those from http://www.Bookshare.org and Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic get sent to Book Port as if the device were especially designed for them. Sending Web pages to the device for portable reading is as easy as right clicking the Web page, and then choosing Send to Book Port from the context menu that appears. One may also send files directly from Windows Explorer by highlighting the file or files, picking Send To, then selecting Book Port from the Send To menu. And, best of all, if the unit doesn't happen to be connected when one needs to send a page or file, the software queues up the material and sends it the next time the user connects Book Port to his computer.

The software used to send files from the PC to Book Port shows a preview of the content of the files the user highlights, so it is easy to decide what to send by more than just the name of the file. In addition, if the file contains digital audio, the software lets him hear the contents of that file, and the preview window shows statistics about that file. If the file is contracted braille, the preview window shows the reverse translated version of the first portion of that file. When one plugs Book Port into the USB port, the software automatically starts, and it remembers the last folder from which he sent files, leaving him in position to immediately begin picking more files to send.

This device became available in June 2003. More information is available at http://www.aph.org/tech/bp_info.htm

Work completed in FY 2004

Software Version 1.6, September 2004

Firmware Version 1.2, September 2004

Software Version 1.5.1, July 2004

Software Version 1.5, July 2004

Firmware Version 1.1.1, July 2004

Software Version 1.4.2, December 2003

Firmware version 1.0.4, November 2003

Software Version 1.4.1, November 2003

Version 1.4, October 2003

Work planned for FY 2005

Book Wizard

(Complete and Continuing)

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. It also provides navigation and control to exploit the capabilities provided by the new format and to provide simple, efficient tools for creating these books.

Project staff

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 DTD's can become quite elegant and 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 DTD's 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 Audio 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 Michael Moody, 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. The format is called NISO z39.86. The NISO Digital Talking Book combines Simultaneous MultiMedia Integrated Language (SMIL) 2.0, with a 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 are also aware that using a hand held 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 z3986 Digital Talking Books on Book Port.

Staff continued to participate in NISO and DAISY consortium activities and, as they learned more about specific APH requirements, insured specifications were defined to meet these requirements.

Work completed in FY 2004

An initial version of Book Wizard reader was finalized and made available both on CD and as a download from the APH Web Site.

Programmer Keith Creasy joined the Intellectual Property Protection (IPP) Daisy working group where he helps define the techniques NLS and other producers will use to protect the content of Digital Talking Books.

Work planned for FY 2005

Book Wizard staff will continue to work in cooperation with the recording studio and other departments within APH to produce material and work out production issues related to DTB's.

Functionality will be added to Book Wizard to support dynamic links contained within books. A new view will be added specifically for the presentation of images and will be synchronized with the text and/or audio.

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.

Future long-term enhancements include the following:

Programmers will develop tactile graphics embossing support and applicable drivers for the corresponding hardware. This work includes an analysis of the requirements and capabilities of the available devices. While several devices support the capability to provide simple tactile graphics, others, like the Tiger 1000, support capabilities way beyond what previous devices have supported.

The programmers will examine the feasibility of creating drivers that use one image and provide code that transforms the vector graphic or bit map image into a series of printer escape sequences that gracefully degrades or expands as the device's capabilities degrade or expand. If feasible, the programmers will write such drivers. If it is not feasible to support the use of a single image for all possible devices, programmers will write specific drivers for specific devices and add the capability to select among images given the specific output device. They will write formatting algorithms for both the large print and braille hard copy options. These formatting functions require the material to be rendered with respect to the style sheets in use and any XML tags that may include a Media attribute that could include or exclude parts of a book. They will add image display support. This may include intelligence to select an appropriate image based on the media output. They will add functionality to the braille translation component to support forcing characters to upper case in the reverse translation, respect XML tags to control the formatting and translation process, and work on stylesheets that take braille's unique formatting requirements into account.

The APH Speech Environment (ASE) needs to be updated to support Rich Edit controls and the html document object model, and those features are on the books for the ASE project.

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.

Math Flash

(Completed)

Purpose

To develop a talking software program that provides math drill and practice in a flash card format.

Project staff

Background

Math Flash is a talking software program that runs under Windows. Professionally narrated digitized speech and an animated character presents math problems in a flash card format and respond with fun positive and negative feedback. The program lets the teacher specify the kinds of math problems to use and the ranges of the numbers. It allows the use of the four basic arithmetic functions in any combination, as well as the use of positive and negative numbers. The teacher can also allow division with or without remainders. Math Flash generates the problems randomly, or the teacher can use specific problems and save the preferences to disk. The program offers three main modes of presentation. Drill mode allows the student to practice problems and offers feedback after each answer is entered. Test mode presents the problems, but does not give feedback on the results until all problems have been completed. Auto mode presents problems, pauses for a group of students to shout out an answer, then gives the correct answer and moves on to the next problem.

Final enhancements were completed, documentation was finalized, and the program was field tested. Project staff finalized the documentation, the Setup program, and the code and recordings for the application and prepared the product for production. Math Flash received Quota approval from Research and Development Committee (a.k.a. Educational Products Advisory Committee) members and became available from APH in spring 2000. It has been a tremendous success and captures the attention of children and adults alike, both sighted and visually impaired.

Project staff continues to solicit feedback from teachers, parents, and students about Math Flash. Some of the most commonly requested features and functionality include:

the announcement of correct answers in the test review section of the problem where the student answered incorrectly, and a means of letting the user navigate through complex mathematical equations with the cursor keys, much like one does with a word processing program, except this would be equation processing functionality. Programmer Rob Meredith added the announcement of the correct answer when reviewing an incorrectly answered problem in a completed test as suggested by user feedback. Meredith found and fixed a bug where it was possible to enter the negative sign, immediately followed by an R for a remainder.

Work completed in FY 2004

Programming is complete on this project. Most issues were restricted to customer support.

Work planned for FY 2005

This project is complete. Updates and enhancements will continue as the need arises.

Monitoring Technological Developments and Educational Applications

(Continuing)

Purpose

To identify and develop microcomputer materials that support educational needs, to monitor technological developments and educational applications of technology, and to disseminate information on current uses of technological aids.

Project staff

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, Java Swing components, 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 is ready for 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.

With the increasing number of projects and products from the Technology Division, it quickly became apparent that some project management tools were necessary. To this end, staff found a new software deployment tool, Inno Setup, and created scripts so that each developer could create his own deployment package with a single command. Scripts were also written to create new projects that created all supporting files and shells of the documentation.

Keeping track of all the activity on all the projects is also becoming increasingly difficult. To address this issue, staff searched for some kind of bug tracking software, but ended up writing their own. This new program is called Track It. This package notes each issue associated with a project along with that issue's solutions. This connects the programmer, manager, and anyone else interested in the progress on a project.

One other critical area that needed addressing was the issue of appropriate testing. Staff designed and wrote the software to support an on-going beta system, so they can distribute pre-release versions of upcoming software to a wider audience.

Work during FY 2004

Staff continued working closely with the studio in order to create an efficient means of creating Digital Talking books.

Staff continued working on a pilot project with the National Library Service to create "digital talking books" (DTB's) of US News and World Report. See the Book Wizard write-up for information on how the program was modified to deliver content straight from the web.

The Technology Group continued to participate in beta testing, monitor listserves, attend conferences, collaborate with other developers, and disseminate information. It also continued to study effective means of combining APH's Large Print and Braille areas to accommodate digital text and digital talking books.

Technology staff provided advice and expertise at Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) 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.

Project staff maintained and updated the demo CD that contains demonstrations of software, product information, and in depth audio demonstrations of software and hardware narrated by experts from the department on that product. The CD interface is html based, so it is also used on the APH Web site.

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. The project leader is a member of the File Specification Group of the American Foundation for the Blind's Solutions Forum, the Kentucky Department of Education's Computerized Testing Task Force, and a member of a task force designed to study tools and techniques that help publishers meet the needs of blind students when providing electronic files of their textbooks.

One programmer became a member of the Daisy Intellectual Property protection working group where he participates in molding the specifications and techniques that will be used to protect digital content in books distributed by National Library Service and other producers.

The project leader became a member of both the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) Committee and the NIMAS Technical Maintenance Group.

Staff increased the usefulness of the Track It system to include work time estimates and logging, carbon copied messages on a per issue basis, and improved the performance of the tool.

Staff began investigation into the possibility of designing an exciting electronic classroom aid.

In the area of monitoring staff's own performance with respect to customer needs, programmers added listserves to each product, and many of these lists have been both very active and informative, directly leading to significant feature improvements for those products.

Another area of importance to APH software customers was the inclusion of the AT&T high quality text-to-speech in several products, and the new, separately priced electronic download option for purchasing software. (See http://www.aph.org/tech).

Work planned for FY 2005

There are two additional areas of software development that require addressing. They are automated testing and error reporting. The group will find ways of appropriately addressing these issues in the coming years.

The Technology Group will increase its involvement in the following:

The Technology Group will continue to pursue ways of applying technology to the production of tactile graphics, help educate other project leaders in the Department of Educational Research, 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. Licensing APH technology to other manufacturers to help discriminate some of APH's pioneering work is also under investigation. There have already been a number of requests from other vendors into the possibility of using the APH Speech Environment, the Digital Audio Component, and Book Wizard as parts of their own products.

The technology group plans to work closely with the Accessible Tests Department by providing technological solutions to test access issues as defined by them. Advise, review, support, and software design and development are among the expected activities that will connect the Technology Group and the Accessible Tests Department.

More involvement with the Linux operating system and the accessibility developments in the console, X Windows, and GNU Network object model Environment (GNOME) are a high priority. Staff is especially interested in Speakup, the Linux kernel screen access program and its compatibility with software text-to-speech systems under Linux.

Increased Involvement with Apple Computer is also under investigation. Several projects are being discussed, but specific information cannot yet be divulged due to mutually agreed to non-disclosure agreements. The group is also considering development under this platform for some of its titles.

Studio Recorder

(Completed)

Purpose

To produce a simple-to-use, robust digital audio recording tool geared toward spoken word content.

Project staff

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 direct to digital audio recordings for the National Library Service (NLS). It contains many features that ease the task of recording, editing, and proofreading audio books. It also includes features that simplify the production of analog cassette tapes from the digital master.

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 on audiocassette or via the World Wide Web. The software supports projects ranging from the quick and simple home recording to the most demanding and professional task.

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 working on large works to preserve notes about pronunciation and characterization, allowing 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 allow the narrator to 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 sizing a document to a cassette tape.

Programmers met with studio staff to refine and prioritize the requirements of a digital recording application for use in the studio. They delivered the first prototype of an application for testing, comments, and quality testing in March 2000. The programmers observed recording sessions, gathered feedback from engineers, narrators, and monitors, and introduced revisions, corrections, and enhancements. This studio-recording program has become known as APH Studio Recorder.

Programming staff brought the proposal of releasing this project as a product to the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC), and the concept of releasing this utility as a general purpose commercial application was approved. Programmers then began work on the general market aspects of the program.

Further development was driven by both studio needs and customer requests and suggestions. 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 Completed in FY 2004

Version 2.3, August 2004

Version 2.2, April 2004

Version 2.1, February 2004

It is now very easy to select to either end of the document with the mouse. If one left-clicks, moves the mouse slightly in the direction in which he wants to select, then right-clicks while holding the left mouse button, a selection is made between the current mouse position and the corresponding end of the document.

It is now possible to extend a selection by moving outside of the selection and shift-clicking. If shift-mouse click is used without a selection, material between the mouse pointer and the caret is selected.

Studio Recorder now supports dragging and dropping a selection to create a new document containing the selection.

The way selections are made and modified with the wave view has been totally redesigned. Following are the new specifications:

Version 2.0.1, November 2003

Work planned for FY 2005

This project is complete. See the write-up for the digital audio component for future possible enhancements.

Talking Learn Keys

(Completed)

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

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 in the Department of Educational Research developed initial design specifications and a functionality features list. The programmers wrote, tested, and finalized the code in 1999, and Talking Learn Keys became available.

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 was modernized for new versions of Windows, including Windows XP. 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. The setup program has also been updated to use the Inno Setup for integration with current software distribution tools.

Work during FY 2004

This program received no updates during 2004.

Work planned for FY 2005

This project is complete. There are some minor issues with documentation and copyright dates that need to be addressed.

Talking Word Puzzles

(Completed)

Purpose

To produce an accessible educational game on CD that uses hidden word or crossword-type puzzles.

Project staff

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 (PARC) 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. This data gets committed to persistent storage and all puzzles get dynamically generated from this information.

Work during FY 2004

Programming and testing were finalized. CDs were duplicated, and the program is available in both download and CD format.

Work planned for FY 2005

This project is complete. Future enhancements will be made as identified and needed.

Talking Typer for Windows

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide accessible, interactive keyboard training on the Windows platform.

Project staff

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 allow users to create and modify drills and dictation exercises. It also includes features for recording and storing, and examining student records and performance statistics. The program also contains a fun game with scorekeeping 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:

The program entered its field testing phase in September 1999.

The programming group field tested Talking Typer over a six-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, so Research Assistant Kris Scott created two new lessons with about 40 phrases in each lesson. Customer feedback indicates these were a great idea and several users requested the two-phrase lessons be renamed Sentences and to create additional lessons that come before the sentence lessons that contain shorter, more common phrases. Recent customer feedback indicates that even more sentences should be included.

Kristopher Scott also corrected some errors in the original lessons that testers identified. Staff then updated the master to distribute these as part of the standard lessons that come with Talking Typer. Staff continually refines and improves the program, and each of the new versions is tested and distributed with the new production run. Talking Typer for Windows has been a tremendously successful program, selling well over 1000 copies per year.

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 2004

The following enhancements and corrections were made to Talking Typer for Windows.

Version 1.9.5, July 2004

Version 1.9.4, May 2004

Version 1.9.2, October 2003

Work planned for FY 2005

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 version 1.0 is complete. Maintenance issues continue to arise with this product, and users continually request enhancements.

Teacher's Pet

(Completed)

Purpose

To develop a program used to create and take tests and practice drills and to provide student progress record keeping.

Project staff

Background

APH has long been interested in providing an accessible means of creating and delivering test content to blind and visually impaired students. An early attempt at this goal, Teacher's Pet for the Apple II, was a huge success. Members of Educational Research 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 2004

The admin functions were refined to take advantage of suggestions from field testers. These included a stream-lined question pool display that provides an overview of the entire test and lets the teacher modify any of the questions from that screen. The edit question dialog also received a Preview button that shows the question as the student will see it.

The Edit Users screen got some additional functionality including the ability to reset passwords, delete a group of users, and password verification.

Two new question types were added: matching and information. The information question type is useful for displaying information where the teacher does not necessarily desire an answer.

The program was finalized, tested and CDs were duplicated. The program was made available both as a download and on CD.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project is complete. Enhancements will be made as needed.

Verbal View of Windows XP

(Completed)

Purpose

To create a tutorial that explains current versions of the Windows operating system in terms most useful to blind and visually impaired users.

Project staff

Background

For many years, APH and its advisors and customers have desired a 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 then distributing it as a Digital Talking Book.

The result of this collaboration, Verbal View of Windows is a comprehensive tutorial on using Windows XP from the view point 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, this tutorial comes 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 Verbal View of Windows XP is a special version of a DAISY reading program called Book Wizard Reader.

Work completed in FY 2004

After obtaining final copy from the author, staff proofread the material, recorded it, and created a Digital Talking Book. They translated the text into formatted braille and created text and html versions of the book.

A master CD was created. Disks were duplicated, and the product is available.

Work planned for FY 2005

This project is complete. Future revisions are anticipated as new features are added to Windows and as new versions of Windows get released.

Verbal View of Word

(New)

Purpose

To create and distribute an in-depth tutorial that explains the basic functions and features of Microsoft Word in a format most useful to blind and visually impaired users.

Project staff

Background

Microsoft Word is the dominate word processor today. This powerful, fast, and fun software package has thousands of commands and multiple means of accomplishing a particular task.

Verbal View of Word is a comprehensive tutorial designed to teach the blind or visually impaired user how to use the basic features of Microsoft Word.

This tutorial is written with three groups of readers in mind: the writer who wants a complete and organized account of keyboard techniques; the writer who prefers the keyboard instead of the mouse; and the blind writer who must rely on voice or braille access technology.

The tutorial assumes the reader already possesses a basic knowledge of Microsoft Windows, has Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, 2003, or later installed on the computer, and wishes to become an efficient writer using Word as a tool. If the reader is not already familiar with Windows operation and common usage, he may wish to consult Verbal View of Windows XP also available from APH.

Delivered on CD, this tutorial comes 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 the book to a portable device like the Book Port or other note taker with a refreshable braille display.

The software that comes with Verbal View of Word is a special version of a DAISY reading program called Book Wizard reader.

Work completed in FY 2004

The author wrote the initial draft of the book, and staff proofread and offered suggestions. After seeing the scope of the material covered, staff decided to embark on a second, higher level tutorial for Word that covered more complex tasks. (See the write-up for Verbal View of Word Advanced for more details.)

The text was recorded and marked up for importation into a full-text, full-audio Digital Talking Book.

Work planned for FY 2005

Staff will complete the markup and book creation process early in the year. A master will be created, and the product should become available in the fall of 2004.

Future modifications will be made to the material as new versions of Word are released.

Verbal View of Word Advanced

(New)

Purpose

To provide a tutorial that explains advanced topics with Microsoft Word in a format most useful to blind and visually impaired computer users.

Project staff

Background

Verbal View of Word Advanced is a comprehensive tutorial designed to teach the blind or visually impaired user how to use the advanced features of Microsoft Word. It follows Verbal View of Windows XP and Verbal View of Word in a series of tutorials available from American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.

This book is written for the blind Word user who wishes to write specialized documents: term papers, business letters, and even books. Some topics are discussed at length, although omitted from most books, because they greatly benefit the blind writer. The use of the keyboard is emphasized and summarized throughout this book. The keyboard and the mouse are compared whenever appropriate so the strengths and weaknesses of both are apparent.

The tutorial assumes the reader already possesses a basic knowledge of Microsoft Windows, has Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, 2003, or later installed on the computer, and has already learned the basics of Word from the Verbal View of Word tutorial. If the reader is not already familiar with Windows operation and common usage, he may wish to consult Verbal View of Windows XP also available from APH.

Delivered on CD, this tutorial comes 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 the user 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 Verbal View of Word Advanced is a special version of a DAISY reading program called Book Wizard Reader.

Work completed in FY 2004

The author finished the book, and staff proofread the material and prepared it for the studio to record.

Work planned for FY 2005

Once recording is complete, staff will create Digital Talking Book and braille versions of the document, create a master CD, and make the package available.

Word Player

(Continuing)

Purpose

To produce an MP3 player software package geared to spoken word audio content.

Project staff

Background

One of the technology focus sessions at the APH 2001 annual meeting asked for input about the need for an MP3 player program geared toward spoken word audio content. The participants overwhelmingly voted that there was such a need, and programmers began coding the project.

Work completed in FY 2004

Other demands put this project on hold for the time.

Work planned for FY 2005

Coding will be completed, and the manual, graphics, and testing will be finalized. The program will go to field testing, and revisions will be made as dictated by field testers. Then it will be finalized and turned over to production for duplication, packaging, and sales.


Multiple

Disabilities

Tristan Pierce


Braille Rap Song

(Completed)

Purpose

To have a fun and provide an alternative way of teaching braille recognition, particularly to students who are blind and have additional disabilities.

Project staff

Background

In July 2000, Lynn Horton, a teacher at the Helen Keller School for the Blind, located in Talladega, Alabama, came to APH and presented an array of products that she had developed for teaching her students who are visually impaired and have multiple disabilities. At that time interest was expressed in her song that teaches braille. At the 2001 Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Conference she again presented many of her products, including the Braille Rap Song. Several members of the APH staff attended the presentation. University students studying to become vision teachers have expressed interest in the song to help them learn braille.

Originally APH intended to distribute cassettes or CDs at conferences at no charge and have an MP3 file on the APH web site for downloading. The high cost of CDs and cassettes resulted in APH offering the song on the web site only.

Work during FY 2004

The song was recorded in Louisville at the Bisig Impact recording studio. The song was performed by one adult professional and five students from the Kentucky School for the Blind. It is available to download, free of charge, from the APH web site. http://www.aph.org/edresearch/braille_rap/index.html

Expandable Calendar Boxes

(New)

Purpose

To provide easy-to-use, cleanable, and non injurious calendar boxes to students, teachers, and family members that can be expanded to meet individual needs. Calendars are used to support and expand students' communication, based on the methodology of Dr. Jan van Dijk. A guidebook will accompany the boxes.

Project staff

Work during FY 2004

An online survey on using calendar boxes was completed to determine how the boxes are being used and what is the recommended size for each box. A closed-cell, compressed sport foam has been identified as the best manufacturing material. A design has been chosen. Plastic u-channels will be used to connect the boxes together. Director of Research contacted the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired to see about utilizing their book, written by Robbie Blaha, as part of a combined curriculum/product kit.

Work Planned for 2005

Produce prototypes of the boxes and field test.

Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC's

(Completed)

Purpose

To facilitate braille character recognition through a series of repetitive activities designed for young children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities. This raised line coloring book is designed for future large print readers and braille readers. Most importantly, the purpose is to have fun!

Project staff

Background

The development of a raised line coloring book was recommended by the Multiple Disabilities Focus Group and the need was confirmed by the Multiple Disabilities Survey. A former APH Early Childhood Project Leader recommended using the book as a way of teaching letter recognition. The project leader chose items for the book that could be found in the home or school. Each item has an accompanying activity. Eleven sites, both school and home settings, served as field test sites.

Work during FY 2004

Product is available for sale.

Multiple Disabilities Projects and Needs

(Continuing)

Purpose

To assess needs, plan research, and manage product development to better serve individuals who are visually impaired and have additional disabilities.

Project staff

Background

A Multiple Disabilities Focus Group was created and the 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, 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. 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 2004

Development work continued on the Sensory Learning Kit (including the development of electronic assessment forms), Tactile Connections, Sound Ball, and the Portable Sound Source. Development work began on Expandable Calendar Boxes.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project leader expects to complete the Sensory Learning Kit and Tactile Connections. Field testing will take place on the Expandable Calendar Boxes. Exploratory work will begin on developing a new vision kit to replace the old one sold as a component of the old Sensory Stimulation Kit. Consultants will be identified for age-appropriate, high-interest, low vocabulary storybooks. The project leader will continue to seek information on the development of products to serve the health and physical fitness arena.

Sensory Learning Kit

(Continuing)

Purpose

To redesign the existing Sensory Stimulation Kit to meet current APH and educational standards.

Project staff

Background

Upon reviewing the Sensory Stimulation Kit© the Project Leader recognized that the product needed to be redesigned and updated using current best practices and APH standards. The Project Leader presented the concept of a complete redesign to the Multiple Disabilities Focus Group in 2001. The group recommended the introduction of a sensory learning profile that could travel with the child as he/she moves through their educational years. They also recommended that an assessment be included with the kit and that including activities that could be child initiated would be valuable. The recommendations of the group were verified by the results of the Multiple Disabilities Needs Survey that was conducted May15-July 1, 2001. The new product was given the name of Sensory Learning Kit (SLK).

An electronic product specific survey was conducted on the old SSK to determine what items should remain in the new kit. A second electronic survey was used to review penlights/flashlights and the need of various colored lenses. The manuscripts for the SLK Guidebook and Assessment Forms, and SLK Routines Book were completed and read by an educational reviewer and a medical reviewer.

Work During for FY 2004

The prototypes were developed and field tested by 11 sites in ten states, including public schools, residential schools, one medical/residential facility, and one university setting. A member of APH's Deafblind Focus Group and a colleague reviewed and updated the references for the guidebook. Work began on the interactive electronic version of the assessment pages. Designs for all five electronic items included in the kit were approved and went through an outside bid process. The prototype kit was shown at the 2004 Association for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) Convention.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project leader will complete all revisions. The books will be translated for a braille ready file (BFR) and an html file for accessibility. Product will be made available for sale.


Physical

Fitness

Staff


Going Places: Transition Guidelines for Creating Community-Based Athletic Activities for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

(Continuing)

Purpose

Guidebook outlining a variety of athletic activities that people with visual impairments might participate in, accompanied by school-based and functional programming ideas that will facilitate the development of competencies for successful participation. The accompanying video/DVD will highlight three case studies.

Project staff

Background

The Multiple Disabilities Focus Group identified the need for structured leisure skill activities that teach and promote physical health and functional life skills for students transitioning from high school to college or work. The Project Leader researched and collected many resources and activities that could be used. Research led to an article written by Scott Modell, Kinesiology Professor at California State University, who had developed a program for transition age students with multiple disabilities. Adapted physical education specialists (one is also trained and experienced in deaf-blindness) joined the team to create this exciting product. Consultants came to the American Printing House for the Blind and established the book's content outline and writing timeline.

Work during FY 2004

The manuscript was completed. Twenty-four individuals who participate in physical activities have submitted their personal stories and photographs. These vignettes will be presented at the back of the book.

Work planned for FY 2005

The book will be designed and prototypes will be created. A pre test will be administered, then field testing will take place, and then a post test will follow up to see if the students using the book learned about national and local communities' resources for physical fitness activities.

Portable Sound Source IV Sport Edition

(Continuing)

Purpose

To have a reliable sound source that is small enough and adaptable enough to use in physical and leisure activities (i.e., basketball, rock climbing, hiking, etc.). Accompanying book will provide sound locator activities (revision of current APH book for the Portable Sound Source III.

Project staff

Background

The Project Leader noticed the need for a smaller and more adaptable electronic sound source while conducting focus group sessions on the Sound Ball. Upon reviewing the Sound Localization Book that currently accompanies the APH Portable Sound Source III, the need for revision was identified. Project Leader outlined the needs and design features wanted for the new sound source. Electronics were developed and size had to be adjusted to house electronics, speaker, and features. A product specific electronic survey was conducted to determine new needs for the Sound Localization Guidebook.

Work during FY 2004

Eight sound source prototypes were created. The guidebook manuscript was revised.

Work Planned for 2005

Prototypes of the guidebook will be completed. The project leader will send the revised guidebook and sound source out for evaluation.

Research: A Three-Year Parent-Child Physical Activity Intervention Among Families of Children with Visual Impairments

Purpose

The study will see if parents who expect their child can be successful in the psychomotor domain and who value success in that domain will be more likely to influence their child towards participation and persistence in this area.

Project staff

Background

Camp Abilities is a one-week developmental, residential sports camp for children who are blind, deafblind, and may have multiple physical impairments. Camp Abilities was founded by and is directed by Dr. Lauren Lieberman, Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Education and Sport at SUNY College at Brockport. Dr. Lieberman submitted this three-year study to be conducted at Camp Abilities. She has gained an international reputation in the field of adapted education for youth that are visually impaired. Her experience combined with Dr. Moira Stuart's expertise in the field of sport psychology will provide the necessary expertise to successfully complete this study. Dr. Stuart runs an undergraduate and graduate program in Sport Psychology at Northern Illinois University.

Year one, prior to camp beginning, parents/caregivers completed the parent/caregiver subjective task value questionnaire, expectations for success questionnaire, and barriers to physical activity questionnaire. At the beginning of camp, participating campers completed their own subjective task value questionnaire, expectations for success questionnaire, and barriers to physical activity questionnaire.

Work during FY 2004

Campers participated in the activity assessment portion of the study by wearing talking pedometers and tracking the amount of physical activity they could do in a day. Work began on the resource manual that will be used in the third year of the study.

Work Planned for 2005

The resource manual will be completed and sent to parents and campers participating in the study. During camp, parents and students will complete the follow up questionnaires that can be compared to the ones completed in the first year of the study. The end product of the three-year study will result in presentations at national and international conferences, and research articles. The research team will submit a product proposal for a physical fitness kit consisting of the resource manual, a talking pedometer, tether, guidewire, and physical activity manual.

Research: An Analysis of Gait Kinetics of Visually Impaired Children During Running

(Continuing)

Purpose

This is an investigation of the forces that directly result in observed movement patterns during running. There are four goals:

Project staff

Background

Camp Abilities is a one-week developmental, residential sports camp for children who are blind, Deafblind, and may have multiple physical impairments. Camp Abilities was founded by and is directed by Dr. Lauren Lieberman, Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Education and Sport at SUNY College at Brockport. Dr. Lieberman submitted this study to be conducted at Camp Abilities. She has gained an international reputation in the field of adapted education for youth that are visually impaired. Her experience combined with Dr. Christopher William's expertise in the field of kinesiology and biomechanics will provide the necessary expertise to successfully complete this study. Dr. Williams is the director of the Biomechanics Lab at SUNY Brockport.

Campers were classified by visual impairment (B1 & B2). In addition, each camper was asked to run under the following conditions: independently, with a sighted guide, with a guide wire, and with a caller (or sound mechanism). All children were allowed to run at a self-selected pace.

Video data was recorded using a Peak 5 Motion Analysis system. Markers were placed bilaterally at the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and head. Video data was captured in the sagittal (side-view) and frontal (front-view) planes, and recorded linear and angular displacement, velocity, and acceleration of the body and its segments. During running under each condition, participants made foot contact with a Kistler force platform, which was located on a running stage (platform) built for the participants. The force platform data yielded ground reaction forces, from which kinetic measures were derived. Comparisons of kinematic and kinetic measures based on level of VI and running condition are being made using a 3 X 4 MANOVA design.

Work during FY 2004

Dr. Williams continued to compile the research data.

Work planned for FY 2005

The research results will be published and presented at a national conference.

Sound Ball

(Continuing)

Purpose

To create a reliable ball with an electronic sound that can be used to play games as well as be used with very young children indoors as a sound source to encourage crawling and reaching.

Project staff

Background

The need for an electronic sound ball was established through a survey conducted by Don Potenski, Ex Officio Trustee from New Jersey. Having a strong interest in physical fitness, the Multiple Disabilities Project Leader requested to research the feasibility of creating this product. Multiple focus group sessions were conducted with students and adults to address their needs and features they desired in a ball.

The research resulted in designing a 7 1/2-inch inch ball with dual speakers and dual volume control (near volume and distant volume). Numerous sounds were tested with children to identify two sounds that were easily located both indoors and outdoors, and did not replicate any sound in nature, home, or school environments. Sounds that students wearing hearing aids could hear were chosen. Drawings were developed and 12 prototypes were created. Problems with the first-round prototypes were evaluated and adaptations made.

Work during FY 2004

Twelve prototypes were created. Six with one sound (boing boing) and six with a different sound (techno dance beat). The boing balls were solid yellow, while the techno balls were airbrushed orange and yellow. Both balls were sent to six different locations (four blind sports camps two schools).

Work planned for FY 2005

Working with Technical Research, the project leader will locate possible vendors and proceed with the bid procedure. Produce balls.


Science

Staff


Science Skills Inventory

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide a method to allow science, classroom and VI teachers to gather information about laboratory skills or the lack thereof, for students who may be entering their classrooms. To provide some methodologies for teaching students who are visually impaired to perform common laboratory tasks. To offer resources for equipment and accessories that may be needed when teaching laboratory skills to a student with a visual impairment.

Project staff

Background

In March of 2002 APH convened a Secondary Level Science Focus Group to set priorities in the sciences and to suggest product ideas to fit the priorities. The priorities were:

It was decided to develop the Science Skills Inventory first. The product idea was presented to Products and Research Committee and accepted. The co- Project Leaders researched materials and adaptations currently available through SAVI and other resources. They bought and tested current materials, tools and adaptations for soundness, usefulness, durability, cost-effectiveness and completeness. The actual inventory was written by Ms. Hoffman and edited by Ms. Kitchel. Appropriate graphics for the cover were selected. Quite a large number of black and white line drawings were developed to accompany the text and were reviewed. Field testing sites are now being sought.

Work planned for FY 2005

The prototypes will be field tested and the resulting data analyzed. Further revisions will be made according to field testing results. The documentation and specifications will be drawn up and tooling will begin. Production should take place shortly thereafter.

Sense of Science: Animals

(Continuing)

Purpose

To develop a set of materials for blind and low vision students in grades K-3 that promotes active, hands-on learning activities emphasizing the basic concepts related to animal life. This is the second module of a planned series.

Project staff

Background

Sense of Science: Animals is the second 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 will resemble in both content and design the introductory module, Sense of Science: Plants, incorporating both fun-filled, hands-on activities and the tactile/visual overlays for use with APH light boxes.

The tactile/print overlays planned for the Animals kit were sketched and designed by the project leader and the Pattern/Model Maker. The best tactile representation of each overlay and ideal silkscreen colors for the visual overlays were determined. Concurrent with the development of the overlays, the project leader worked with project authors to develop hands-on activities for the guidebook categorized by animal habitat (e.g., desert, wetlands rainforest, ocean, etc.). The main components of each activity include the following:

Extensive lists of Suggested Children's Literature were also compiled for each animal unit.

Prototypes were sent to ten field test sites in FY 2001. Eight teachers from the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, and New Mexico completed the evaluation, having used the materials with a combined total of 47 visually impaired and blind students. The teachers expressed satisfaction with the scope and appropriateness of the guidebook activities and the tactile/print overlays. As one teacher noted, "Seeing the tactual making sense to my students was the greatest strength." A final report of the field test results was prepared and reviewed by an in-house research committee; appropriate revisions were determined based upon the teachers' feedback.

During FY 2002 efforts were focused on revising and updating the hands-on activities included in the guidebook based upon field test feedback. Modifications and enhancements were made to the tactile/print overlays as well. Overlays prepared for silkscreen and thermoform production included the following:

  • Ant
  • Bird (Side View)
  • Bird (Top View)
  • Butterfly
  • Fish
  • Mouse
  • Spider
  • Snake
  • Turtle
  • Life Cycle of a Butterfly
  • Life Cycle of a Frog
  • Spider Web Construction
  • Animal Tracks

The most significant revision implemented during the post-field testing stage was the inclusion of an "exploded overlay" to allow the totally blind student to identify various parts of animal apart from the "whole" tactile representation and to serve as an assessment tool. The project leader worked continuously with a contracted illustrator, the in-house graphic designer, an outside graphic designer, the pattern/model maker, a manufacturing specialist, and research assistants to prepare the final documentation, product specifications, and production tooling needed for the initial production runs.

The production of the product was delayed a year due to complications experienced by the outside graphic designer during the preparation of the silkscreen artwork. Given continued complications and doubt that working masters would ever be correctly created by the outside designer, the tooling of the silkscreen masters shifted to the pattern/model maker who was successful at preparing actual screen art for in-house production purposes. The project leader and pattern/model maker spent a great deal of effort preparing this final artwork under a tight deadline.

The project leader worked with the in-house graphic designer as the layout of the guidebook was completed, providing editing tasks, art direction, and final approval. Artwork was prepared for the outer guidebook cover and related dividers. A braille translation of the guidebook was completed in January 2003. Technical Research staff prepared the screen artwork for the overlay housing folder.

Work Completed During FY 2004

The pilot run and production run were slated for the second quarter of FY 2004, but due to back orders and other higher priority products, APH production was curtailed until late September 2004.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project leader will verify the quality of in-house produced materials and vendor supplied items, as well as, monitor the first production runs. Related marketing activities will follow completion and availability of the product. The product will be showcased at upcoming conferences and workshops.

Sense of Science: Astronomy

(Continuing)

Purpose

To develop a set of materials for blind and low vision students in grades K-3 that promote active, hands-on learning activities emphasizing basic concepts related to astronomy. This is the third module of a planned series.

Project staff

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 will resemble 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 the tactile/visual overlays for use with APH light boxes.

Initial development activities included investigating and purchasing existing, commercially-available educational materials related to astronomy. Concurrently, lists of helpful, student-targeted web sites 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 (PET) and the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) and received approval from both.

Work during FY 2004

Extensive product development continued to be curtailed due to the project leader's involvement on other products of higher priority, as well as by the tooling and production difficulty of Sense of Science: Animals. However, some work was initiated on the actual writing of content material, and more thought was given to possible overlay depictions. The project leader continued to review published space-related books containing tactile representations.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project leader will contact possible outside consultants to assist in the writing and/or review of original astronomy activities and begin sketching possible overlay designs (both tactile/print) that will be tailored for use with APH light boxes. Additional hands-on materials beyond the planned overlays will be considered for inclusion in the kit.

Tactile Periodic Table of Elements

(Continuing)

Purpose

To develop a tactile Periodic Table of Elements appropriate for blind and visually impaired students in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college.

Project staff

Background

The project leader presented the product idea to APH's Product Review Committee (PRC), giving specific examples of requests from the field. The committee supported the development of the product that has been described as two accessible renditions of the Periodic Table of Elements -- one that will serve as a tactile reference sheet and a second that will be interactive in design. Braille and large print study cards containing basic information about each element are also planned.

The project staff also met with a science teacher of the visually impaired to review a handmade, magnetic, interactive model of the Periodic Table that proved very successful and motivating for his students. This model was reviewed with the Tactile Graphics Brainstorming Committee in August 2002; they too were excited about the teacher's innovative approach to presenting this science concept.

Work during FY 2004

This project branched into two separate products, namely Tactile Periodic Table Reference Chart and Azer Interactive Periodic Table; both of these products transitioned to the active timeline. The following activities were executed for each.

Tactile Periodic Table Reference Chart:

Azer's Interactive Periodic Table of Elements:

Work planned for FY 2005

PDC meetings for both the Reference Chart and the Azer rendition will be conducted to acquaint production staff with planned components and design; timelines will be established as well. Prototype development will be the primary focus for each product.


Tactile

Graphics

Karen Poppe

&

Fred Otto


Braillable Labels and Sheets

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide clear adhesive labels and sheets for a variety of brailling needs for students, teachers, parents, and adult blind consumers.

Project staff

Background

The project leader received numerous requests from the field to provide blank sheets and peel-off labels for a variety of brailling tasks such as creating file folder labels, adapting print storybooks, labeling household items, adapting appliances, and so forth. Having located and utilized adhesive, kiss-cut material in the past for the Feel 'n Peel Stickers, the project leader recognized the product request as one that could be easily addressed and made available in a short timeframe.

In spring of 2003, the project leader formally submitted the idea of providing clear-adhesive labels and sheets for brailling purposes to the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC). After approval from the in-house committee to proceed with product development, the project leader provided various samples and thickness of clear vinyl to totally blind adults for initial review. Suggestions for ideal sizes of labels were garnered as well.

Work during FY 2004

A complete prototype of the Braillable Labels and Sheets was prepared by the end of December. The prototype represented an assorted package of large labels (four braille lines x 15 cells), small labels (two braille lines by 15 cells), full-size adhesive sheets, and pin-fed adhesive sheets. An outside vendor was involved with the generation of the small and large labels for field test purposes.

During January and February 2004, the prototypes were reviewed by 11 evaluators representing the states of Kentucky, Oregon, Virginia, New Mexico, Arkansas, Maine (two), Louisiana, Maryland, Iowa, California. Evaluators were a mixture of blind adults, teachers of the visually impaired, parents, administrators, and rehabilitation teachers. Over half (62%) of the evaluators indicated that they find a need to prepare braille labels on a weekly or daily basis. One-hundred percent of the evaluators indicated that the large labels and small labels were useful for their specific brailling needs. Feedback revealed that the tactual separation or "gutter" between the labels was helpful, that the labels were easily removed from the liner and applied, and that the layout of the labels allowed for convenient labeling with a braillewriter. Durability of the labels was rated as very good (45%) or excellent (55%). The labels created by evaluators were applied to a variety of surfaces including wood, metal, paper, plastic, glass, Styrofoam, concrete, and tin. The labels were also used independently by students. Although used less frequently than the small and large labels, the full sheets and pin-fed sheets accommodated unique uses (e.g., adapting storybooks or games, labeling tactile diagrams) and the creation irregular-sized labels. Evaluators unanimously expressed the need for clear labels/sheets. As one evaluator noted, "Braillable labels would be a welcome product for all of us busy teachers. Students will enjoy them too."

In March 2004, the project leader conducted an in-house Product Development Committee to outline the planned contents of the final product. A Suggested Uses sheet was prepared to accompany each package of labels, as well as a SimBraille template that can be used to determine needed area for self-created labels. The product specifications were formally presented to Production staff in early April. By the end of August, all packages of labels were produced and made available to the public.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project is formally complete and no additional work is planned.

Braille Transcriber's Kit: US Maps

(Completed)

Purpose

To produce a set of basic embossed outlines for transcribers and teachers to use as a starting point in making tactile maps for their students. Transcribers will add labels, symbols, and other information as needed to make complete tactile graphics. The kit contains assorted maps of the United States, North America, regions, and maps often found in geography or history textbooks.

Project staff

Background

Demand from transcribers prompted creation of the first Braille Transcriber's Kit (Math edition) in 1997, and it was well-received. Responses to a questionnaire included in the kit indicate there is interest in similar sets of tactile "clip art" with outline maps. The materials could also be used by ATIC transcribing agencies to promote consistency between transcriptions.

Samples were made, and prototypes were shown to several experienced transcribers at the CTEVH Conference. Changes were made based on their recommendations, and a full field evaluation was then conducted involving transcribers in Minnesota, Nevada, California, and three sites in Texas.

Work done during FY 2004

The project was completed and the product made available for purchase. A brochure for the product can be viewed at http://sun1.aph.org/products/brltrans_maps.html.

Work planned for FY 2005

No further work is planned on this project. A companion project involving outline maps of continents and some countries will be considered for development.

Feel 'n Peel Stickers II

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide an extended "toolbox" of various tactile, adhesive stickers that can be used by teachers, family members, and blind or visually impaired students and adults for a myriad of purposes, from creating simple tactile graphics and student worksheets to labeling personal belongings.

Project staff

Background

Given the positive and enthusiastic reception of the first five packages of Feel 'n Peel Stickers that debuted in 2001, the product developer was encouraged by parents and teachers to develop a greater and extended variety of adhesive tactile stickers for home and classroom use. Respondents to an earlier survey about possible uses for tactile stickers suggested the following applications: incentives/rewards for grading papers; building discrimination skills; labeling and organizing belongings; creating patterning/sequencing activities; adapting commercial keyboards; preparing and representing bar graphs and pie charts; making simple maps; marking angles and other geometric figures; marking errors on students' papers; labeling books and folders; illustrating spatial concepts; and labeling dangerous household containers.

In May 2003, the idea for four additional sticker packages was submitted to the Product Evaluation Team (PET) and the Product Advisory Review Committee (PARC); both in-house committees approved the development of future packages.

The product leader sketched additional sticker packages that included the following: additional point symbols, braille literary numbers, tactile stars, and additional reward statements. The project leader also purchased Hot Dots®, a commercially available product available from Educational Insights, to explore its use of conductive-ink stickers in combination with APH prepared raised-platform stickers. This product might be included in the future Point Symbol sticker packages.

Work during FY 2004

The project leader conducted a survey to determine if the existing point symbol stickers were being used as editorial markings on braille papers. Feedback garnered from several teachers of the visually impaired did indicate this particular use of the stickers. As one teacher explained, point symbol stickers are used as "editing marks when proofing papers. Students have created a key for what each editing mark means. When editing, stickers are placed in the margin of the line of error."

In June 2004, a Brainstorming Product Development Committee meeting was conducted to receive input and suggestions from other in-house staff regarding the expected components and presentation of the product. Besides the packages already planned by the project leader, members expressed the following possibilities: raised print numbers and letters, color name labels, and jumbo braille.

The project leader met with Steve Paris, APH's Production Manager, to discuss plate layout of the braille for several of the new packages. Early mock-ups were provided to the Project Leader for review.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project leader will conduct an in-house Product Development Committee meeting to set a project timeline. APH will forego conducting formal field testing of these packages given their similar structural presentation--that is, same sheet size, same material, same tactile resolution--as the initial Feel 'n Peel Stickers. APH will work in tandem with an outside die-cutter to prepare needed embossing plates for new tactile stickers that will ensure expected quality. The project leader will also prepare a Suggested Uses sheet to accompany the new sticker packages and work with an in-house graphic designer on the final layout of this component prior for production purposes.

IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts

(Formerly IntelliKeys® Research: Phase II)

(Completed)

Purpose

To develop educational activities and companion tactile overlays for use with the IntelliKeys® adaptive keyboard that introduces and reinforces pre-braille concepts.

Project staff

Background

The first phase of the IntelliTactiles project encompassed efforts to create tactile companion overlays that make IntelliTools® standard print overlays accessible to visually impaired and blind students. IntelliTactiles: Standard Overlay Companions are now available from APH. Phase II of the project was broadened to create original overlays that introduce and reinforce pre-braille concepts.

In 2001, the project leader began working with Gerald Abner, an assistive technology specialist, to develop an original package of tactile overlays that address pre-braille skills, including shape discrimination, texture recognition, and spatial concepts. Preliminary tasks were focused on the following:

  1. selecting proper placement of the shapes given the grid limitations of the adaptive keyboard,
  2. choosing and incorporating a variety of materials to ideally represent smooth, soft, bumpy, and rough textures,
  3. designing the overlays in a way to assess a variety of pre-braille concepts,
  4. selecting high-contrast colors for the overlays, and
  5. ensuring ideal elevation in the thermoform shapes for young tactile learners.

The tactile overlays resulting were titled:

  • Texture Recognition I Overlay
  • Texture Recognition II Overlay
  • Four Shapes Overlay
  • Six Shapes Overlay
  • Nine Shapes Overlay
  • Texture/Shape Recognition Overlay
  • Braille Cell Overlay

These overlays introduce and reinforce a myriad of concepts such as above, below, left, right, between, next to, square, triangle, circle, star, rough, smooth, soft, bumpy, row, etc. The Braille Cell Overlay even provides early orientation to each dot position in the braille cell configuration.

The prototype was field tested during the second quarter of FY 2002. The evaluators documented the following strengths of the product: good visual contrast, excellent tactile contrast, auditory feedback (especially the child narration), scope of basic concepts reinforced, high interest for the students, helpful guidebook layout, and ease of use. These evaluators also noted that the tactile/visual overlays could be used as stand-alone tactile worksheets apart from the IntelliKeys® keyboard. Quiz scripts, therefore, are provided in the accompanying guidebook for this purpose.

Throughout FY 2003, extensive efforts were focused on finalizing the documentation, tooling, and specifications for the final product. Specific activities included the following:

Work during FY 2004

The pilot run was completed in April 2004, followed by a full production run in June. The project leader monitored the quality of these initial runs and assisted in a variety of promotional efforts (e.g., brochure development and demonstrations at workshops).

Work planned for FY 2005

IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Skills is officially complete. Development of additional IntelliTactiles packages will be dictated by future requests from the field.

IntelliTactiles: USB Overlay Companions

(Completed)

Purpose

To adapt IntelliTools' new USB IntelliKeys print overlays for students with visual impairments and blindness by providing tactile equivalents for each

Project staff

Background

In 2001, APH developed and produced IntelliTactiles: Standard Overlay Companions that consisted of seven tactile overlays that correspond and register with IntelliTools' standard print overlays. Since the debut of that adapted package of tactile overlays, IntelliTools, Inc. introduced their new USB adaptive keyboard that is accompanied by seven newly configured print overlays. In response to repeated customer requests for tactile overlays to make the new USB overlays accessible for students with visual impairments and blindness, APH's Product Advisory Review Committee (PARC) quickly approved the development of the product and the project leader expedited the product through the early stages of development and established an abbreviated timeline. Given that the product mimics the structural design and presentation of IntelliTactiles: Standard Overlay Companions (which were thoroughly field tested in May 2000), the Educational Product Advisory Committee (EPAC) issued quota approval for this next package. A letter of permission to proceed with the adaptation of their product was received from IntelliTools, Inc. in March 2003.

The project leader designed the tactile layout for the following USB IntelliKeys overlays:

Many decisions were made about the proper tactile presentation, labeling method, and braille abbreviations applied to the companion overlays. A durable, clear rigid vinyl was selected as the ideal material for the overlays. Thermoform masters and silkscreen artwork were prepared for production purposes. The final documentation for the User's Guide was written by the project leader and completed a month ahead of schedule. The in-house graphic designer readied the layout of the guidebook, as well as the housing folder artwork and guidebook cover art. The final tooling task involved the transcription of the braille guidebook. Product specifications were finalized in July and distributed to the Product Development Committee.

Work during FY 2004

The pilot and production runs of IntelliTactiles: USB Overlay Companions were completed in March 2004. The project leader monitored the quality of these initial production runs and assisted in preparing promotional materials. The product was showcased at conferences and workshops throughout the year.

Work planned for FY 2005

The product is officially complete and available to the public. No further work is planned.

Low-Relief Graph Sheets - .4"

(Completed)

Purpose

To create an embossed graph sheet with grid spacing that corresponds to the line spacing on a braillewriter, so that teachers or students may easily label the horizontal lines when making their own graphs.

Project staff

Background

Responses to a questionnaire included with the Braille Transcriber's Kit: Math indicated significant interest in a graph paper spaced to allow students to label their own graphs on the braillewriter. As with the other Low-relief Graph Sheets sold by APH, customers would like to be able to purchase them as part of this kit and as separate items. As this product is a continuation of an existing line of similar products, it did not require formal field evaluation.

Work done during FY 2004

The project was completed and the product was made available for purchase.

Work planned for FY 2005

No further development work is anticipated.

Rolling Right Along Construction Kit

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide a Rolling Right Along Construction Kit that can be used by parents and teachers to create their own books in a similar format to the newly available Rolling Into Place. The books created by parents and teachers can be tailored to a specific child's interests or tactile/visual needs. The basic concept and structural design of a Velcro-covered ball moving along a meandering path with the child's assistance will be mimicked to encourage visual and tactile scanning skills, understanding of directional/spatial concepts, and development of needed hand skills.

Project staff

Background

After the recent debut and successful reception of the Rolling Into Place storybook. Jane Kronheim submitted three additional ideas and story rhymes for similar books. Provided story sketches were reviewed initially by the project leader, and later by Product Evaluation Team (PET). Given the expense and time-intensive factors of assembling the first book, paired with the uncertainty of producing more books with topics that might or might not appeal to wide audience, the project leader proposed field testing a "construction kit" option that would allow parents and teachers to build similarly-designed books around themes that interest their student(s) or child(ren) and, at the same time, address needed tactile and visual skills. In July 2003, the Construction Kit idea was presented to the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) and approved for development.

Work during FY 2004

Prototype development of Rolling Right Along Construction Kit was initiated. The project leader authored accompanying documentation that highlighted visual contrast tips, tactile enhancement considerations, and storybook ideas. Three actual book designs were constructed and incorporated into the documentation as miniature cut-and-fold samples.

Multiple prototypes were assembled for field test purposes by the end of May 2004. Components included the following:

The prototype was field tested by a total of thirteen evaluators representing the states of Ohio, California, Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, and Utah. Sixty percent of the evaluators were familiar with the original Rolling Into Place storybook, a product currently available from APH. The evaluators used the provided package of materials to create their own storybooks tailored for their student(s). Three-fourths of the children for whom the books were constructed ranged from two to four years of age; 12% were between the ages five and seven; and another 12% were nine years of age or older. Over 60% of these students were reported with other disabilities.

The evaluators were asked to return their constructed books for a short review by the project leader. Titles of some of the books returned included the following:

Teachers were very creative in their approaches to designing books, selecting and applying a variety of textures/items to make the books both visually and tactually attractive. Photos of these books were taken for eventual inclusion in the final documentation.

With regard to the provided prototype, 100% of the evaluators found that the Instruction Booklet was clearly and attractively presented. The majority (83%) felt there was a need for black Velcro paths as well as white Velcro paths. Over 50% thought that three panels should be included with the final package; 23% wanted less and 23% wanted more. Nearly all (92%) liked the panel color options (i.e., yellow, black, white) provided; 100% found that the clear-adhesive sheets were convenient for brailling purposes; and 88% of the evaluators utilized Sticky-Dots for adhering items to the panels. Ninety-two percent of the evaluators thought that this product should be made available from APH.

Using the final results from the field evaluation, the project leader determined needed revisions and regrouped the Product Development Committee to discuss expected changes and production processes for the final product.

Work Planned for FY 2005

Final production tooling and product specifications will be prepared. The project leader will monitor the pilot run and production run of the final product slated for summer of 2005. A web site-sharing opportunity for parents and teachers to share their book creations will be explored.

Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding

(Formerly Tactile Transitions)

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop a set of materials that will assist young children in making the cognitive leap from real objects to two-dimensional tactile representations.

Project staff

Background

In 2001 the project leader proposed the development of a kit that would bridge children's exploration of real objects with accurate interpretation and recognition of simple raised-line drawings. The existing Tactile Treasures kit, produced by APH in 1997, was intended to serve as an informal assessment of a child's understanding of basic concepts related to shape, size, amount, and position through the use of thermoformed worksheets. The accompanying guidebook to Tactile Treasures stresses the incorporation of real objects and raised line tracings of the thermoformed objects encountered on the worksheets as a way to expose children to the progression from three-dimensional items to abstract representations--essentially an early tactile readiness tool.

To ensure that the progression from real objects to tactile raised-line drawings is presented at an early age, Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding serves as a prequel and sequel to Tactile Treasures by providing all tactile stages in one comprehensive kit. An assortment of real objects that are familiar to most young children is included. Examples include a comb, pair of scissors, a toothbrush, a block, and a ball. Thermoformed and simple raised line counterparts to the selected items are provided as well. Children are encouraged to create their own raised-line tracings of the included objects using such tools as Quick-Draw Paper. A secondary objective of Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding is to develop advanced skills such as understanding scale adjustments and various perspectives (e.g., top view, side view, front view) using a miniature model of house with real-life equivalent textures (e.g., siding, brick, stucco, etc.) and corresponding 2-dimensional tactile views.

Work during FY 2004

The first quarter of the year was dedicated to the design of the product. The project staff conducted the following activities:

Multiple prototypes of Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding were readied by the end of January by the project staff for field test purposes. Eleven evaluators representing the states of Virginia (two), California (two), Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Montana, Missouri, New York, and Louisiana participated in the field review. All were teachers of the visually impaired, six of whom had 15 or more years of experience. Setting the Stage materials were used with a total of 33 students ranging from 3.5- to 17-years old, with 67% being 10-years-old or younger. The largest percentage of students (54%) were braille readers; 18% were large print readers; 18% were auditory readers; and the remaining percentage (9%) were reported as using a combination of reading modes.

One-hundred percent of the evaluators expressed that the accompanying guidebook clearly explained the intention and use of the kit and that the general layout and presentation of the guidebook was appropriate and attractive. The real objects included in the product were viewed as appropriate and familiar to young children; the ball, block, spoon, and key received 100% approval; the comb, crayon, cup, necklace, scissors, toothbrush, and zipper received 88% approval; and the puzzle piece received 77% approval. All of the evaluators expressed that the SHOWTIME, CENTER STAGE, and FINALE activities were helpful in transitioning students from real objects to raised-line graphics. The house model, reported as the most popular/motivating item, was described by 100% of evaluators as a useful tool for presenting advanced concepts of reduced size and perspective. The sorting tray received unanimous approval with regard to its functionality and color. Evaluators indicated that 88% [29 of 33] of their students' tactile skills improved after using the included materials. Overall strengths noted were the following: appropriate for young children with a variety of cognitive abilities, durable and attractive materials, real-life objects that are meaningful to totally blind students, assessment tool for discovering concept misunderstandings or gaps, good progression from real objects to raised lines, all-inclusive kit, outstanding quality of graphics, tool for teaching perspective, and the house model with great textures. All of the evaluators recommended the production and availability of this kit. One evaluator stated, "Teachers would welcome this kit." There is no other resource available that provides introduction to raised-line drawings."

Throughout the third quarter of the year, the project staff incorporated revisions to the kit based upon field test data. Several Product Development Committee meetings were conducted to reacquaint production staff and those involved in tooling tasks with expected components, vendors, and production assembly. The project leader and project assistant updated the guidebook content. Real objects and available sources for each were determined. The Pattern/Model Maker built master thermoform patterns for all of the house views and tactile "real object" representations. Professional photos were taken for inclusion in the guidebook and the final graphical layout of the guidebook was underway by mid-September. Technical Research initiated the Specifications document.

Work planned for FY 2005

Product specifications and tooling of the print and braille guidebook will be completed. The project leader will monitor the quality of the initial pilot and production runs. Promotional materials will be prepared and the product will be demonstrated at upcoming conferences.

Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication

(Formerly Tactile Symbol Communication System)

(Continuing)

Purpose

To develop a comprehensive set of tactile symbols that is appropriate for use by visually impaired and blind students who lack a formal means of communicating.

Project staff

Background

In April 2000, Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, served as the facilitator of the Tactile Symbol Planning Meeting attended by teachers from the Iowa Braille School, Texas School for the Blind, Maryland School for the Blind, and Perkins School for the Blind. The purpose of the meeting was:

  1. to review and compare each school's approach toward using tactile symbols,
  2. to discuss the desired product outcome,
  3. to discuss wider applications relative to IntelliTools® adaptations, and
  4. to discuss how APH can facilitate the production of a standardized product.

In March 2001, the Tactile Symbol Communication System product idea was presented to the Multiple Disabilities Focus Group; this meeting was facilitated by Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader. Although the members of the focus group fully supported the development of this product, they encouraged a re-direction toward creating a system that was less standardized and stressed the importance of a personalized system for each individual child.

In FY 2002, the project leaders combined their efforts and requested project assistance from Kay Jahnel and Kim Conlin, original members of the Tactile Symbol Planning Committee, to design and develop a unique tactile communication system. Efforts were focused primarily on prototype development. Activities included the following: selecting a core vocabulary of tactile symbols; determining the shape, color, size, and number of mounting cards; selecting symbols for each tactile card for inclusion in the Pictorial Library; writing guidebook chapters prepared by both the project leaders and contracted authors; planning a complete list of expected kit components (e.g., braille/large type labels, construction materials, etc.); and developing the look and function of the accompanying interactive CD intended for teachers/parents to use to customize Pictorial Libraries to meet individual communication needs of their students/children.

Work during FY 2004

Prototypes of Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication were field tested from September 2003 to February 2004. Fourteen evaluators representing the states of Oregon, Alabama, Missouri, Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, California, New York, and Pennsylvania participated in the field test process. The evaluators constructed tactile communication cards for a total of 27 students ranging from 3 to 20-years of age. Over half of the students were nine years-old or younger, and 100% were reported as having other handicapping conditions besides blindness/visual impairment.

Evaluators reported 100% approval of the mounting cards' durability and appropriateness for a variety of applications, the philosophy of individualized tactile systems, the presentation of the pictorial library encountered in the guidebook, and the development and provision of the kit by APH. Noted strengths included the following: the unique shapes of the mounting cards, cards' assigned color scheme, ease of assembly, teacher-friendly guidebook, durable materials, capability to "grow" with student's cognitive and language awareness, and the system's flexibility. Improvements made to the kit based upon evaluator feedback included the provision of a greater number of mounting cards, elimination of the storage binders, additional photos of technology-related applications, more pre-drilled cards, clarification of target population's prerequisite skills, and minimization of accessory kit items (i.e., easy-to-acquire materials). Given the somewhat lukewarm reception by field evaluators toward the interactive CD plans, the project leaders postponed the development of this component until a later date.

After the field testing stage was complete, enormous coordination between project leaders, outside consultants, and in-house production staff was required to finalize guidebook content, to prepare photographs for the guidebook and related Pictorial Library, to design the guidebook layout and related cover art, to identify and purchased materials from outside vendors, to execute Spanish and braille translations of the guidebook, and to create production tooling for the mounting cards. The product received quota approval from the Educational Product Advisory Committee (EPAC) in May 2004.

Work planned for FY 2005

The project leaders will work closely with Technical Research staff in finalizing product specifications. The quality of the pilot run in January will be carefully monitored, as well as the initial production run slated for February 2005. The project leaders will continue to showcase this product at appropriate conferences and workshops.

World Maps

(Formerly Princeton-APH World Maps)

(Continuing)

Purpose

To reproduce and sell a volume of maps made by the Princeton Braillists on vacuumformed sheets, showing all the regions and countries of the world, which includes keys and descriptive pages in braille and large print. It will be useful for studying geography, social studies, history, or current events.

Project staff

Background

There is a need for high-quality world maps that provide distinctive details through the use of vacuumformed images. While the embossed APH Braille World Atlas remains a popular and useful tool, it has received numerous customer criticisms due to its bulky size and lack of tactile differentiation.

The current Braille Atlas also violates a number of the guidelines APH promotes for good tactile design. The Princeton maps are closely aligned with the guidelines, and, because they are produced in a medium that allows for variations in relief, they have more distinct definition. The Princeton maps will be produced in a smaller format than the current atlas, making them more portable and useful. They will also be more current than the Braille World Atlas, dated 1992.

Work done during FY 2004

The Princeton Braillists produced 10 sample volumes for field evaluation and sent them to APH. Project staff added a clear overlay insert for one map page and bound the volumes.

Evaluation was conducted at three sites in Oregon, three in Maine, one in Pennsylvania, and one in Kentucky. Maps and labels were fine-tuned after evaluators' comments, and the overlay page dropped in favor of combined print/braille key pages facing the maps. Experimentation showed that excellent production masters could be made off of thermoformed maps rather than using the original foil masters and this simplified the process.

Epoxy plates and braille tooling were completed and approved, as was the graphic cover and text design. Specifications were established and meetings were held to usher the project into production.

Work planned for FY 2005

A pilot run and full production run are scheduled for early in the new year. No further work is planned, but staff will monitor sales and customer responses with an eye toward producing additional map volumes covering specific regions or continents.


Toys

Staff


Revolution Sport Ball

(New and Completed)

Purpose

To provide a small ball that produces sound that does not stop immediately when the ball stops rolling. The hard foam exoskeleton provides easy to hold handles for children with cerebral palsy, and other children who need to develop independent playing skills, fine motor skills, and exploratory skills.

Project staff

Background

APH discovered this ball at the International Toy Fair. The project leader took the ball to focus groups at sports camps, swimming tournaments, and product presentations to determine if the ball was needed and wanted. The response was overwhelming. Teachers said they wanted to order multiple balls.

Work during FY 2004

Research was done on where teachers could purchase the ball because it was a commercially available product. According to the manufacturer, it was sold in a small store franchise that did not exist in every state. Working with the manufacturer, the project leader established price and availability information and presented it to the Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory Review Committee. APH decided to offer the ball as a non quota item.

Tangle Toy Kit

(Continuing)

Purpose

To foster independent play while developing fine motor skills, visual discrimination/identification, tactile discrimination/identification and exploratory skills.

Project staff

Background

The Tangle Toy is a commercially available toy that was discovered at the International Toy Fair. Color adaptations were recommended and the manufacturer will make an APH exclusive Tangle Toy that can be used by sighted and blind peers. The guidebook accompanying the toy will show different color and texture combinations that can be made and how to use them while playing fun games. The guidebook focuses on early childhood, cortical visual impairment, and multiple disabilities.

Work during FY 2004

The manuscript was completed and turned over to design. The prototype toys were painted and are ready for field testing.

Work planned for FY 2005

The toy will be field tested and made ready for production.

Toy Chest

(New)

Purpose

The purpose of the Toy Chest project is to provide teachers with an assortment of classic toys and lights commonly needed to conduct functional vision assessments for young children, along with some guidelines for the uses of the items.

Project staff

Background

Numerous and ongoing requests from practitioners in the field led to a project to provide a variety of toys, reflective materials and lights commonly used by practitioners to conduct functional vision evaluations. Practitioners stated that toys developed by toymakers come and go according to fads. Additionally, many toys on the market that are used for vision evaluation purposes are not really safe. It would therefore be helpful to practitioners to have an assortment of safe toys and lights that would not go out of style and would always be available, along with brief guidelines for safe usage.

Work during FY 2004

The project leader evaluated 69 existing products for possible inclusion in the Toy Chest. Products were evaluated according to durability, longevity, reflectivity, color, texture, size, shape, luminosity, appropriateness and other qualities. Three electronic components are under development for inclusion. Three other non-electronics components have been introduced for development.

Work to be completed in 2005

Existing products for inclusion in the Toy Chest will be decided upon. Additional custom-made products will be designed and enough will be made for field test prototypes. Prototypes will be completed and field tested.


Technical

Research

Division

Frank Hayden


Technical Research Division Activities

(Continuing)

Purpose

The Technical Research Division functions as a "bridge" between the concept of the project leader's product and the concrete reality of the production floor. The purpose of the division 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's floor as possible. The division is involved in all aspects of the product including design work, materials selection, vendor selection, and process development. 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.

This development, documentation, and preparation of the product for actual manufacture, along with the monitoring of the manufacturing process by the division, helps to assure the greatest probability of success for a new product

Division staff

Work During FY 2004

APH Insights Calendar 2005

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the Communications Department and production areas to get this produced through production and stocked in July.

APHont Suite

(Completed)

Technical Research followed this product through its completion for Internet distribution.

Armadillo Army

(Completed)

Technical Research completed and turned over product specifications and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in September.

Assorted Labels Pack

(Completed)

This kit is a combination of four individual packages of different types of labels. It will contain five sheets of the large labels, ten sheets of small labels, ten sheets Full Size clear adhesive backed material and thirty sheets of Pin Fed clear adhesive backed material. Technical Research completed product specifications on all five individual kits and followed each one through its first production run into stock. The full size kits were stocked in August.

Small Label Pack

(Completed)

This contains ten sheets of 18 labels 3.875 x 0.950 clear adhesive backed kiss cut and were placed into stock in August.

Large label Pack

(Completed)

This kit contains ten sheets of 10 labels each 3.875 x 1.750 clear adhesive backed kiss cut and were placed into stock in August.

Full Size Clear Adhesive Sheets

(Completed)

This contains fifteen sheets of 8.5 x 11 clear Full Size clear Adhesive backed material and was placed into stock in August.

Pin-Fed Clear Adhesive Sheets

(Completed)

This contains thirty sheets of 8.5 x 11 pin fed clear adhesive backed material. This kit was also completed and placed into stock in August. All kits were packaged with a generic print and braille insert placed in a clear envelope. All kits also included an 8.5 x 11 Simbraille Template that Technical Research created to be used as a guide for label sizing. Technical Research worked very closely with the project leader, Purchasing, the outside vendor, and Production to get all five products produced and into stock as quickly as possible.

Boldline Pocket Sized Notebook Paper

(New Product)

The project leader held a PDC meeting in July and dates were set for the schedule. Technical Research has completed approximately 75% of the product specifications and will be scheduling a meeting with production in late September or early October.

Book Wizard Producer

(Continuing)

This product is a composing program for books on CD. Technical Research completed product specifications on this product, but will have to update them when the project leader determines final changes with the product to better satisfy customer requirements. Technical Research will make the updates once any product development changes are made and will continue to monitor the first production run.

Book Wizard Reader

(Completed)

This product is a reading program on CD. Technical Research completed product specifications and distributed them to production departments. Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product in July.

Braille DateBook 2004 Kit

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and turned them over for production. Technical Research worked with the project leader in monitoring the first production run in November.

Braille DateBook 2004 Calendar Tabs

(Completed)

This will be sold individually and is also part of the Braille Date Book Kit. Technical Research worked with the project leader to develop and produce prototype samples of the Calendar Tab Dividers. Technical Research selected materials, developed and specified braille layout and created files for making the Cutting Dies. Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and them over for production. Technical Research along with the project leader monitored the first production run completed in November.

Braille DateBook 2005 Kit and 2005 Calendar Tabs

(Completed)

Technical Research held a product-debriefing meeting on December 10th regarding the 2004 version. Technical Research created templates and provided them to Production to use for preventing errors on future Calendar Tab Dividers runs. Technical Research provided Braille Transcription Department with a 2005 calendar to generate the 2005 Date Book Calendar Tabs and also provided Production with an updated Parts List and carton label master for the 2005 version. Technical Research revised drawings for Binder and worked with Purchasing and the Vendor to ensure these changes would reflect the project leader's objectives. Technical Research worked with the project leader and Purchasing to confirm changes on March 10th. Technical Research followed the progress of the 2005 product through production and into stock in July.

Braille Transcriber's Kit, Math

(Completed)

This is a re-design of the kit. Several sets of new diagrams were added including Venn Diagrams and a new 0.400" square grid sheet. Technical Research completed all ECR (engineering change notice) requirements to document the product revisions. Technical Research monitored the first production run through completion and into stock in February.

Braille Transcribers' Kit, U.S. Maps

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with project leader and Production to develop an alternative production method to satisfy project leader's objective and improve production efficiency. Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and has turned them over for production. Technical Research worked with the project leader monitoring the first production run completed in October.

Collegiate Sized Bold Line Spiral Notebook

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research worked with the project leader to monitor the first production run into stock in September.

Colorino English Version

(New)

A PDC meeting was held August 8th. This product is described as an entry-level color identifier. It will come to APH from CareTec, the same company that manufactures the ColorTest II. A decision was made to Fast Track this product through the system. APH is purchasing the Colorino unit and a case in bulk from CareTec. APH is manufacturing bilingual versions of the Quick Start and Parts List and will be in print English and Spanish, Braille, and recorded cassette that goes in both units. All the items will be placed into a labeled box and sent to stock. Specifications were completed and turned over to production in September, tooling scheduled for September 2004. Production of 50 units is scheduled for October 2004.

Colorino Español Version

(New)

This is the Spanish speaking version of the Colorino unit. The unit has its own Catalog Number and will include all the same items as mentioned above. This product followed the same schedule as the English version and has a production scheduled for five units to be stocked October 2004.

Color Test II

(Completed)

Technical Research developed procedure and acquired necessary materials for quality control testing of ColorTest II units. Technical Research worked with Purchasing Manager and Vendor in performing environmental testing of the unit. An APH logo sticker was placed on the approved unit. Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product.

Color Test II Español Version

(New Product)

This is a Spanish speaking version of the ColorTest II product. All product documentation has been translated into Spanish. Technical Research developed and turned over specifications for production in August. Technical Research is monitoring the completion of 5 units into stock by October.

Crafty Graphics Video

(Completed)

Technical Research completed and turned over product documentation to production and monitored the first production run into stock in April.

Electronic Talking Glow Dice

(Completed)

Technical Research designed the circuitry and fabricated 25 prototype designs of the printed circuit boards and the cases for field-testing. Following field testing, Technical Research worked with the Model Shop to coordinate the electronics fitting into the final case design. Technical Research, the project leader, the Model Shop, and Purchasing worked to solicit outside bids for the product. A vendor was selected, and after numerous problems, the first production run of units was accepted. Technical Research monitored all aspects of this product along with the project leader. The item was made available in May.

Envision I Braille Teacher's Manual for ages 10 years and Under

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production. These Braille manuals are not included in the kits, but are made available upon request. The completed manuals were placed into stock in November.

Envision I Braille Teacher's Manual for ages 11 years and older

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production. These Braille manuals are not included in the kits, but are made available upon request. The completed manuals were placed into stock in November.

Envision II Braille Teacher's Manual for ages 10 years and Under

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production. These Braille manuals are not included in the kits, but are made available upon request. The completed manuals were placed into stock in November.

Envision II Braille Teacher's Manual for ages 11 years and older

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production.

These Braille manuals are not included in the kits, but are made available upon request. The completed manuals were placed into stock in November.

EZ Track Address Book

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with Communications on redesigning the Record Keeper by removing all mention of MasterPlan from printed information. This was completed and Technical Research monitored the first production run of the revised material into stock in October.

EZ Track Calendar 2005

(Completed)

Technical Research took over as project leader for this annual product in 2003. Technical Research worked with Communications in getting new cover art made and the calendar layout set up. Technical Research developed specifications, turned them over to production, and monitored the production of this product into stock in September.

EZ Track Calendar Inserts 2005

(Completed)

Technical Research took over as project leader for this annual product in 2003. Technical Research worked with Communications in getting new cover art made and the calendar layout set up. Technical Research developed specifications, turned them over to production, and monitored the production of this product into stock in September.

EZ Track Financial Record Keeper

(Completed)

The name on this product was also changed from MasterPlan to EZ Track. Technical Research worked with project leader, production and a vendor to resolve tooling problems. Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research worked with the project leader in monitoring the product through production in October.

Feel'n Peel Stickers 2

(New)

The project leader held a Brain Storming PDC meeting on June 17th to give an overview of the product concept and to solicit ideas to incorporate into it. It's considered a continuation or extension of the current Feel'n Peel Sticker Kit.

Filler Paper/Blank Tab Dividers

(Completed)

This is a new product and will also be part of the Braille Date Book Kit. Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and has turned them over to production. Technical Research worked with the project leader monitoring the first production run completed in November.

Functional Skills Assessment

(Continuing)

The name was changed from "Functional Assessment/Curriculum". Technical Research met with the project leader for an overview of the product and will begin work on product specifications and documentation as determined by the product timeline schedule.

Going Places, Transition Guidelines

(Continuing)

Technical Research attending a PDC meeting held on February 11th. The project leader presented an overview of project. Dates were established for producing prototype materials for field-testing by September. Technical Research continues working on developing product specifications.

Guided Art Stories

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications and documentation and turned them over to production. Technical Research worked with the project leader in monitoring the first production run of this kit into stock in January.

IntelliTactiles, Pre-Braille Concepts

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to create electronic files for the silk screen patterns. Technical Research also created electronic files and specifications for Cutting Dies to be made to produce custom shaped backing material for the Overlays in the Kit. Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research along with the project leader monitored the first production run in April. The print manual will be included with the kit and also sold separately. A Braille manual will only be sold separately.

IntelliTactiles, USB Overlay Companions

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to create electronic files for the silk screen patterns. Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research worked with the project leader to monitor the first production run through completion in March. The print manual will be included with the kit and also sold separately. A Braille manual will only be sold separately.

Invisiboard

(Completed)

Technical Research met with the project leader early on in this project to establish the basic make up of the product. The Model Shop pattern maker fabricated prototypes to use for field-testing. Technical Research completed the specifications and monitored its progress through its first production run, which was completed in July.

ISAVE 101 DVD

(Completed)

The product name changed from ISAVE II to ISAVE 101 DVD. Technical Research worked with the project leader to complete product specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research will follow the first production run of the DVD, which was placed into stock in August.

ISAVE 101 Video

(Completed)

Technical Research finalized specifications at the same time as the DVD. The first production run was completed in August.

'K' Sonar

(New Product)

Technical Research completed specifications and information needed for production and production support areas on the Kay Sonar Cane, which has had the name changed to 'K' Sonic Torch, and then once again to the current name of 'K' Sonar. Technical Research continued work on establishing part numbers and bills in the APH Syspro System. Work continues to refine the specifications based on changes in the product from its initial conception. A PDC meeting was held June 22nd to establish incoming Quality Assurance procedures, to note replacement parts and warranty/repair procedures, to familiarize production and production support areas with the product, and to establish a production schedule for this product. The initial product schedule projects a September 30, 2004 available for sale date.

K-FAST Large Print Edition

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader and the APH Communication Department to finalize the product layout and completed specifications. Technical Research worked with the project leader to monitor the product as it went through production in May. During the production run Technical Research noticed a damaged carton of Test Manuals had been set aside on the production floor. These manuals were a purchased item that had apparently been damaged during shipment, but not noticed at the time of receipt. They were dirty with grease and footprints on the front covers. Technical Research was able to develop a process for cleaning/reclaiming the manuals. The books were salvaged at very little cost other than time involved. This saved just over $1,330.00 in scrap costs for APH and also allowed the full production run to be put into stock.

K-FAST Braille Edition

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to develop final product design by creating mock-up of book layout. Technical Research worked continually with the project leader and Communications to finalize product layout. Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over to production and worked with the project leader to monitor the product as it went through the first production run and was completed in September.

Labeling Tool Kit

(Continuing)

This product consists of three parts, a Braille version, Large Type version, and Cassette version. Technical Research will be working with the project leader to determine production methods and materials to be used. As this project has had several schedule revisions, Technical Research has begun work on very preliminary product specifications and documentation.

Large Print/Braille Toss-A-Way Protractor

(New Product)

A brainstorming PDC meeting was held on March 18th. Technical Research has begun working on specifications and will complete them, as more information becomes available on final design and the materials to be used. Technical Research also designed a print template for the Model Shop to use in designing a prototype.

Large Type Atlas

(Continuing)

Technical Research is working closely with the project leader to facilitate the design and fabrication of the tooling needed on this project. This is going to be a long-term project, and Technical Research is developing product specifications, as the project becomes more solid.

Light Box Level 1 Activity Guide Large Print/CD English Version

(Completed)

The existing Level 1 Activity Guide was updated to 18-point type and information concerning CVI was added. The guide was also recorded on two audio CD's. Technical Research worked with Communications to complete product specifications and turn them over to production. The first production was completed in April.

Light Box Level 1 Activity Guide Large Print/CD Spanish Version

(Completed)

The existing Level 1 Activity Guide was updated to 18-point type and information concerning CVI was added. It was then translated into Spanish. The guide was recorded in Spanish on two audio CD's. Technical Research worked with Communications to complete product specifications and turn them over to production. The first production was completed in May.

Light Box Level 2 Activity Guide Large Print/CD English Version

(Completed)

The existing Level 2 Activity Guide was updated to 18-point type and information concerning CVI was added. The guide was also recorded on three audio CD's. A data CD was added with files of the print activity sheets, instructions and parts list allowing the customer to print any sheet they would want. The data will be in English and Spanish, allowing the same CD to go into both versions. Technical Research worked with Communications to complete product specifications and turn them over to production. The first production was completed in September.

Light Box Level 2 Activity Guide Large Print/CD Spanish Version

(Completed)

The existing Level 2 Activity Guide was updated to 18-point type and information concerning CVI was added. It was then translated into Spanish. The guide was recorded in Spanish on three audio CD's. A data CD was added with files of the print activity sheets, instructions and parts list allowing the customer to print any sheet they would want. The data will be in English and Spanish, allowing the same CD to go into both versions. Technical Research worked with Communications to complete product specifications and turn them over to production. The first production was completed in September.

Light Box Level 3 Activity Guide Large Print/CD English Version

(Continuing)

Technical Research is working with Communications to finish the product specifications once the final translation of the Spanish has been completed, in order to have it match with the English version. Technical Research will work with Communications on following this level into production by the end of the year.

Light Box Level 3 Activity Guide Large Print/CD Spanish Version

(Continuing)

Technical Research is working with Communications to finish the product specifications once the final translation of the Spanish has been completed, in order to have it match with the English version. Technical Research will work with Communications on following this level into production by the end of the year.

Lot's of Dots, Learning My ABC's

(Completed)

Technical Research designed the tooling needed for making the plastic template. Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research along with the project leader monitored the first production run. The project was completed in November.

Low Relief Grid Sheets 0.400" 19x19 Grid Pack

(Completed)

This product goes in the Braille Transcriber's Kit, Math and will also be sold individually. Technical Research completed product specifications including developing new bills of material for this product. Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product in October.

Magnet Mate Math

(Continuing)

Technical Research continued working with a vendor in Japan (BrailleCom) to develop cost estimates based on concept drawings and written guidelines. After much discussion with the vendor and the project leader, it was decided that there would be a small trial run of one sheet out of the estimated four sheets needed for the product. The project leader worked to provide Technical Research with the desired content for this test. Technical Research furnished the vendor with conceptual drawings and written guidelines to follow when quoting on and manufacturing the trial run. As the trial run was being arranged the die-cutting vendor passed away. This has caused a delay in having the test done. BrailleCom is in the process of locating a new die cutter so that we can continue with the testing.

Moving Ahead Storybook: "Goin' on a Bear Hunt"

(Continuing)

This will be the first of four books to be produced in the Moving Ahead Series. Technical Research worked with the project leader and Communications to finalize the materials and production procedures for producing this book. Technical Research completed the specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research is monitoring the first production run, which started the second week in September.

Moving Ahead Storybook: "Splish the Fish"

(Continuing)

Technical Research worked with the project leader in designing the layouts for the cutting dies and the Braille plates to make the clear adhesive back sheets of both grade one and grade two versions of "sticker words", which the consumer will attach over the printed words on the proper pages. Care was taken to coordinate dies' size and spacing to the standard TED Braille output spacing. Technical Research ordered the dies for these three books made. These three books will have a Storyboard and storyboard pieces. It will also be produced using the tactile raised line process (Green Machine). Technical Research designed a modification for the Green Machine enabling the machine to run the longer (8 1/2"x23") paper. Technical Research has completed approximately 97% of the product specifications and will complete them once all final production procedures have been determined.

Moving Ahead Storybook: "The Boy and the Wolf"

(Continuing)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to design layouts for the cutting dies and the Braille plates to make the clear adhesive back sheets of both grade one and grade two versions of "sticker words", which the consumer will attach over the printed words on the proper pages. Care was taken to coordinate dies' size and spacing to the standard TED Braille output spacing. Technical Research ordered and received the dies for these three books. Technical Research has begun worked on preliminary product specifications on this book and will begin finalizing them once Splish the Fish specifications have been completed.

Moving Ahead Storybook: "Turtle and Rabbit"

(Continuing)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to design layouts for the cutting dies and the Braille plates to make the clear adhesive back sheets of both grade one and grade two versions of "sticker words", which the consumer will attach over the printed words on the proper pages. Care was taken to coordinate dies' size and spacing to the standard TED Braille output spacing. Technical Research ordered and received the dies for these three books. Technical Research has begun worked on preliminary product specifications on this book and will begin finalizing them once Splish the Fish specifications have been completed.

On the Way to Literacy -- Alphabet Scramble

(Continuing)

This product was postponed due to unfavorable field testing reviews of the book as some testers felt the book was boring. The book has been re-designed for adding visual and content interest for the reader. Technical Research is working with the project leader to develop specifications for this project. A PDC (product development committee) meeting will be held in the next month or two to establish product schedule dates. Technical Research will monitor the progress of this product through its first production run up to stocking the product in inventory.

On the Way to Literacy -- Teacher's Handbook

(Revision)

This product is a re-design of the existing teacher's handbook. Technical Research will be working with the project leader to document the desired changes. Technical Research will put through an ECR (engineering change form) to formally document the product changes. Technical Research will monitor the first production run of the revised product.

On the Way to Literacy -- Teacher's Handbook, Braille Version

(New)

There will be a Braille edition of the Teacher's Handbook that is to be made available the same time as the revised print edition. Technical Research is developing specifications for this version as things become documented for the print version.

Parenting Book -- Braille Version

(Continuing)

This project has had a schedule revision. Technical Research will begin work developing product specifications as the project leader finalizes the products' concepts. It will also be produced in large type and on cassette.

Patterns Library Series -- First Reader Level

(New)

Technical Research held the first PDC meeting with the project leader and production. Dates were established for the timeline schedule. Technical Research will begin work on developing product specifications.

Patterns Revision

(Continuing)

This is to be a new product with the total revising of the existing Patterns. Technical Research will work on product specifications and documentation once the project leader has determined all changes and additions.

Portable Sound Locator IV

(Continuing)

This is going to be a remote controlled version of the Portable Sound Source. Technical Research designed and developed the circuitry for this device. Technical Research fabricated 15 prototypes for field-testing in April. Upon completion of field testing, Technical Research will finalize all drawings, schematics, and written guidelines for obtaining price quotes from vendors.

Primary Math Units Kit and Work Sheets

(Continuing)

Technical Research has completed preliminary product specifications for the prototype samples. Technical Research worked with the project leader to have the samples produced for field-testing. The samples were completed and sent out for field-testing in April. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader on the rest of the individual units as they are completed and readied for production.

Printing Guide

(Continuing)

This product is a mechanical template to help teach printing skills. Technical Research designed and fabricated several versions of the concept for the project leader's review. Technical Research produced 10 each of the two preferred designs. The project leader is in the process of preliminary field-testing. Technical Research will Design and fabricate tooling for this project as needed and will begin work on product specifications as the project leader makes final decisions on the parts. Technical Research will follow this product through its entire first production run.

Psychoeducational Video

(Revision)

The project leader decided to have the existing video updated instead of creating a completely new video. Technical Research updated specifications on this product and turned them over to production. Technical Research is monitoring the production of the video, which should be in stock soon.

Quick Pick Braille Contractions Kit

(Continuing)

This is another in the series of Quick Pick products. Technical Research worked closely with the project leader to determine the product materials and established timeline dates. Technical Research has completed approximately 90% of the specifications, which are to be turned over to production in October. Braille and print tooling are in process at this time. Technical Research will monitor the first production run with the project leader.

Quick Pick Counting

(Completed)

Technical Research worked very closely with the project leader, Communications and Production Departments to get this product into production. The first production run was completed in March.

Revolution Sports Ball

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader and provided production support areas with the necessary documentation to get this product into the system. Technical Research created a master label template to be placed on the package notifying shippers TOY INSIDE - RATTLE OK! This was made available for sale in March.

Rolling Right Along - Construction Kit

(Continuing)

Technical Research is working with the project leader in developing product specifications and will help monitor the first production run.

Sample Test 2004, Cassette Version

(Completed)

This product is a sample test to be furnished by APH's Accessible Test Department to those needing examples of how to adapt a written test to this media for low vision use. This product has had a very compressed development cycle (late June to mid September) Technical Research completed product specifications and monitored the production run completed in September.

Sample Test 2004, CD Version

(Completed)

This product is a sample test to be furnished by APH's Accessible Test Department to those needing examples of how to adapt a written test to this media for low vision use. This product has had a very compressed development cycle (late June to mid September) Technical Research completed product specifications and monitored the production run completed in September.

Sample Test 2004, Large Type Version

(Completed)

This product is a sample test to be furnished by APH's Accessible Test Department to those needing examples of how to adapt a written test to this media for low vision use. This product has had a very compressed development cycle (late June to mid September) Technical Research completed product specifications and monitored the production run completed in September

Sample Test 2004, Braille Version

(Completed)

This product is a sample test to be furnished by APH's Accessible Test Department to those needing examples of how to adapt a written test to this media for low vision use. This product has had a very compressed development cycle (late June to mid September) Technical Research completed product specifications and monitored the production run completed in September.

Science Skills Inventory Print with CD

(Continuing)

The project leader has continued to develop the prototype for field-testing. Technical Research will work with the project leader to develop the product specifications, following field tests results.

Sense of Science: Animals Kit

(Continuing)

The production of the silk screening was going to be started in early September. An outside vendor had manufactured the 42 screens needed to print this kit. Upon inspection of the screens and attempts to begin running the first two screens it was determined that the screens were flawed. Technical Research and Purchasing contacted the vendor making them aware of the problem and to seek a solution. Technical Research washed out one of the questionable screens, re-coated it, and re-shot the artwork on the screen and developed it. A quick test with the in-house silk screen process showed that reclamation of the screen was successful. Technical Research then conducted an inventory of screen making supplies and found there was enough emulsion to remake the 42 screens but not enough emulsion remover to clean them all. Technical Research rushed through an order to Purchasing ordering the chemical, which was received five days later. All supplies are currently in place to reclaim the screens here at APH. The screens will be either be returned to the vendor to be redone or the vendor will issue a credit and Technical Research will reclaim the screens. Once the screens are remade, production will resume on the kit. Technical Research will continue to monitor the kit's progress through production and into stock.

Sense of Science: Animals Guidebook Print

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research worked with the project leader to monitor the product as it goes through production, which was completed in March. They will not be available separate until the full kit has been produced.

Sense of Science: Animals Guidebook Braille

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research worked with the project leader to monitor the product as it goes through production, which was completed in February. They will not be available separate until the full kit has been produced.

Sensory Learning Kit

(Continuing)

This is a redesign of the Sensory Stimulation Kit (SSK), but will essentially become a new product. Technical Research continues working with the project leader, the Purchasing Department, and outside Vendors to locate acceptable items that are more functional and better suited for this kit's purpose. Technical Research fabricated several vibrating pillow prototypes and worked with vendors on the design of a controlled power source for these items. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and a vendor through the development of the product. Following field testing, Technical Research has continued to work on finalizing product designs and specifications. A decision was made to have the items in this kit bid on by multiple outside bidders. Technical Research finished initial product specifications and created a bid package for Purchasing to distribute to three vendors. Two of the three vendors have returned quotes and, upon receipt of the third vendor's quote, prices will be compared and a final vendor (or vendors) will be selected. Following vendor selection, Technical Research will complete product specifications and the product will proceed through outside production, internal production, and stocking on the shelf. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding

(Continuing)

The name has been changed from Tactile Transitions: Real Objects to Raised Line Representations. Field-testing was completed in April. Technical Research has worked on completing approximately 90% of product specifications, which are scheduled for completion in October. Technical Research will work with the project leader to monitor the first production run.

Sound Ball

(Continuing)

Technical Research designed the circuitry for the electronics of the ball and fabricated 12 printed circuit boards with speakers, a level switch, and battery leads attached. These were forwarded to an outside engineering firm contracted to make the housing for the electronics and to foam the ball material around the entire housing assembly. This was for building the prototypes needed for field test work. Upon receipt of the first prototype, the engineer's design of the housing was found not to protect the electronics sufficiently. The prototypes were tested and examined by Technical Research and the APH Model Shop Mold Maker. The Model Shop completely re-designed the housing for the electronics and produced them in house. Technical Research re-designed the electronics to fit the new housing and incorporated some new features. The APH Model Shop experimented with foaming materials and actually fabricated the entire prototype run at APH. When the project leader has all the prototypes back and has compiled the test results Technical Research and the Model Shop will produce drawings and written guidelines for the Purchasing Department to use in obtaining competitive bids from outside vendors. Technical Research will work with the project leader to monitor the first production run of this product.

SQUID

(New)

This was formally called Activity and Game Book. Technical Research will continue working with the project leaders to develop product specifications.

Student Miniguide

(Continuing)

This product is a hand held device that will alert the user either through vibration or tone, of objects in their path and their approximate distance. Technical Research is working with the project leader and the vendor to obtain a revised production sample. Technical Research is working on product specifications and will assist the project leader in monitoring the first production run of this product.

Student PDA

(New)

Technical Research did extensive research using the Internet, located three possible prototyping kits to meet APH's requirements. Technical Research selected a prototyping kit manufactured in England, ordered and received it around the end of April. Technical Research turned the kit over to Technology Research. Technology continues to work with the prototyping kit.

Tabs for Pocket Notebook

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader, Purchasing, and a Vendor to confirm prototype sample dimensions. Technical Research created drawings and wrote product specifications, which were completed and turned over in February. Technical Research along with the project leader monitored the first production run of the product into stock in March.

Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication.

(Continuing)

Technical Research is working with the project leaders to develop product specifications. Technical Research will complete specifications and turn them over for production and monitor the first production run through completion.

Tactile Periodic Table of Elements Reference Chart

(Continuing)

Technical Research will develop and distribute product specifications, assist with tooling as required, and will monitor the product's first production run through completion and into stock.

Talking Typer Upgrade

(Completed)

This product did not follow the normal procedure. Technical Research first learned of this project on April 9th. The goal was to have this new product completed ASAP. Technical Research completed the specifications in April and monitored the first production run. This item was put into stock in July.

Talking Word Puzzles, CD Version

(Completed)

This is a standard software package on CD. Technical Research working with the project leader and Communications completed product specifications. Technical Research monitored the first production run of the product into stock in September.

Tangle Toy for Tots: Tot Tangler

(Continuing)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to meet with production and set a timelines schedule. Technical Research has begun work on specifications and will finalize them after prototypes have been through field-testing and evaluation. Technical Research will be available to help fabricate tooling for changes to the original prototypes, as the needs are required.

Teacher's Pet

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research worked will work with the project leader in monitoring the first production on the product into stock in September.

Textured Paper Collection

(Completed)

Technical Research, with information from the project leader, developed and completed product specifications. Technical Research monitored the first production of this product into stock in July.

Tootle Tiles

(New)

A PDC meeting was held in April where the project leader described the product, noted the progress to date, and established new dates for sending this out for beta testing in January 2005. Technical Research has begun work on developing product specifications.

Turbo Phonics

(Continuing)

This product had its name changed from Video Audio Phonics Presentation (VAPP) to Turbo Phonics. This is a software package on CD, with a print manual and possibly a print workbook. Technical Research is working on product specifications.

Using the Cranmer Abacus for the Blind, Spanish Version

(Continuing)

Technical Research is working with the project leader to developing product specifications and documentation for this product.

Verbal View of Windows XP, Daisy CD Version

(Completed)

Technical Research has completed product documentation and specifications and has turned them over to production. Technical Research monitored the first production run of the product placed into stock in July.

Verbal View of Word

(Continuing)

Technical Research worked with project leader to produce a standard CD and packaging. Technical Research will complete product specifications and schedule a PDC meeting to reset timeline dates when the project leader knows a date for the master completion.

WebChase

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader, Model Shop, and Communications Department to develop tooling required in order to produce the game board items. Technical Research created electronic files for manufacturing five cutting dies. Technical Research completed product documentation and specifications and turned them over to production. Technical Research worked with the project leader to monitor numerous problems with the first production run. After these were resolved, WebChase was placed in stock in June.

"Winter Solace" a Holiday Greeting Card

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to design and complete product specifications. Technical Research oversaw the fabrication of tooling required to produce the card. Technical Research monitored the first production run of the product into stock in May.

Woodcock-Johnson III Psychoeducational Battery: Student Braille Edition

(Continuing)

Technical Research is working with the project leader to develop prototypes for field-testing. Technical Research has begun working on product specifications and will complete them after field test results have been finalized and revisions decided. Technical Research will work with the project leader to monitor the first production run of this product.

Woodcock-Johnson III Psychoeducational Battery: Student Large Print Edition

(Continuing)

The project leader made the decision to use the ATIC department to format the print pages needed for the prototype materials. Technical Research has kept contact with both ATIC and Large Type departments monitoring the status of materials to be produced. Problems with printing equipment in the Large Type Department have prevented obtaining acceptable samples for the project leader. Technical Research will continue working with production to get acceptable prototype materials produced.

Word Player

(Continuing)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to develop standardized software package and product specifications. Technical Research completed and turned over product specifications to production and will monitor the first production run of the product.

World Maps

(Continuing)

The product's name has been officially changed from APH/Princeton World Maps to World Maps. All maps are to be made from Renotherm. Each map page will have an accompanying print/braille key page. Pages will be printed 11.5"x11" and then interpoint embossed using the new Hiedleberg press. The Model Shop designed the dies needed for the maps, which include two foldout maps requiring separate larger dies. The dies will incorporate hole punches needed for twin-looping the pages into a finished volume. The Model Shop designed vacuum form molds for all the map pages. Technical Research designed drawings for three cutting dies which were sent to the vendor August 4th. The print tooling was reported completed the first week of August. Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over to production in August. A new date of November has been set for the pilot run with February for a completion of the production run. Technical Research will continue to work closely with the project leader and production to follow the production of this product.

Other Technical Research Projects

Light Box Level III Graphics

Technical Research looked into the set of 771 graphics, which are a major part of the Level 3 kit. An outside vendor using the silk screening process produces them. This is very expensive. Technical Research studied the full process and documented the findings to more clearly identify all the parts as well as noting any inconsistencies from old specs and current actual product parts. This information should help in the future to use as a guide for Technical Research and the Purchasing Department when evaluating vendors and their processes.

Mini-Lite Box

Technical Research continues working with Purchasing and the Vendor with product specifications and circuitry design. The Vendor had requested APH relax the product specifications. After careful consideration the Technical Research Manager felt the reduced criteria for product specifications would actually allow a product not performing as well as desired to pass the specifications and rejected the request. However, Technical Research offered several design improvements that would allow the vendor to more easily meet the specifications on their production floor. The U.S. Vendor representative will take APH's proposals back to the China manufacturer. The China manufacturer is to send two units to APH that Technical Research will then modify to illustrate the circuitry changes proposed. This needs to be accomplished within the next month in order to meet an October deadline for delivery of the Mini-Lite Boxes from the Vendor. In early August the factory in China informed the US representative that they would no longer produce the APH Mini-Lite Box. Through negotiations the current Chinese factory has agreed to produce a final run of 2,000 units. The United States representative is already working to find a replacement factory in China and has located two possible sites and is currently evaluating both factories. When the current factory completes the run of 2,000 units (likely December 2004 to January 2005) the US representative will assure that all APH owned tooling would be shipped to the new factory. Technical Research will work with the US representative and the new factory to familiarize them with the quality standards and testing required to successfully produce the APH Mini-Lite Box units. This will be an ongoing project for the Technical Research and Purchasing departments.

Portable Sound Source Redesign

Technical Research redesigned the battery mounts for the Portable Sound Source in response to numerous customer complaints of battery box breakage. While doing this, Technical Research also redesigned the sheet metal case allowing the customer to replace the batteries more easily. Technical Research measured and tested the newly designed parts from the vendor and monitored the first production run made with the new parts.

Small, Medium, Large Circle II Kit

After receiving some complaints that the circles were not fitting over the pegs, Technical Research met with Purchasing, Production, and the Continuous Improvement officer concerning the specifics of the problem. Based on that investigation, Technical Research designed new drawings and revised specifications. Partial responsibility was with the vendor cutting the circles incorrectly, which they did replace at their own expense. The tolerance for the center holes in the circles was revised to allow a greater probability of successful production by the vendor while maintaining the full intent and function of the kit. Technical Research completed the drawings and sent out an ECR incorporating the changes. Technical Research designed and built two sets of "go-no-go" gauges. One set was given to Shipping/Receiving Department and one was sent to the vendor. Technical Research completed this in January.

Student Starter Pack Redesign

APH received customer feedback concerning problems with quality of brailling using the paper packaged in the kit. The 80# Braille paper was removed from the kit and 100# Manila Embossing Stock was used to replace it. The Plastic Pocket Slate with a wooden stylus was also removed from the kit and replaced with the new Lightweight Aluminum Slate and Plastic Saddle Stylus. Technical Research created an ECR, revised specifications and monitored the next production run of the kit making sure the changes were implemented.

EZ Track Address Book

Technical Research worked with Communications on redesigning the artwork for the Record Keeper, by removing all mention of MasterPlan and changing it to EZ Track. This was completed and a new file with the revised artwork was given to Large Type, who completed the production run and placed it into stock.

APH Videos

Technical Research researched the costs of various packing methods for the APH videos. The ultimate goal was to quantify the costs of current methods and standardize the methods used to package videos when it merited doing so. The standards will prove to be useful on future video projects. Current videos were be updated through ECR's as warranted on a case by case basis. In all seven videos were updated. Four ECR's with specification updates were completed by Technical Research in March. They were on the following videos, Cranmer Abacus Video, Creating the Good Tactile Graphic Video and Good Tactile Graphics Video, Discover the Magic of Reading Video, and Playing the Crucial Role Video. Technical Research completed all the ECR's and specification updates by mid-March. Technical Research received the label art for Psychoeducational Assessment Video and completed the ECR for it in May. Technical Research received label art for the final two videos Good Lookin' ISAVE Video and Transition Video in August and sent out ECR's for these the same month. There are two videos, Opening Doors and Wings which may not be updated. These two videos are promotional items and may not continue to be produced. Four videos met current guidelines and do not need to be updated. These are Teen Scene Video, Picture Maker Video, Functional Vision Video, and Denver the Guide Dog Video.

Sense of Science: Plants

Worked with Purchasing and Production to facilitate producing the silk screening needed by an outside vendor. This was due to lack of available production floor time in the APH silk screening area. All artwork was carefully examined and organized as well as all sample set-up parts. Technical Research found and repaired some damaged artwork as well as having missing artwork replaced. Technical Research worked with the project leader in reviewing and approval prior to producing of the run. The vendor completed the artwork and production has begun on this kit.

Take Away Game

Technical Research was forwarded a customer concern regarding this kit. The customer said a metal strip used to hold the magnetic playing pieces came loose and became a potential sharp point hazard. Technical Research examined a sample kit from their Standards Closet and from current stock to determine a solution. Technical Research met with the production supervisor and devised a solution of putting a staple on each end of the strip in addition to the glue to hold it in place. Technical Research wrote an ECR and this change was put into effect in April.

Braille Display Unit

On May 20th Dr. Thomas Rokoske from the Appalachian State University presented a Refreshable Braille Display to the APH staff for review. Dr. Rokoske left the unit at APH, and Technical Research was given custody of the prototype in order to begin an in depth study of the unit. This study included disassembling the unit, photographing it, and making observations and recommendations as to potential improvements to the design as well as to mass producing the product. This study ultimately resulted in a comprehensive report, detailing the findings and the anticipated resources needed to design and produce the unit. A detailed report was completed and distributed on July 27th. The report contained a general overview of the device as well as an evaluation of the device from ergonomic, electronic, electromechanical, mechanical, and physical standpoints. Each section of the machine was highlighted and discussed in detail. Potential problems for development were discussed. Also covered were the resources needed for development as well as a very rough estimate of costs involved. Technical Research also added digital photographs of the unit and macro photography of points on interest regarding the internal mechanisms of the unit in the report.

Presentations and Workshops

Allman, C., Ph.D., (2003, November) Universal Design in Testing with Special Attention to Visually Impaired Individuals. Florida Department of Education workshop, November 14, 2003.

Allman, C., Ph.D., (2003, December) Testing Literacy: What We Need for Success, Getting in Touch With Literacy Conference, Dec. 5, 2003, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Allman, C., Ph.D., et al. (2004, January) Workshop for State Assessment Personnel: Making Tests Accessible to Students With Visual Impairments, American Printing House for the Blind, January 14-15, 2004, Louisville, KY.

Allman, C., Ph.D., et al. (2004, September) Workshop for State Assessment Personnel: Making Tests Accessible to Students With Visual Impairments, American Printing House for the Blind, September 15-16, 2004, Louisville, KY.

Allman. C., Ph.D., (2004, May) Assessing Visually Impaired Students, Division on Assessing Special Education Students (ASES/SCASS), May 17-21, 2004, Washington, D.C.

Brogan, Gage and Bev Pfister. (2004, February) Beyond the Guidelines Phase II: Textbook and Test Transcription Training for APH Outsources. Presentations on guidelines for test transcribers and APH test specifications. Colorado Springs, CO.

Coffey, M.C. (2003, October). Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments. PowerPoint presentation, October 3, 2003. Northern Rockies AER Conference, Cody, WY.

Coffey, M.C. (2004, February) Journey into the Testing Zone: An Introduction to APH's Accessible Tests Department. Poster session at Association of Test Publishers Conference on Innovations in Testing, Palm Springs, CA, February 2-5, 2004.

Coffey, M.C. (2004, July) Introducing APH's Accessible Tests Department.Poster Session at Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) International Conference, July 17, 2004, Orlando, FL.

Henderson, B.W. (2004, January). What's Happening With Electronic Testing? An Update and Future Considerations. PowerPoint Presentation at Accessible Tests Workshop, January 16-17, 2004. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. (2004, February) Accessible Computerized Testing: An Update and Future Considerations, PowerPoint Presentation at Space Science the Special Way with a Twist from Assistive Technology Conference, February 11-13, 2004. Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond, VA.

Henderson, B.W. (2004, March) Update on Accessible Tests Department. Presentation for Dr. Anne Corn and Vanderbilt University Students' visit to APH, March 24, 2004, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. (2004, April) Selecting Assessments for Visually Impaired Students, Guest Speaker, University of Louisville School of Education Course, EDSP 628, Assessment of Students Who Are Visually Impaired and Blind, April 12, 2004, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. (2004, September) Update on Computer-Based Testing. Accessible Tests Workshop presented by APH Accessible Tests Department, September 15-16, 2004. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. and Carol Allman, Ph.D. (2004, November) Challenges in Assessment of Persons with Visual Impairments: An Accessible Tests Workshop, Educational Testing Service (ETS), November 9, 2004, Princeton, NJ.

Henderson, B.W. and Monica Coffey.(2003, November) Challenges in Assessing Students with Visual Impairments, presentation at the No Educator Left Behind: 39th Annual Programs for Exceptional Children Conference, November 23-25, 2003, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. and Monica Coffey. (2004, June) Challenges in Assessing Visually Impaired Students, for University of Louisville School of Education Course on Diagnostic and Prescriptive Teaching Methods, June 12, 2004, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. and Carol Anne Evans. (2004, March) Coming Soon: Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement in Braille, PowerPoint Presentation at National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Conference, March 30-31, 2004, Dallas, TX.

Henderson, B.W. and Carol Anne Evans. (2004, July) The Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement: A Case Study in Adapting Tests for Visually Impaired Persons, poster session presented at the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) International Conference, July 2004, Orlando, FL.

Henderson, B.W. and Rosanne Hoffmann. (2004, February) Hands On with Accessible Computer-Based Testing, Breakout Session at Space Science the Special Way with a Twist from Assistive Technology Conference, February 11-13, 2004. Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond, VA.

Henderson, B.W. and Lynne Jaffe, Ph.D. (2004, October) Issues in Adapting Tests for Braille Readers: Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement , Braille Edition. PowerPoint presentation at Arizona AER, October 27, 2004, Prescott, AZ.

Kitchel, E. & Baker, S., (2004) Using ENVISION to Teach Students the Uses of Optical Devices, AER Biennial Conference, Orlando, FL.

Kitchel, E. & Baker, S., (2004) Using ENVISION to Teach Students the Uses of Optical Devices, Gateways Conference, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. & Jose, R., (2004) Using ENVISION to Teach Students the Uses of Optical Devices, Annual Meeting of American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., (2004) Creating the Appropriate Lighted Environments for Individuals with Low Vision, In-service for Blind and Visually Impaired Services of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN.

Kitchel, E., (2004) Creating the Appropriate Lighted Environments for Individuals with Low Vision, Gateways Conference, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. & Hoffman, R., (2004) Guidelines for the Production of Large Print, Colored Maps, Annual Meeting of American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., (2004) Understanding the Text, Graphic & Visual Needs of Test Takers who are Partially-Sighted, Meeting of Publishers and Test Editors, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., (2004) Understanding the Text, Graphic & Visual Needs of Test Takers who are Partially-Sighted, Meeting of State and Local Test Developers and Officials, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2003, October). Teaching Touch. Product presentation at APH Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2003, November). New tactile graphics products. In-house training presentation to APH staff.

Otto, F. & Wright, S. (2003, November). Tactile products and early literacy. IN-AER Annual Conference, Brown County State Park, IN.

Otto, F. (2004, January). Considerations in Test Adaptation for Tactile Learners. State Assessment Personnel Workshop, APH, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2004, April). Tactile graphic products and tangible learning aids. In-service for teachers, TN School for the Blind, Nashville, TN.

Pester, E. (2003, December). "The Big Picture: Teacher Survey on Grade 1 Braille and Grade 2 Braille" [Poster Session]. Getting in Touch with Literacy in Vancouver, BC.

Pierce, T. (2004, March). Products for Children with Multiple Disabilities. Vanderbilt In-Service Training, APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. & Poppe K.J. (2004, March). Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication.. KAER Conference, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2004, May). Products for Children with Multiple Disabilities. University of Ohio Graduate Students, APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2004, July). Designing the Sensory Learning Kit. Gateways 2004, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2004, July). Sensory and Sport Products for Deaf-Blind Children. Deaf-Blind Focus Group, APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2003, October). Middle School Connection. Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. & Poppe, K. J. (2003, October). Recreational Products for Students with Visual Impairments. Unity Conference, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN.

Pierce, T. (2003, October). Using Calendars. The135th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2003, October). Web Chase [Poster Session] The 135th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J, & Pierce, T. (2003, October). Recreational Products for Students with Visual impairments. Unity Conference, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN.

Poppe, K. J., & Otto, F. (2004, January). Tactile Graphics: A Hands-On Tour. "Making Tests Accessible to Students with Visual Impairments, State Assessment Personnel, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J., Poppe, T., Otto, F., Zhang, Y. (2004, April). Tactile Graphic Production Methods. Teachers of the Visually Impaired, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, May). Tactile Graphic Products. Representatives from the Jernigan Institute, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J., & Pierce, T. (2004, March). Tactile Connections: Talk of the Town. KAER Conference, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, March). Tactile Graphic Products. Vanderbilt In-Service Training, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, May). Tactile Graphic Products. University of Ohio Graduate Students, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, May). New Products: Web Chase and Talking GlowDice. APH Leadership Committee Meeting, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J., Otto, F., & Zhang, Y. (2004, June). Designing High Quality Graphics. APH Braille Transcribers, Proofreaders, and Accessible Test Department, Workshop, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, July). Tactile Graphic Materials Appropriate for Deaf-Blind Children. Deaf-Blind Focus Group, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, July). Starting Early: The Importance of Introducing Tactile Materials to Young Children. International AER Conference, Orlando, FL.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, July). Development of Web Chase and Talking GlowDice. Board of Directors, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, August). Web Chase: Learning Tactile Skills Within a Recreational Context. Dorm staff, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, Kentucky.

Skutchan, Larry (March 2004.) Hundreds of Books in Your Pocket with Book Port . CSUN Conference, Los Angeles, CA.

Terlau, M. T. (2003, October). Product Training: EZ Track Series. 135th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2003, December). New Electronic Travel Devices and the Teachable Moment: Types, Tips, and Test Drives. National Conference of the Orientation and Mobility Division of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, New Orleans, LA.

Terlau, M. T. (2004, April). Helping Low Vision Elders Thrive: An Interactive Approach to Rehabilitation Referral and Service Utilization. Annual Joint Conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on the Aging, San Francisco, CA.

Terlau, M. T. (2004, June). Fun with Braille: Word Search Puzzles and Pop-A-Cell. Kenneth Jernigan Braille Carnival, National Federation of the Blind Convention, Atlanta, GA.

Terlau, M. T. (2004, July). Helping Students and Adults Find the Right Tool for the Right Task. Biennial Conference of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Orlando, FL.

Terlau, M. T. (2004, July). APH Product Showcase: The Braille DateBook and the Pocket Notebook. Annual Gateways Conference, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2003, November). Time for Art. Indiana AER, Brown County State Park, IN.

Wright, S. (2004, June). Presentation of On the Way to Literacy handbook and storybooks, Deaf-Blind Focus Group, APH.

Product Materials

Henderson, B.W. (2004) Administrator's Manual For Braille Readers, Braille Edition of the Kaufman Functional Academic Skills Test (K-FAST). American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. (2004) Administrator's Manual For Braille Readers, Large Print Edition of the Kaufman Functional Academic Skills Test (K-FAST). American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. and Betty Hudgins. (2004) Special Instructions for Administering the Braille Edition of the Kaufman Functional Academic Skills Test (K-FAST). American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. and Betty Hudgins. (2004) Special Instructions for Administering the Large Print Edition of the Kaufman Functional Academic Skills Test (K-FAST). American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2003). Braillable Labels and Sheets: Suggested Uses. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2002) Rolling Right Along Construction Kit: User's Guide. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2003). Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry, (2004) Book Port User's Manual, American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry (2004) Book Wizard Reader User's Manual, American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry (2004) Studio Recorder User's Manual, American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry (2004) Talking Word Puzzles User's Manual, American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry (2004) Teacher's Pet User's Manual, American Printing House for the Blind, inc. Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry and Kitchel, Elaine, (2004) Armadillo Army User's Manual, American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., Louisville, KY.

Publications

Allman, C., Ph.D. (2004) Position Paper: Typical Accommodations for Testing Students with Visual Impairment. American Printing House for the Blind" Louisville, KY. http://www.aph.org/tc/index.html

Allman, C., Ph.D. (2004) Position Paper: Use of Extended Time. American Printing House for the Blind: Louisville, KY. http://www.aph.org/tc/index.html

Allman, C., Ph.D. (2004) Test Access: Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments : A Guide for Test Publishers, Test Developers, and State Assessment Personnel. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2004) APHont: A New Font for People with Low Vision, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2004) Armadillo Army: A Computer Game for Students with Low Vision, multimedia; American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2004) ISAVE 101, video; American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2004) Lighting for Low Vision, multimedia; American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2004) Optimizing Vision for the Reading of Continuous Text, multimedia; American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2004) Proposed Guidelines for Formatting Test Documents in Large Print, Rev., multimedia; American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2004) Understanding the Text, Graphic & Visual Needs of Test Takers who are Partially Sighted, multimedia; American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, L. (2004) Teacher's Pet User's Manual, American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2002). Moving Ahead: Tactile Graphic Storybook Goin' On a Bear Hunt. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Wright, S. (2002). Reader's Guide: Goin' On a Bear Hunt. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Wright, T. (2004). Invisiboard User's Orientation Manual. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

New Products

APH Insights Calendar 20055-18971-05
APHont SuiteD-10001-00
Armadillo Army CDD-03400-00
Assorted Label Pack1-08871-00
Book Wizard ReaderD-03531-00
Braille Date Book Calendar Tabs1-07898-04
Braille Date Book1-07899-04
Braille Rap Song
Braille Transcriber's Kit: Math, Revision1-04100-00
Braille Transcriber's Kit: US Maps1-04101-00
Check Register Package (2 pack)1-07920-01
Crafty Graphics Video1-30013-00
EV I Braille Teacher's Instruction Manual For ages 10 & under5-08551-01
EV I Braille Teacher's Instruction Manual For ages 11 & over5-08551-02
EV II Braille Teacher's Instruction Manual For ages 10 & under5-08552-01
EV II Braille Teacher's Instruction Manual For ages 11 & over5-08552-02
EZ Track Calendar 2005 Inserts1-07901-05
EZ Track Calendar 20051-07900-05
EZ Track Financial Record Keeper1-07920-00
Filler Paper / Blank Tab Dividers1-07897-00
Financial Record Keeper Replacement Sheets1-07920-02
Full Size 8-1/2 x 11 Clear Adhesive Sheets (10 Adhesive Sheets)1-08874-00
Guided Art Stories1-09100-00
IntelliTactiles: USB Overlay Companions1-08513-00
IntelliTactiles: Prebraille Concepts Br Guidebook5-08516-00
IntelliTactiles: Prebraille Concepts Print Guidebook7-08516-00
IntelliTactiles: Prebraille Concepts1-08516-00
IntelliTactiles: USB Overlay Companions, Br Manual5-08513-00
IntelliTactiles: USB Overlay Companions, P. Manual7-08513-00
Invisiboard1-08541-00
ISAVE 101 Video1-30012-00
ISAVE 101, DVD1-30012-DVD
K-FAST Braille Edition Kit5-64500-00
K-FAST Large/Print Edition Kit4-64500-00
Large Label Pack 3.875x1.750 (5 sheets per pack)1-08873-00
LB Level 1 Activity Guide, Large Print/CD7-08670-00
LB Level 1 Activity Guide, Spanish Large Print/CD7-08670-SP
LB Level 2 Activity Guide, Large Print/CD7-08680-00
LB Level 2 Activity Guide, Spanish Large Print/CD7-08680-SP
Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC's1-10000-00
Low Relief Grid Sheets 0.4" 19x19" Grids1-04046-00
Pin Fed 8-1/2 x 11 Clear Adhesive Sheets (30 Adhesive Sheets)1-08875-00
Pocket Notebook Tabs1-04389-00
PocketViewer1-07560-00
Portable Sound Source 20031-03040-02
Quick Pick Counting1-03574-00
Revolution Sport Ball Cadaco IXL1-07511-00
Small Label Pack 3.875x0.950 (5 Sheets per pack)1-08872-00
Talking Glow Dice1-07500-00
Talking Typer UpgradeD-03431-00
Talking Word Puzzles CD VersionD-03440-00
Teacher's Pet - PC VersionD-03460-00
Textured Paper Collection1-03275-00
Verbal View of Windows XP CD VersionD-10500-00
WebChase1-08460-00
"Winter Solace" A Holiday Greeting CardW-HDCD-AD