American Printing

House

For The Blind



Research
&
Development Activities

Fiscal 2005




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, 2005

Dear Reader:

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) presents the Educational Research Annual Report for 2005. We want to acknowledge and thank the dedicated APH staff, consultants, field sites, and advisors who have made this work possible. This report highlights the history of over 100 research activities, the work completed in FY 2005, and the work planned for FY 2006. In researching and developing (R&D) products, APH subscribes to the spirit of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's definition of R&D. They state, "R&D . . . comprises creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications."

In order to continue the work of R&D, APH encourages your involvement in at least two areas: product submission and field testing of prototypes. First, APH focuses on the development of products to meet the needs identified by consumers, families, professionals, and APH staff. This process starts when a Product Submission form is received by APH. This form can be found at http://www.aph.org/products/prodideas.htm. Dozens of new products result from the ideas that you and your colleagues have submitted. Please continue this effort, and do not hesitate to contact APH for assistance in filling out the form and/or discussing your idea.

Secondly, APH depends on Ex Officio Trustees, families, professionals, and consumers for field testing sites and/or expert reviewers to carefully evaluate our prototypes prior to manufacturing. In FY2005, APH conducted 20 field tests and utilized 736 students/clients in the process. If you are interested in future field testing/expert reviewer possibilities, please sign-up to be placed in the Research Department's field tester/expert reviewer database.

In an April 2005 article published by the American Educational Research Association, Brian V. Carolan and Gary Natriello pose this question, "How can the numerous networks that constitute the field of educational research be analyzed in an effort to understand and influence the patterns through which knowledge of educational phenomena are exchanged?" ¹ The APH Research Department seeks your assistance in exploring the same question as it applies to educational research and product development in the field of visual impairment and blindness.

In closing, the following quote from Disciplines as Frameworks for Student Learning speaks to the importance of products in the support of instruction. The book states, ". . . research on learning has shown that mastery of a subject is more likely to occur when people actively engage in the practice of what they are studying. In other words, mastery of content or subject is demonstrated and enhanced by active use." ² The APH mission is to provide the materials that will allow your students or clients to actively engage in hands on activities that support your instruction. APH asks that you partner with us in this exciting endeavor.

Sincerely

Ralph E. Bartley, Ph.D.
Director of Research

¹ Carolan, B.V., & Natriello, G. (2005). Data-mining journals and books: Using the science of networks to uncover the structure of the educational research community. Educational Researcher, 34, 25-33.

² Riordan, T., & Roth, J. (2005). Disciplines as frameworks for student learning. Virginia: Stylus Publishing.

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 - Larry Brown (OR)

2006 Robb Farrell, (MD)
2005 -- Kenalea Johnson, (NM)
2007 -- Bernadette Kappen (PA)
2005 -- Carol McCarroll, (TN)
2006 -- Jean Small, (ME)
2007 -- Tom Winton (NC)

Alternate
Mike Cole, (CA)

Educational Services Advisory Committee:

Chair Stuart Wittenstein, (CA)

2005 Karen Blankenship (IA)
2006 -- Joseph Catavero, (NY)
2006 -- Jean Martin, (MN))
2005 -- Carmen Suminski (ND)

Alternate
Louis Tutt, (CO)

Department of Educational and Technical Research Staff

Educational Research
Aicken, John, M.B.A.Assistant Director
Bartley, Ralph, Ph.D.Director
Boyer, Charles "Burt", M.A.Research Associate
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
Klarer, Mark, B.S.Programmer
McDonald, Michael, B.S.Programmer
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)
Rucker, Erica, B.A.Research Assistant
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.Consultant/Project Leader (part-time)
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.

20/200 Fellowship Inc., Pt. Salerno, FL
Alabama School for the Blind, Talladega, AL
Anoka Hennepin Independent School District, Anoka, MN
Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Tucson, AZ
Bobbie B. Fairfax School, Cincinnati, OH
Camp Abilities at SUNY Brockport, Brockport, NY
Castro Valley Unified School District, Castro Valley, CA
Cleveland Sight Center, Cleveland, OH
East Shore SERRC, Kirtland, OH
Education Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Children, Waldoboro, ME
Educational Service Unit #3, Omaha, NE
Erie 1 BOCES, West Seneca, NY
Iredell-Statesville Schools, Morganton, NC
Jackson County Schools, Ripley, WV
James Weldon Johnson Middle School, Jacksonville, FL
Kansas State School for the Blind, Kansas City
Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY
Kingston City Schools, Kingston, NY
Milford Public Schools, Milford, NE
Northwest Regional Program, Hillsboro, OR
Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA
Red Oak Independent School District, Red Oak, TX
Region 4 Education Service Center, Houston, TX
Research Foundation of SUNY, Brockport, NY
Rocky Mountain Braille Associates, Colorado Springs, CO
Rutherford Co. Schools, Ashville, NC
Special School District, Town & Country, MO
Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
Visual Aid Volunteers, Garland, TX
Walhalla Elementary School, Walhalla, SC
Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, Pittsburgh, PA
Western Suffolk BOCES, Huntington Station, NY
Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Janesville, WI




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.

Amato, Shiela, Braille Instructor, Massapequa, NY [Fun with Braille]

Armbruster, Jennifer, National Education Sports Camps, [Going Places: Transition Guidelines...]

Armstrong, Robert, programmer, San Jose, CA, [Turbo Phonics]

Azer, Samir, Science Teacher for the Visually Impaired, Louisville, KY, [Azer Interactive Periodic Table of Elements]

Bender, Dianne, retired Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Nebraska Center for the Education of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, Nebraska City, NE, [Functional Assessment]

Burnett, Rebecca, Ph.D., Itinerant Teacher, Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, TN, [ToAD]

Chen, Deborah, Ph.D., Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, [Developmental Guidelines]

Dilworth, Kate, Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Portland, OR [Revision of Patterns]

Dortch, Jenny, Consultant and Primary Teacher, Paducah, KY [Primary Math Units]

Evans, Carol Anne, M.Ed., School Psychologist, Davis School District, Farmington, UT, [Woodcock-Johnson III: Tests of Achievement]

Figueiredo, Warren, APH Representative to BANA and Retired Ex-Officio Trustee and Director of the Instructional Materials Center, Baton Rouge, LA [Fun with Braille]

Hall-Lueck, Amanda, Ph.D., Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, [Best Intervention Techniques and Developmental Guidelines]

Hartmann, Liz, Ph.D., Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, [Developmental Guidelines]

Heinze, Toni, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, [Best Intervention Techniques]

Jackson, Ileah, California State University, Sacramento, CA, [Going Places: Transition Guidelines...]

Jaffe, Lynne, Ph.D., Learning Disabilities Specialist, Technical Assistance to Schools Assessment Team, Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Tucson, AZ, [Woodcock-Johnson III: Tests of Achievement]

Kekelis, Linda, Ph.D., Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, [Developmental Guidelines]

Koniak, Lane, retired TVI, Portland, OR, [Address: Earth]

Krause, Kathy, retired TVI, Tucson, AZ, [Address: Earth]

Kronheim, Jane, Vision Consultant, Harrisville, NH [Rolling Right Along Construction Kit]

Lieberman, Lauren, SUNY Brockport, NY, [Going Places: Transition Guidelines..., Three-Year Parent-Child Physical...]

Lien, Candy, Braille Instructor, North Dakota School for the Blind, Grand Forks, ND [Revision of Patterns]

Modell, Dr. Scott, California State University, Sacramento, CA, [Going Places: Transition Guidelines...]

Petersen, Merrilee, Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Bountiful, UT [Revision of Patterns]

Ponchillia, Dr. Paul, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, [Going Places: Transition Guidelines...]

Price, Rebecca, Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, Pittsburgh, PA [Portable Sound Source and Sound Localization Guidebook]

Roderick, Rick, Assistive Technology Specialist, Kentucky Department for the Blind, Louisville, KY [Fun with Braille]

Roman-Lantzy, Christine, Ph.D., Developmentalist, Pittsburgh, PA, [Swirly Mats]

Sanford, LaRhea, Vision Coordinator Ph.D., Tennessee Dept. Education, Nashville, [ToAD]

Scoggins, Deanna, Teacher, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY [Fun with Braille]

Seaman, Janet, American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness, Reston, VA, [Going Places: Transition Guidelines...]

Smith, Millie J., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Consultant, Garland, TX, [Sensory Learning Kit]

Stockman, Dianne, Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired, St. Louis, MO [Revision of Patterns]

Stratton, Dr. Josephine, Consultant for the Visually Impaired for the State of New York, Norwich, NY, [Revision of the Handbook, On the Way to Literacy: Early Experiences for Visually Impaired Children]

Swenson, Anna, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Fairfax County Public Schools, Dunn Loring, VA [Squid Tactile Activities Magazine]

Truan, Mila, Reading Specialist, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN [Fun with Braille]

Wall, Dr. Robert, Western Michigan University, [Portable Sound Source and Sound Localization Guidebook]

Williams, Dr. Christopher, SUNY Brockport, NY, [Gait Kinetics Study]

Wilson, Gail, Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Highland, IL [Revision of Patterns]

Wingell l, Robin, Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Santa Maria, CA [Revision of Patterns and Fun with Braille]

Wright, Tessa, Consultant and Graduate Student, New York, NY [Alphabetic Braille and Contracted Braille Study and Revision of Patterns]




Field Evaluators

Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments

Azer, Samir, Science Teacher, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Bass, Linda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Westerville Public Schools, Westerville, OH

Craig, Sandra, Science Teacher, Kansas School for the Blind, Kansas City, KS

Englehart, Norma, Science Teacher, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Heck, Becky, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis, IN

Jasco, Janet, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Parma Public Schools, Parma Heights, OH

Maggiore, Terry, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Medford Public Schools, Medford, MA

Rahni, Faye, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY

Richie, Karen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, New Boston Public Schools, New Boston, TX

Riccobono, Mark, Program Director, National Federation of the Blind, Baltimore, MD

Roth, Alan, Science Teacher, Indiana School for the Blind, Indianapolis, IN

Schroeder, Jimmy, Lufkin, TX, Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments

Ulwick-Sacca, Janet, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Lufkin Public Schools, Gloucester, MA, TVI, Gloucester Public Schools

Address: Earth

Avila, Kimberly, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Fairfax Public Schools, Fairfax, VA

Hazen, Pam, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Ontario Public School Dist, Ontario, CA

Krebs, Cathryn S., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Virginia School for the Blind, Fairfax, VA

Spoon, James, Geography Teacher, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Vilandry, Diana, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Coweta, OK

Braille Transcriber's Kit: Countries & Continents

Whitney Gregory, Visual Aid Volunteers, Garland, TX

Lucia Hasty, Rocky Mountain Braille Associates, Colorado Springs, CO

Debra Holliday, Braille/Tactile Transcriber, Region 4 ESC, Houston, TX

Dorothy Worthington, Braillist, Anoka Hennepin ISD, Anoka, MN

Going Places

Essex, Cynthia, Program Supervisor, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

Martz, Roy, Social Worker, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Meyers, Patricia, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Jackson County Schools, Ripley, WV

Wenzel, Dan, Transition Specialist, Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Janesville, WI

Large Print Protractor and Tactile Protractor

Campbell, Lynn, Teacher of Students with Visual Disabilities, Walhalla Elementary School, Walhalla, SC

Corbett, Karen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Herlich, Stephanie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Castro Valley Unified School District, Castro Valley, CA

Morlan, Susan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Education Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Children - CCMaine, Waldoboro, ME

Nations, Nancy, Teacher Assistant, Special School District, Town & Country, MO

Smith, Derrick W., Secondary Math Teacher, Alabama School for the Blind, Talladega, AL

Weber, Susan J., Vision Resource Teacher, Milford Public Schools, Milford, NE

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

Winkelhake, Jean K., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Educational Service Unit #3, Omaha, NE

Periodic Table of Elements Reference Chart

Aron, Karen, Itinerant Vision Specialist, Chandler USD, Chandler, AZ

Baldwin, Paul, Middle and High School Science Teacher, Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

Bergman, Margaret, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Parkview High School, Lilburn, GA

Cappiello, Suzanne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Board of Education and Services for the Blind, Windsor, CT

Devine, Joanne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, COMS, Pittsburg Public Schools, Sunnyside Elementary, Pittsburg, PA

Jasko, Jan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Parma City Schools--Valley Forge High, Parma Heights, OH

Kuhn, Rebecca, Teacher, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Landrum, Carolyn, Teacher, Lafayette High School, Lafayette, LA

Lehman, Jeffrey L., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Watertown Unified School District, Riverside Middle School, Watertown, MI

Meyer, Stephen V., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Jefferson County Public Schools, Atherton High School, Louisville, KY

McCurry, Gayle, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Wake County Schools--Visually Impaired Program, Cary, NC

Roth, Alan, Science Teacher, Indiana School for the Blind, Indianapolis, IN

Schuck, Nathan, Parent/Chemist, Ingham Intermediate School District, Mason, MI

Starner, Linda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Baltimore County Public Schools, Catonsville, MD

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

Trimble, Drew Elizabeth, Vision Services Coordinator, Geauga County Educational Service Center, Chardon, OH

Van Dyke, Laurel, Teacher/Consultant for Students with Visual Impairments, Kokomo Area Special Education Co-operative, Kokomo, IN

Walton, Sally, Itinerant Vision Teacher, Frederick County Public Schools, Glade Elementary School, Walkersville, MD

SQUID Tactile Activities Magazine

Bjornskov, Mary, O&M Specialist, Northwest Regional Program--Vision Services, Hillsboro, OR

Brophy, Anita, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Overbrook School for the Blind, Philadelphia, PA

Chang, Debbie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Fort Worth Intermediate School District, Fort Worth, TX

Clay, Diane, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Catholic Charities Maine, Lewiston, ME

Fritz, Johanna, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Livonia Public Schools, Hull Elementary, Livonia, MI

Gause, Jessica, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Berrien County ISD, Berrien Springs, MI

George, Sr. M. Elaine, Materials Assistant, St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairments, Upper Darby, PA

Gurley, Donna M., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Troutman Elementary School, Troutman, NC

Hughes, Toni, VI Consultant/VI Consulting Teacher, Greater Lafayette Area Special Services, Lafayette, IN

Lukasavige, Chris A., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Dr. Jones School, Racine Unified School District, Racine, WI

Lumpkin, Cindy, Elementary/Early Childhood VI Teacher, Oklahoma School for the Blind, Muskogee, OK

McKay-Bacon, Ann, Teacher, Auxillary and Preschool Services Center, Clinton Township, MI

Peloquin III, Raymond, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Carroll Co. Public Schools, Hampstead Elementary Schools, Hampstead, MD

Simons, Bonnie, Teacher Consultant to Visually Impaired, East Grand Rapids Public Schools, Lakeside Elementary School, Grand Rapids, MI

Studer, Pam, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/COMS, Umatilla-Morrow ESD, Pendleton, OR

Swenson, Anna, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Fairfax County Public Schools, Dunn Loring, VA

Ziegler, Erica, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Lindale Middle School, Linthicum, MD

Stick-On Tactile Ruler

Aaron, Cindy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, CESA #1/Brown Deer Middle School, WI

Allen, Pat, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Edison Elementary, Tonawanda, NY

Hoover, Penny, Vision Teacher, Alliance Public Schools, Alliance, NE

Mendiola, Rosalinda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Blind Children's Center, Los Angeles, CA

Metzinger, Wendy L., Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, Sikeston, MO

Mills, Marty, Teacher, Kentucky School for the Blind, 1867 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY

Sommers, Daye, Itinerant Vision Teacher, Miami Dad County Schools, Aventura, FL

Stateler, Stormetta, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Dimmitt ISD, Dimmitt, TX

Tangle Toy

Bennett, Sue, Braillist/VI Teacher Assistant, Rutherford County Schools, Ashville, NC

Layfield, Terry, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Red Oak Independent Schools, Red Oak, TX

Lowrey, Rebecca, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Morganton, NC

Parr, Janie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kansas State School for the Blind, Kansas City

Schultz, Carol, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

Wilson, Deitra, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cleveland Sight Center, Cleveland, OH

Zaret, Lisa, Special Education Teacher, Bobbie B. Fairfax School, Cincinnati, OH

Woodcock-Johnson III:
Tests of Achievement (Braille Edition and Large Print Edition)

Coyner, Lisa, School Psychologist, Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Tucson, AZ

Darty, Patricia, Guidance Counselor, James Weldon Johnson Middle School, Jacksonville, FL

Evans, Carol Anne, M.Ed., School Psychologist, Davis School District, Farmington, UT

Frankel, Kathie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Tucson, AZ

Fridgant, Donna, Teacher of Students with Visual Disabilities/Academic Assessor, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Greenlee, William, Ph.D., School Psychologist, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Jaffe, Lynne, Ph.D., Learning Disabilities Specialist, Technical Assistance to Schools Assessment Team, Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Tucson, AZ

Prince, Eva, School Psychologist, Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Tucson, AZ

Serino, Lisa, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Tucson, AZ

World At Your Fingers

Aranguren, Maria, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Western Suffolk BOCES, Huntington Station, NY

Brackett, Debby, parent/board member, 20/200 Fellowship Inc., Pt. Salerno, FL

Dilworth, Kate, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Northwest Regional Program, Hillsboro, OR

Greene, Joe, Educational Specialist for the Visually Impaired, East Shore SERRC, Kirtland, OH

Lennox, Ted, retired Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Dearborn, MI

Mack, Shelley, Teacher of the Visually Impaired /Braille Transcriber, Medina County, OH

O'Mara, Barbara, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kingston City Schools, Kingston, NY

Zink, Karen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Erie 1 BOCES, West Seneca, NY




Accessible Tests Department Activities

Deborah H. Willis
Director




Accessible Tests Department

[Formerly Test Central]

(Continuing)

Purpose
In response to recommendations by APH's Advisory Committees and members of the Second Test Central Council, the charge of the Accessible Tests Department was expanded in August 2003. The updated goal is to provide tests, practice tests, test administration manuals, and other test-related materials in high quality Accessible media in a timely manner, to promote the inclusion of 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.

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.

Core Team
Carol Allman, Consultant and Instructor
Ralph Bartley, Director of Research
Bob Brasher, Vice President of Field Services and Research
Jack Decker, Vice President of Production
Tony Grantz, Manager of Contract Administration
Barbara Henderson, Test and Assessment Project Leader
Mary Nelle McLennan, Executive Advisor to the President
Jane Thompson, Director of Accessible Textbooks Initiative & Collaboration
Debbie Willis, Director of Accessible Tests

Test Central continued to receive 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.

Council
Carol Allman, Ph.D., Lead Consultant and Instructor, APH

Karen Barton, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Director of Research Programs for At Risk Students, Research Triangle Institute

Larry Brown, Manager, Oregon Textbook & Materials Resource Center

Nan Bulla, M.Ed., Independent Consultant, TSBVI (retired)

Betsy Case, Ph.D., Director of Research on Special Populations, Harcourt Educational Measurement

Steve Goodman, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, California School for the Blind

Barbara Henderson, Test & Assessment Project Leader, APH

Leslie Lightbourne, Program Coordinator, Division of Student Standards & Assessments, Louisiana Department of Education

Jean Martin, Director, Minnesota Resource Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Suzanne Swaffield, Education Associate, Office of Assessment, South Carolina Department of Education

Sandra Thompson, Ph.D., Research Associate, National Center on Educational Outcomes/University of Minnesota

Debbie Willis, Director of Accessible Tests Department, APH

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 to address 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, the Research Department's 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. At this time, work to Identify and address high priority test needs that result in catalog items, as well as reviewing and editing select tests to be produced on a contract basis, were redirected to flow through Test Central. Accessible Tests staff worked with APH's web site coordinator to develop Test Central's web page content and construct a direct link from APH's main page to Test Central's page.

The second meeting of the Test Central Council (TCC) was held at APH in early Feb. 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:

In spring 2003, the department was named Accessible Tests Department. APH was visited and the company reviewed by Educational Testing Service (ETS) security staff; APH was certified as a "test safe" vendor.

To promote valuable research efforts, Accessible Tests staff provided a letter of support for the National Center on Educational Outcomes (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 OSERS Research and Innovation to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities.

Department staff created a sample test to demonstrate the need to edit test items originally designed for regular print presentation and issues and concerns regarding making test items truly Accessible when presented in alternate media. 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 enable a multi-media presentation of the test items. These sample test items could then be used as a useful training tool for workshops, presentations, and to relay and explain issues to test editors and transcribers, test developers and publishers, other school and state assessment personnel, test takers, their families and caregivers.

In Sept. 2003, 24 staff members from 10 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 a contract to edit and produce 2004 statewide assessments in Accessible media for an individual state. 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 with tactile graphics. Most of these tests also required Test Administration Notes.

The Accessible Tests Department's charge was expanded as a result of recommendations received by Council members during their meeting in February 2003 and APH's two Advisory Committees that met in spring 2003. In order to begin addressing the expanded charge of the Accessible Tests Department to provide practice test and test prep materials in Accessible media, a short online survey was posted on APH's web site. Let's Get Ready for Testing asked trustees and vision teachers which practice materials and 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.

At APH's 2003 Annual Meeting, poster sessions were offered on the Accessible Testing Universe, and Accessible Test Department Services. In addition, Accessible Tests staff 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 held in Louisville, Kentucky in November2003.

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.

Another Accessible Tests workshop was provided at APH in January 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 held in February 2004 at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond.

Test Coordinator Gage Brogan and Consultant/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, CO. Accessible Test Editor Monica Coffey attended the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) Innovations in Testing Conference held in Palm Springs, California in February 2004.

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 on Use of Extended Time and Use of Testing Accommodations were drafted. TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible for Visually Impaired Students, Second Edition, the second publication in the Test Access series, was finalized and presented at the Council of Chief State School Officers (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 apace, 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. Members of Accessible Tests Department were consulted by the Arkansas State Department of Education on preparation of their request for proposal for their state assessments.

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 to examine the Use of Multiple Modalities for the Achievement of Literacy Standards by Students with Disabilities.

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

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.

Accessible Tests Department staff worked in April 2004 with the APH Communications Group to write and design the Accessible Tests Services Available brochure. The new brochure can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.aph.org/tests/services.html. During this same period of time, modifications to make the Accessible tests web page more informative and user-friendly were initiated.

In April 2004 the Accessible Tests Department was fortunate to gain Dena Garrett's valuable braille expertise on a part-time basis. Dena, an Accessible Media Editor in the ATIC Department, is a 30-year veteran braille transcriber who has worked on state, local, and commercial tests for ten years. Dena 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 during FY 2005
Promoting education of issues regarding making test items truly Accessible, contributing to universal design elements, building important relationships, reviewing and editing tests, promoting research, participating in collaborative efforts, serving on relevant committees, and continuing professional development of Accessible Tests staff in order to be more informed and knowledgeable when working on alternate assessments were key endeavors for FY2005.

While three Accessible Tests Workshops were envisioned for FY2005, resources which enabled a fourth workshop were available and utilized. The first was a special one-day event sponsored by Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey, November 9, 2004. ETS staff learned general information about challenges in assessing persons who are blind or visually impaired. Carol Allman and Barbara Henderson facilitated this session. The second workshop was coordinated with CTEVH in San Francisco, California, March 3, 2005. The one-day workshop targeted Department of Education staff, teachers, test developers and publishers. A third was held at Harcourt for their assessment staff in San Antonio, Texas. Finally, a fourth workshop was presented as a pre-conference session in conjunction with the CCSSO Large Scale Assessment Conference in San Antonio, Texas on June 18, 2005. This event was of particular interest to test publishers and department of education personnel and assessment staff planning to attend the CCSSO conference.

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

The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) three-year grant to develop "best practices" for audio description of higher level science and mathematics material. Beginning in FY2005, Accessible Tests staff and APH studio staff served as "advisors" alongside staff from American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) in this collaborative research effort. The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) also secured additional funding for their study called An Examination of the Use of Multiple Modalities for the Achievement of Literacy Standards by Students with Disabilities. Accessible Tests staff collaborated on phase two of this study.

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

Test-related contract work during FY2005 included: A wide variety of state assessments and commercially available tests were edited and produced in Accessible media during FY 2005. These included approximately 120 unique state assessments provided in braille; 30 in enlarged print; and 35 on audiotape. Accompanying test administration notes were provided in Accessible media. Items such as braille paper, rulers, bold line writing paper, and protractors were included with tests as per specific contractual agreements. State assessments were for grades three through high school and covered some or all of the following areas: math, language arts, reading, science, and social studies. All of the requested copies were delivered on time to the states in need of them.

The collaborative research study between Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS), AFB, and APH got underway this fiscal year. CASAS is an organization devoted to assessment of the adult basic skills required for success in the workplace and in life. CASAS research-based testing instruments are widely used and have been approved and validated by the US Department of Education and the United States Department of Labor. As of August 2005, CASAS has provided assessments only in audio format. Accessible Tests staff worked with CASAS and AFB to develop a braille edition of a CASAS reading assessment. This first examination to be made available in braille format is being field tested during the first quarter of FY2006. Dr. Virginia Posey "Ginny," Senior Research Associate with CASAS is directing this collaborative effort as well as conducting the study.

Partners in a program to develop services for visually impaired college students spent a day at APH as part of their activities during the National Federation of the Blind Conference in Louisville. Guests included staff from Overbrook School and special educators from China. The visit was hosted by Debbie Willis, Director of Accessible Tests. Issues of particular interest to the educators from China were assessment, using technology in the classroom, and production of braille. The guests and several APH staff were treated to presentations and discussions as well as demonstrations of hardware and software by the Technology Group in the Research Department. In addition, Pearson staff made a site visit to APH in May 2005. They were especially interested in visiting the braille production area.

The second book in the Test Access series by Accessible Tests staff was printed just in time for unveiling at the Accessible tests Workshop at APH in September 2004 and at APH Annual Meeting 2004. TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible for Visually Impaired Students, Second Edition, can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.aph.org/tests/access2/index.html.

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

Several presentations were provided this fiscal year. Accessible Tests Department staff presented two poster sessions at the 2004 APH Annual Meeting: Accessible Tests Department Products and Services and A Case Study in Adapting Tests for Visually Impaired Individuals: The Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement in Braille and Large Print. A special meeting with Dean Stenehjem, Ed.D., Superintendent of the School for the Blind in Vancouver, Washington, and Gary Snyder, Psy. D., Washington State Vision Consultant, Washington Sensory Disabilities Services, was held with Debbie Willis and Barbara Henderson during Annual Meeting. Questions and issues relevant to testing visually impaired students in Washington State were discussed.

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

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

Barbara Henderson and Debbie Willis spoke to various university students including University of Louisville students in the visual impairment teacher certification program about the work and goals of APH's Accessible Tests Department, test-related services available, and resources for acquiring Accessible tests, materials, and information. Monica Coffey provided a poster session during CEC which introduced the Accessible Tests Department and test-related services available from APH. In August 2005, Monica met with Pearson staff in Iowa City, Iowa, to provide a presentation on Testing Students with Visual Impairments. Members of Pearson's assessment staff were able to get many of their questions answers to help ensure future test items are Accessible to students who are visually impaired.

Barbara Henderson worked with Consultant Dr. Lynne Jaffe, a learning disabilities specialist, to create a presentation on Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement in Braille. Dr. Jaffe provided this presentation at the Arizona Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Conference held in Prescott in October 2004. Dr. Carol Allman presented Accommodations to Help Maximize Test Performance of Students with Visual Impairments at the National Family Conference. The audience included parents, students, educators, and psychologists. While Carol was in Louisville for this conference, members of Accessible Tests took the opportunity to discuss some department plans for FY2006.

For professional development, Accessible Tests staff continued to participate in meetings, workshops, and conferences, and to take classes on the education and assessment of students with visual impairments. Members of Accessible Tests attended the CCSSO Conference on Large Scale Assessment and a pre-conference workshop in connection with CCSSO on developing alternate assessments for students who are unable to take regular state assessments, with or without appropriate accommodations; Meeting of the Minds (MoM) III sessions with university personnel held at APH; sessions during the National Family Conference hosted in Louisville, Kentucky; and the 2005 Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Sessions attended at CEC included a pre-conference workshop on the changes to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Test Editor Monica Coffey attended the National Braille Association Conference held in Memphis, Tennessee. This conference offered opportunities to learn about computer-assisted transcription, transcriber's notes, tactile graphics, and Braille Authority of North American (BANA) guidelines.

Accessible Tests staff also participated in a teleconference on Accessible Textbooks in Schools: A State and National Progress Report. The teleconference focused on current state and national initiatives to improve access to instructional materials for students with print disabilities. Skip Stahl with the National Center for Accessing the General Curriculum at the center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) addressed the landmark endorsement of the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) by the US DOE. This voluntary standard will guide the production and electronic distribution of digital instructional materials such as textbooks so they can be more easily converted to Accessible formats such as braille and text-to-speech.

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

Test and Assessment Project Leader Barbara Henderson attended the first annual Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Summer Institute sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). The main guest speaker was David Rose of CAST, Inc. and Harvard University. David, who is co-author of Teaching Every Child in the Digital Age, spoke on the topic of The Future of UDL in Education. Six model UDL schools reported on how they used grant-funded activities to integrate UDL into their school's curricula and testing.

Debbie Willis continued to serve on Goal 6 (Assessment) of the National Agenda Committee. Ms. Willis and Dr. Phil Hatlen have joined forces as co-chairs of Goal 8 (Expanded Core Curriculum) to address and accomplish this National Agenda goal. Two surveys to determine a national picture of the current status of the expanded core curriculum have been developed and will be disseminated early in FY2006.

Work Planned for FY 2006
In FY2006, the goal of the Accessible Tests Department as it relates to the APH mission will continue to be addressed. To further the education of test developers, publishers, and assessment personnel, as well as our own education and professional development, members of Accessible Tests will continue to provide presentations and workshops, participate in various collaborative efforts and meetings, serve as committee members, and attend relevant classes, workshops, and events. Additional handouts, documents and articles will be authored and disseminated. More information, resources, and related links will be added to the Accessible Tests web page, and some 30- to 60-minute web casts on test-related topics will be developed, provided as web casts, and made available on the APH web site.

At APH's 2005 Annual Meeting, poster sessions, concurrent sessions, and a general session presentation will be provided on test and assessment, and related issues such as the expanded core curriculum. Related meetings such as the AFB Solutions Forum and National Agenda Committee Meeting will be attended. Immediately following Annual Meeting, Carol Allman will be presenting at the New York AER and providing an in-service to the New York Department of Education and state assessment staff on testing blind and visually impaired students. Two Making Tests Accessible workshops will be provided "on-the-road" and two will be offered at APH. Surveys and networking with the field and with our customers will continue to be utilized as a means to determine customer satisfaction and specific needs for products, services, and information. Test-related contract work to review and edit test items and prepare test administration notes for the adapted editions of tests will continue throughout the fiscal year.

Early in FY2006, staff from Accessible Textbooks Initiative & Collaboration (ATIC) and the Accessible Tests Department will move into a newly renovated area of APH. Discussions initiated in FY2005 on effectively working together to provide instructional and test materials in high quality, Accessible media in a timely manner will continue. Guidelines and ways of providing more consistent presentation of instruction and test materials will be explored. Generic test materials based on common state standards to assist visually impaired students as they prepare to take standardized tests will begin to be made available.




Tests and Assessments

Barbara Henderson

Accessible Answer Documents

(Continuing)

Purpose
To provide well-designed, Accessible answer documents in braille and large print for use in curricular activities, test preparation, and in actual testing situations.

Project Staff
Barbara Henderson, Project Leader
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader
Eleanor Pester, Braille Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

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 in Accessible to blind and low vision students, preventing them from full participation in assessment opportunities alongside their peers.

Work during FY 2005
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. Additionally, the project leader discussed with the Low Vision Project Leader design considerations for adapting "bubble sheets" for individuals who have low vision. Independent use of a scannable answer document, even when it is "enlarged," is currently difficult for most large print readers to mark.

Work Planned for FY 2006
In prioritizing FY 2006 commitments, it was decided that extensive research into proper design considerations is necessary before continuing, as is establishing a publisher-partner in this venture. The project leader has made several contacts with test publishers and research entities toward that end. The project was returned to the PARCing lot in FY 2005, but is scheduled to be pulled off again and into active status in the second quarter of FY 2006.

Brigance Diagnostic Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills (CIBS-R), Revised: Student Large Print Edition

(New)

Purpose
To fill the need, expressed by the field, for a large print version of this trusted and widely used criterion-referenced test.

Project Staff
Barbara Henderson, Project Leader
Kristopher Scott, Accessible Test Editor/Co-Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffman, Research/Project Assistant

Background
Based upon feedback from the field, the project leader determined that a student large print edition of this popular criterion-based assessment was needed as a companion piece to the student braille edition which is already available. Access to the publisher's files and a new in-house process for production of full-color large print have made this project much more realistic in FY 2006.

Work during FY 2005
The project leader removed the project from the PARCing lot once a request for electronic publisher's files had been sent. The co-project leader reviewed some of the color pictures and font styles in preparation for editing. Staff from the Accessible Textbooks Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC) examined the sample publisher files to determine the feasibility of working with the files. ATIC staff informed the project leader that all work on the project will be done internally. Editing work will begin once the electronic files have arrived.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Upon receipt of the electronic files from Curriculum Associates, Inc., a timeline and production schedule will be developed.

Collaborative Assessment DVD Series

(New)

Purpose
To fill the need for teacher-training materials on the topic of assessment and to provide a series of DVD's to accompany and support use of the book from American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Press, entitled Collaborative Assessment: Working with Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Including Those with Additional Disabilities.

Project Staff
Barbara Henderson, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant/Project Co-Leader
California School for the Blind Assessment Team, Project Consultants

Background
The project leader determined that a new and updated assessment video or DVD would be an appropriate addition to our product line. In the meantime, requests increased from the field for teacher-training materials in all areas of assessment. The Collaborative Assessment DVD series was selected because it will provide materials for that area of college study, as well as promote the collaborative approach to assessment of visually impaired students in existing K-12 programs.

Work during FY 2005
In the second quarter of FY 2005, the project leader met with project consultants from California School for the Blind (CSB) and AFB Press staff in San Francisco, California, during the California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH) Conference. Product development schedules and other details were discussed for the introductory DVD. Proposed DVD content and target audiences were also outlined. Several teleconferences were subsequently held between APH staff and project consultants in the third quarter of FY 2005. As a result of dramatic personnel changes and restructuring of job responsibilities for the CSB staff, the project has been placed back on the PARCing lot until such time as the consultants can fit the project into their new schedules.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The project leader will remove the project from the PARCING lot in the second quarter of FY 2006, if things go according to plans. At that point, project timelines will be adjusted.

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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Barbara Henderson, Tests and Assessment Project Leader
Diane Bender, Project Consultant
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant

Background
As the Expanded Core Curriculum becomes increasingly important in the education of students who are blind or visually impaired, a systematic method for assessing a student's progress in learning functional skills becomes essential. Many schools for the blind, university training programs, and rehabilitation agencies have developed their own strategies for assessing different aspects of self-care and daily living tasks. However, a systematic assessment process that incorporates a criterion-based scoring system and utilizes core curriculum skills in all levels of its functional assessment has not been made widely available. The need for such a comprehensive system has been expressed by numerous educators of persons who are blind or visually impaired.

Dianne Bender's assessment system for functional skills has been developed during her extensive teaching career in a residential school for the blind setting. 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.

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 during FY 2005
Project leader has reviewed Readiness materials submitted by Ms. Bender. Project leader's schedule commitments have precluded additional work on this project.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Completion of new materials to be included in the Functional Assessment is anticipated. Prototype development is expected to be completed and expert review will be initiated.

Large Print Toss-Away Protractor and Braille Toss-Away Protractor

(Continuing)

Purpose
To provide accurate, inexpensive, disposable, and easy-to-use protractors with both large print and braille markings to be used primarily by blind and visually impaired students in instructional and testing environments.

Project Staff
Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Project Technical Advisor/Model/Pattern Maker
Steve Paris, Production Division Manager
Debbie Willis, Accessible Tests Director/Project Advisor
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

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. Well-designed, affordable, large print or braille protractors provided as part of the assessment tool and available for classroom use and practice before the exam will optimize testing outcomes. The protractors will be included with tests requiring the use of a protractor, as well as being available as a separate item for classroom or home use.

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 Protractors (now called Large Print Protractor/Braille Toss-Away Protractor) was put on hold and returned 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 provided 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. The project was placed on hold until further research could be done to determine if a protractor can be successfully produced in paper or other low-cost materials, and, if so, which materials, design, and size(s) should be used.

In 2003, the project leader received several new inquiries from test publishers and assessment personnel regarding the need 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 and large print protractors was begun.

Prototype design for a paper model began in the last quarter of FY 2004, with Tom Poppe developing a preliminary prototype and diagrams. Specifications for the spacing, font size, etc., were documented.

An inquiry from an individual state department of education made in late 2004 aroused new interest in development of this product. Many states are now requiring use of a protractor on math achievement tests. Development of a disposable protractor model subsequently became high priority.

Work during FY 2005
Due to increased customer demand for a low-cost protractor for testing purposes, and because of engineering problems with the current APH Print/Braille Protractor, prototype disposable tactile and large print models were fashioned in the last quarter of FY 2005. Teachers and Department of Education personnel in the contracting state will have input into the product design by field testing during the real testing season in fall 2005.

Work Planned for FY 2006
When field test results are gathered, the disposable models will be revised. New timelines and specifications will be set accordingly.

Large Print Protractor and Tactile Protractor

(New)

Purpose
To provide accurate, low-cost, and easy-to-use braille and large print protractors, for blind and visually impaired students in instructional and testing situations. Many state assessments now require students to measure angles or to draw angles, and the proper tools must be provided for practice and instruction prior to independent use during high-stakes testing.

Project Staff
Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Debbie Willis, Accessible Tests Director/Project Advisor
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant/Co-Project Leader

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. Test publishers are beginning to pay attention to provision of proper accommodations and appropriate tools that enable students to take the test independently. It is hoped that the new Accessible and affordable large print and tactile plastic protractors will be purchased widely to accompany Accessible math tests, as well as for classroom instructional use.

Teachers of the Visually Impaired have reported that currently available large print and braille protractors are not always useful to their students without a lot of practice or for the kinds of tasks that appear on math tests. Additionally, several different styles are being used across the nation. The APH models will provide easy access to a protractor for students nationwide. Designed using the same accessibility guidelines as the disposable protractors (see above), it is hoped that consistency among available tools will improve test performance.

Work during FY 2005
For field testing, a plastic large print/braille protractor prototype was modeled upon best features of the protractor styles being used most often by students with visual impairment. Nine field test sites were selected, at which 24 blind and low vision students were tested. Field testing was carried out during the second quarter of 2005. Results indicated that in general, large print readers performed much better than braille readers on measurement tasks. However, most blind students liked the design of the protractor better than their current protractor.

A few design revisions were suggested and will be implemented. Most students with low vision also liked the design, but felt that the braille dots obscured the large print numbers. The outcome of these and other suggested revisions was the design of two separate protractors, one with braille only and one with large print only.

Tom Poppe and Monica Vaught worked together to develop the revised prototypes. Two of the nine original field evaluators were selected to do a follow-up review, the results of which are to be returned in the last quarter of FY 2005.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Reviews of the revised prototypes will be examined and final versions executed during the first half of FY 2006. At that time, production specifications and timelines will be established.

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
Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader
Debbie Willis, Accessible Tests Director/Project Advisor
Carol Roderick, Research/Project Assistant

Work during FY 2005
The project leader and the director presented short talks on the topic of new products and trends in assessment during several APH meetings. Recommendations from those groups as well as from the APH advisory committees was sought before developing a plan for proposed new assessment products and projects for FY 2006.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Several short surveys will be placed on the web in FY 2006. In addition, the project leader will facilitate several webcasts on the topic of assessment of persons who are blind or visually impaired. Finally, the project leader will work with an APH apprentice in the second quarter to survey the state adult education agencies regarding "mandated" assessment instruments.

Test Ready® (Test Preparation Materials

(Continuing)

Purpose
To make generic test preparation/practice materials available in Accessible formats (braille, large print, and audio) for purposes of preparing K-12 students who are visually impaired and blind to take achievement tests. Adult students preparing for the General Education Diploma (GED) or for college entrance exams may also utilize the advanced levels of these materials.

Project Staff
Barbara Henderson, Test and Assessment Project Leader
Debbie Willis, Accessible Tests Director/Project Advisor
Kristopher Scott, Accessible Tests/Project Editor
Monica Coffey, Accessible Tests/Project Editor
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media/Project Editor

Background
During Spring 2003 meetings of the APH Educational Products and Educational Services Advisory Committees (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 APH advisory groups expressed their desire to see 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 and editors reviewed commercially available test prep packages prior to proposing the new project. After the project was approved, in June 2003, the project leader, with the help of the APH librarian and an assistant, did a complete search of all currently available test prep/practice materials for standardized and achievement tests.

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, long seen as a leader in research-based educational testing, has been very supportive of our efforts. They have agreed to provide any print materials needed. Copyright permissions statements were secured quickly and editing of the series tests was begun. Three subject areas were selected: Language Arts, Reading and Mathematics. Grade levels three through eight and an "advanced" level will be produced for each subject area.

Work during FY 2005
The project leader and the project assistant organized a database for documenting editing of the three media. The project editors began editing, each taking a different subject area for consistent presentation. The project leader received electronic files from the publisher and arranged with in-house staff to import them. Several meetings were held to discuss how to package the materials for marketing and catalog listings.

Work Planned for FY 2006
As the prototypes are readied for transcription, recording, and large print formatting, a production schedule and product specifications will be developed, with production and product availability 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 in full-color large print.

Project Staff
Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader/Editor
Lynne Jaffe, Ph.D., Project Consultant
Carol Anne Evans, M.Ed., Project Consultant
Monica Coffey, Accessible Tests/Project Editor
Monica Coffey, Accessible Tests/Project Editor
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media/Project Editor

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 have APH provide an adaptation of the WJ for braille readers. 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 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 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 make a full-color edition available as well, 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. Layout of cover art, packaging and other product elements were discussed with the graphic designer.

Field testing/field review sites were established, with plans to carry out field testing in summer and early fall 2004.

Work during FY 2005
Due to some production problems during development of the prototypes, field testing was delayed until the third quarter of FY2005.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Field testing and review will proceed, after which the necessary 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

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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Carol Roderick, Research/Project Assistant

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

Work during FY 2005
APH Adult Life products and their applications to specific populations were presented by the Adult Life Project Leader as follows: Getting Organized, Some New Tools For Some Old Tasks, Workshop presented at the annual conference of the MidAmerica Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers and the Association of Southeastern Rehabilitation Teachers, Nashville, Tennessee, November, 2004; 'K' Sonar and Student Miniguide, New ETDs (Electronic Travel Devices) for the 21st Century, Workshop presented at the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Orientation and Mobility Association, December, 2004; 'K' Sonar and Student Miniguide, ETDs for the 21st Century, Workshop presented at the Annual Conference of the Assistive Technology Industry Association, Orlando, Florida, January, 2005; Student Miniguide and 'K' Sonar: New Electronic Travel Devices, Workshop presented at the Annual Illinois AER Conference, Naperville, Illinois, February, 2005; Low Vision Elders and Your Program, A Practical Model for Access, Inclusion, and Skill Acquisition, Workshop presented at the Annual Joint Conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on the Aging, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March, 2005; 'K' Sonar and Student Miniguide, Background, Features, Demonstrations, And Applications, Workshop presented at the Annual International Conference On Technology and Persons with Disabilities conducted by the California State University at Northridge, Northridge, California, March, 2005; 'K' Sonar and Miniguide US, Electronic Travel Devices for the 21st Century , Workshop presented at the Annual Michigan AER Conference, Lavonia, Michigan, April, 2005; New Electronic Travel Devices from the American Printing House for the Blind, Training Workshop presented at the Illinois Orientation and Mobility Association Meeting, Hines VA Medical Center, Hines Illinois, May, 2005; Daily Living Products from the American Printing House for the Blind, Training workshop presented to Staff and Students of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, Miami, Florida, August 2005.

Work during FY 2005
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 2006
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 Paper for Pocket Notebook

(Completed)

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

Project Staff
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Katherine Donhoff, Technical/Clerical Assistant

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.

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 sold as a package of 250 sheets of 3-3/4" x 5-3/4" 65# paper punched with six holes, allowing it to fit into the APH Pocket Notebook. It has 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. Line spacing and paper stock are demonstrably effective in other APH low vision products and the Pocket Notebook has stood the test of time.

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//products/brlbind.html

Information about Bold Line Paper for Pocket Notebook can be found at: http://www.aph.org/catalogs/cat_html/prod_cat0506.html

Work during FY 2005
Bold Line Paper for Pocket Notebook was produced according to specifications summarized above and was made available for sale during FY 2005. Because the product is available for sale, no additional work is anticipated.

Braille Financial Record Keeper

(New)

Purpose
To provide braille users with a system for easily storing and locating personal financial information.

Project Staff
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader

Background
During development of and subsequent presentations of the EZ Track Financial Record Keeper, 1-07920-00 (a financial organizer for large print users), consumers and professionals requested APH to develop a tool to organize and access financial information for braille users. The Braille DateBook, 1-07899-05, offers braille users a portable, logical system for organizing and accessing schedules, grocery lists, to do lists, and much more. A Financial Record Insert could give Braille DateBook users an efficient and user-friendly structure for organizing financial information. A more detailed financial organizer, which uses 8.5" x 11" paper in a three-ring binder, would include all of the organizational information found in its large print EZ Track counterpart.

Information about the EZ Track Financial Record Keeper can be found at: http://www.aph.org/products/ez_fin.html

Information about the Braille DateBook can be found at: http://www.aph.org/products/brl_dt_bk.html

Work during FY 2005
This product was placed into active development and the initial PDC Brainstorming meeting was held. Initial discussion concerned media on which organizer questions were to be brailled. Brailling question stems on organizer pages and leaving empty space for users to braille relevant information was found to be preferable to providing pre-made labels for question stems that users could position on pages according to how much space they would require for information. Several types of vinyl and plastic paper were examined for durability, good braille dots, and tolerance of heat.

Work planned for FY 2006
Final decisions about media and production of a Braille DateBook Insert and a more detailed Braille Financial Record Keeper will be developed. Consumer and professional field testers will be located.

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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Lisa-Anne Mowerson, Project Consultant/Author
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant

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.

During FY 2004, the consultant produced materials based on her years of experience teaching these skills to individuals and groups of persons with visual impairments. Editing, restructuring, and reorganization of materials for the first third of the book have been completed.

Work during FY 2005
The project leader and consultant have continued to develop the structure for the final two thirds of the book. Originally based on structure and presentation style used in face-to-face teaching, the book's material requires major reorganization in order to support learning without the aid of a teacher and student group. The consultant and project leader have maintained phone and e-mail contact about presentation changes and the consultant has submitted chapter rewrites for the project leader's consideration.

Work planned for FY 2006
Decisions regarding structure and content of the remainder of the book will be made and a draft will be prepared for field review. Field reviewers will be selected and the field review process will begin.

Life After Giving Up Your Driver's License

(New)

Purpose
To provide an informational and supportive video for persons who have had to stop driving because of vision loss.

Project Staff
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
L. Penny Rosenblum, Ph.D., Product Consultant
Erica Rucker, Project/Research Assistant
Valerie Cox, Administrative Assistant/Project Accommodations Coordinator
Orange Studios, Inc., Video Producers

Background
Individuals over the age of 55 experiencing vision loss are the fastest growing segment of those who experience significant vision loss. As the "baby boomers" come of age, more and more of them will find themselves in the situation of having to stop driving after 30, 40, 50 or more years behind the wheel. There is currently no structured and easy-to-find program available to assist these individuals in making the transition from driver to non-driver. For those who are drivers, there is little knowledge of strategies used by non-drivers to maximize independence in our very vehicle dependent society. The project proposed here will fill this gap by providing both adults with vision loss and those in their support network (both professional and personal) with information about how an adult can manage his or her transportation needs and maintain an active, independent, and healthy life style when driving is no longer possible.

Research and clinical evidence suggests that persons who do not find effective ways to maintain independent travel after losing the ability to drive are at risk for isolation, depression, and decline.

This project uses modeling and accurate information to help persons learn new coping strategies with which they can maintain their life activities and their connection to the world outside their home. A 25-30 minute video will include the stories of five persons who have successfully coped with the loss of driving. These individuals will describe their initial experience of loss and then talk about and show how they learned to travel without driving. Additional information about resources and techniques will be provided in large print and on cassette.

This video will be designed for: adults who are considering giving up driving or have recently stopped driving; family members supporting an adult who is stopping/has stopped driving; vision professionals such as rehabilitation teachers, orientation and mobility specialists etc.; eye care specialists who have to tell patients they can no longer drive; and generic geriatric providers (e.g., senior centers, social workers). The video and accompanying guide can be used individually or in group settings. For example, if an eye care specialist has to tell a patient that she no longer has the vision to drive, the eye care specialist may then invite the patient and her family to view the video in the office. Or, a social worker at a senior center may share the video with a group of elders in a workshop or class setting.

Work during FY 2005
Consultant concluded a contract with APH, structure of the video was determined, Studio Orange was retained as the video producing organization, and video shooting schedules were developed. Five video participants were selected who met the following criteria: diversity of ethnicity, cause of vision loss, urban-rural setting, methods of meeting transportation needs, and gender. Based on consultant's telephone interviews, participants seem articulate, can discuss difficulties as well as successes, and come across well when they tell their stories.

It is anticipated that complete video taping of one participant will be done before the end of FY 2005.

Work planned for FY 2006
Taping of all five participants will be complete by early November 2005. After initial edits by Orange Studios, video tapes will be sent to Penny Rosenblum for review. Penny Rosenblum, project leader, Project Research Assistant, and Orange Studio personnel will edit material during January, 2006. Penny Rosenblum will write supporting documentation materials, which will be produced on cassette and in large print by APH. It is anticipated that final editing and narration will be completed by the end of FY 2006.

LumiTest

(Completed)

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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

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 ColorTestTM, 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.

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 does not allow ambient light to degrade contrast readings.

Work during FY 2005
The script for the LumiTest Instructions Cassette was prepared and the cassette was produced. The product became available for sale during FY 2005.

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

Miniguide US

Formerly Student Miniguide)

(Completed)

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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

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.

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.

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 Miniguide US have been discussed with the developer: a Remote Unit (formerly Instructor Drum) which connects to the Miniguide US 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 Miniguide US.

Work during FY 2005
Detailed email communications between project leader and Miniguide developer explored desirable options for inclusion in the final product. The final prototype and first production run of the Miniguide US were received. The User's Guide was completed. The evidence supporting the effectiveness of the Miniguide also applies to the Miniguide US. The Miniguide US received positive ratings from in-house staff and consumers and professionals at nine presentation and exhibit venues.

The Remote Unit prototype was very well received by professionals in these venues. Documentation for the Remote was completed, and recorded for inclusion with the Remote Unit. The pilot run of Remote Units was received.

Work planned for FY 2006
The development of the second Miniguide US accessory--the Collar Button Speaker--will be completed.

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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Darleen Donhoff, Technical/Clerical Assistant
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

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 is fully Accessible, with speech and large print output built into the program itself. This program is also designed to be intuitive and user-friendly for persons with little or no computer experience.

During FY 2004, the following program features were implemented: the ability to emboss or print the check register; the ability to print raised-line or business checks from a checkbook or Quicken-type checks; the ability to import bank statements downloaded from the web; procedures for automatic and manual transaction reconciliation; the look and functionality of the on-screen grid views; and the software logo. Specifically, programmers completed the following tasks:

Work during FY 2005
Field testing, revisions, documentation, tooling, specifications, and a pilot run were completed. Approximately 86 adults tested Beta versions of Money Talks for six months prior to the product becoming available for sale in July 2005. During field testing, adults with a wide range of computer skills and financial expertise downloaded and used beta versions of Money Talks. Field testers were required to sign up for the Money Talks Field Test Discussion E-mail List. Technical support was provided to field testers on this list. Testers also reported problems with the software and made suggestions for improvements on this list. Changes suggested by field testers were examined and good ones incorporated into the program. Similarly, problems found by field testers were eliminated. New field test versions of the software were provided to testers on a weekly basis, and sometimes two or three times a week. Testers provided feedback on the effectiveness of changes made to the program as it evolved and developers used this ongoing feedback to further refine the program.

Work planned for FY 2006
Money Talks is currently available for sale. Improvements and upgrades to the program are anticipated based on ongoing feedback from 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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Karen McCulloh, Consultant/Author

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.

During FY 2004, the project leader and Ms McCulloh further developed the structure and content of the curriculum. Ms. McCulloh submitted an updated outline including additional instructional material.

Work during FY 2005
A contract was concluded with Ms. McCulloh. Work was postponed until the final quarter of FY 2005 because of scheduling complications for the consultant and project leader. Ms. McCulloh has submitted new material for early modules of this curriculum and initial feedback and editing of this material has begun.

Work Planned for FY 2006
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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Fabiana Perla, COMS, Project Consultant/Author
Betsy O'Donnell, COMS, Project Consultant/Author
Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader/Software Engineer
John Hedges, Programmer
Bisig Impact Group, Graphics Design

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.

During FY 2004, Ms. Perla and Ms. O'Donnell provided expanded materials based on their original work. The project leader created a screen-by-screen outline of the program prototype. Ms. Perla and Ms. O'Donnell have continued to refine sections of the book based on the project leader's outline.

Work during FY 2005
Consultants continued to revise content and structure of sections of their materials. Very few, if any, additional text changes are anticipated. Project leader has "plugged" many of these content changes into the screen-by-screen outline of the program.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Ms. Perla and Ms. O'Donnell will complete refinement of prototype content and the project leader will complete the final edit of text. All material will be "plugged" into the screen-by-screen outline. Programmers will bring the material into HTML structure and the initial prototype will be evaluated by project leader and consultants. Plans for field testing will be initiated.

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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Janet Ingber, Project Consultant/Author
Kevin E O'Connor, Project Consultant
Deborah Kendrick, Project Consultant
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant

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.

During FY 2004, 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 2005
Janet Ingber contacted and conducted phone interviews with 62 blind parents. She recorded results of these interviews into the data base and submitted this material to the project leader. The project leader has completed content analysis and results summaries for the data. The consultant has submitted first and second drafts of the first three chapters of the book.

Work planned for FY 2006
Janet Ingber and the project leader will complete an edited draft of the book. 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.

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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant/Co-Project Leader
Linda Ray, Project Consultant
Frank Hayden, Manufacturing Specialist
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Bernadette Mudd, Graphic Designer

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.

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 during FY 2005
Feedback from the field was reviewed and a plan for the project prototype was finalized. As a result of this input, an additional description of each print letter based on position in the cell and not on dot numbers will be included on learning pages. Letters will also be presented in an order that allows students to master simple strokes and then join them into multi stroke letters. Project leader's schedule constraints precluded further development of the product prototype.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The project leader will work closely with the model maker to develop product prototypes which will then be submitted for field testing. 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.

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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader

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, because experienced users suggest that several new content areas should be included, and because the Tote Case has never functioned as originally intended. Resource information was collected during 1996 and 1997. Major changes in assistive technology, vendor contact information, and service delivery systems have occurred since that time and need to be incorporated into resource lists. Inclusion of material that might help students use recorded materials more effectively and that might improve students' self-advocacy should be considered. 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//products/trantote.html.

Work during FY 2005
No work has been undertaken on this project during FY 2005 because project leader's schedule was full.

Work planned for FY 2006
Completion of this project is anticipated.

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
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Suzette Wright, Consultant/Project Advisor

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.

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 during FY 2005
Suzette Wright and Terrie Terlau met to discuss content to be updated. Suzette described a story idea that would introduce the collection and that would help reluctant cane users be drawn into the book. This introductory story and additional expanded content could make the book an effective tool for modeling and for motivating Orientation and Mobility students.

Work planned for FY 2006
As project leaders' schedules permit, new content and story revision will be undertaken. 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.




Braille

Eleanor Pester

Alphabetic Braille and Contracted Braille (ABC Braille Study)

(Continuing through 2007)

Submitted by Rob Wall, Ph.D. and Anne Corn, Ed.D.

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. Jane Erin, (University of Arizona, Tucson) and Dr. Sharon Sacks (California School for the Blind) are Quantitative and Qualitative Research Team Leaders, respectively. Other observers and researchers include: Ms. Liz Barclay, California School for the Blind; Dr. Chris Craig and Ms. Julia Ituarte of Southwest Missouri State University; Ms. Frances Mary D'Andrea, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments; Ms. Stephanie Anne Herlich, teacher of students with visual impairments, Dr. Cay Holbrook, University of British Columbia (Canada), 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. Additional observers include professionals and master's students at Vanderbilt University. For the 2005-2006 school year, Ms. Sara Hines is the research assistant. All researchers and observers and their employers volunteer their time to conduct the study.

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 several universities, organizations, and a special school joined forces to conduct research.

Children in the study reside in the U.S. and Canada and attend special schools and local education agencies. They were enrolled in the study in either pre-kindergarten or kindergarten and will be followed through the fourth grade. Currently there are 21 children in the study learning contracted braille and 22 children in the study learning uncontracted braille. Enrolled children reside in 15 U. S. states and two Canadian provinces 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 2004 group meeting, hosted by the American Foundation for the Blind's National Literacy Center in Atlanta, no changes were made to the interview forms used in data collection during the 2005-2006 academic year. 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.

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 is asked a series of questions to preserve any significant impressions from that year's observations.

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 become more important as the first students enrolled in the study are becoming more proficient readers and are starting to reach levels at which these measures are able to detect differences in the groups.

The group of researchers has 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.

In February 2005 Dr. Alan Koenig passed away. The ABC Braille Study was very much a part of Dr. Koenig's dreams for improving reading instruction for Braille readers. Dr. Koenig served as the quantitative research team leader and was a great contributor to the study. The researchers are grateful that Dr. Jane Erin has assumed Dr. Koenig's role as the quantitative team leader.

Braille Code Recognition Program

(Continuing)

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

Project Staff
Eleanor Pester, Project Leader
Ann Travis, Research Assistant/Project Co-Leader

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. In 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 during FY 2005
Work on the customer survey proved to be unfruitful. Those customers who were able to be reached had little recall as to using the product or why it had originally been purchased. In many instances, it was an organization that had purchased the product and there was no record as to who had ordered the product or where it currently was located.

The plan now is to rework the original product as a two-part product that consists of contraction recognition test sheets and contraction exercise sheets, and to replace the teachers' training kit (for putting on a workshop for teachers at your residential school) with simple teacher's instruction-sheet(s). The test pages will help identify contractions that the student may be having trouble recognizing, and the exercise pages should help increase the student's reading speed. The Braille Code Recognition Exercise pages have been scanned and are being prepared for formatting.

Work Planned for FY 2006
After the exercise pages are finished, work will begin on the test pages, and the teacher's instructions will be written.

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 Contracted Braille.

Project Staff
Eleanor Pester, Project Leader
Betty Modaressi, Editor/Consultant
Diana Myers, Writer
Carol Roderick, Research/Project Assistant

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. Development of the phonics strand of the lessons continued in FY 2004.

Work during FY 2005
None

Work Planned for FY 2006
No further work is planned on this project at this time.

Braille Production Study

(Completed)

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

Project Staff
Eleanor Pester, Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Joe Petrosko, Specialist in Project Design and Statistical Analysis, University of Louisville

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. In 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:

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 during FY 2005
It was determined that further testing would not be required. Joe Petrosko's findings were reported to APH's production managers, and plans were made to disseminate this information at Getting in Touch with Literacy in December of 2005. A more complete draft of the final report was done.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Information from the final report will be disseminated.

Fun with Braille Book

(Continuing)

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

Project Staff
Eleanor Pester, Project Leader
Robin Wingell, Consultant/Writer
Bernie Mudd, Graphics Designer
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant

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. In 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 during FY 2005
The prototype book was evaluated by the focus group to see if it met their specifications and expectations. Data from the evaluations was analyzed and revisions were planned and begun.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Revisions of both the cover illustration and the text will be completed. The book will be put on the production timeline, and produced.

Patterns Library Series, Print Editions

(Discontinued)

Purpose
To develop print editions of the Patterns Library Series Books suitable for use by sighted adults, helping a young braille reader

Project Staff
Eleanor Pester, Project Director
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Carol Roderick, Research/Project Assistant

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 ensure that the print helper and braille reader are on the same word and 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. Once again, Diana Mihulka and Donna Iszler offered to do back-translation for the project. In FY 2004, when this project was taken to the Product Advisory Review Committee (PARC) and the Product Evaluation Team (PET), for approval, the Second and Third Reader Levels for development as well. A product development meeting for the First Reader Level was held and a production timeline was developed.

Work during FY 2005
Work continued on obtaining the permissions for providing print copies of the books on the First Reader Level and on the Second and Third Reader Levels as well. Production on any of these levels could not go on because permissions had not been obtained for all books on a level. In spite of Inge Formenti's best efforts, it was impossible to get the needed permissions because of the age of the books and the difficulty in finding the copyright holders. This project had to be discontinued.

Quick Pick Braille Contractions

(Completed)

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

Project Staff
Eleanor Pester, Project Leader
Carol Roderick, Research/Project Assistant

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 Contractions.

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 five previous Quick Picks, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, and Counting; and contractions and shortforms for braille have been stable for a number of years. In FY 2004, tooling for print was begun.

Work during FY 2005
Production of this product with braille and print was completed in September of 2005.

Revision of Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program

(Continuing)

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

Project Staff
Eleanor Pester, Project Leader
Betty Modaressi, Editor/Textbook Writer
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Carol Roderick, Research/Project Assistant
Tessa Wright, Consultant/Project Assistant
Ann Travis, Research Assistant/Proofreader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant/Proofreader
Bernie Mudd, Graphic Designer

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 than in residential schools and are likely to be working on braille reading individually rather than in a group. The kindergarten lessons were edited to reflect this change. In 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 content edited 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, in, 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 during FY 2005
Additions were made to the content of the kindergarten level to improve use with children who are tactual readers. For example, tactual graphics on the covers and those used in the introductions of the color words were given special attention since children who are blind have more limited concept development and usually do not automatically recognize two dimensional representations of three dimensional objects. These textbook introductions were also used along with the titles to begin working on the skill of forecasting. Forms were created for recording the progress on the work covered in each textbook. The kindergarten level was then content edited for consistency of headings and terms and comprehensiveness of lessons. Changes were made in the copy and then checked again and again. The completed draft was then transcribed into braille; copy errors found by the braillist were corrected in print; and the braille was proofread against the final print version. Sample print lessons were laid out two different ways for field testing. For field testing, the eight textbooks were then produced in braille and the Teacher's Editions and Progress Forms were produced in both print and braille.

Using the items written by teachers of the visually impaired (TVI's) last summer, the Kindergarten Posttest was put together. Complete directions were written for each part of the test. All student pages and answer sheets to be completed by the teacher were inserted into the Teacher's Manual. An Answer Key was given in back of the book. The Teacher's Manual and the consumable student materials for the posttest were proofread and produced in both braille and print following a similar process to the one described for the teacher's edition and textbooks.

Several evaluation forms were developed for the field testing and expert review. Announcements about the field testing were put on our website and in our trustee newsletter during the summer. People interested in participating contacted us and were screened to be sure that they met the criteria for the project. The field test materials are expected to be shipped around mid-September.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The 1st Grade materials will be prepared for field testing, and the Kindergarten materials will be revised and prepared for production and sale. Work will also continue on the 2nd grade material.




Cortical Visual Impairment

Christine Roman-Lantzy

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
Christine Roman Lantzy, CVI Project Leader
Steve Clark, Videobred Director/Producer
Tessa Wright, Consultant/Project Assistant

Background
The groundwork established by the CVI Synergy Group in 2002 led to the completion of several projects in 2004-05. The Research Department named Christine Roman Lantzy as part time Project Leader. Several projects were developed from the list of ideas presented by CVI Synergy in May, 2002. Plans to establish a CVI Advisory Committee were begun. The CVI Advisory Committee will resume the work initiated by the CVI Synergy Group. This Advisory Committee will provide input to the Project Leader in terms of future projects and field testing of new CVI products.

Work during FY 2005
The two products completed in FY 2005 are CVI Perspectives and on-going additions to the APH CVI Website. Some recommendations were provided for other APH products intended for possible use with students with CVI (for example, Swirly Mats in the Sensory Learning Kit).

Work Planned for FY 2006
The project leader and staff will continue to prioritize and begin work on additional proposed CVI projects. In 2006 these will likely include updating the APH CVI Website, creating an assessment tool, and CVI appropriate adaptations of existing APH products.

CVI Perspectives

(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
Christine Roman-Lantzy, Project Leader
John Aicken, Assistant Director, Research
Steve Clark, Director/Producer, Videobred Productions

Background
Discussions about the need to provide basic information about CVI resulted in agreement to create a DVD/videotape product. The medium would contain three separate presentations, one for parents, one for educators and interventionists, and one for medical professionals.

Work Completed in 2005
Videobred Productions were hired to film all three components of the DVD. Filming took place in Louisville, Kentucky, and The Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The video featured Dr. Alan Lantzy, a Neonatologist, Dr. Christine Roman, CVI Project Leader, and five families who have children with CVI. Editing and artwork were completed at Videobred Studios. An APH internal product review was completed and changes were made according to staff recommendations. The presentations will be closed captioned, then duplicated.

Work to be completed in 2006
Follow up contacts will be made with consumers who purchase CVI Perspectives. A special effort will be made to contact medical personnel.

CVI Website

(Continuing)

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

Project Staff
Christine Roman- Lantzy, CVI Project Leader
Tessa Wright, Project Assistant/Contributing Writer
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader/Advisor
Inge Formenti, Librarian
Malcolm Turner, Web Master

Background
CVI Synergy, a group of nine professionals, representing both education and medicine, met at APH in May 2002. The group agreed to act as advisors via a 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. APH announced in January of 2004 that Dr. Christine Roman would serve as the new CVI Project Leader/Consultant.

Work during FY 2005
The CVI Website became active in September 1, 2004. Since then there have been over ten thousand visitors to the site. The CVI Website contains resources including definitions of CVI, educational programming suggestions, information on materials and articles in publication, and current CVI issues. Featured Presentations provide updated information pertaining to special topics of interest. Information pertaining to The CVI Summit, a national meeting of CVI experts in San Francisco in May, 2005 was included in Featured Presentations. The CVI Website has a Contact link that is available for individual comments, questions and suggestions.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The website, a continuing project, will be updated as new information is gathered. A number of changes and additions will be made based on suggestions from APH staff and comments offered through the Contact Us link of the website.




Early Childhood

Charles "Burt" Boyer
and
Suzette Wright

Alphabet Scramble

(Continuing)

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

Project Staff
Suzette Wright, Project Leader/Author
Tessa Wright, Co-Project Leader/Co-author

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 alphabet in braille and in large print. Alphabet Scramble was first developed and field tested with other On the Way to Literacy books. At that time, evaluators requested the book be produced; however, they indicated that the youngest students preferred books featuring tactile illustrations with objects, textures and thermoforms. Advice was sought from expert reviewers, and the book's text and graphics were revised to target slightly older children (upper preschool and grades K-2). It was also suggested that students with multiple disabilities might benefit from the book's presentation of single lines of the same braille letter; a multiple disabilities focus group requested the book also be evaluated with this group. 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.

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 expert review and field evaluation with students for a six to eight week period. Teachers served as expert reviewers and used the book with students. They were provided with guidelines for conducting the evaluation, directing them to read the book a minimum of two to three times with students in the identified target populations. Seventeen teachers returned forms collecting student information and the teacher's expert review of the book. The book was field evaluated with 29 students judged likely to require braille and whose functioning ranged from preschool through second 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. Following use with students, teachers recommended Alphabet Scramble for preschool through first grade students and for students with multiple disabilities up to age 12, excluding those with severe cognitive or motor impairments that prohibited tracking.

Before using Alphabet Scramble, 79% of the students were cited by their teachers as having little or no proficiency in tracking braille. The tracking skills of a majority of 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 limiting his ability to perform tracking motions. Eliminating these students from the subject pool results in an apparent improvement in tracking for all of the students tested. 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 appeared to motivate 90% of tested students to perform the tracking movements. Teachers indicated that the following additional skills would be developed using Alphabet Scramble: braille awareness, recognition of specific braille letters, knowledge of letter names and sequence of the alphabet, knowledge of braille contractions and special signs. One evaluator said of the book: "A Nice Tool That Grows with the Young Braille Reader." Other positive comments were made by teacher-reviewers. Following posting and analysis of the field evaluation data and expert reviews, a few small revisions to the rhyming text were made. Final files were prepared by the project leader and given to the graphic designer to begin creation of final art.

Work during FY 2005
Alphabet Scramble was approved for sale as a quota item by the Educational Products Advisory Committee at the 2004 Annual Meeting. The project leader, technical research staff, and vendor evaluated three binding methods in combination with different paper stocks in an attempt to reduce thickness and weight of the book while preserving quality and durability of the braille. It was also necessary to evaluate breakage of the surface ink on colored, inked backgrounds after embossing. Two different paper stocks, each in two weights, were preprinted and embossed; in an informal review, input was gathered from six individuals (four braille readers) regarding braille quality. A lighter weight stock was chosen; it promises to provide durable, high-quality braille, reduced ink breakage, while reducing the book's thickness. Sample binders from vendors were priced and tested for durability.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The graphic designer will complete final tooling to produce the book and accompanying Notes to the Reader; corresponding braille plates will be made. Final specifications to guide production will be provided by Technical Research. The first run of Alphabet Scramble will be produced, the product will be costed, and made available for purchase.

Early Childhood Focus Group

(Continuing)

Purpose
An Early Childhood Focus Group met at APH June 27-29, 2005, to identify needs in early childhood education of blind and visually impaired children, identify products to meet those needs, and then prioritize the identified products. The focus group met its goals and the project leader for early childhood education is beginning to address the priorities of the focus group.

Project Staff
Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Background
The American Printing House for the Blind was without an early childhood project leader from March, 2002, until February, 2005. The position vacancy was posted on the APH web site, but there was not interest from the field in this position.

The newly employed early childhood project leader believed a group of experts in early childhood education for blind and visually impaired children could be of great value in identifying needs, products to meet the needs, and prioritizing products to be developed, produced, and distributed. When the call for interested participants was sent out through several list serves, the response was overwhelming. The project leader selected nine experts from outside APH, and three APH staff (experts) to meet and address the goals identified above in this paragraph. The focus group worked diligently for a day and a half, and did accomplish all goals.

The focus group identified over 85 products, and prioritized the following to be addressed by the project leader:

1. A Sensory Mat
2. Experiential Learning Kit/Creative Play
3. Easy To Use Braillewriter
4. Software for Pre-K, Infants, and Toddlers
5. Increase Range of Spanish Books and Culturally Diverse Topics
6. Toys Promoting Social Interaction
7. Calendar Curriculum Built Around Common Activities
8. Kid-safe Tabletop Touch Light/Lamp

Work during FY 2005
The early childhood project leader will address the priority list above, and also work on projects already under consideration prior to the focus group meeting at APH. Those projects include:

1. Flat Panel Monitor Arm
2. PATTER: Inventory of Basic Skills
3. VISION PROGRAM: Vision Skills in the Natural Environment
4. UNDO-IT-TACTILE QUILT

Work Planned for FY 2006
The goal is to address all the projects listed above and have them in production and ready for distribution by FY2007. Communication has begun on PATTER and the VISION PROGRAM, and is on-going. The flat panel monitor arm will be the first product to be ready for distribution in FY2006.

Consultants will be utilized on several of the product ideas. Field tests will be conducted on those products where there is a need. New product ideas will continue to be solicited.

Questions and/or comments can be directed to the early childhood project leader.

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
Suzette Wright, Project Leader/Author
Lois Harrell, Project Consultant/ Author
Dr. Mila Truan, Project Consultant
Dr. Josephine Stratton, Project Consultant

Background
Symbolic visual displays, such as maps and diagrams play an increasingly important role in textbooks and computer displays for students with typical vision, presenting a special challenge for students with significant vision loss who are often expected to use a tactile equivalent. 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 give young students opportunities to explore and interpret tactile displays using raised symbols, lines and areal patterns. Of equal importance, the storybooks offer exposure to braille and foster key emergent literacy skills. The print/braille text of the books is intended to be read aloud by an adult reader. Embedded text (in large print and 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. Project leader Fred Otto suggested the subject and objectives for another of the stories drafted. Based on input from expert reviewers, four stories were chosen from a large pool of drafts. A variety of tactile media were considered. Paper embossed graphics were selected for the first book and the Tactile Visions process was selected for three books, as it permits fine detail and can be combined with colorful graphics to create tactile/visual displays at a reasonable cost. Before designing each storybook's tactile graphics, time was spent developing and obtaining feedback on a new "palette" of lines and symbols, specially suited to the Tactile Visions medium. As part of an informal formative review, sample tactile displays were presented to five typically sighted adults and four adults with visual impairment to assess discernibility. Technical Research assisted by testing paper stocks, temperature and processing speeds for the Tactile Visions process as well as investigating means of registering visual and tactile images.

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. Accompanying storyboards (featuring symbols from the story mounted to Velcro-backed pieces) were designed to enable students to create their own tactile displays. A Reader's Guide was written to accompany the books.

Seven teachers at seven sites participated in an expert review and conducted the field evaluation of the books/storyboards with 23 students ranging in age from 4.5 to 11 years of age. (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." Teachers were given guidelines for the evaluation, which spanned an eight to ten week period. 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 simpler 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, in their opinion, had benefited from using the books during the evaluation period and would benefit from using the books for a longer period of time. Reasons given included: "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 for 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 stated that their use improved comprehension, offered students an important opportunity to create their own graphics, and were highly motivating. A majority of teachers commented favorably on the Tactile Visions graphics. All evaluators rated the visual graphics in the books as a "very important" component of the books, promoting shared reading with typically sighted peers and adults and supplementing tactual information for the many braille readers with usable vision. The three project consultants also reviewed prototype books, providing favorable reviews and suggesting changes to specific tactile illustrations. Final revisions were determined based upon expert reviews by teachers, project consultants, and field evaluation results.

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. 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 completed 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 Low Vision Project Leader reviewed and approved visual art samples provided by the graphic designer. The graphic designer began work on final art as the project leader reviewed each piece and layer for accuracy. Sample tests were run to ensure compatibility of the paper stock, the outside vendor's inks, and the Tactile Visions process; several problems with paper were encountered and resolved.

Work during FY 2005
Production of Goin' On a Bear Hunt was completed; it was costed, placed in inventory, and its availability announced.

Paper stock for the three remaining books was tested to evaluate the effect of embossing on colored (inked) backgrounds. In preparation for production of Splish the Fish, Technical Research tested registration of tactile illustrations produced using the Tactile Visions process to pre-printed pages from the outside vendor. It was necessary to add a special switch and tray to the Tactile Visions machine to accommodate the page size. With these modifications and an adjustment to the graphics file, tactile images were consistently placed on the page registration to pre-printed images was successful. Final specifications for the book are being prepared. Final tooling for the accompanying Reader's Guide, storyboard, and embedded words packet is complete.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Production of Splish the Fish will begin as soon as schedules permit; it will then be costed and made available for purchase. Following production of the second book, the third book will enter the tooling phase. Final art will be prepared and final specifications written before proceeding into production.

National Family Conference

(Complete)

Purpose
The purpose of the National Family Conference was to provide families opportunities to meet other families, share with other families, and learn from other families. In addition, experts in the field of blindness were chosen as presenters on a variety of topics, which would allow families opportunities to get up-to-date information which will help them better assist their children.

Project Staff
Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant

Background
In February, 2003, a focus group met at APH for the purpose of identifying needs of families, and making recommendations on products to address those needs. The focus group was comprised of many experts with vast experiences in dealing directly with families. A lengthy list of possible products was identified by the focus group, with an emphasis on getting information into the hands of families.

The top priority of the focus group was to have a national conference focusing on the needs of families. The group recommended the American Printing House for the Blind, Hadley School for the Blind, and the National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments co-sponsor such a conference.

Serious work began on putting together plans for a national conference for families in September, 2004. A planning committee was formed and had an initial meeting at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 13, 2004. This committee included the three co-sponsors along with representative from Kentucky School for the Blind, Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Indiana School for the Blind, Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments (Saint Louis), Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Albinism and Hypo-pigmentation, and the University of Louisville. A follow-up meeting was held during the 2004 Annual Meeting. The theme of the conference was chosen: Families Connecting With Families.

Work During 2005
The planning committee continued to communicate via email, and two conference calls from October, 2004, through March, 2005. The committee gathered in Louisville in late April to finalize all plans for the conference. The committee finalized the following: Registration forms and process, presenters, keynote speakers, agenda for the conference, and ways to promote the conference. The format for the program was discussed, and NAPVI volunteered to do the program.

A tremendous effort by so many agencies and organizations involved with the blind promoted the national family conference. Creative ways were presented via email and phone calls for supporting families to attend. The planning committee kept the cost of the conference very low so as many families as possible could attend. The Galt House Hotel was tremendously supportive in keeping room rates very affordable.

The National Family Conference, Families Connecting With Families, was held on August 12-14, 2005, at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. The attendance far exceeded expectations: 331 adults, 137 children, and 142 volunteers. Families took full advantage of opportunities to learn from the presenters and keynote speakers, and to meet and share with each other during receptions. The feedback on the conference has been very positive, and the number one question during the conference and is continuing is, "Are you going to have another conference?"

Work Planned for FY 2006
There presently is no work planned for another national conference for families.

Revision of the Handbook, On the Way to Literacy:
Early Experiences for Visually Impaired Children

(Continuing)

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

Project Staff
Suzette Wright, Project Leader
Dr. Josephine Stratton, Project Consultant
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant

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. Since publication of the handbook, knowledge in the field of emergent literacy has expanded. A contract was negotiated with Dr. Stratton to revise and update the handbook; she and the project leader planned to co-author the updated book, as they had done in writing the original handbook.

In FY2003, the project leader and Dr. Stratton reviewed recent literature regarding emergent literacy for typically sighted and visually impaired children. As the project proceeded, it became apparent that a total reorganization of the original handbook was needed. The original handbook was organized by age; the new handbook is organized by developmental strands: communication/ language, concepts, tactual skills, and experiences with written language. This permits better integration of new material, reduces repetition, and provides a better overview of the evolution of skills within each strand. In FY 2004 a new section 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 and added as an appendix. The project leader and research assistants gathered information to update the handbook's resource lists and children's book lists included in the new handbook's appendices. Dr. Stratton provided drafts of sections addressing emergent writing, transition to early reading, phonemic awareness, and tips for using story boxes; these were edited by the project leader. At the end of FY 2004, with Dr. Stratton's consent, the project leader agreed to assume responsibility for writing the remainder of the new handbook, submitting completed drafts to Dr. Stratton for comment.

Work during FY 2005
The project leader has researched and completed drafts of three of the four chapters for the revised handbook and has continued to update appendices listing literacy resources. The language/communication, concept development, and literacy experiences chapters are complete. The majority of the information now included is recent; original material has been reorganized and rewritten to integrate it with new material. Each chapter ranges from 25 to 35 pages. New information is included on early language learning, impact of caregiver style, establishing shared focus of attention, phonemic awareness built through rhymes/word play, importance of extended discourse for building vocabulary with meaning, and handling echolalia. A new, more detailed chapter on concept development, based on current research by cognitive psychologists, describes how a child develops and refines concepts through participation in daily routines and firsthand experiences in his environment, assisted by adults who scaffold the child's learning and integrate experiences with appropriate language. The literacy experiences chapter explores emergent reading and writing, discussing skills, attitudes, and awareness specific to written language: many uses and conventions of written language, concepts related to stories, building comprehension strategies and vocabulary through listening to read-aloud stories, understanding the function of symbols and developing letter knowledge. It suggests resources and offers guidelines for experiences that will build these and other emergent reading and writing skills. Chapters have been given to Dr. Stratton, in-house personnel, and others for an initial, informal review; these were favorable. Texas Tech University staff provided a literature review on the topics of tactual learning and emergent literacy for blind and visually impaired children. Entries have been examined and the project leader is acquiring full-length articles to reference in drafting the fourth and final chapter on tactual learning. The project leader is communicating with the graphic designer and has reviewed sample formats for the handbook's layout. Photographs needed to illustrate the handbook are being identified by the project leader.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The fourth chapter on tactual development and an introduction will be completed and given to Dr. Stratton for review. The completed draft of the new handbook will undergo expert review by professionals and parents; it will be revised, and prepared for final editing. The project leader will continue to work with the graphic designer to create the cover, illustrations, and new layout and will proof all final art and files leading toward publication of the new handbook.

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. This software would be devised to help students develop their emerging literacy skills.

Project Staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Jenny Dortch, Content Consultant
Robert Armstrong, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Larry Skutchan, Programming Consultant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Carol Stewart, Studio Director
John Zinninger, Senior Technician

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 grades, 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 during FY 2005
Lessons were developed and graphics and audio files of automobile sounds were found to accompany them. The first four lessons were then developed and sent to the project leader who wrote them in a form to accompany an animated figure who talks to the viewer. All 26 lessons were then formatted and put together in the form of a manual for the classroom teacher or teacher of the visually impaired, as well as inserted into the program code of the software. Audio portions were recorded by the APH studio and labeled. They too were inserted into the program code. The guidebook has been edited, revised and is currently undergoing final revisions in readiness for beta and field testing.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Finalize the prototype, conduct beta testing, and conduct 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

Scattered Crowns: A Tactile Attribute Game

(New)

Purpose
To develop an original recreational board game that is designed to practice tactile discrimination skills within a fun context

Project Staff
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background
Despite recent efforts and products, there is a continuing lack of recreational materials available from APH which are specifically designed, from the outset, to be completely Accessible to children with visual impairments and blindness. The popularity of Web Chase [850 games sold in a six-month period following initial availability] has reinforced the need for and renewed interest in games and recreational materials--especially those that reinforce needed skills and concept development.

Scattered Crowns is a game that is patterned after a tactile activity that the project leader created for SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [see separate report]. The game will be tailored for children who are between the ages 5-12 with visual impairments and blindness, but one that is inviting and fun for sighted peers and family members. The primary purpose of the planned game is to hone tactile discrimination skills.

Work during FY 2005
In April 2005, the product idea was approved by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) and removed from the PARCing Lot. The project leader's initial efforts involved sketching a general layout of the game board itself, designing accessory materials (i.e., visual/tactile design of various crowns, attribute spinner, etc.), and outlining possible game play options that would make the game as versatile as possible for a wide range of ages and skills levels.

Once the project leader developed a conceptual sketch of the expected game board layout, required components, and anticipated production processes, she conducted a Brainstorming PDC meeting to gather further ideas and suggestions from other in-house department staff. A Timeline PDC meeting was held shortly after, and a partial product timeline (up through Product Documentation Completed) was set.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The project leader will be conducting a training workshop at the 2005 APH Annual Meeting in October. This training session, titled Recreational Approaches to Building Early Tactile Skills, will focus on current recreational products and will request audience feedback on other possible features and playing options for Scattered Crowns.

A prototype of the game will be produced by March 2006. At that time, the project leader will identify field test sites and develop evaluation packets. The remainder of the timeline will be determined with input from the Product Development Committee once field test results are compiled, needed revisions are determined, and documentation content is complete.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine: Issue 1

(formerly known as Activity Game Book)

(Continuing)

Purpose
To develop the first of a planned series of activity game books that will feature an assortment of activities for developing young children's tactile skills within a fun, recreational context.

Project Staff
Karen Poppe, Co-Project Leader
Fred Otto, Co-Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker and Tactile Graphic Designer
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Bridgett Johnson, Graphic Designer, Bisig Impact Group

Background
Over recent years, fun activities to encourage the development of necessary tactile skills (e.g., scanning, discriminating, locating reference points within a graphic, contrasting and comparing tactile elements, etc.) have been designed, explored, and sometimes incorporated into existing products such as Teaching Touch and Web Chase. Best ways to construct tactile mazes, seek-n-find activities, word games, dot-to-dot puzzles, coloring activities, word hunt puzzles, etc., in a manner that children with visual impairments can enjoy and complete independently, have been of primary consideration for the project leaders.

The project leaders initiated work on the project by creating original tactile puzzles and brain teasers that would serve as possible regular features for the planned series. Final versions of these activities reflected a variety of tactile methods such as thermoform, embossed paper, and thermography for the purpose of familiarizing young children with a variety of raised-line images. Visual counterparts for each activity were readied and included in an accompanying booklet for use by peers with low vision, as well as by sighted parents, teachers, and siblings. An outside artist rendered a playful characterization of a SQUID; this SQUID icon will serve as the outside cover art from one edition to the next, with slight variations to distinguish one edition from another.

Work during FY 2005
The first quarter of FY 2005 was dedicated to the preparation of a complete prototype of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine for field test purposes. The project leaders and research assistant worked closely with the Model/Pattern Maker, the Braille Department, and an outside graphic designer in preparing final activity designs. Nearly 50 tactile activities were included in the prototype issue, along with a twin-looped, full-color booklet featuring visual counterparts of each of the loose-leaf tactile activities. The activities were complemented by a parent-addressed letter that gave an overview of the purpose of the products, as well as SQUID Tips (i.e., ways to enhance and extend the provided activities) and a Tackle Box (i.e., an extensive list of recommended tools and materials to assist the child's completion of the activities). An alphabetical listing of the Solutions to puzzles and games was provided in both print and braille.

The field test stage extended from January through March 2005. The prototype was reviewed by 18 evaluators representing the states of North Carolina, Wisconsin, Virginia, Oregon, Indiana (2), Michigan (4), Maryland (2), Pennsylvania (2), Texas, Maine, Washington, and Oklahoma. These evaluators used the tactile/print activities with a total of 53 students. Ages of these students ranged from 4 to 16, with 32% between the ages of 4 and 6; 28% between the ages of 7 and 9; 32% between the ages of 10 and 12; and the least percentage (8%) represented teenagers. A full 70% were reported as braille readers; 9% were large print readers; and the remaining sample represented prereaders, print/braille readers, print readers, aural/braille readers, and nonreaders. One-fourth of the total student sample had additional disabilities such as cognitive delays, cerebral palsy, sensory integration problems, ADHD, and short-term memory loss.

Specific to the prototype format and design, 88% of the evaluators reported that there was an appropriate assortment of different types of activities (e.g., mazes, brain teasers, and coloring pages) available in the package. A similar percentage (82%) indicated that is was appropriate to have the activities appeal to different ages within the same SQUID issue. Such components as the Parent Letter and the full-color, large print copies of the activities, as well as the title SQUID itself, received unanimous approval. With regard to appropriate populations, 100% of the evaluators indicated that the SQUID activities were appropriate for students with visual impairments and blindness in grades 4-6; another significant percentage (94%) reported the activities as ideal for students with visual impairments and blindness in grades 1-3. An equal percentage (89%) thought the activities were appropriate for kindergarten students and for sighted siblings and peers. Over half of the evaluators thought the activities could be enjoyed by preschoolers with visual impairments and blindness (61%) and students with multiple disabilities (56%).

The following are advantages of SQUID that evaluators listed: It allows students to get the same experience doing the same types of activities sighted peers enjoy; it provides motivating activities to develop tactile and cognitive skills; it can be used independently or with blind and sighted peers; it represents high-quality tactile graphics; it has a variety of games and puzzles; it is easy and enjoyable to use; it represents a variety of tactile methods; and it makes braille reading fun. One-hundred percent of the evaluators indicated that APH should make SQUID issues available, with 50% recommending at least a bi-annual availability of future issues.

Based upon field test results, project leaders incorporated revisions to the activities. The most universal change was the inclusion a three-hole punches to each activity page for eventual inclusion into a customer-obtained binder. The prototype activities were also divided into half to limit the number of activities to 25 per issue--a more manageable number for both the students and for the project leaders to generate for future issues. Although reduced to 25 activities, the included activities for the first two issues still represent a healthy assortment of activities including tactile puzzles, mazes, matching games, dot by dot pictures, hidden pictures, logic puzzles, break-the-code items, find-the-differences pages. Each new will have its own unique catalog number. Unlike the need for a "subscription" ordering method, customers will be able to order needed amounts of SQUID issues for their children/students. The Premier Issue and all upcoming issues of SQUID will be available for future generations of children to enjoy. It is the project leaders' hope that these SQUID issues will become commonplace in home settings where the children can acquire early tactile skills within a relaxed atmosphere with their family members.

The months of April through August were devoted to preparing final tooling for the Premier Issue. Thermoformed masters were created, braille plates were finalized, and the accompanying large print booklet was prepared. Braille translation of the final content was prepared as well. Concurrently, product specifications were documented and shared with the Product Development Committee. Separate timelines for Issue 1 and Issue 2 were developed. Final tooling was completed, on time, by the end of August.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The project leaders will request quota approval from trustees at the next EPAC Meeting held at APH's Annual Meeting. They will also monitor the first production run of SQUID: Issue 1, scheduled for October 2005, and will assist the Braille Department (if needed) in the initial collation of the activities. The project leaders will also explore the possibility of creating a Web page, or Kids Corner, for young readers of the magazine where they can access additional activities, share riddles or jokes of their own, and so forth.

For activities related to the preparation of SQUID: Issue 2, please see separate report.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine: Issue 2

(New)

Purpose
To continue the development of new SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazines that will feature an assortment of activities for developing young children's tactile skills within a fun, recreational context.

Project Staff
Karen Poppe, Co-Project Leader
Fred Otto, Co-Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker and Tactile Graphic Designer
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Bridgett Johnson, Bisig Impact Group

Background
A prototype of a tactile activity booklet (formally known as SQUID) was field tested in early 2005 [see separate report on SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine: Issue 1]. The activities in the booklet reflected an assortment of games, puzzles, and brainteasers intended for the purposes of building needed tactile skills in young children and exposing them to a variety of tactile methods (i.e., embossed paper, thermography, and thermoformed formats). Field test results indicated the need to provide this type of magazine at least bi-annually, keeping all produced issues available for future purchase.

Work during FY 2005
The second issue of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine will feature about half of the original activities field tested last winter. In August, the project leaders focused their time on refining these 25 activities, both tactually and visually, before initiating hard tooling tasks with the Braille Department, the Pattern/Model Maker, and the outside graphic designer. The same accommodations (e.g., three-hole punching) incorporated in Issue 1 activities carried over to revisions made to Issue 2 activities. All editorial tasks to the existing activities were finalized. A clean file of the Solutions section was prepared for braille translation purposes.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The project leaders will continue to oversee the Tooling portion of the timeline which will involve the following:

Production of SQUID: Issue 2 is currently slated for June 2006. The project leaders anticipate that the existing timeline could potentially be shortened. The project leaders will conduct Product Development Committee meetings to acquaint Production staff with this next issue and to abbreviate the timeline, if possible.

The project leaders have already begun the creation of activities that will appear in subsequent issues of SQUID. The inventory of activities will continue to grow as the project leaders create new games and puzzles.

Tic-Tac-Toe Accessory Kit for Invisiboard

(Completed)

Purpose
To provide teachers of the visually impaired and parents with a simple game for children with CVI using the Invisiboard, another currently available APH product.

Project Staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant/Project Developer
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background
At Annual Meeting 2004, the Invisiboard was demonstrated using the improvised Tic-Tac-Toe set made out of yellow FOAMCOR and Velcro. The demonstrator was encouraged by interested meeting participants to have a Tic-Tac-Toe set made available from APH, as an appropriate accessory for the Invisiboard. The idea was formally presented to the Products and Research Committee in the fall of 2004, and was accepted. After the original project leader left APH, the project was assigned to the current low vision project leader. After consideration of her workload, the project was assigned to a project developer for the shepherding of the product.

Work during FY 2005
The project developer consulted the model maker regarding appropriate materials and the sizing of the pieces for the kit. The prototype kit consisted of five grid strips, five X's, and five O's with several Velcro® adhesive dots (Velcoins®) applied to each piece. Prototypes were prepared in two sizes (four inch and six inch) of yellow 0.055 inch thick Polyethylene, and tested by teachers and students of appropriate age at the Kentucky School for the Blind and at Visually Impaired Preschool Services. The smaller, four inch size was preferred. The low vision project leader was consulted for color choice, and it was determined that the kit would include complete four-inch Tic-Tac-Toe sets in both yellow and red 0.055 inch thick polyethylene. These colors are known to provide excellent contrast on a black or white background for most children with CVI.

It was decided that a strip of 100, 0.5 inch diameter White Hook Velcoins® were provided with the kit for the teacher or parent to apply to the pieces as needed. The project developer wrote a one page Parts List/Quick Start sheet that was translated into Braille, and printed and embossed on site.

A first production run of 300 kits took place in July 2005 and has been available for purchase from APH since August 2005.

The project is complete.

Toodle Tiles

(Continuing)

Purpose
To provide students with high-contrast, large imaged computer games that are the equivalent of games their peers commonly use for recreational purposes and that will provide practice in scanning and developing a concept of visual closure.

Project Staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Co-Leader
Larry Skutchan, Project Co-Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer

Background
Toodle Tiles is a tile game based roughly upon the game of Mahjong which was popular in the late 1800s. Students will match exterior tiles in three dimensions until all tiles are cleared from the screen. The tiles have simple, high-contrast designs on them. Three different high-contrast tile sets are provided. This is very different from Mahjong, in which the tiles have complicated designs of Chinese characters. The game also has sound elements added for positive or negative feedback, a professional music score, as well as added programming elements to allow students with blindness to play the game.

Work during FY 2005
Audio and graphic files were developed, collected, and programmed into the game. Approval of these files was based upon research conducted the previous year into visibility specifications for students with low vision and color blindness. Specifications and rules of the game were developed as well. Programming the parameters and features of the game continued including the outline, the base tier, the structure design, the clue commands and the accessibility formats was completed. Product documentation as a readme file was also developed by the technology group. The game has undergone extensive internal testing, revision, and improvement in 2005. The game is now ready for beta testing by participants from the public sector. The game will then be produced and made available to consumers in 2005.

No work on this project is planned for 2006.




Low Vision

Elaine Kitchel

Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments

(formerly 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 adaptations, equipment and accessories that may be needed when teaching laboratory skills to a student with a visual impairment.

Project Staff
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader/Project Supervisor
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant/Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Bernadette Mudd, Graphic Designer
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background
In March of 2003 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:

The Inventory of Science Skills was developed first. This product consists of a Skills Checklist and an Advanced Preparation Checklist, accompanied by a handbook. The handbook compiles information about visual impairment, safety in the science classroom and laboratory, adaptations for measurement, conceptual modeling, and data presentation. The product idea was presented to Products and Research Committee and accepted. The project leader and project supervisor 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. Hoffmann 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. The product was written, revised, formatted, and field tested. Sites were chosen from among both residential schools and itinerant teachers who had students taking middle or high school science. An expert reviewer also reviewed the materials.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The product has been revised and edited according to results from the field testing and expert review. The product has been renamed and made ready for braille transcription, HTML conversion and production. Production is expected to be completed in 2006.

Best Intervention Techniques

(Continuing)

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

Staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Amanda Hall-Lueck, Lead Consultant
Toni Heinze, Consultant

Background
There are many interventions and steps practitioners take when performing a functional vision evaluation on a very young child with a visual impairment. Today, practitioners see very complicated children with neurological, cognitive, and physical deficits as well as vision problems. Guidelines are needed to identify best practices, and to provide guidance to the practitioner who is dealing with a very involved and medically complicated child.

Dr. Amanda Hall-Lueck, a highly respected educator and researcher in the fields of low vision and early childhood, has proposed and worked on this project. The resulting video/DVD is expected to 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 2005
Drs. Hall-Lueck and Dr. Heinze video taped interventions they performed with young children who had a wide range of pathologies. Once the raw footage was obtained, Dr. Lueck wrote a script to accompany it. The footage and script have been turned over to the project leader for development of a professional-style video. Dr. Hall-Lueck also developed a short sample video to use at professional conferences.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The taped material will be screened, time coded, and categorized into usable clips. The script will be edited and timed to accompany the video. Then the script will be narrated. Video clips will be added along with story boards, introductions, credits and music. Editing will continue until the video is perfected. The presentation will be closed captioned and fitted with video description, then duplicated and made available for sale.

Functional Vision Assessment/Learning Media Assessment
for Academic Students with Low Vision

(New)

Purpose
The purpose of this project is to provide teachers and practitioners with a functional vision assessment and learning media assessment for students who are on an academic educational track.

Staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Dr. LaRhea Sanford, Consultant
Dr. Rebecca Burnett, Consultant

Background
Functional vision assessments for students who are multiply disabled, have difficulties with expressive or receptive language, or who are deaf blind, exist. Chief among those is ISAVE: Individualized Systematic Assessment of Visual Efficiency, an APH product written by M. Beth Langley. Yet, no there is no particular functional vision assessment of academic students available that is widely used and accepted by those who conduct these assessments. However, Drs. LaReah Sanford and Rebecca Burnett had written one that has been gaining credibility among teachers and practitioners. It was proposed that APH study the Sanford-Burnett assessment, keeping in mind the possibility of making it widely-available as an APH product.

Work during FY 2005
Drs. Sanford and Burnett created and distributed a functional vision assessment/learning media assessment of their own. Over the years they have refined and revised it. They were getting so many requests for it that the sale and distribution was becoming a burden to them. They approached APH with a proposal that APH become owner of the instruments and take on the responsibilities of sale and distribution. This idea was presented to the PET and PARC committees in January of 2005. The proposal was accepted and the project was first assigned to the Accessible Tests Department, and later to the low vision project leader.

In March 2005, Drs. Sanford and Burnett came to APH to review their instruments with APH staff. Specific revisions needed were identified as were additions. Drs. Sanford and Burnett sent APH revised instruments in August, 2005.

Work Planned for FY 2006
These instruments are currently being reviewed, and once necessary edits have been identified and made, prototypes will be developed and sent to experts for further review.

After expert review, suggested changes from the experts will be discussed with Drs. Sanford and Burnett. Specific changes and additions will be identified and made. The product specifications and documentation will then be drawn up and the product will enter the production phase.

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. To produce an atlas that will be visible, understandable and useful for the student with low vision who is a large print reader.

Project Staff
J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Lane Koniak, Project Consultant
Kathy Krause, Project Consultant
Robert Forbes, Project Consultant/University Liaison
Matt Smith, Cartographer
Bridgett Johnson, Graphic Designer
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

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 Geography Department.

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 during FY 2005
The project leader and research assistants worked with the consultants to provide thoroughly researched and edited text to cover the United States, Canada, Greenland, Australia, New Zealand and the Oceania. A field test of the formatting, content, maps and packaging of Section I was conducted. Questionnaires were received from both students and their teachers. The responses overall were positive and enthusiastic. Changes were made to the elements of the atlas based upon feedback. The project leader worked with the cartographer, a senior student from the University of Louisville Geography Department, to provide maps for the atlas that were made according to the Essential Characteristics of Large Print Maps, a list of guidelines drafted by the Large Print Atlas Focus Group. A great deal of work and testing has been carried out to ensure the critical color necessary for the high contrast maps, which will be useful to both students with low vision and students with colorblindness.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Section I will move into production phase and is expected to be available in the spring of 2006. Writing and formatting will continue on Section II of the atlas. Text writing will be ongoing as will editing. Photos will be identified, maps will be drawn and the whole of Section Two will be prepared for field testing. Field testing will then be initiated in June 2006. Once questionnaires are received, data will be collated, processed and analyzed and changes will be made based upon field test results.

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. And to develop a decision tree based on the data analysis.

Project Staff
J. Elaine Kitchel, APH Project Leader
Amanda Hall Lueck, Project Consultant & Researcher
Ian Bailey, O.D., Researcher

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 University of California's Berkeley School of Optometry Low Vision Clinic. Data was collected, analyzed and published.

Work during FY 2005
The data analysis was written into a report and published in the Journal of Blindness and Visual Impairment. The results of the study are being analyzed with the development of a decision tree to help teachers and interventionists select appropriate sized learning media for students with low vision.

Work Planned for FY 2006
It is projected that the actual work of final typesetting, drafting of specifications, and the production of the decision tree manual and CD will take place during FY 2006 or early FY 2007.

Spanish/French ENVISION I Street Signs

(Completed)

Purpose
Since ENVISION I was produced in 2003, teachers, interventionists and practitioners have been asking for the ENVISION I street signs to be made available in languages other than English. Many students live in Canada and parts of the United States where French and Spanish are widely spoken, and many of their street signs are in these languages.

Project Staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant/Project Developer
Darlene Donhoff, Technical/Clerical Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Bernie Mudd, Graphic Designer

Work during FY 2005
The project idea was presented to the PET and PARC committees in September of 2004. The project was approved and the project developer was named in November of that year. In January 2005, a list of possible street names was drawn up and checked for correct spelling, correct meaning, appropriate numbers of letters, and usage. Native speakers of the languages were contacted and approved the street names. From these lists then, the final names were chosen and sent to the art director to develop the artwork.

The project was completed and the street signs were made available in July 2005.

ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Vision

(formerly Toy Chest)

(Continuing)

Purpose
The purpose of the ToAD project is to provide teachers with a standardized array of classic tools, graphics and lights commonly needed to conduct functional vision assessments and vision development activities for young children. Guidelines for the uses of the tools and materials would be included.

Project Staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background
Numerous and ongoing requests from practitioners in the field led to a project that would provide a standardized set of toys, reflective materials and lights commonly used by practitioners to conduct functional vision evaluations and/or vision development activities. Practitioners stated that toys and lights 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 array of safe tools, lights and guidelines that would remain constant and would be standardized across the United States. This would give more meaning to a functional vision evaluation because evaluators and test interpreters would know what materials and guidelines were used in every case. Further, components would not go out of style or become unavailable. The array would also be available on quota.

Work during FY 2005
The project leader evaluated 41 existing products for possible inclusion in the ToAD array. Products were evaluated according to durability, longevity, reflectivity, color, texture, size, shape, luminosity, appropriateness and other qualities. Three electronic components were developed by the model maker and the technical research staff. Development of two-dimensional graphic materials took place: 108 Match-and-Sort cards and 8 Squire Toad's Puzzles. Sixty, three-dimensional items were designed by the model maker and prototypes were prepared for field testing. Five vinyl, water-filled mats were designed and prepared in England and field tested, for inclusion in the ToAD array. Additional purchased components were gathered for possible inclusion. The teacher's guidebook was written, edited and revised and prepared for printing and for field testing. The field test instrument is under development.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Prototypes will be packed and field tested. Data gathered will be collated and analyzed. Changes to the materials will be made based upon justification from field test data. Designs and formats will be finalized and prepared for production. Specifications will be drawn up. The product will be produced and made available.




Mathematics

Staff

Lots of Dots: Counting 1, 2, 3

(New-continuing series)

Purpose
This is the second book in a four set series to facilitate braille character/number 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
Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader/Author

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. Upon introduction of the first book in the series, Lots of Dots: Learning My ABCs, it was recommended at the 2003 Annual Meeting that APH create a numbers book before continuing with the original outline of fruits and vegetables and everyday items.

Work during FY 2005
Preliminary work of deciding what graphic items to use for each number has been drafted.

Work planned for 2006
The layout and illustrations will be completed. The instructional guide will be written. Field test sites will be established. Field testing will take place.

Math Flash

(Completed)

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

Project Staff
Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader
Rob Meredith, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer/Project Assistant
Kris Scott, Accessible Test Editor/Project Assistant

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 2005
Programming is complete on this project. Most issues were restricted to customer support. This project is complete. Updates and enhancements will continue as the need arises.

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
Eleanor Pester, Project Leader
Carol Roderick, Research/Project Assistant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Jenny Dortch, Consultant/Project Assistant

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 FY1995, 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 FY1998, 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.

During FY 2004, the evaluation forms, Guidelines (introductory material), and Unit 1 Lessons for Kindergarten through third grade were finalized and prepared for field testing. Materials were placed with teachers having braille reading students in kindergarten through third grade for approximately six to eight weeks and then returned to APH for compilation and analyses of data. Results were extremely positive with only a little revision required. Jenny Dortch worked on Units 2, 3, and 4 and 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 during FY 2005
Jenny Dortch has been concentrating on Unit 4 this year and expects to finish work on Units 2-4 for grades K-3 by the end of October.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The current project leader is expected to be working with the new core curriculum project leader on how to proceed with this project. The core curriculum project leader is expected to begin in October.




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
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Carol Stewart, Studio Director
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
John Zinninger, Senior Technician

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, Toodle Tiles, 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 2005

Work planned for FY 2006

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, and pattern detection.

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
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer

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. Once the customer enters that key, 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 2005

Work Planned for FY 2006

Book Port

(Continuing)

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

Project Staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Steve Gomas, Project Consultant
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer
Tessa Wright, Project Assistant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant

Background
In FY 2000, APH began distributing a device that uses synthesized speech in a portable, convenient housing to let the user read electronic books. 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 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 during FY 2005
Software Version 2.1, June 2005

Firmware Version 2.1, June 2005

Firmware Version 2.0, May 2005

Software Version 2.0, May 2005

Work planned for FY 2006

Work Planned for FY 2006
Updates will continue.

Book Wizard

(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
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Jane Thompson, Director of ATIC
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist

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 Access Information System (DAISY) Consortium, which is another group comprised of alternate media producers from around the world. Their mission was to create a digital distribution system that met the needs of the users and producers and one that would be compatible from country to country. European, Australian, Canadian, and some Asian countries are already using the DAISY 2.x file specifications to produce and distribute digital talking books.

When NLS first commissioned the study, they were mainly on a quest for information about how to produce and distribute digital talking books for United States citizens, and this is still their primary goal. But as the process evolved and their needs coincided so well with the needs of many others, they soon found themselves, under the leadership of 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. A revision was approved in 2005. The format is called NISO z39.86. The NISO Digital Talking Book combines Simultaneous MultiMedia Integrated Language (SMIL) 2.0, with a 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 2005

Work planned for FY 2006

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 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 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.

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
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Rob Meredith, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Mark Klarer, Programmer
Kris Scott, Accessible Test Editor/Project Assistant
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist

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 2005
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/).

One programmer actively updates the Quark extraction tool that he wrote to keep current with new versions of files that publishers send to APH.

Staff participated in testing of the Voice Over access system for the Mac. Staff also evaluated several note-takers, a talking tablet system, Mini-Guide prototypes, several printers for possible embossing, refreshable braille output systems, the new version of Windows (Vista), and other various software and hardware.

Work Planned for FY 2006
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.

The group will continue to make high-interest demonstrations, training, and presentations available as podcasts on the APH web site.

Studio Recorder

(Completed)

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

Project Staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Carol Stewart, Studio Director
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
John Zinninger, Senior Technician
Dave McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Monica Coffey, Accessible Test Editor/Project Assistant
Kris Scott, Accessible Test Editor/Project Assistant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant

Background
Studio Recorder is a powerful digital recording and editing software package geared to make recordings of the spoken word. It includes features not found in audio recording and editing programs primarily designed for music production. Such features include:

Studio Recorder was originally written for internal use at APH to serve as a tool for creating 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 during FY 2005

Work Planned for FY 2006
Various requests have been made by users of Studio Recorder. Some of these include:

See the write-up for the digital audio component for other possible future 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
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
John Hedges, Programmer
Rob Meredith, Programmer

Background
Talking Learn Keys provides clearly recorded audio feedback about keys that users of any age type on the PC keyboard. It can be used in two configurations. In the first, the user can type any key on the keyboard without fear of doing something wrong because Talking Learn Keys processes the keys before they are presented to the system. In the second, the learner can use Talking Learn Keys to announce keys for any program on the computer. This can be useful for providing high quality feedback for number entry in data processing applications or simply to verify the user is typing properly in any application. The program uses prerecorded speech from professional narrators and allows the user to choose either a male or female voice. There are also options for fast or normal speed announcement of key presses and a pronunciation mode feature that allows various pronunciations of some of the special keys. A large Verdana font type is used to display the key name. This feature is adjustable from the menu.

The idea for Talking Learn Keys was discussed and presented to the Product Review Committee, who approved development of the program. The Technology Group 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 2005
This program received no updates during 2005. This project is complete.

Talking Typer for Windows

(Completed)

Purpose
To provide Accessible, interactive keyboard training on the Windows platform.

Project Staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kris Scott, Accessible Test Editor/Project Assistant

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 score keeping capabilities. After completing program specifications, the basic framework of the project was created. Program specifications included the features from the DOS-based PC Typer plus additional features identified by users of the previous version. Enhancements to the previous version are:

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 2005
The following enhancements and corrections were made to Talking Typer for Windows.

Version 1.11, April 2005

Version 1.10, February 2005

Version 1.9.8, November 2004

Work Planned for FY 2006
New features may be added to Talking Typer for Windows V 1, however most will be deferred to Talking Typer for Windows V.2. Necessary corrections and updates will be made as needed. Talking Typer V 1.0 is complete. Maintenance issues continue to arise with this product, and users continually request enhancements.

Talking Word Puzzles

(Completed)

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

Project Staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Mario Eiland, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Rosanne Hoffman, Research/Project Assistant

Background
The need for an educational type of game like hidden word and crossword puzzles has been long expressed by customers and experts in the field. APH's Product Advisory and Review Committee (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 2005
Version 1.5, July 2005

Version 1.3, February 2005

Version 1.2, November 2004

Work Planned for FY 2006
This project is complete. Future enhancements will be made as identified.

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
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
John Hedges, Programmer
Tessa Wright, Consultant/Project Assistant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant

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 2005
Staff began a major rewrite on this project to convert it to the c# language. Much of the underlying structure is actually similar to the functionality needed for the Family O&M Book project, so foundation code is being written to support both projects.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The project in version 1.x is complete. A new version is expected to be complete early this year.

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
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Carol Stewart, Studio Director
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
Sara Zizzo, Studio Monitor
Robert Conaghan, Studio Monitor

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

Staff identified a tutorial written by Peter Duran and approached him about licensing the rights to his work 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 2005
This project is complete. Future revisions are anticipated as new features are added to Windows and as new versions of Windows get released. Staff is currently testing Vista, and updates to the tutorial are expected shortly after Vista is released. The product will also be renamed Verbal View of Windows (without the XP).

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
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Carol Stewart, Studio Director
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
Sara Zizzo, Studio Monitor
Robert Conaghan, Studio Monitor

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 2005
The Digital Talking Book version of the text and audio was synchronized, proofread, and tested. Word, .html, and .brf versions of the tutorial were generated. Masters were created and turned over to duplication. The product became available.

Work Planned for FY 2006
This project is complete. 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
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist
Carol Stewart, Studio Director
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
Sara Zizzo, Studio Monitor
Robert Conaghan, Studio Monitor

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 2005
Staff finished proofreading and created Digital talking Book, Word, .html, and brf versions of the completed tutorial. A master disc was generated, tested, and turned over for production. The product became available.

Work Planned for FY 2006
This project is complete. Future enhancements will be made as new versions of Word are released.




Multiple
Disabilities

Tristan Pierce

Expandable Calendar Boxes

(Continuing)

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. An online survey on using calendar boxes was completed to determine how the boxes are being used and what the recommended size for each box should be.

Project Staff
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Work during FY 2005
APH and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) agreed to have APH sell TSBVI's book, written by Robbie Blaha in the Calendar Box Kit. Because an online survey already determined the size and shape of the boxes, and because the book is an established and highly recommended book, it was decided to use professional reviewers for the kit instead of field testing. Two reviewers examined the book, the boxes, and the instructions.

Work planned for 2006
Produce the boxes and the instructions and box them with the TSBVI book. Make 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
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

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 (SSK), the development of a tactile (communication) symbol system, and the value of adaptable calendar boxes. The 48 product ideas were developed into a needs survey that was distributed nationally and received international participation. The results of the survey were presented at the 2002 Annual Meeting and are still available on the APH web site. 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 2005
Work continued on the Sensory Learning Kit (including the development of electronic assessment forms), Expandable Calendar Boxes, and Tactile Connections. The sensory modules from the old SSK have been categorized and charted to help determine what items need to remain and/or be replaced in the planned update of these modules. It was determined that the SSK vision module would be replaced with ToAD, a product under development by the Low Vision Project Leader, following the routines format outlined by the author of the new Sensory Learning Kit. Development work began on Lots of Dots: Counting 1, 2, 3. It was determined that the age-appropriate, high-interest, low vocabulary storybooks would best be developed by the new Core Curriculum Project Leader.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The project leader will continue to research, identify, and develop needed products, conduct presentations to the field, and address questions referred from customer service. Special time will be given to outline the development direction of the old SSK modalities.

Sensory Learning Kit

(Completed)

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

Project Staff
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Millie Smith, Consultant/Author
Judith van Naerssen, Consultant/Contributing Writer
Marie J. Amerson, Educational Reviewer
Dr. Jane Erin, Product Reviewer
Dr. Paul J. Rychwalski, Medical Reviewer
Dr. Roseanna Davidson, Reference Reviewer
Effie Laman, Reference Reviewer
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Tessa Wright, Consultant/Project Assistant
James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design, Layout, and Illustrations

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 FY 2005
Final corrections were made on both books and the books were printed. Software for the electronic, interactive assessment forms was designed and the forms created. The BRF, HTML, TXT, and PDF files were created. The five electronic devices in the kit were finalized and produced.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The product will be available for sale. Training will be conducted by the author and APH Advisory Services. The Project Leader will present the usage of the new electronic devices and the interactive assessment forms at various conferences.




Physical Fitness

Staff

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

(Continuing)

Purpose
To outline 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.

Project Staff
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Dr. Lauren Lieberman, Consultant/Co-author
Dr. Scott Modell, Consultant/Co-author
Dr. Paul Ponchillia, Consultant/Contributing Author
Ileah Jackson, Consultant/Contributing Author

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, Sacramento, 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.

Work during FY 2005
The book was field tested from January to May. Students were required to take a pre test and chapter post tests. Tooling for final production is underway. Dr. Lauren Lieberman and the project leader presented the field test results at the National Family Conference, Louisville, Kentucky.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Tooling for both large type and braille books will be complete and the books printed/embossed. The book will be available for sale.

Physical Health and Education Projects and Needs

(New)

Purpose
APH will develop products that promote physical activities, good health practices, social interactions, and self-advocacy.

Project Staff
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Background
Four years ago APH recognized the need and began developing products and funding university research in the area of physical activity in relation to students who have visual impairments, blindness, and deafblindness. The positive feedback from the field has prompted a new designation in the budget for Health and Physical Education.

Work during FY 2005
APH now has two balls available for sale, the Revolution Sport Ball and Jacob's Rib-It-Ball. A third ball is still underdevelopment. APH is developing a sport edition of its Portable Sound Source. Going Places, a curriculum targeted to teens and young adults on community-based activities was field tested and the results were presented at the National Family Conference. Dr. Lauren Lieberman presented results of the three-year parent-child belief study on physical activity at the National Family Conference. APH co-funded the study.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Production samples of the APH Sound Ball will be reviewed by the Project Leader and Technical Research. If all goes well, the ball will be produced. The project Leader will begin establishing a Health and Physical Education resource page on the APH web site. The project leader will present research and field test results at conferences, along with showing APH's new products that support an active lifestyle.

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
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Dr. Robert Wall, Consultant
Rebecca Price, COMS, Consultant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Bernadette Mudd, Graphic Designer
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

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 2005
The device and the guidebook were sent to two professional reviewers. Recommendations were then incorporated into the guidebook.

Work planned for 2006
Dr. Robert Wall will design the sound localization study and APH will conduct the sound localization testing. Dr. Wall will analyze the data which APH will incorporate into the final guidebook.

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

(Continuing)

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
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Dr. Lauren Lieberman, Consultant
Dr. Moira E. Stuart, Researcher
Tessa Wright, Consultant/Project Assistant

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. Year two, 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 during FY 2005
The resource manual was completed and sent to parents and campers participating in the study several months prior to arriving at camp. During camp, parents and students completed the follow up questionnaires that are being compared to the ones completed in the first year of the study.

Work Planned for FY 2006
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, guide wire, 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
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Dr. Lauren Lieberman, Consultant
Dr. Christopher Williams, Research Director
Marie DeLobbe, Research Assistant

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 2005
Dr. Williams continued to compile the research data.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The analysis of the research results are expected to be complete in 2007.

Sound Ball

(Continuing)

Purpose
To create a reliable and affordable 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
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Jeff Halter, Consultant

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 ½-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. Twelve new 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 during FY 2005
Field test results were presented at APH's 2004 Annual Meeting. Bid packages were sent to 13 possible vendors. After reviewing the complications of producing the ball, only one vendor has agreed to attempt manufacturing. Sample balls were delivered in September. The samples have about half the bounce as needed. The vendor will experiment with the foam recipe to produce a bounce comparable to the bounce achieved in the APH prototype balls.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Produce balls and make available for sale.




Science

Staff

Azer Interactive Periodic Table Study Kit

(Continuing)

Purpose
To develop an Accessible, interactive study kit for students learning about the Periodic Table of the Elements.

Project Staff
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Samir Azer, Project Consultant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background
The project leader originally proposed the idea of an interactive Periodic Table to APH's former Product Review Committee (PRC), along with the idea for a static reference chart of the Periodic Table itself [see separate report--Periodic Table of the Elements (Reference Chart)]. Within a year after proposing the product idea, the project leader conducted a Tactile Graphics Brainstorming Committee meeting in August 2002. One of the participating members was Samir Azer, a science teacher at the Kentucky School for the Blind. During this meeting, the committee reviewed this teacher's handmade, magnetic, interactive model of the Periodic Table that had proved very successful and motivating for his students. To avoid "reinventing the wheel," the project leader recommended that APH consider using Mr. Azer's model for the interactive version.

Efforts conducted throughout FY 2004 were intermittent as other projects took precedence. However, the following were achieved in that year:

Work during FY 2005
The development of the Periodic Table of the Elements (Reference Chart) was given priority over the development of the interactive model, primarily because of the field's urgent demand for the chart itself. However, work related to the Azer Interactive Periodic Table Study Kit did not cease. Refinement of the science teacher's atomic model and separate element pieces characterized most of the year's efforts. By July 2005, a complete, single prototype representing the consultant's specifications was developed by the project staff. These tangible parts represented an improved version of the atomic model, as well as over 280 interactive element pieces. The number of each provided element varied (for chemical equation purposes) and not all elements were represented.

Work planned for FY 2006
Once final content for the accompanying instructional manual is completed by the consultant, a final layout and design of the manual, with supporting photos/pictures, will be undertaken in preparation for field testing. Field testing will probably be delayed until the second quarter of FY 2006, to give project staff sufficient time to prepare multiples of this very extensive kit.

Periodic Table of the Elements (Reference Chart)

(Continuing)

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

Project Staff
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Bridgett Johnson, Graphic Designer, Bisig Impact Group

Background
The project leader presented the product idea to APH's former Product Review Committee (PRC), giving specific examples of requests from the field. The committee supported the development of the product that was proposed as two Accessible renditions of the Periodic Table of the Elements--one that will serve as a tactile reference chart and a second that will be interactive in design.

Work during FY 2005
The original project concept branched into two distinct products, namely Periodic Table of the Elements (Reference Chart) and Azer Interactive Periodic Table Study Kit. [See separate report on the latter.] The project leader's initial efforts were devoted to the design of the tactile/large print Periodic Table, a one-piece reference chart. Prior to actual prototype development, the project leader reviewed other commercially-available Periodic Tables, including existing braille-only versions. She also contacted the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) regarding color assignment to element groupings.

Actual prototype development was underway in October 2005. Using an electronic file template of an atlas plate, the project leader used CorelDraw to first plot braille and needed tactile elements. Once space was accommodated for the tactile/braille portion, a new layer was created for the visual counterpart. High-contrast colors and readable fonts were selected and applied. Critical registration/alignment between the two layers was maintained.

After the final design of the print and tactile/braille layers of the Periodic Table were determined, the tactile version was tooled onto atlas plates via the PEARL machine. The project leader selected an ideal paper stock and lamination finish for the final chart that would prevent visual glare and ensure braille readability and durability. Using a die press, the tactile image was embossed onto the laminated print copy. The result was a perfectly registered print/braille chart. A fold line was then cut into the finished piece and reinforced with tape, allowing the chart to be easily stored and handled when not in use.

Concurrent with the development of the actual reference chart, the project leader prepared the content for the accompanying Reference Booklet. Several tables were included listing basic information related to atomic numbers, atomic masses, atomic symbols, classifications, etc. The book was eventually prepared in a flip-style fashion, with both large print and braille versions twin-looped together. A total of 20 prototypes of both the Reference Booklet and the chart itself were constructed for field testing purposes.

In April 2005, the field test stage was complete. The prototype was field tested by 18 evaluators representing the states of Louisiana, Connecticut, Ohio (2), Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Maryland (2), Wisconsin, Indiana (2), Tennessee, Washington, Michigan, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. The majority (88%) of these evaluators indicated that the availability of a braille/large print Periodic Table was either "available, but difficult to locate" or "seemingly unavailable." The student sample represented 60 visually impaired/blind students falling between the ages of 11- and 22-years-old. Over half (53%) were between the ages of 14-17; lower percentages fell between 11-13 (17%) and 18-20 (17%) years of age. The majority (62%) of these students was reported as braille readers; the remaining percentage (38%) was large print readers. One-fifth of the student sample had other disabilities (e.g., hearing loss, developmental delays, dyslexia, and cerebral palsy). The evaluators unanimously recommended the production of the Periodic Table (Reference Chart) by APH noting the following strengths: dual presentation of braille and large print on the same chart, user-friendliness, durability, compactness, and portability.

The project leader used the field test results to make needed revisions. Among the most noticeable changes was the separate provision of the print and braille versions of the Reference Booklet; a combined version of this booklet was not conducive to simultaneous use by the braille student and the sighted teacher. Additionally, more information tables were added to the booklet that gave electron configuration, boiling point, melting point, and electro-negativity of each element. With regard to the large print/tactile Periodic Table chart itself, minimal changes were made including better visual contrast for some of the elements and an improved way of indicating the insertion point for the lanthanide and actinide series.

Once revisions were determined (two months ahead of schedule), the project leader conducted a Product Development Committee meeting to reacquaint Production, Purchasing, Cost, and other department staff with the expected layout and design of the product, and planned production processes. Production quantities were increased from 500 to 800 for the first year given the expressed demand level by field test evaluators and others in the field.

The months of July and August 2005 were dedicated to preparing needed tooling for mass production purposes. Related tasks included the following:

By September 2005, all tooling tasks were complete and on schedule.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Due to the complexity of the product, both a pilot run and production run are scheduled. A pilot run of 75 units will be run in November. If quality proves acceptable, a larger run of 725 will be produced in January. The pilot run copies will be for sale in December. The project leader will prepare content for the product brochure and demonstrate the product's use at workshops and conferences. Work will also continue on the Azer Interactive Periodic Table Study Kit [see separate report].

Sense of Science: Animals

(Completed)

Purpose
sense of science: animalsTo 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
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader/Co-Author
Emily Bowers, Project Co-Author
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

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 resembles in both content and design the introductory module, Sense of Science: Plants, incorporating both fun-filled, hands-on activities and tactile/visual overlays for use with APH light boxes. The main components of each activity include the following: the stated objective of the activity, the vocabulary introduced, list of needed materials, a step-by-step procedure, an extension for older students, a math connection, a language connection, suggestions for visual adaptations, and a science tidbit/interesting fact. Extensive lists of Suggested Children's Literature are also included.

The prototype of Sense of Science: Animals was field tested 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.

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

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 an animal apart from the whole tactile representation and to serve as an assessment tool. Tooling for all related components was finalized in May 2004.

Work during FY 2005
The pilot and production runs of Sense of Science: Animals were scheduled for FY 2005 The project leader, Model/Pattern Maker, and Technical Research staff were closely involved in monitoring the pilot run. The full production run occurred in February 2005. The product was then priced and made available on Quota.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Although the product is complete, related marketing activities, such as showcasing the product at upcoming conferences and workshops, will continue. The project leader is now shifting attention to the development of Sense of Science: Astronomy [see separate report].

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
Karen Poppe, Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

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 tactile/visual overlays for use with APH light boxes.

Initial development tasks included investigating and purchasing existing, commercially-available educational materials related to astronomy. Concurrently, lists of helpful, student-targeted 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 2005
Writing of content material continued, and more thought was given to possible overlay depictions, as well as actual preparation of tactile masters (e.g., moon phases). The project leader also considered inclusion of three-dimensional models that would assist the young student in understanding many of the abstract concepts encountered in astronomy.

The project leader conducted a Timeline Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting and set dates through Availability for Sale. The Educational Product Advisory Committee (EPAC) made a formal recommendation at the spring meeting encouraging APH to continue the development of science products such as Sense of Science kits and Periodic Table of the Elements [see separate report].

Work Planned for FY 2006
A prototype of Sense of Science: Astronomy will be created by January 2006. At that time, the project leader will identify field test sites and develop evaluation packets. Revisions will be determined based upon field test feedback; final tooling will be initiated before the end of the fiscal year.




Tactile Graphics

Karen Poppe
&
Fred Otto

Braille Transcriber's Kit: Countries & Continents

(New)

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 will contain assorted maps of the continents, with and without political borders, as found in geography or history textbooks.

Project Staff
Fred Otto, Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Wanda Mullikin, Tactile Graphic Production
Matt Smith, Cartographer
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

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 interest in similar sets of tactile "clip art" with outline maps, resulting first in the creation of the Braille Transcriber's Kit: US Maps and then the current project. For more information about the US Maps visit: http://sun1.aph.org/products/brltrans_maps.html.

Work done during FY 2005
The project leader and mapping assistant worked to obtain continental outlines and scale them appropriately for the product. Hand tracing of the outlines on a light box proved to be the best method for simplifying them as needed for tactile readability. A guide for using the product was written.

Working with the Braille Department, the project leader obtained tooling plates and press copies for the field evaluation. Transcribers who participated in the evaluation were located in Nebraska, Texas (two sites), Colorado, California, Alaska, and Minnesota.

The field evaluation was subjective, with users being asked to rate various features and qualities of the materials and add detailed comments. The main finding, which was nearly unanimous, was that different kinds of lines were needed to differentiate political borders from physical boundaries. This change was incorporated in the final design. Three additional maps were also added to the final product at the request of some evaluators.

Cover design was created with help from graphic designers. Text was made final and a layout for the user's guide was made. The project leader worked with Technical Research to establish production specifications and convey them to the departments involved.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Full production (no pilot run needed) will take place at the beginning of the fiscal year. No further work is planned on this project.

Draftsman: Tactile Drawing Board

(Completed)

Purpose
To provide the "Junior" model of CareTec's Draftsman, a tactile drawing board produced in Austria that allows the creation of instant raised-line drawings using a special mesh material in combination with a padded surface and a ballpoint or drawing stylus

Tactile Drawing BoardProject Staff
Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Tony Grantz, Manager, Business Development

Background
CareTec's Draftsman is a drawing board designed for students and adults with visual impairments and blindness. By using an ordinary ballpoint pen or stylus in combination with special drawing sheets (i.e., German Paper), it is simple and convenient to make instant tactile drawings. The basic design is very similar to the older Sewell Raised-Line Drawing Kit, but is enhanced by the Draftsman's enlarged and secure drawing surface, as well as its non-shiny, mesh-like film that produces very distinct lines. Many uses and applications of this tactile drawing board include the following:

After reviewing several tactile drawing boards, including the possibility of producing an original design, the project leader made the recommendation to the Product Advisory Review Committee (PARC) that APH distribute CareTec's Draftsman with minor modifications. Exclusive rights to sell the Austrian-produced product within North America were secured. In May 2004, the Educational Product Advisory Committee (EPAC) granted permission for both the Draftsman and related drawing film to be purchasable with quota funds.

Work during FY 2005
During FY 2005, CareTec finalized re-tooling of their original Draftsman, from a wooden frame to a plastic version, in order to streamline its production to meet APH's high quantity orders. The project leader forwarded CareTec a drawing of a ruler with 1-inch and ½-inch tactile indicators; this drawing was used by the company to create a new ruler for inclusion into the kit. The project leader also selected a tactile drawing tool from the existing Tactile Graphics Kit to accompany the Draftsman; this unique tool is capable of producing two distinguishable line paths.

A Product Development Committee meeting was conducted to establish an internal timeline for production of the Draftsman after the re-tooling stage was finalized on CareTec's end. The project leader updated product documentation content based upon the new design of the tactile drawing board. Photos of the DRAFTSMAN were taken by the research assistant and incorporated into the final print layout of the instructions. The final tooling of the guidebook was completed by Bisig Impact Group. This tooling involved the preparation of the related cover art and the case art design.

In early July, the project leader monitored the quality of first production run units received from CareTec, as well as final in-house collation of related components (i.e., ruler, drawing stylus, and packages of film). On July 22, the product was officially available and priced at $175.00 per kit; the related Tactile Drawing Film was priced at $6.00 for 25 sheets.

The project leader demonstrated the use of the Draftsman at tactile graphic workshops, like that conducted at the National Family Conference in August. The offering of this product has expanded APH's inventory of available tactile graphic tools and methods for teachers, transcribers, parents, and students to created raised images.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Although the product is considered complete, the Tactile Graphics Project Leader will continue to explore possible accessories that could be used in combination with Draftsman. An example might be pre-embossed graph sheets that the teacher or student could use to plot data lines, or perhaps, stencils that students could use to practice tracing skills or handwriting skills. More "accessory" ideas are expected to trickle into APH once the Draftsman's use becomes more common in schools and homes. In the meantime, the Draftsman's use has already been incorporated into other products' documentation (e.g., SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine and Sense of Science: Astronomy activities).

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
Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Steve Paris, Production Division Manager
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Bridgett Johnson, Graphic Designer

Background
Given the positive and enthusiastic reception of the first five packages of Feel 'n Peel Stickers, the project leader was encouraged by parents and teachers to develop a greater variety of adhesive tactile stickers for home and classroom use. Respondents to a 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 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 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.

Work during FY 2005
In October, the project leader conducted an in-house Product Development Committee meeting to set a production timeline. Formal field testing of the packages was deemed unnecessary given their similar structural presentation--that is, same sheet size, same material, same tactile resolution--as the initial Feel 'n Peel Stickers. It was determined that six separate packages of stickers would be prepared for availability, including the following:

The project leader began by creating preliminary layouts of the sticker sheets with regard to needed spacing and content. She also selected vinyl sheet colors and silkscreen colors, and determined the number of sheets per package. These initial mock-ups were given to the Production Manager to prepare electronic files for eventual magnesium-plate embossing by the outside vendor. Created files were checked by the project leader. Concurrently, Technical Research assisted in the preparation of silkscreen art needed to generate the Number, Color Names, and Reward Statement stickers. The Model/Pattern Maker tooled the new Point Symbols plate that will be used directly by the outside vendor so as to achieve necessary height and tactile detail.

In November 2004, the project leader wrote content for the accompanying Suggested Uses sheet; this 11" x 17" full-color sheet will be inserted into each sticker package, along with its braille translation. At this point in the timeline, Documentation Complete was three months ahead of schedule. Actual samples of the stickers were created for inclusion in the Suggested Uses Sheet; the outside graphic designer prepared the final layout of this document. Product specifications were finalized by Technical Research, as well as cutting-die templates. By July 2005, all needed tooling was in place, including an approved star texture submitted by the outside vendor. Final costs (to APH) for each sticker package were determined in August.

Work Planned for FY 2006
All six Feel 'n Peel Sticker packages are slated to be available in November 2005. The project leader will closely monitor the quality of received parts from the outside vendor and oversee early collation of the packages by APH's Educational Aids department. Brochure content will be prepared for marketing purposes. The project leader will continue to monitor the field's requests for additional sticker packages, as well as teachers'/parents' unique labeling and educational uses for the stickers.

Graphic Art Tape

(New)

Purpose
To provide packages of graphic art tape, in a variety of widths, which can be used to tactually adapt and prepare a variety of graphics used in the classroom and at home with students with visual impairments and blindness

Project Staff
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Anna Swenson, Project Consultant

Background
Anna Swenson, Teacher of the Visually Impaired in Virginia, has utilized commercially-available graphic art tape for a variety of purposes over the years in her classroom. She has used it to adapt graphs and worksheets, mark hand positions on embossed clock faces, mark mercury columns on embossed thermometers, illustrate geometric figures for math, add features to maps, show editing marks on students' brailled drafts, and so forth. Narrower widths of the tape can actually be curved to draw circles or curved paths.

Prompted by the increasing difficulty to locate and obtain this graphic tape with a crepe texture, Ms. Swenson submitted a Product Idea Submission form requesting that APH carry the product for easier acquisition by teachers and parents. The recommended type of graphic art tape is being used less and less by visual graphic artists because of the numerous illustration software programs available these days. Consequently, the tape's off-the-shelf availability is declining.

Work during FY 2005
After receiving responsibility for ushering the product through to production, the project leader conducted Brainstorming and Timeline Product Development Committee (PDC) meetings. Early investigation of possible vendors was undertaken by the project leader. Results were shared with the Purchasing Manager and initial bids for three different widths of the tape (i.e., 1/16, 1/8, and 1/4-inch) were obtained.

The project leader prepared final documentation content for the Suggested Uses Sheet using ideas outlined by the project consultant. Actual samples constructed by the project consultant were incorporated into the final visual layout of this document. The Suggested Uses Sheet (in both print and braille) will accompany each package.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The product is expected to be available by January 2006. Once available, the project staff will demonstrate its use at workshops and conferences. The product will be cross-referenced in current (e.g., SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine, Rolling Right Along Construction Kit) and future tactile-related products.

Rolling Right Along Construction Kit

(Completed)

Rolling Right Along Construction KitPurpose
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 storybooks 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
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Jane Kronheim, Project Consultant
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Bernadette Mudd, Graphic Designer

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 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.

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. 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.

Work during FY 2005
The project leader authored content for the final version of the accompanying User's Guide, incorporating field test reviewers' suggestions. Photos of teacher-created books returned with field test evaluations were included in the documentation to give additional storybook and tactile embellishment ideas to the reader. In November, product specifications were prepared and related tooling, such as final layout and design of the User's Guide and braille translation, were completed in January. The project leader worked with the Purchasing Manager to acquire accordion-folder panels in three different colors, as well as, off-the-shelf Sticky Dots Adhesive and two colors of the Velcro pathways. The product received quota approval from the EPAC Committee at the 2004 Annual Meeting.

The project leader monitored the pilot run and production in March 2005, which was finished months ahead of schedule. By April, 340 units were stocked and priced at $55.00 each. Product brochure information was prepared and the product was first spotlighted in the APH Newsletter. By July 2005, 333 had been purchased.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The Rolling Right Along Construction Kit is now available to customers, therefore this product is considered completed. The project leader, however, will continue to explore the idea of providing website-sharing opportunities for parents and teachers to share their book creations, as well as demonstrate the products use at future workshops.

Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding

(Completed)

Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding KitPurpose
To develop a set of materials that will assist young children in making the cognitive leap from exploration of real objects to the interpretation of two-dimensional tactile representations

Project Staff
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader/Author
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Background
In 2001, the project leader proposed the development of a kit that would bridge young children's exploration of real objects with their interpretation of simple raised-line drawings. This kit would serve as a tactile literacy tool that would encourage the progression from three-dimensional objects to raised-line representations, in a very systematic manner. As a comprehensive set of materials, Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding would allow both teachers and parents to provide early tactile instruction. Items originally planned for inclusion in the kit comprised an assortment of real objects familiar to most young children (e.g., a comb, pair of scissors, a toothbrush, a block, and a ball) and thermoformed and simple raised-line counterparts to the selected items.

The first quarter of FY 2004 was dedicated to the actual design of the product, the content and components of which quickly broadened as actual development got underway. Initial product development tasks included the following:

Multiple prototypes of Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding were readied by the end January 2004 for field test purposes. Eleven evaluators representing the states of Virginia (2), California (2), 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.

Throughout the FY 2004, the project staff incorporated revisions to the kit based upon field test data. Several Product Development Committee (PDC) 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 during FY 2005
The majority of FY 2005 was devoted to preparing the necessary tooling to manufacture the product. Related tasks included finalizing the layout of the guidebook, enhancing photos included in the guidebook, generating cover art, generating artwork needed for the sorting tray, preparing black-line masters, designing cutting dies, finalizing vendor selections for each of the real objects, creating carrying case and divider artwork, and translating the guidebook into braille. In late December, product specifications were completed and reviewed with in-house departments involved in the production of the product.

The second quarter of FY05 was characterized by verifying received parts from outside vendors (e.g., 3-D house model, Sintra puzzle pieces, Crayola Model Magic, WikkiStix packages, zippers, spoons, cups, etc. Some of these objects proved more challenging for acquiring off-the-shelf, generic models (e.g., an ordinary child's tumbler) and required some extra shopping around by the project leader and the Purchasing Manager to identify a long-term supplier. Leading up to the pilot and production runs, APH-produced items were quality-checked.

The pilot and production runs were underway in August and carried over into early September. The products and related components were priced. The introductory price assigned to the complete kit was $190.00. The project leader prepared content for the product brochure and product was first announced in the September 2005 APH Newsletter.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The product is now officially complete and available. The project leader will continue to provide product informational workshops at local and national conferences. The development of similar products aimed at older students for tactile graphic literacy purposes will be explored.

StackUps: Understanding Stacked Cube Arrangements

(New)

Purpose
To develop a tactile training tool that systematically prepares students for the interpretation of raised-line graphics illustrating three-dimensional figures, specifically stacked cube arrangements

Project Staff
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Matt Smith, Cartographer

Background
The project leader recognized that there was a lack of training products to prepare students for the interpretation of tactile graphics representing 3-D objects/shapes, specifically stacked cube arrangements encountered in textbooks and on standardized tests. Sometimes these tactile illustrations are either omitted entirely or included with the hope that the student can accurately interpret or utilize the drawing to solve math problems. Adding potential difficulty to the interpretation of these graphics is the lack of tactile graphic standards and guidelines for presenting these kinds of graphics. Therefore, the product's secondary goal is to determine an ideal format for designing and presenting spatial concepts.

The product will comply with the national math standards that state that students should be able to 1) recognize, name, build, draw, compare and sort two- and three-dimensional shapes; 2) describe attributes and parts of two- and three-dimensional shapes; and 3) to investigate and predict the results of putting together and taking apart two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes.

Work during FY 2005
In April 2005, the product idea was approved by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) and removed from the PARCing Lot. Once the project leader developed an outline of the planned components and expected production processes, she conducted a Brainstorming PDC meeting to gather further ideas and suggestions from other in-house departments. A Timeline PDC meeting was held shortly after, and a partial product timeline (up through Product Documentation Completed) was set.

Early prototype development tasks consisted of the following:

Work Planned for FY 2006
A prototype of StackUps will be produced by March 2006. At that time, the project leader will identify field test sites and develop evaluation packets. The remainder of the timeline will be determined with input from the Product Development Committee once field test results are compiled, needed revisions are determined, and documentation content is complete.

Stick-On Tactile Ruler

(New and Completed)

Purpose
To modernize an existing APH product, the former Glue-Down Ruler (Raised-Line).

Project Staff
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Background
The modernization of the existing Glue-Down Ruler was spurred by production complications related to the brass received by an outside vendor. Due to the bowed condition of the brass, it was difficult to emboss a clean tactile image. This difficulty led to a complete overhaul in the design of the product.

The Glue-Down Ruler, as originally designed, was intended to be bonded permanently to sewing machines, band saws, drawing boards, etc. The brass ruler was one foot long by ½-inch wide and had raised lines indicating divisions to 1/8 inch. Its selling price in the 2004-2005 APH catalog was $24.00 for a package of five rulers.

Work during FY 2005
The Pattern/Model Maker, in response to the difficulties in manufacturing the product, revamped the product's design. The updated design replaced the brass with a durable, white vinyl. Adhesive-backing was applied to the ruler; as a result, the customer has the option of permanently applying the ruler to a chosen surface or leaving the ruler moveable for different measuring tasks.

In December 2004, prototypes of the new ruler design were mailed to recent purchasers of the original product. In January 2005, seven product surveys were returned by evaluators from Missouri, Florida, New York, Kentucky, Texas, Wisconsin, and California. None of these teachers indicated a reason why the vinyl styrene version was not a suitable replacement for the brass model. Advantages stated included the following: no sharp corners or sides; tactile lines are much easier to feel; the ruler can be placed and replaced as needed; lightweight; more flexible for measuring three-dimensional shapes; and is more economical. The product was renamed the Stick-On Tactile Ruler. By April 2005, the newly-improved ruler was available for sale from APH at a significantly lower price [i.e., a package of five rulers for $6.00].

Work Planned for FY 2006
The product is now officially complete and available. The project staff will continue to re-evaluate older products and consider redesigns when function, presentation, and ease-of-production can be enhanced.

Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication

(Completed)

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
Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader/Co-Author
Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader/Co-Author
Kay Jahnel, Project Consultant/Co-Author
Kim Conlin, Project Consultant/Co-Author
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Rodger Smith, Programmer/Technology Assistant
Maria Delgado, Louis Database Field Representative/Spanish Editor
Bernie Mudd, Graphic Designer
Bridgett Johnson, Guidebook Layout

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.

Prototypes of Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication were field tested from September 2003 to February 2004. 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 purchase 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 during FY 2005
This fiscal year was fully committed to finalizing the needed tooling for all of the components included in the final Tactile Connections kit. Project Leaders were involved in the detailed aspects of the following:

These activities were complemented by the project leaders' presentation of the kit to teachers at the CTEVH Conference in March, as well as to visiting focus groups (e.g., Meeting of the Minds) and university students during on-site, product-informational sessions.

By the end of August 2005, all tooling was in place to mass produce the kit, minus the Spanish guidebook; a separate production timeline was determined for the Spanish guidebook. The Spanish guidebook is expected to be produced by the end of the calendar year.

The quality of the pilot run/production runs of the full kit was carefully monitored by the project leaders in September. The product was priced and made available in time for its debut at the 2005 Annual Meeting.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The project leaders will continue to showcase Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication at appropriate conferences and workshops. They will also oversee the completion of the Spanish guidebook.

Tactile Graphics Research

(Continuing)

Purpose
To study and develop techniques for making useful tactile graphics, to work toward standards in tactile graphic presentations, and to evaluate product submissions and ideas from the field related to tactile graphics.

Project Staff
Karen Poppe, Co-Project Leader
Fred Otto, Co-Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background
APH has a variety of means for producing tactile graphics, including embossed paper, puff ink, capsule paper, thermography, and vacuumform. One goal of this research is to learn which media are appropriate for which uses.

In addition, tactile graphic products are frequently submitted by teachers or other professionals who would like to collaborate with APH in producing their materials. Some of these are well-researched and well-crafted; all merit thorough consideration. Yet another aspect of research is to monitor developments in practice, technology, and philosophy as they evolve.

Work during FY 2005
Throughout the year, project staff conducted a variety of tactile graphic workshops and training sessions (both in-house and at national conferences), initiated contacts and gathered input from the field, and proposed new product ideas. Examples of these activities are listed below:

The project staff are members of the in-house Tactile Graphic Committee (sub-committee of the APH's Braille Committee), a group chaired by Fred Otto that meets regularly to find ways of ensuring all of APH's braille and tactile production efforts are coordinated and consistent. The committee developed and submitted a set of four recommendations to improve communication and accountability.

Project leaders continued correspondence with outside designers of tactile graphics using production methods other than those currently employed at APH. Samples of these were obtained and critiqued for possible use. Project leaders also investigated technologies in development for creation tactile images other than those currently used.

The project staff participated in product modernization of older tactile products (e.g., Glue Down Rule and Textured Matching Blocks), conducted surveys of product satisfaction (e. g., Stokes Placeholder), and looked for ways to consolidate similar products (e.g., Velcro board sizes).

The project leaders kept abreast of evolving tactile graphic guidelines generated in early drafts authored by BANA's Tactile Graphics Committee and a tactilist training course developed by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

The Model/Pattern Maker experimented with the accurate alignment of tactile and visual elements within one graphic display using in-house processes of silk-screening and thermoforming. Early tests proved successful with certain types of vinyl. This production technique is being incorporated in new product designs.

The project leaders provided product-development advice to other project leaders developing products with tactile graphic features/components.

An on-line tactile graphics survey was posted to garner input from teachers of the visually impaired regarding frequency of product use, possible product enhancements or modifications, and recommendations for future tactile graphic products. The results of this survey were compiled.

Occasional tactile graphic workshops were conducted for visiting focus groups, in-house staff, visiting teachers, sighted parents and children, and so forth. More formal presentations were conducted at conferences (e.g., National Family Conference).

The Model/Pattern Maker worked with an outside vendor to learn about the equipment and materials needed to bring a liquid resin casting process inside APH production facilities. This process is being used more frequently to achieve 3-D objects (e.g., house model in Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding).

Work planned for FY 2006
Project staff will continue to monitor advances in technology and practice as they relate to tactile design and teaching, conduct workshops and conference presentations, and work in-house to promote consistently good tactile design.

World At Your Fingers

(New)

Purpose
To create a tactile/visual reference map of the world and accompanying materials, to help visually impaired students learn the shapes and locations of the continents and basic world mapping concepts.

Project Staff
Fred Otto, Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Matt Smith, Cartographer

Background
This project is an outgrowth of other recent map-related work done by the project leader. It springs from a recognition that blind students do not receive nearly as much exposure to maps as their sighted peers and that the maps they do receive are frequently of questionable quality. Blind students are placed at a disadvantage in standardized testing because of this disparity.

While recent projects have helped fill the gaps in the geography materials APH offers, it has been many years since APH offered a large world map. Developments in model-making and materials now allow the company to produce such a map with less expense and lighter weight.

Work done during FY 2005
Work was initiated after the project received PARC approval. The project leader studied a range of flat map projections and investigated which ones are in frequent classroom use. A workable size and scale for the map were determined. The mapping assistant used software to generate numerous printouts until one projection emerged as the most useful.

The initial conception included a rigid frame with cutouts, and removable foam pieces representing land masses. As the project evolved, technical and practical constraints steered it toward a fixed, thermoformed presentation. At the same time, the model maker's experiments with registering raised and printed images together were proving successful, which gave a further push to this transition.

Project staff simplified and changed the standard projection to conform to tactile graphic readability practices. A sketch was made, and the model maker produced a temporary vacuum-form master for running prototypes. Project staff also designed four paper maps to help teach the transition from raised surface images to raised line images. The project leader wrote a guidebook and extension activities to accompany these materials. With help from the Braille Department and model maker, prototype tooling was done and samples produced.

Field evaluation was done in July and August at summer programs, as follows: New York (three sites, 17 students total); Florida (one site, seven students); Oregon (one site, one student); Ohio (two sites, six students total); and Michigan (one site, one student). The ages of students ranged from 7 to 24; over half of these fell within the ages of 11 and 15. Of the 32 students, one-half were listed as braille readers, nine as large print readers, and the rest as some combination of braille, large print, and regular print. Twenty were identified as having additional handicapping conditions besides visual impairment, including CP and learning disability with four instances each.

The field evaluation used a survey form which asked teachers to observe students using the materials and performing the suggested activities. The results were positive and will lead to some small changes to the design of the maps. Respondents were unanimous that the materials were interesting and motivating to their students and seven out of nine responses indicated the materials could be helpful in preparing students for standardized tests involving maps.

Work Planned for FY 2006
Revisions to the maps and guidebook will be completed and tooling changes made. The project leader will work with Technical Research to develop specifications and support the production process. The entire kit will be made as a pilot run and as a full production run.

World Maps

(formerly Princeton-APH World Maps)

(Completed)

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 text in braille and large print. It will be useful for studying geography, social studies, history, or current events.

Project Staff
Fred Otto, Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

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

The Braille Atlas also violates a number of the guidelines APH promotes for good tactile design. The Princeton Braillists' 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. These maps are produced in a smaller format than the Braille Atlas, making them more portable and useful. They are also more current than the Braille World Atlas, dated 1992.

The Princeton Braillists produced ten sample volumes for field evaluation. 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 production masters could be made off of thermoformed maps rather than the original foil masters, and this simplified the process.

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

Work done during FY 2005
A pilot run and full production run were done in February. Minor changes to the cover material and a trimming process were made based on results of the pilot.

Work Planned for FY 2006
No further work is planned on this product, but based on vigorous sales and customer requests, staff will pursue the creation of additional map volumes from the Princeton Braillists' collection.




Toys

Staff

Rib-It-Ball

(New and Completed)

Purpose
To foster independent and peer play while developing fine motor skills, visual discrimination/identification, tactile discrimination/identification and exploratory skills, especially for children who have visual impairments and cerebral palsy.

Project Staff
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Background
The original Rib-It-Ball was designed by the Bill and Bud Toy Company for a boy named Jacob. Jacob is blind and has cerebral palsy. With few motor skills, it was difficult for Jacob to play ball from his wheelchair. This ball was designed to be very lightweight (interior bladder is a balloon) and the ball is constructed with fabric-covered foam ribs that are easy to hold. The balls are designed like a beach ball, using two alternating colors on the panels separated by yellow ribs. The ball is available in three sizes.

Work during FY 2005
The Project Leader displayed the balls at APH's 2004 Annual Meeting and conducted a survey with 31 Ex Officio Trustees on the need and design elements of the balls. All but one Ex Officio Trustee said they would pay extra for a latex-free ball. APH worked with the Bill and Bud Toy Company and a special ball was manufactured exclusively for APH. APH offers the balls in three sizes, each in a different two-color combination. APH decided on two colors as oppose to the original three colors in order to reduce visual complexity; a problem for many children who have low vision. All APH balls have the auditory feature in the ribs. Most importantly, the APH balls contain latex-free PVC bladders instead of the original balloon bladders. APH also sells (cash item) the Mini Rib-It-Ball, a plush bell ball with a teething ring, auditory ribs, and a pull cord activating vibration.

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
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader/Contributing Writer
Marie Amerson, Consultant/Author
Christine Roman, Contributing Writer
Tessa Wright, Consultant/Project Assistant
Valerie Cox, Administrative/Project Assistant

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 2005
The product was field tested. Tooling for The Tangle Book was completed and final output files delivered to braille and large type departments. Expected delivery on the toys is September 19, 2005.

Work Planned for FY 2006
The kit will be available for sale. Additional braille and print guidebooks will be available. The Tangle Toys will be sold as replacement parts as well.




Model/Pattern Maker

Tom Poppe

Pattern/Model Maker

Purpose
To provide a unique service to APH's Research project leaders, Technical Research staff, and Production staff. With regard to Research endeavors, the Pattern/Model Maker frequently interfaces with project leaders to build prototypes of early concepts, especially those of a tangible nature, planning for eventual mass production that will take place in-house, by an outside vendor, or by a combination of both. The Pattern/Model Maker is a regular participant in a product's evolution, from the early prototype stage to the final tooling stage, eventually offering direct monitoring and guidance during actual production runs.

With regard to Production efforts, the Pattern/Model Maker provides direct support by preparing hard tooling associated with thermoform masters, molds, repairs to older equipment, and initial orientation to production setups/processes needed to produce a given product.

Activities that characterize the Model/Pattern Maker's involvement in product development encompass the following:

The following are specific areas of the Model/Pattern Maker's contributions to projects developed during FY 2005:

Beeper Ball
Working with Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker designed and developed a housing unit to hold the electronic components of the ball, and provide ideal providing ideal protection and durability. Also, he acquired and identified a source of foam in order create the outer foam rubber shell. A total of 12 prototype balls were made for field testing purposes. Results of field testing were successful, with evaluators indicating that none of the prototypes were damaged after repeated use. Later, the Pattern/Model Maker assisted in identifying possible outside vendors for the mass production of this item.

Calendar Boxes
Working with Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker helped design and constructed prototypes of calendar boxes for field testing purposes.

Crafty Graphics Kit II
Working with Jan Carroll, Contract Manager, the Pattern/Model Maker designed and made prototypes of a directional-line stencil. This part involved the clear liquid resin-casting process, a process being used more and more to manufacture small, difficult-to-duplicate parts in educational materials. Also, a screen printing fixture was made to hold the above mentioned parts during the printing process.

Feel n' Peel Stickers II
Working with Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker tooled the final embossing plate for the new set of point symbol stickers; this plate will be used by the outside vendor to produce kiss-cut, adhesive stickers.

Product Modifications and Re-Designs
The following are products that the Pattern/Model Maker was instrumental in modernizing:

Scattered Crowns: A Tactile Attribute Game
Working with Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker initiated work on the design of related game components and accessories (e.g., attribute spinner).

Sense of Science: Animals
Working with Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, the Model/Pattern Maker, oversaw the production of both thermoformed and silk-screened parts using artwork originally prepared by him during the tooling phase.

Sense of Science: Astronomy
Working with Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker assisted in the design of actual tactile/visual overlays (e.g., phases of the moon) and related sorting tray.

Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding
Working with Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker created the majority of the final design/tooling for mass production purposes, including the following:

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine
Working with Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, and Fred Otto, Research Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker created all original tactile masters, minus a few plate-tooled graphics, for nearly 50 games/activities. Some of the tactile renditions were converted into black-line drawings and utilized by the visual graphic designer during the preparation of the print guidebook. Final tooling of the activities for the first two issues of SQUID was readied for final production. Related cutting dies were designed as well.

StackUps
Working with Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker constructed 3-D manipulative cubes and also designed tactile matching cards showing a variety of stacked cube arrangements. Corresponding tactile map plans were also prepared on plates via the PEARL.

Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication
Working with Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, and Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker created a die that would produce different shaped tactile mounting cards from Sintra®. His cutting die was used as a model by the outside vendor to build a different-sized cutting die that would produce clean-edged parts for final production.

Tactile Protractor
Working with Barbara Henderson, Test Assessment Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker designed the layout for the tactile protractor.

Tic Tac Toe Accessory Kit
Working with Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant, the Pattern/Model Maker located ideal Polyblend material and constructed multiple prototypes of Tic-Tac-Toe pieces and grid strips to be used in combination with the existing InvisiBoard.

Tools for Assessment and Development (ToAD)
Working with Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker built prototypes of 3-D models (e.g., snowmen, apples, gum drops, stars, and squares). Original designs of square, spherical, and wand-shaped flashlight lens covers were also created. An assortment of two-colored foam puzzles, line drawings, customized bowls, take-apart Plexiglas puzzles, and Polyblend puzzles rounded out the assorted items that were originally designed for this comprehensive kit. Multiples of each component were made for field test purposes.

World At Your Fingers
Working with Fred Otto, Research Project Leader, the Pattern/Model Maker innovated the process of both silk-screening and thermoforming the same tactile image while maintaining exact registration (or alignment) between the two presentations. This process has often been avoided in the past due to skewing or warping between the two images. However, this product dictated the need for a dual-sensory process that was designed for both tactile and low vision students.

The process began by originating the design of the collage master thermoform pattern to be used to make prototypes. An identical print image that registered with the tactile counterpart was screen printed on a special vinyl. This material was chosen to prevent misalignment and webbing. Once confident of the process, multiple prototypes were prepared for field testing. Field testing indicated minimal changes to the overall tactile/visual layout of the map. Final tooling for the production master was initiated in September.




Technical Research Division

Frank Hayden

Technical Research Division Activities
(Continuing)

Purpose
To function as a "bridge" between the concept of the project leader's product and the concrete reality on 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
Frank Hayden, Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist
Darlene Donhoff, Technical/Clerical Assistant

Work During FY 2005
Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments
(Continuing)

The project leader has changed the name from Science Skills Inventory Print with CD. Technical Research worked with project leaders in developing product specifications and will complete them as soon as final information on page count is received from the project leader. Technical Research will monitor the product through the first production run.

Alphabet Scramble
(Continuing)

Technical Research has been working the project leader and graphic designer on selecting the best way to bind this book as well as the paper to be used. The binder will be an unpadded, non-embossed, clearview style with rings similar to the ones used in the On the Way To Literacy series. The paper to be used will be the same paper as the Splish the Fish book. Technical Research is working on finishing up product specifications as work progresses with the project leader and Graphics Designer.

APH Insights Calendar 2006
(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the Graphics Designer and a new vendor through the production and completion of this product into stock in April, a month ahead of schedule. It was also stocked three months earlier than the 2005 calendar. Technical Research has begun working with various APH departments and outside vendors on the 2007 Insights Calendar.

Azer's Interactive Tactile Periodic Table
(New)

Technical Research has begun preliminary product documentation and specifications on this product. Technical Research will complete the product specifications, as information becomes available from the project leader.

Boldline Pocket Sized Notebook Paper
(Completed)

Technical Research developed product documentation and specifications for this product and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in January.

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.

Braille DateBook 2006 Kit
(Completed)

Technical Research initiated changes needed to keep this product current and followed the kit through the production process. Technical Research monitored the production run of the 2006 version.

Braille DateBook 2006 Calendar Tabs
(Completed)

Technical Research initiated changes, provided updated information and tracked the needed changes made to keep this product current. Technical Research monitored the production run of the 2006 version.

Braille n Speak Scholar
(Completed)

Technical Research worked with Production and Purchasing to have units pulled from finished kits, boxed together, and sent back to the manufacturer for new programming. During this time Technical Research wrote new product specifications and followed the completion of parts needed onto the packaging of this product in October.

Braille Transcriber's Kit - Countries and Continents
(New)

Technical Research investigated whether changes on the braille floor (removal of wet room) would allow for adequate paper moisture content necessary to prevent tearing along embossed images. Discussion with floor supervisor led to a decision to store paper close to humidifying devices that are now at various locations in the area to maximize moisture absorption before embossing. Technical Research met with the project leader on May 9th to review product specifications. The project leader changed the official name to Braille Transcriber's Kit: Countries and Continents on June 6th. Technical Research made updates to the specifications and the associated documentation as required. Technical Research conducted a specification meeting on June 28th. Technical Research will continue to monitor this through the first production run.

Child Guided Strategies for Accessing Children Deaf/Blind or Multiple Handicapped CD
(Completed)

This was a pass through item. Technical Research designed simple product specifications and monitored the first purchase of this product into stock in April.

Collegiate Bold Line Spiral Notebook
(Completed)

Technical Research developed product specifications and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in October 2004.

Colorino English Version
(Completed)

Technical Research developed specifications for this product and monitored the first production run of this product into stock October 2004.

Colorino Español Version
(Completed)

Technical Research developed specifications for this product and monitored the first production run of this product into stock October 2004.

Color Test II Español Version
(Completed)

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 and monitored the production into stock in October 2004.

Clear Plastic Braille Slate
(New)

This product is part of the Crafty Graphics Kit II. Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over in August. Technical Research will monitor the first production run of this product.

Clear 4 Line / 40 Cell Simbraille Template
(New)

This product is part of the Crafty Graphics Kit II. Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over in August. Technical Research will monitor the first production run of this product.

Crafty Graphics Kit II
(Continuing)

Technical Research completed product specifications for this kit which will include three items to be made available as separate catalog items; the 4 Line x 40 Cell Simbraille Template, the Protractor and Spur Wheel Set, and the Clear Plastic Braille Slate. Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over in August. Technical Research will monitor the first production run of this product.

Compass and Spur Wheel Set
(New)

This product is part of the Crafty Graphics Kit II. Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over in August. Technical Research will monitor the first production run of this product.

CVI Perspectives - DVD
(New)

The project leader changed the name from New Promise for Children with CVI, DVD. A PDC meeting was held in July where timeline dates were set. Technical Research is working on completing specifications.

CVI Perspectives - Video
(New)

The project leader changed the name from New Promise for Children with CVI, DVD. A PDC meeting was held in July where timeline dates were set. Technical Research is working on completing specifications.

Draftsman
(Completed)

The project leader had a PDC meeting in January, where it was decided to break this up into two separate items. Technical Research turned over specifications in May and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in July.

Draftsman -- Tactile Drawing Film
(Completed)

Technical Research turned over specifications for this product in May and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in July.

Expandable Calendar Boxes
(New)

The project leader has decided to offer this kit in two different colors, black and white. Each kit will contain six boxes and plastic channel pieces to be used for either clamping boxes together or to use for labeling. Each kit will also include a purchased print book from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Technical Research is designing product specifications for each of the catalog items.

EZ Fill
(Completed)

This was a product that APH decided to offer for sale by recording and packing an instructional cassette in with the unit. Technical Research developed basic specifications and monitored the first production run into stock in June.

EZ Track Calendar 2006
(Completed)

Technical Research has been project leader for this annual product since 2003. Technical Research worked with Communications in getting the 2006 version ready for production. Technical Research developed specifications and monitored the production of this product into stock in May 2005, more than four months earlier than last year's version.

EZ Track Calendar Inserts 2006
(Completed)

Technical Research has been project leader for this annual product since 2003. Technical Research worked with Communications in getting the 2006 version ready for production. Technical Research developed specifications and monitored the production of this product into stock in May 2005, more than four months earlier than last year's version.

Feel'n Peel Stickers 2
(Continuing)

This product is a continuation or extension of the current Feel'n Peel Sticker Kit. It was decided to offer new label packs separately. There are "Color Names Labels", Point Symbols Labels, Star Labels, Reward Labels, and Number Labels, in addition to the Assorted Label Pack which includes all the parts. Technical Research worked closely with a vendor making the embossed/die cut Star Label as well as with the Model Shop to develop a texture for the star. Technical Research held a specification Meeting on June 29th for all six products. Technical Research continues working with Purchasing and the vendor to monitor the production of the labels through completion and into stock.

French/Spanish Street Signs for ENVISION
(Completed)

Technical Research developed product specifications and monitored the first production run into stock in June.

Fun with Braille
(Continuing)

After field testing the project leader made a decision have this available in print and braille versions. Technical Research will finish specifications on both versions once the Project Leader has all revisions completed.

Functional Skills Assessment
(Continuing)

The name was changed from Functional Assessment/Curriculum. Technical Research will work on product specifications and documentation as determined by the product timeline schedule.

Going Places, Transition Guidelines
(Continuing)

Technical Research has product documentation and specifications completed pending any revisions requested by the project leader. Technical Research may have specifications ready to turn over earlier than originally scheduled. Technical Research will monitor the first production of this product into stock.

Graphic Design Tape
(New)

This is a new product that will have three different widths of Black crepe tape. The tape will come in rolls with widths of 1/8", 3/16" and 1/4". Technical Research has begun working on preliminary specifications.

Homegrown Video: Envision I
(Completed)

Technical Research wrote product specifications and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in May.

Homegrown Video: Envision II
(Completed)

Technical Research wrote product specifications and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in May.

Jacob's 14" Rib-It-Ball
(Completed)

This was a product made in custom colors for APH. Technical Research developed very basic specifications and monitored the first production run into stock in July. APH also stocked the 14" bladder as a replacement part.

Jacob's 18" Rib-It-Ball
(Completed)

This was a product made in custom colors for APH. Technical Research developed very basic specifications and monitored the first production run into stock in July. APH also stocked the 18" bladder as a replacement part.

Jacob's 30" w/Pump Rib-It-Ball
(Completed)

This was a product made in custom colors for APH. Technical Research developed very basic specifications and monitored the first production run into stock in July. APH also stocked the 30" bladder as a replacement part.

'K' Sonar
(Completed)

Technical Research completed specifications and information needed for production and production support areas. Technical Research worked with Purchasing to locate a new vendor for the adapters. Turnaround time was reduced from five months to one month. This helps to expedite future production runs with no cost increase or loss of quality. Technical Research monitored the production run that was placed into stock in November.

Labeling Tool Kit
(Continuing)

This product consists of three parts, a Braille version, Large Type version, and Cassette version. Technical Research will design product documentation and specifications as the project leader has time to devote to this product.

Large Print Protractor
(Continuing)

This is one of two individual products that developed out of the original Large Print/Braille Toss-A-Way Protractor. Technical Research is working on developing specifications and is also working with the Model Shop to design a completely made in-house product.

Large Print Color World Atlas - Section 1
(Continuing)

Technical Research is working on completing product specifications and is working closely with the project leader, graphics designer, and Large Type to get printing standards established. Technical Research will continue to work closely with production as this product goes through production.

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

Technical Research completed product specifications and worked closely with the graphics designer as this went through production. This product went into stock in October.

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

Technical Research completed product specifications and worked closely with the graphics designer as this went through production. This product went into stock in October.

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

The Level 3 version has a data CD with print files of the Activity Sheets, Graphics Instructions and Parts List in both Spanish and English and will go in both versions of the Manuals. This Level 3 Activity Guide required four recorded CD's for the audio. This necessitated adding another disc pocket page to the manual, as this version will contain four audio CD's and one data CD. The English version was completed and placed into stock in June.

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

The Level 3 version will have a data CD that has files of the Activity Sheets, Graphics Instructions and a Parts List. This same CD will have the file information available in both Spanish and English and will go in both the Spanish and English versions of the Manuals. Technical Research has specifications 99% complete, and will completed them once the number of CD's needed for the audio version is determined. Technical Research will turn over production specifications and monitor the first production run of this product.

LumiTest
(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications and monitored the first production run of the product into stock in March.

Magnet Mate Math
(Continuing)

Technical Research continued work to locate a die cutting vendor that can maintain enough accuracy in registration of the die cutting to the printed and tactile information on the tiles. The original vendor in Japan can print the material but has indicated they cannot die cut it. Five die cutters in the United States have been contacted, including several that specialize in cutting magnetic sheeting material. Technical Research contacted a vendor with water-jet cutting capabilities and gave them material and drawings for them to attempt small test-cuts of the tiles' design. The results of the water-jet testing were positive. This could allow the magnetic sheets to be screen printed with TouchPrint Braille in Japan and then shipped to the US where a local vendor could water-jet cut the parts and assemble packs of the sheets. Technical Research contacted another US vendor that believes they can handle the printing, brailling, and die cutting of these sheets. Technical Research is currently working with the project leader and Purchasing to produce a sample run of 1 sheet for testing the process, capabilities, and quality.

Miniguide US- Print
(Continuing)

A cassette, large print, and braille version of the User's Guide is also included in both kits. The project leader requested that the print and braille Quick Reference Sheets, which are part of both the print and braille versions of the Miniguide US kits be made available as a separate catalog item. The project leader decided to delay the availability of the Miniguide in order to offer a companion product that has been under development by the vendor at the same time. This product, a Remote Unit will also be available by APH. After final prototypes of both units were received, the project leader finalized documentation for the devices. Technical Research completed specifications and is monitoring production, which is due to be completed in September.

Miniguide US - Braille
(Continuing)

Technical Research completed and turned over specifications in June and is assisting the project leader with monitoring the first production run.

Mini Rib-It-Ball
(Completed)

There are four sizes of balls we are now offering for sale, "Jacob's 14", Jacob's 18", and Jacob's 30" w/pump" and the Mini Rib-It-Ball. All four came in from the vendor individually packaged and had an APH packaging label applied to them. The Mini Rib-It-Ball, the smallest ball, is purchased "as is" from the vendor and is not available on quota. The 14", 18", and 30" are made to our specified color selections and are available for purchase on quota. All were stocked in July.

Money Talks
(Completed)

In order to try and have this ready for summer conferences, a decision was made to change the production process. Instead of having an outside vendor produce the CD's, a trial run would be made making them in house, making this the first time that a software product would be completely made in-house. Technical Research revised the way specifications are usually written and follow new steps established in a meeting with production and the Technology group. The steps were followed and worked out perfectly allowing 200 units to be made available for the conferences in June. The CD's for the remaining 300 units were made the way they had been made previously and were stocked in August.

Moving Ahead Storybook: Goin' on a Bear Hunt
(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader and Communications to finalize the materials and production procedures for producing this book. Technical Research completed specifications and helped in monitoring the first production run of the book into stock in September.

Moving Ahead: Goin' on a Bear Hunt Reader's Guide, Braille
(Completed)

This is the Braille version of the Reader's Guide and is available for purchase if desired, but is not a part of the book itself. Technical Research developed product specifications and monitored the first production run into stock in October.

Moving Ahead: Splish the Fish
(Continuing)

Technical Research designed and had made a die for cutting out the "storyboard" which each of the three following storybooks will include. Technical Research designed an extension that can be attached to the tray of the copier for holding the longer length of the paper as well as an automatic cycle reset device. The copier was not designed to accept running paper longer than 17 inches and our book page is 23 inches long. The longer length of paper would signal a false "jam" in the copier and it would stop, waiting for a manual clear/reset from the operator. The automatic cycle reset device is attached to the copier and resets or overrides the jam indication. The device does electronically what would have been done each time manually. Both features performed as anticipated. Technical Research is working with the graphic designer to make minor adjustments to placement of pages in the files for the green machine. Technical Research is working on finishing up the specifications and will be turning them over in September. New dates for production will be set at that time as well.

Moving Ahead: Splish the Fish, Braille
(Continuing)

Technical Research is working on finishing up product specifications and will turn them over at the same time as the specifications for the storybook.

Moving Ahead: Boy and the Wolf
(Continuing)

Technical Research will begin work on developing specifications for this book once production begins on Splish and we prove out the production methods. Dies have already been designed and made for the storyboard and storyboard pieces as well as the die for cutting out the word stickers.

Moving Ahead: Turtle and Rabbit
(Continuing)

Technical Research will begin work on developing specifications for this book once production begins on Splish and we prove out the production methods. Dies have already been designed and made for the storyboard and storyboard pieces as well as the die for cutting out the word stickers.

Non-Verbal Behavior Curriculum
(Continuing)

The project leader held a PDC meeting to discuss the particulars of this product and to set a schedule through the prototype stage for March 2006. This product will consist of a Large Print Teacher's Manual, a Braille Teacher's Manual, a Large Print Student Syllabus, a Braille Student Syllabus, a recorded cassette, a "space/distance rope" and a CD containing the Teacher's Manual and Student Syllabus as BRF and TXT files. Technical Research will work on developing preliminary product specifications subject to be changed after field-testing.

On the Way to Literacy -- Teacher's Handbook
(Continuing)

This product has become completely newly designed product. Technical Research has begun work on preliminary specifications and will complete them as the project leader finalizes the book.

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

There is to be a Braille version of the Teacher's Handbook that will be made available the same time as the revised print edition. Technical Research is developing specifications for this version as information is finalized on 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
(Discontinued)

Patterns Revision
(Continuing)

Technical Research has been working very closely with the project leader, and the graphic designer and Production to get prototype samples of the Kindergarten Level run so they can be sent out for field-testing. Technical Research monitored the print and braille tooling, as well as the production of the many parts needed for field-testing. Technical Research originated basic specifications for the prototypes in October 2004 and then revised them in June 2005, based on changes to the products physical makeup. Technical Research is monitoring the production of all these parts to get the prototype samples made and delivered to the project leader for field-testing.

Periodic Table of the Elements Reference Chart
(New)

Technical Research worked with the project leader in developing prototypes for field-testing. Technical Research is working on completing product specifications and with work closely with the project leader to monitor the first production run of this product.

Portable Sound Source - Sport Edition
(Continuing)

Technical Research designed and developed new circuitry for this device and fabricated 15 prototypes for field-testing. The product is a smaller more portable electronic version of the original Portable Sound Source. It will be remote controlled with a key fob sized remote that you will be able to turn it on and off, change the pitch, rate, and volume from a tested range of 100 to 150 yards. There is a companion Guidebook in both print and braille that contains a CD with an html copy of the book. Technical Research was in contact with the manufacturer of the transmitting and receiving modules used for this product and in initial discussions they suggested for a fee of $500.00 they would review our design and offer suggestions for improvements for the range of reception and sensitivity. Technical Research developed a good working relationship with the vendor and they reviewed our design at no charge. Technical Research is currently modifying the circuit layout and artwork to adopt the vendor's suggestions. It is anticipated that the changes will improve the range by a factor of 50% to 100%. Technical Research will fabricate and test the new prototype boards and then design product specifications as points are finalized.

Primary Math Units Kit and Work Sheets
(Continuing)

Technical Research completed preliminary product specifications for the prototype samples and worked with the project leader to have the samples produced for field-testing. The samples were sent out for field-testing. Technical Research will work on specifications as information is received from the project leader.

Printing Guide
(Continuing)

This product will be a mechanical template to help teach printing skills. Technical Research designed and fabricated several versions for the project leader's review and produced ten each of the two preferred designs. Technical Research will work with the project leader to help design and fabricate tooling for this project as needed and will develop product specifications as final decisions are made. Technical Research will assist the project leader in following this product through the first production run.

Psycho-Educational Assessment Video
(Completed)

The project leader decided to have the existing video updated instead of creating a completely new video. Technical Research updated specifications and turned them over to production and then Research monitored the production of the video into stock in November.

Quick Pick Braille Contractions Kit
(Continuing)

This is another in the series of Quick Pick products. There are two sets of 50 Quick Pick cards each in this kit. Technical Research worked closely with the project leader to create Braille layout information for all cards in both sets with the information provided. Technical Research completed and turned over product specifications and worked with production for the first run of the product. Production completed and placed into stock in August.

Reference Sheet Pack - Miniguide US
(New)

The project leader decided to have five copies each of print and braille Quick Reference Sheets available for sale as a set and will also go into the Miniguide US Kits. Technical Research turned over specifications in June and monitored this through the first production run.

Remote Unit: Miniguide US
(New)

This was formerly known as the Instructor Drum. It is an accessory to be plugged into a Miniguide and used by an instructor to monitor the Miniguide with real time feedback a person gets when using the Miniguide US unit. This kit will consist of the unit, print Users Guide, braille Users Guide, and an Instructional Cassette. Upon receiving a final prototype, documentation of the device was finalized and specifications were completed by Technical Research. Specifications were turned over and Technical Research monitored the first production run.

Rolling Right Along - Construction Kit
(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader in developing product specifications and monitored the first production run of the product into stock in March 2005.

Scattered Crowns: Tactile Attribute Game
(New)

The project leader held a PDC meeting in May to discuss the product and set production dates. Technical Research is working on product specifications and will help monitor the first production run of this product.

Sense of Science: Animals Kit
(Completed)

Technical Research worked on redoing all 42 silk screens that were manufactured by an outside vendor. Once all the screens are remade, production resumed on the kit. Technical Research continued to monitor the kit's progress through production and into stock in December 2004. The project leader said a larger Carry Case is needed after packaging it was found that the materials made the case bulge and difficult to keep closed. Technical Research provided an exploded drawing for the larger carry case to accommodate the increased amount of materials in the kit. The new case will be made after the existing of cases is depleted. Technical Research continues to monitor production, providing support as needed.

Sense of Science -- Astronomy
(New)

The project leader held PDC meeting on this product in April and Technical Research will begin working on preliminary product specifications, as information becomes available from the project leader.

Sensory Learning Kit
(Continuing)

Technical Research worked diligently with the project leader, Purchasing, and outside Vendors to locate acceptable items that are functional and suited for this kit's purpose. Technical Research fabricated vibrating pillow prototypes and worked with vendors on the design of a controlled power source for these items. Technical Research continued working with the project leader and vendor throughout the development of the product. Technical Research made numerous changes to product specifications as parts changed and completed them in May 2005. The Vibrating Pad shipment and the Adaptable Tactile Switch arrived in June. The Adaptable Stick Switch, Scallop Switch, and Personal Music Player arrived in July. The Power Select unit arrived in August.

Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding
(Completed)

The name was changed from Tactile Transitions: Real Objects to Raised Line Representations. Technical Research completed product specifications and monitored the first production run. The product was placed into stock in August.

Sherlock Talking Label Identifier
(Completed)

This product contains two items that are offered as separate catalog items. Technical Research completed specifications for the full kit and the other two items and turned them over in March. Technical Research monitored the first production of the product in May.

Sherlock Labels
(Completed)

Technical Research turned over specifications in March and monitored the first production in May.

Sherlock Tags
(Completed)

Technical Research turned over specifications in March. The vendor sent the tags improperly packaged to APH. Technical Research repackaged the labels per the product specifications and then notified the vendor to make the corrections for future orders. The first production run went into stock in May.

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. After field testing, Technical Research and the Model Shop produced drawings and written guidelines for the Purchasing Department to use in obtaining competitive bids from outside vendors. Field test results were reviewed in early November and the testers liked both sounds ("boink boink" and "techno") equally well, so a decision was made to produce two sound balls. Field testers also liked the lighted LED indicator on the charging probe. Technical Research worked on modifying the circuitry design to accommodate the lighted charger and to also allow for two separate sound balls. Two vendors were sent prototypes for review and one of the two has dropped out of the project. Technical Research continued working with the remaining vendor. Sample circuit boards were reviewed and the vendor has sent in six sample balls complete with electronics to evaluate the vendor's foaming process and to assure the electronics will survive the foaming process intact.

SQUID
(New)

This was formally called Activity and Game Book. Technical Research designed product specifications and turned them over in July. Technical Research will work with the project leader to monitor this through the first production run.

SQUID - A Tactile Activities Magazine, Issue 2
(New)

The project leader is scheduling a PDC meeting to establish new dates for the timelines. Technical Research will begin working on designing product specifications.

StackUps
(New)

Technical Research attended a PDC meeting in May and received information to begin working on product specifications.

Stick On Tactile Ruler
(Completed)

This project was a new product developed to replace the brass stick on ruler. The brass material was becoming more expensive and more difficult to obtain. The material was also dropping in quality. Technical Research worked with the project leader and the Model Shop to change the design to a vacuum formed plastic ruler rather than brass. Customer feedback from field testing was very positive. Technical Research developed specifications for the materials and production processes for this item. Technical Research followed the initial production run of this product through its successful completion and entry into stock.

Student PDA
(Continuing)

Technical Research did extensive research using the Internet to locate three possible prototyping kits meeting APH's requirements, Technical Research selected a prototyping kit manufactured in England, and ordered it for the Technology Research department to work with. The Technology group continues working with it while looking at possibly purchasing another version with more capabilities. Technical Research met with the Technology Group in February to discuss the progress of this project and to re-evaluate dates.

Swirly Mats: FVA Set
(New)

Technical Research worked with a vendor to produce sample mats. These were received and sent out for field-testing. Several mats leaked and Technical Research has been corresponding with the vendor (in England) to find a solution to this potential problem. The vendor believes they have corrected the problem and is sending new mats for testing as no cost to us. Once a decision is made, Technical Research will complete product specifications.

Swirly Mats: CVI Set
(New)

Technical Research worked with a vendor to produce sample mats. These were received and sent out for field-testing. Several mats leaked and Technical Research has been corresponding with the vendor (in England) to find a solution to this potential problem. The vendor believes they have corrected the problem and is sending new mats for testing as no cost to us. Once a decision is made, Technical Research will complete product specifications.

Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication
(Continuing)

Technical Research completed and turned specifications over in January. This grew into many parts made available for sale separately. They are the Braille Guidebook, Large Type Guidebook w/CD, Large Type Guidebook Spanish Version, Accessories with Caulking, Black Cards Set, Blue Cards Set, Gray Cards Set, Green Cards Set, Red Cards Set, White Cards Set, and Yellow Cards Set. The project leader requested pre-production samples of all seven individual card packs for approval before having the full productions made. Technical Research will monitor the first production run of this product into stock.

Tactile Protractor
(Continuing)

Technical Research held a PDC meeting in July with production and the project leader to discuss the Protractors. At this time the project leader decided to make two separate items, a large print version and a "Tactile" version. Technical Research located and provided samples of 6 different materials to consider for making the Tactile Protractor. A 0.040" thick clear PETG plastic was chosen because it exhibited the best embossing properties and had the desired rigidity. The Model Shop fabricated samples for field review.

Talking Calculator
(Completed)

This is a new product we are offering for sale. APH produced an instructional cassette and packaged it in with the unit. Technical Research developed basic specifications for checking the unit; producing the cassette and packaging the unit for sale and held a meeting in May. The product was placed into stock in June.

Talking Thermometer
(Completed)

This is a new product we are offering for sale. APH produced an instructional cassette and packaged it in with the unit. Technical Research developed basic specifications for checking the unit; producing the cassette and packaging the unit for sale and held a meeting in May. The product was placed into stock in June.

Tangle Toy for Tots
(Continuing)

Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production in August. Technical Research will work with the project leader to monitor the first production run of the product into stock.

Tic Tac Toe Accessory Kit
(Completed)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to develop product specifications. This kit contains two sets of tic-tac-toe game pieces, designed for use with the Invisiboard. Each set contains five (X's), five (O's) and five 16" long strips made from Red and Yellow Polyethylene. Technical Research created a CAD file for die layout to be used for making the parts. Technical Research completed and turned specifications in May. The cutting die was received in May, but due to a limited cutting capacity here this kit had to be re-structured and sent to an outside vendor with greater die cutting capacity. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and an outside vendor to produce the kits. The parts left APH in late July and were received into stock the middle of August. Technical Research held a debriefing meeting in August.

Test Ready
(New)

The project leader held a PDC meeting in July to discuss product development and to set the first part of the timeline schedule. There will now be twenty separate catalog items. These are a series of tests covering Mathematics, Language Arts, and Reading. Each product will consist of the Student Booklet and a Teacher's Guide. Each Student Booklet will be presented in the following media: large print, braille, audiocassette, audio CD, and possibly a DTB (Digital Talking Book). The Teacher's Guide will be presented in the following media: A CD containing HTML, BRF, and PDF. Technical Research does not have enough information as of this point in time to begin product documentation.

ToAD (Tools for Assessment and Development)
(Continuing)

The project leader proposed changing the name to Tools for Assessment and Development or (ToAD). Technical Research assisted in obtaining prototype materials for field-testing and started preliminary specifications because of the number and complexity of items in kit. Technical Research has finalized the following electronic items in this kit and has secured quantities needed for field-testing. These include a lighted key fob; LED flashlight, light strings, and "cricket" sound modules. Technical Research had to modify the light strings in order to be used for field-testing. The string was shortened and the flashing feature of the item was defeated. Orders for the production runs will have to be custom-made by the Vendor. Technical Research furnished the Model Shop a LED flashlight to facilitate the mounting of transparent colored shapes onto the light. The Project Leader decided to make available separately the print and braille Guidebooks, and the Object Cards. Technical Research furnished all component parts to the project leader for sending out for field-testing in August

ToAD Object Cards
(New)

The project leader made a decision to have these cards available as a separate catalog item and has provided enough information for Technical Research to begin preliminary specifications. Technical Research will update specifications after field-testing has been completed.

Toodle Tiles
(Continuing)

Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over to production in May. Technical Research will continue to monitor the first production run on this product.

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. The project leader decided to make the Braille Guidebook available as a separate catalog item. Technical Research is nearly finished with product specifications and will monitor the first production run of this product.

Using the Cranmer Abacus for the Blind, Spanish Version
(Discontinued)

Verbal View of Word
(Continuing)

Technical Research completed the product specifications and turned them over in February. Due to the possibility of producing printed materials here at APH using the new iGen3 printing system, a trial run of five software products were selected. The production methods were restructured to have the CD Jewel Case Inserts and Booklets manufactured at APH. Technical Research initiated an ECR to change Bills of Materials and production routings for this product. Technical Research will continue to monitor this through the first production run.

Verbal View of Word -- Advanced
(New)

Technical Research turned over product specifications in February. Due to the possibility of producing printed materials at APH using the new iGen3 printing system, a trial run of five software products were selected to be made. The production methods were restructured to have the CD Jewel Case Inserts and Booklets manufactured at APH. Technical Research initiated an ECR to change Bills of Materials and production routings for this product. Technical Research will continue to monitor this through the first production run.

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 production of prototype samples sent out for field-testing.

Word Player
(Discontinued)

World at Your Fingers
(New)

This project is to be a tactile world map for the wall or tabletop. It will have a vacuum-formed / screen-printed base with raised land masses. Also included will be raised line embossed maps so students can make connection between the large map and the kinds of maps they see in textbooks and tests. Prototype maps using a new process developed by the Model Shop went out for field testing the first of July. Technical Research will complete product specifications as field test revisions are completed.

World Maps
(Completed)

This product has individual vacuum formed tactile maps, each with an accompanying print/braille key page. The pages were printed 11.5" x 11" and then Interpoint embossed. The Model Shop designed all dies for the single maps, and the two foldout maps. Technical Research designed the die for the Legend page and created the drawings needed to make the three cutting dies. The Model Shop completed the vacuum form molds for all the map pages. Technical Research turned over specifications in August. Technical Research worked with the project leader to monitor the first production of this product into stock in January.

Other Technical Research Projects

30 cm RULER
(Product Maintenance)

The Educational Aids Production Supervisor complained that during their last production run they were experiencing losses of 20% or more from misalignment of printed lines to the tactile lines on the ruler. Technical Research was given samples from the run of vacuum-formed parts and studied the samples to derive an average of the tactile line locations to establish a base structure for the printed portion of this part. The base structure was replicated and placed in relation to the tactile molds on the multi-up master vacuum form pattern. Technical Research made a replacement screen from this new artwork and worked with production for the first run printed with the new screen. The new screen was easier to set up for the initial start-up of the press and the reject rate was much lower than with the previous artwork. A new set up part (a standard that all subsequent runs are held to) was created and the old set up part was removed from the production area.

Art History
(Product Maintenance)

Due to our existing label making equipment becoming obsolete, diskette labels for the Teacher's Supplements could no longer be made as originally designed. Technical Research worked with Braille, Large Type, and Mastering departments to arrive at a new design of labels that could be produced with current production equipment. This impacted all six volumes of the Art History project. Technical Research updated all specifications, bills, and routings for these items and the new procedures will be used for the next production run.

BOLT Practice Board
(Product Modernization)

Technical Research worked with a project leader and the Purchasing Department in order to find a way to more easily produce this product. The wooden base will now be made out of an impact resistant plastic and a non-skid surface will be added to the bottom of the base. The bolts will be switched from steel to contrasting colored plastic bolts. Technical Research completed a series of nine part drawings and forwarded them to a vendor in the Purchasing Manager's absence. Technical Research completed product specifications and an ECR is on file in the Operations Engineering department. Technical Research will inspect the materials when received for quality and conformance to the new specifications. Upon inspection of the first shipment of the new design this project will be submitted as an APH continuous improvement project.

Cranmer Abacus Video
(Product Maintenance)

This product has become increasingly difficult to produce due to the masters' deteriorating quality. Technical Research located production copies from the first production run of this product and they will be reviewed to see if their condition is acceptable. If so, a new duplication master will be made from the tapes to be used in future production runs. If their quality is not acceptable the project will need to be re-evaluated to see if the video will be re-shot and new masters created from scratch or if the product will no longer be made.

Graphic Aids To Math
(Product Modernization)

Technical Research investigated methods of simplifying the frame construction of this product. The current design of the product frame is made using 1"x10" white pine. The wood goes through several machining operations on a table saw and is hand cut and finished. Technical Research was able to locate a vendor who could make a custom-sized black silicone rubber frame for this product. The frame would be stretched around the product. A sample frame was purchased and the product was made using the rubber frame and sent to Susan Osterhaus for review. She offered a suggestion of having the frame glued around the grid so as to not be easily removed by children. Technical Research further investigated and determined that silicone RTV adhesive was best suited for this application. Technical Research has a new bill and routing in place for the new production method of the product. The new parts have been ordered. A new parts list and new master for the APH www label is in place. A new full cost roll up was completed. Technical Research furnished production with information on pneumatic and battery powered adhesive dispensers to reduce worker fatigue in applying the adhesive. Technical Research will monitor the first production run of the new framing method. This will also help improve the safety of workers by eliminating dangerous machining operations on a table saw. This will also be turned in as a continuous improvement project upon completion of the first production run.

Invisiboard
(Product Maintenance)

Technical Research met with the project leader on May 6th to show sample Invisiboards made using an alternate materials for the backer board. The project leader approved one of these materials, Sintra. Initial pricing given by the vendor made this appear to be an excellent replacement material. However, upon request for a firm quote, the pricing would have increased on the backing boards by 300%. Technical Research and Purchasing then worked with the vendor of the existing material to stress the importance of needing the material being cut exactly to specification. The vendor subsequently found a new sub-contractor that could guarantee APH requirements. On August 11th Technical Research was called to the production floor to address a problem with the Black Veltex material not adhering properly to the backing boards. Technical Research researched shipments of materials to determine a possible time frame of when the adhesives were changed. Purchasing was notified so that vendor could be contacted and be made aware of the problem in order to make the necessary corrections. A sample of Veltex from vendor met specifications and exhibits the same characteristics of a previous shipment of material. Samples of the problem material were sent to the vendor for evaluation on August 16th. The vendor confirmed the incorrect adhesive material was used as a backing on the Veltex. Discussions are underway between the APH purchasing department and the vendor to replace the materials with the correct adhesive backing. Based upon suggestions from the production floor, Technical Research is investigating the possibility of having the 6" wide hook Velcro coming from the vendor pre-cut as a time saving measure for the production floor.

Light Box
(Product Maintenance)

In early January 2005 Purchasing informed Technical Research that General Electric (GE) said the ballast (transformer) used in the Light Box would be discontinued. All the remaining GE stock of the ballast was ordered at that time. On February 17th Technical Research met with two representatives of GE to discuss possible replacements for the ballast. During this meeting it was learned that GE did not fully understand the mission of APH and the manner in which APH uses the GE parts in our product. Technical Research presented a brief history on the light box, demonstrated the product and explained how low vision individuals use it. Upon further discussion, the senior representative said he would see that a note was placed in the ballast's production files at GE to continue producing the part despite low demand (compared to commercial accounts) that APH has for this item. He appreciated the importance of this item to our production and said the decision to produce the part would be based on more than just the volume of production. Technical Research concluded the meeting with a brief tour of APH facilities. Technical Research expressed gratitude for the special consideration given the part and followed up with a thank you letter and product catalogues to both representatives.

Markers for the Game of Squares Kit
(Product Modernization)

There are small (0.750" sq.) squares used by players to mark their moves in the Game of Squares Kit. These squares have been made by painting one side of yellow ABS plastic brown and then cutting it into squares small pieces on a table saw, and rounding the corners by hand using a belt sander. Both the sawing and sanding operations involved handling many small parts on dangerous equipment. By working with an outside vendor Technical Research was able to find a yellow plastic that the vendor could laminate a textured paper on one side and cut into squares with rounded corners. Technical Research received samples, which were shown to Production and the project leader and were approved. The new markers will come in pre-packaged in sets of 17 pieces in labeled zip lock bags. These will then be dropped into the kit as it is packaged. The new squares allow the kit to be produced more safely, will have a more uniform appearance and based on sales figures, the redesign will also save $436.00 in costs for the annual production of this kit. Technical Research monitored the first production of the kit using the newly designed markers. This project was submitted and accepted as an APH continuous improvement project.

Mini-Lite Box
(Product Maintenance)

The overseas broker continues to search for an alternate vendor for this product. Technical Research has completed a packet of all specifications and testing criteria for this product that the broker will provide to a new vendor when located. This will be an ongoing project for Technical Research and Purchasing.

National Library Service (NLS) - Duplication of Flash Memory
(Special Project)

On July 8th, the Vice President of Production requested members from Technical Research attend a group discussion on the duplication of books for the next generation of the NLS Talking Book Program. The purpose of the meeting was to brain storm ideas and concepts involved with making "on demand" copies, mass duplication of copies of Digital Talking Books on Flash Memory Cards and, the labeling and packaging of these cards. The group agreed to meet on setting a schedule to continue to investigate needs and find suggested requirements to provide to NLS, who is still open to vendor suggestions. Technical Research has contacted a vendor of current duplication equipment in order to find out if there is any knowledge or interest in building an automated system for duplicating the next generation of Digital Talking Book media. Technical Research will continue to work with APH purchasing, production, engineering, and technology departments as well as outside vendor and the National Library Services to support this project.

Print/Braille Protractor with Goniometer
(Product Maintenance)

In late May production was halted due to the inability to produce a good quality of Braille embossing. The product is made using a clear plastic off-the-shelf protractor that APH Braille embosses using a cold form press. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and the vendor to investigate the problem. The punching die and punching press were examined by both Technical Research and APH Maintenance and were found to be functioning properly. It was then learned that the vendor had changed their process for making the protractors. The change is not noticeable to any of their customers except for APH, since no one else embosses the product. Purchasing discussed the possibility of the vendor going back to their original process, if only for APH orders. However, APH orders are too small to justify a special set up of their production process and the cost of the parts to APH would be prohibitive. Technical Research then began investigating materials to use as a blank for the protractor. A plastic PETG in a 0.040" thickness was found to be the most suitable. Technical Research contacted Susan Osterhaus (the original product submitter) to obtain her input for a re-design of the print markings on the protractor. Following Ms. Osterhaus' approval of the new design, new tooling is in-process of being developed. Cutting dies and a new silk screen are being made. Upon completion of the die design the vendor will send in a minimum of 6 die cut blanks to be reviewed by Technical Research. Upon approval of the blanks production will begin with arrival of the blanks expected in 30 days or less. The new silk screen will be fabricated while the vendor is die cutting the blanks and should be ready before they arrive. The new blanks will arrive at APH and we will then screen-print the blank and put it into a punch press for final die cutting and embossing. The finished protractor will then have a wand attached at the apex to complete the Goniometer as before. By specifying a plastic for use that will be custom made at APH there should be a greater control of the raw materials for use in making this product for future runs.

Propionate to PETG
(Product Maintenance)

In May Purchasing informed Technical Research that the clear plastic material used on many APH products called propionate was increasingly difficult to obtain, becoming more costly, and the minimum order quantities were rising. The five sizes of this material APH purchases are used in 12 different products. Working with Purchasing and an outside vendor, samples were obtained of a material called PETG. Technical Research cut the material to the appropriate sizes and worked with Maintenance to make samples across the spectrum of products the original material is used to make. Both Maintenance and Technical Research felt the material handled better in the production processes at APH. Also, as an added benefit, the PETG has no odor. The propionate material gave off a rather strong odor when used in the products. The new samples were submitted to the project leaders of the various products and after examination and use of the samples all project leaders agreed to use the new material. Technical Research and Purchasing have filed all necessary paperwork to replace the propionate in all existing products that used it. The new PETG material has been ordered and will be used in production as soon as it arrives. This was submitted and accepted as an APH continuous improvement project.

Stokes Place Holder
(Product Modernization)

Technical Research worked with the project leader and Purchasing to find a way to more easily produce this product. The samples of flexible magnetic sheets as well as bar magnets ordered by Technical Research arrived and were experimented with. Unfortunately, no combination of bar magnet and sheet material was acceptable. Magnetic sheeting material is magnetized with an array of North and South Poles over the entire surface area of the sheet. Bar magnets have one North and one South Pole. When placed on the sheet the poles actually fight each other on the sheet and consequently provide minimal attraction to the sheet. Technical Research fabricated two types of metal markers to use with the magnetic sheet material. These worked better but were still inadequate. After much experimentation, it was decided to re-design the metal plate rather than change the materials for the entire kit. Technical Research worked with the purchasing department and an outside vendor to have a new plate fabricated that would avoid the metal folding and painting steps here at APH. Samples were made of the new plate design. Samples were reviewed and approved. Technical Research completed an ECR (Engineering Change Request) for the Engineering department. The first shipment of the new design was received in May. Technical Research inspected the parts. The new parts were received into stock and the kits were produced and placed into stock. This was submitted and accepted as an APH continuous improvement project.

Talking Glow Dice
(Product Maintenance)

In late September 2004, a defective Glow Dice unit was sent back to APH from a customer. Technical Research discovered two of the four batteries were installed reversed, which created a short circuit and resulted in high current drain. The generated heat caused a deformation of the battery compartment and the batteries themselves. This happened in spite of physical barriers incorporated into the unit's design to prevent batteries from making contact when installed incorrectly. Technical Research found the customer's batteries and other batteries purchased from local stores could bridge the protective barrier when installed incorrectly. The customer's problem was re-created by Technical Research in a test bench and was video taped. This video was later shown to the vendor. On October 4th all production of the Glow Dice was halted, all stock and customer orders placed on hold. APH recalled the units and gave customers credit. Technical Research designed a modification that electrically blocks the battery connection if batteries are installed incorrectly. The design no longer relies solely on a physical barrier for protection and will not allow electrical connection regardless of battery's physical shape if installed incorrectly. Three units were modified in the Technical Research area and extensively tested. On October 28th Technical Research gave a modified unit, schematic, digital photographs of the modification, and written requirements for the change to the vendor. This information was forwarded to the factory overseas. Technical Research required a minimum of five pre-production sample units for testing with the design modification. On November 30th the vendor delivered samples of the new design. Technical Research completed electronic testing December 12th and forwarded the units onto the project leader for review. Upon review of the test results the vendor was allowed to resume production of the units with two conditions: the vendor must incorporate a reverse conductivity test into their current outgoing quality inspections, and the vendor must provide written documentation of outgoing inspections. Technical Research created documents that described and diagrammed the new testing procedure and sent them to the vendor. Technical Research modified a testing fixture created for incoming quality inspections. After normal testing, a switch will be flipped to reverse the power supply. A light on the fixture determines if the unit meets the criteria, if the light glows the unit is conducting in reverse polarity and the unit fails. If the light remains unlit the unit is not conducting in reverse polarity and the unit passes. The revised shipment was released and sent in to APH. The shipment was tested upon arrival, passed, and was put into stock for sale.

Texture Matching Blocks
(Product Modernization)

Technical Research worked with the project leader and Purchasing to determine a way to more easily produce and package this product. A re-design of the tray mold as well as creation of molds for the blocks was necessary. A non-skid surface was added to the bottom of the base. This re-design should make the product easier to produce and work as well or better for our customers. All specifications have been updated on this product and an ECR (engineering change request) is on file in the Engineering department. Technical Research inspected the first run of this product when the first shipment of the new design was received. Following receipt of materials Technical Research monitored the first assembly and production run of the new design. This was submitted and accepted as an APH Continuous Improvement project.

Tokens for the Game Kit
(Product Modernization and Product Maintenance)

The tokens used in this kit were originally made in house by vacuum forming plastic over metal nuts (for weight) and then spray painting the parts and die cutting them. This design was changed to having a vendor use an acrylic pouring method for producing the parts. This eliminated the in-house process of vacuum forming and spray painting. The first shipment of tokens was rejected due to some of the parts not fitting into the recessed areas of the game board. In discussions with Purchasing and the vendor, it was found that the process uses rubber molds and they can distort slightly due to the heat generated during the curing process. (The curing process is exothermic.) This pouring process could not hold the tolerances as tightly as they were held with the die cut parts. Technical Research re-designed tolerances in order to make the base of the tokens slightly smaller, this takes into consideration the new process variations and will still allow the parts to fit. The vendor took back the original shipment, sorted through the parts and replaced them free of charge. Technical Research fabricated a "go/no-go" gauge for the vendor to use on all future shipments. A second gauge was provided to Warehouse to use for incoming inspections of the material.

US Puzzle Map
(Product Maintenance)

This product had a rejected shipment of parts in June due to incorrect sizing of the parts. Technical Research worked with Purchasing, the Model Shop, and the vendor to investigate the cause. The state pieces are made using a urethane foaming process and molds used in this process are rubber based. It was found that the molds had deteriorated and had stretched very slightly causing the parts to enlarge enough so that when the maps were assembled the states would not fit into the frame. The vendor had new molds made and sent in sample parts. On July 25th two of the vendor's staff came to APH. Technical Research, Purchasing, and Production demonstrated the final fabrication and assembly of the kit. The new sample pieces were finished and assembled together as a map. All pieces fit very well and the product performed as desired. The vendor is now in the process of replacing all the defective parts. The vendor is also going to use APH fabrication methods to test samples of parts during future production runs and to monitor parts quality. Purchasing has worked out the details of the replacement parts/credits/etc with the vendor. Technical Research will monitor the first production run of maps made with parts from the new molds.

Vertical Bolt Board
(Product Modernization)

Technical Research is working with Purchasing and an outside vendor to re-design this product in a similar fashion as was done with the bolt practice board. Currently a wooden board is purchased and steel nuts, bolts, and wing nuts are used in the kit. The board will be converted to a design using "Sintra" plastic. The nuts and bolts have been located in a plastic design but the wing nuts are not available in plastic. Technical Research is in the process of investigating using metal wing nuts with the plastic bolts and nuts.

WebChase
(Product Maintenance)

A production run of 200 of the Webchase kits was made on August 9th and another 100 kit run was made on August 18th. In order to make this kit easier to package a decision was made to have the box vendor modify the current design. The carton was modified to make it a ¼" greater depth. The box redesign was finalized on November 11th and approved by the project leader, production, and purchasing. Technical Research provided the graphics designer with a CAD file to facilitate laying out art on new box design. Purchasing placed an order and Technical Research forwarded vendor drawings of the box to the graphics designer in order to position the new design artwork. The vendor used the existing printing plate but manually moved the artwork around to match the box layout. Technical Research was called to production to investigate problems with the redesigned box. Some seam lines were cut too deep causing them to split when folded. The vendor was contacted and this was resolved. Replacement boxes were inspected and approved by Technical Research on February 14th. The kits were packaged in the newly designed carton without incident.




Presentations and Workshops

Allman, C., Ph.D., et al.(2005, March) Continuation of the 2005 Assessment Initiative and Education Workgroup, led by Mary Ann Siller, Carol Allman, Barbara Henderson, and Debra Sewell. Breakout Session at the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Conference, March 12, 2005, Boston, MA.

Allman, C., Ph.D., and B. Henderson. (2005, March) Making Tests Accessible to Visually Impaired Persons--a workshop for test publishers and state assessment personnel. Pre-Conference Workshop at California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Impaired (CTEVH) Conference, March 3, San Francisco, CA.

Coffey, M. (2005, August) Testing Students with Visual Impairments. Presentation to Pearson staff, August 3, Iowa City, Iowa

Creasy, Keith, (April 2005), Producing Digital Talking Books for NLS with Studio Recorder and Book Wizard Producer, DAISY Consortium General Meeting, London England.

Eiland, Mario (October 2004) Presenting Book Port, Parent Teacher's Workshop, TN School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Henderson, B., C. Allman, Ph.D., M. L. Schmidt and D. Garrett. (2005, March) We Can Meet the Challenge Together: Making Tests Accessible to Visually Impaired Students. Session at California Teachers and Educators of the Visually Impaired (CTEVH) Conference, March 6, 2005, San Francisco, CA.

Henderson, B.W. and T. Tucker (2005, March). Retrospective: Bridging The Gap (BTG) Accessible Tests Workgroup for Adults Who Have Visual Impairments and Low Literacy Skills, Breakout Session at the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Conference, March 12, 2005, Boston, MA.

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

Kitchel, E., (2005) Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Color Blindness, meeting of Accessible Tests Department, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., (2005) Guidelines for the Production of Large Print, Colored Maps, Annual Meeting of American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., (2005) Teaching Creative Writing to Adventitiously Blinded Adults, meeting of Mid America Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers, Nashville, TN.

Kitchel, E., (2005) Understanding the Text, Graphic & Visual Needs of Test Takers who are Partially-Sighted, meeting of National Test Publishers And Editors, Louisville, KY.

Lieberman, L. & Pierce, T. (2005, August). Believing You (Your Child) Can Do: Parent-Child Beliefs About Physical Activity-Going In Positive Directions. National Family Conference, Louisville, KY

Otto, F. (2004, October). Map-related products from APH. Poster presentation at APH Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2005, March). World Maps. Product presentation to Vanderbilt graduate students, APH, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2005, May). New mapping tools from APH. Meeting of the Minds workshop, APH, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F., & Poppe, K. (2005, July). Tactile games and puzzles. Braille Carnival at National Federation of the Blind annual convention, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E.J., D'Andrea, F.M. and Bartley, R. E., (2004, November). ABC Braille Study Update, Meeting of the Braille Authority of North America, Clovernook, Cincinnati, OH

Pierce, T. & Poppe K.J. (2005, March). Tactile Connections: Talk of the Town. CTEVH, San Francisco, CA

Pierce, T. & Smith, M. (2004, October). Sensory Learning Kit. The136th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Pierce, T. (2004, October). Let's Play Ball. The136th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Pierce, T. (2005, July). Products for Children with Multiple Disabilities. University of Louisville Moderate to Severe Disabilities Class, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, October). Rolling Right Along Construction Kit. [Poster Session] The 136th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, October). Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding. [Poster Session] The 136th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004, October). Web Chase and Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding: A Product Demonstration. The 136th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2005, February). Tactile Graphic Products. Jefferson County Public Schools VI Teachers In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2005, June). Picture Maker. Central Atlantic Orientation & Mobility Association (COMA) Conference, Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, Pittsburgh, PA.

Poppe, K. J. (2005, June). Tactile Graphic Products. University of Louisville Teacher Prep Group, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2005, March). Tactile Graphic Products. Vanderbilt In-Service Training, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2005, May). Product Fair: Tactile Graphics Products. Meeting of the Minds III, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J., & Pierce, T. (2005, March). Tactile Symbols: Low Tech Choices Today, High-Tech Schedules Tomorrow. 46th Annual CTEVH Conference, Burlingame, California.

Poppe, K.J. (2005, August). Tactile Graphic Products for Young Children. National Family Conference, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K.J. (2005, July). Draftsman and Picture Maker. University of Louisville O&M Students, APH, Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry (March 2005), Technology Projects and Products from APH, Vanderbilt Students, Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry (September 2005) Podcasting: How it can Benefit Blind Users, National Federation of the Blind Computer User's Division, Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry and Mullins, Steve, (March 2005) Using New Software to Create Digital Talking Books the Easy Way, CSUN Conference, Los Angeles, CA.

Skutchan, Larry and Smith Rodger, (June 2005), New APH Technology, Gateways Conference, Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry and Smith Rodger, (March 2005) New Technology from APH, Kentucky AER, Owensboro, KY.

Skutchan, Larry, (January 2005) Using New Software to Create Digital Talking Books the Easy Way, ATIA Conference, Orlando, FL.

Skutchan, Larry, (October 2004) Teacher's Pet Training, American Printing House for the Blind Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY.

Skutchan, Larry, American Printing House F/T Blind; Kerscher, George, DAISY Consortium; Steele,Phil, gh, LLC; Erickson, Blake, Telex Communications, Inc.; Fruchterman, Jim, Benetech Bookshare.Org (March 2005), All For One, And One For All: Single File, Multiple Outputs, CSUN Conference, Los Angeles, CA.

Skutchan, Larry, Hundreds of Books in your Pocket with Book Port (March 2005), California State University at Northridge, Los Angeles, CA.

Skutchan, Larry; Kersher, George, et al (March 2005) DAISY Hardware And Software Players: A Hands-On Experience, CSUN Conference, Los Angeles, CA.

Smith, Rodger (October 2004) Information Fair Poster Session, American Printing House for the Blind Annual Meeting, Louisville KY.

Terlau, M. T. (April, 2005). 'K' Sonar and Miniguide US: Electronic Travel Devices for the 21st Century. Michigan AER Conference. Lavonia, MI.

Terlau, M. T. (August, 2005). Daily Living Products from APH. Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, Miami, FL.

Terlau, M. T. (February, 2005). 'K 'Sonar and Student Miniguide, ETDs for the 21st Century. Illinois AER Vision Conference. Naperville, IL.

Terlau, M. T. (January, 2005). 'K 'Sonar and Student Miniguide, ETDs for the 21st Century. Assistive Technology Industry Association, Orlando, FL.

Terlau, M. T. (March, 2005). 'K' Sonar And Student Miniguide: Background, Features, Demonstrations And Applications. CSUN Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities. Northridge, CA.

Terlau, M. T. (March, 2005). Low Vision Elders and Your Program, A Practical Model for Access, Inclusion, and Skill Development. Joint Conference of the American
Association on Aging and the National Council on the Aging. Philadelphia, PA.

Terlau, M. T. (May, 2005). New Electronic Travel Devices from the American Printing House for the Blind. Illinois Orientation and Mobility Association Meeting, Hines, IL.

Terlau, M. T. (November, 2004). Getting Organized, Some New Tools for Some Old Tasks. MidAmerica Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers and the Southeastern Association of Rehabilitation Teachers, Nashville, TN.

Terlau, M. T. (November, 2004). New Electronic Travel Devices for the 21st Century. Southeastern Orientation and Mobility Association, Auburn, AL.

Terlau, M. T. (September, 2005). 'K' Sonar Training. Oregon Department of Education. Eugene, OR.

Willis, D. and B. Henderson. (2005, July) Presentation on Issues in Assessing Visually Impaired Students for Overbrook School's Collaboration with Special Educators from China, American Printing House for the Blind, July 5, 2005.

Willis, D.and B. Henderson. (2005, June) Presentation on APH Assessment Products and the Accessible Tests Department, for Dr. Mary Ann McConnell and University of Louisville Students in VI Certification Program. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY, June 14, 2005.

Willis, D.and B. Henderson. (2005, May) Presentation on Assessment Trends to attendees of Meeting of the Minds (MOM) III, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY, May 23-24, 2005.

Wright, S. (2005, April). APH: Partnering with Parents and Teachers to Promote Literacy/Poster Session. National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) Conference, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2005, August). What Lies Ahead: On the Way to Literacy. National Family Conference, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2005, May). Research Fair: Emergent Literacy and Current Projects. Meeting of the Minds, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.




Product Materials

Hoffmann, R., (2005) Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments, Chapters 2-5, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Hoffmann, R., (2005) Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments, Skills Checklist, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Hoffmann, R., (2005) Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments, Advance Preparation Checklist, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Jahnel, K., Conlin, K., Pierce, T., & Poppe, K. J. (2005). Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., (2005) Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments, Chapter 1, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Kitchel, E., (2005) Turbo Phonics Teachers' Guidebook, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Kitchel, E., Koniak, H., Krause, K., Smith, M. & Strauss, J., (2005) Address: Earth, Section One, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Otto, F. (2005). Notes for teachers of World Maps. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2005). DRAFTSMAN Tactile Drawing Board: Instruction Booklet. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2005). Periodic Table of the Elements Reference Booklet. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004) Rolling Right Along Construction Kit: User's Guide. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004). Braillable Labels and Sheets: Suggested Uses. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2005). Feel 'n Peel Stickers II: Suggested Uses. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004). Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding. Amercian Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2004). Stick-On Tactile Ruler: Instruction Sheet. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2005) Miniguide US User's Guide. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2005) Remote Unit User's Guide. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. Instructions for Using the LumiTest. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.




Publications

Allman, C., Ph.D. (2005) What You Really Need to Know About Statewide Assessment Programs: Inclusion of Students with Visual Impairments. EnVision, Spring 2005. Lighthouse for the Blind, available at http://www.lighthouse.org.

Allman, C., Ph.D., et al. (2005) An Accommodations Guide for Parents and Students with Visual Impairments. American Foundation for the Blind, Available at: http://www.afb.org.

Allman, C., Ph.D., et al. (2005) Guidelines to Support the Contract Development Process between Test Publishers and States. American Foundation for the Blind, Available at: http://www.afb.org.

Allman, C., Ph.D., et al. (2005) Checklist for Administration of Tests to Students with Visual Impairments. American Foundation for the Blind, Available at: http://www.afb.org.

Henderson, B.W. (2005) New Perspectives on Assessment of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. EnVision, Spring 2005. Lighthouse for the Blind, available at http://www.lighthouse.org.

Kitchel, E., (2005) Proposed Guidelines for Formatting Graphics in Test Documents in Large Print, Rev., multimedia, American Printing House for the Blind: Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., (2005) Reading, Typography and Low Vision: A Few Guidelines for Making Large Print Tests More Accessible, Rev., multimedia, American Printing House for the Blind: Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., (2005) Color and Text Guidelines for the Development of Power Point Presentations and Webpages for Audiences that May Include Persons with Low Vision, multimedia, American Printing House for the Blind: Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., (2005) Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Color Blindness, American Printing House for the Blind: Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., (2005) Creative Writing for the Adventitiously Blind Adult, multimedia, American Printing House for the Blind: Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2005). 'K' Sonar And Student Miniguide: Background, Features, Demonstrations And Applications. Proceedings of the CSUN Conference on




New Products

APH Insights 2006 Calendar5-18971-06
Bold Line Pocket Notebook Paper1-04392-00
Braille DateBook Calendar20061-07899-06
Braille DateBook Calendar Tabs20061-07898-06
Braille' n Speak Scholar1-07320-01
Child Guided Strategies for Accessibility of Children D/B or M/HC1-31001-00
Collegiate Bold Line Notebook1-04826-00
Color Test II - Spanish Version1-03951-SP
Colorino - English Version1-03955-00
Colorino - Spanish Version1-03955-SP
Draftsman1-08857-00
EZ Fill1-03790-00
EZ Track 2006 Calendar Inserts1-07901-06
EZ Track 2006 Calendar1-07900-06
French/Spanish Street Signs for ENVISION1-08555-00
Goin' on a Bear Hunt6-77903-00
Goin' on a Bear Hunt, Braille Reader's Guide6-77907-00
Home Grown Video: ENVISION I1-30015-00
Home Grown Video: ENVISION II1-30016-00
Jacob's 14" Rib-It-Ball1-07513-00
Jacob's 18" Rib-It-Ball1-07514-00
Jacob's 30" Rib-It-Ball w/Pump1-07515-00
Jacob's Rib-It-Ball 14" PVC Bladder Pack1-07513-01
Jacob's Rib-It-Ball 18" PVC Bladder Pack1-07514-01
Jacob's Rib-It-Ball 30" PVC Bladder Pack1-07515-01
'K' Sonar1-07000-00
Light Box Level II Activity Guide LP/CD English Version1-08680-00
Light Box Level II Activity Guide LP/CD Spanish Version7-08680-SP
Light Box Level III Activity Guide, LP/CD English Version7-08690-00
LumiTest1-03956-00
Mini Rib-It-Ball1-07512-00
Money TalksD-03560-00
Psycho-Educational Assessment Video1-30003-01
Quick Pick Braille Contractions Kit1-03576-00
Rolling Right Along: Construction Kit1-08451-00
Sense of Science Braille Guidebook5-08990-00
Sense of Science Print Guidebook7-08990-00
Sense of Science, Animals Kit1-08990-00
Setting the Stage Braille Guidebook5-08853-00
Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding1-08853-00
Setting the Stage Print Guidebook7-08853-00
Sherlock - Talking Label Identifier1-07410-00
Sherlock Labels (25 per pack)1-07411-00
Sherlock Tags (10 per pack)1-07412-00
Stick On Tactile Ruler (set of 5)1-03081-00
Tactile Drawing Film (pack of 25)1-08858-00
Talking Calculator1-03971-00
Talking Thermometer1-03972-00
Tic Tac Toe Accessory Kit1-08542-00
Tiny Tip Accessory 5-Pack1-03956-01
World Maps5-06001-00