American Printing House
For The Blind

Research
&
Development Activities

Fiscal 2006

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.

RESEARCH DEPARTMENT
ANNUAL REPORT 2006

Introduction/Letter from Director of Research

October 15, 2006

Dear Reader:

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) presents the Annual Research Report for 2006.

APH categorizes research and development (R&D) projects into four areas. Active projects are those projects that have been approved by the APH Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) for development and have been assigned to a project leader. Completed projects are those projects where one or more products have been assigned a catalogue number and are available for sale. Parking lot projects are those projects approved by the APH PARC but not assigned to a project leader for active R&D. Pipeline projects are those projects that are between the initial stage of Product Submission and approval by the APH PARC.

The status of APH R&D of 351 products between October 1, 2005, and September 30, 2006, is summarized as follows:

  Active Completed Parking Lot Pipeline
Assessment 64 4 4 3
Assistive Technology & Electronics 9 6 1 4
Career Education & Transition 0 0 1 1
Communication Modes & Literacy Education 45 24 3 11
Daily Living 18 9 2 3
Early Childhood 16 9 2 1
InSights/Special Touch 0 2 0 0
Math 24 3 3 3
O&M/Concept Development 7 4 1 2
Physical Education 9 3 0 0
Recreation & Leisure 6 3 1 0
Social Studies & Geography 15 2 1 0
Science 5 5 0 0
Visual Efficiency & Low Vision 7 4 0 1
Totals 225 78 19 29

In the 2006 Annual Research Report, you will find information from Deborah Willis, Director of Accessible Tests, 11 project leaders, the Technical Research Manager, the Model Maker, and the Assistant Director of Research on more than 100 individual projects, which represent major work in the above 14 categories.

This report also provides the names and positions of other key members of our Research Department team and our Accessible Tests team. These individuals provide vital support in the R&D of projects. Please be sure to review closely the names of the individuals and agencies/schools who have contributed to our work. Without them, we would be unable to produce products that meet the needs of our customers.

In conclusion, 2006 has been a record breaking year for APH. Although the APH Research Department and the Accessible Tests Department take great pride in our contribution to this record, we understand that records like these aren't realized without a real "APH TEAM" effort. This TEAM includes those of you who proposed Product Submission ideas. The TEAM includes those consultants and vendors who support the production of our products. The TEAM includes APH Advisory Services departments and the APH Finance group, including those who market and provide our world class customer and contract services. The TEAM includes Development, Public Relations, and Human Resources. And last, but not least, the TEAM includes the dedicated people in our APH Production Department who work tirelessly to manufacture and ship the products to our customers.

In 2006, this APH TEAM has established a new benchmark of excellence.

Sincerely,

Ralph E. Bartley, Ph.D.

Director of Research

Advisory Committees

APH especially wishes to acknowledge the superb leadership and guidance from the Ex Officio Trustees serving as members of the Educational Services Advisory and Educational Products Advisory Committees. FY 2006 committee members were:

Educational Products Advisory Committee:

Chair -- Carol McCarroll (TN)

2006 -- Robb Farrell (MD)
2007 -- Bernadette Kappen (PA)
2008 -- Lorri Quigley (UT)
2006 -- Jean Small (ME)
2008 -- Dean Stenehjem (WA)
2007 -- Tom Winton (NC)

Alternate
Kenalea Johnson (NM)

Educational Services Advisory Committee:

Chair -- Karen Blankenship (IA)

2006 -- Joseph Catavero (NY)
2007 -- Jacqueline Denk (KS)
2007 -- James Downs (GA)
2006 -- Jean Martin (MN)

Alternate
Carmen Suminski (ND)

Department of Research Staff

Educational Research
Aicken, John, M.B.A.-----Assistant Director
Bartley, Ralph, Ph.D.-----Director
Boyer, Charles "Burt", M.A.-----Research Associate
Cox, Valerie-----Administrative Assistant
Creasy, Keith, B.S.-----Programmer III
Eiland, Mario, B.A.-----Programmer I
Freeman, Bill, B.S.-----Programmer
Gilmore, Terri, A.S.-----Graphic Designer
Hedges, John, B.S.-----Programmer II
Hoffmann, Rosanne, Ph.D.-----Research Assistant
Kitchel, Elaine, M.Ed.-----Research Scientist
McDonald, Michael, B.S.-----Programmer
Meredith, Rob-----Programmer 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, Tom-----Model and Pattern Maker
Roderick, Carol, B.A.-----Research Assistant (part-time)
Roman, 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
Wicker, Jeanette, M.A.-----Research Associate
Wright, Suzette, B.A.-----Consultant/Project Leader (part-time)

Technical Research Division
Donhoff, Darlene-----Technical/Clerical Assistant
Hayden, Frank-----Manager
McGee, David-----Manufacturing Specialist
Robinson, James-----Manufacturing Specialist

Accessible Tests Department Staff
Allman, Carol, Ph.D.-----Consultant & Instructor
Bayens, Nancy-----ATIC Administrative Assistant
Coffey, Monica, M.Ed.-----Accessible Test Editor
Garrett, Dena-----ATIC Accessible 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.

Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8, Duncansville, PA
Area Education Agency 267, Cedar Falls, IA
Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Tucson, AZ
Bellingham School District #501, Bellingham, WA
Boone County Schools, Burlington, KY
Boulder Valley Public Schools, Boulder, CO
Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary, Louisville, KY
Burns Elementary, Owensboro, KY
California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA
Camp Abilities, SUNY Brockport, Brockport, NY
Carr School, Santa Ana, CA
Carroll Center for the Blind , Newton, MA
Catholic Charities Maine, Lewiston, ME
Chandler Unified School District, Chandler, AZ
Chapman University, Concord, CA
Cleveland Elementary School, Hamilton, OH
Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, Colorado Springs, CO
Cooperative Educational Service Agency #1, Brookfield, WI
Daviess County & Owensboro Public Schools, Owensboro, KY
Davis School District, Bountiful, UT
Davis School District, Farmington, UT
Deer Park Elementary, Owensboro, KY
Denison ISD, Denison, TX
Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, IA
DeSoto County Schools, Olive Branch, MS
Discovery Middle School, Alexandria, MN
Dutchess County BOCES, Poughkeepsie, NY
Edison Elementary, Tonawanda, NY
Educational Service District 123, Dixie, WA
Estes Elementary, Owensboro, KY
Evansville Association for the Blind, Evansville, IN
Fairfax County Public Schools, Dunn Loring, VA
Fargo Public Schools, Fargo, ND
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, St. Augustine, FL
Fox C-6 School District, Arnold, MO
Francis Howell School District, St. Charles, MO
Giles County Schools-Richland, Lynnville, TN
Green County, Greensburg, KY
Hampstead Elementary School, Hampstead, MD
Hardin County Schools, Elizabethtown, KY
Hawthorne Elementary, Louisville, KY
Hazelwood Elementary School, Edmonds, WA
Hunter College, NY, NY
Idaho School f/t Deaf and the Blind, Gooding, ID
Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Indianapolis, IN
Irving School, West Allis, WI
Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY
Keystone Area Education Agency, Dubuque, IA
Macomb Independent School District, Clinton Twp., MI
Marin County Office of Education, San Rafael, CA
Maryland School for the Blind, Baltimore, MD
Mississippi School for the Blind, Jackson, MS
Moniteau County, Tipton, MO
Montana School for the Deaf and Blind Great Falls, MT
Moses Lake School District, Moses Lake, WA
Munfordville Elementary School, Munfordville, KY
New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Las Cruces, NM
New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY
North Dakota School for the Blind, Bismarck, ND
North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, Grand Forks, ND
Northshore Education Consortium, Peabody, MA
NW Regional Educational School District, Hillsboro, OR
Ohio State School for the Blind, Columbus, KY
Oklahoma School for the Blind, Muskogee, OK
Peifer Elementary, Schererville, IN
Randall Elementary School, Waukesha, WI
Reno County Educational Cooperative, Hutchinson, KS
Riverside County Office of Education, Riverside, CA
Sanford-Fritch Elementary School, Fritch, TX
Special School District of St. Louis County, Town and Country, MO
St. Louis Public Schools, St. Louis, MO
Tangipahoa Parish School System, Ponchatoula, LA
Washington County Public Schools, Abingdon, VA
Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA
Watertown Unified School District, Watertown, WI
White Hall Elementary, Richmond, KY
Willamette ESD, Salem, OR

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.

Bailey, Ian, O.D, M.S., University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California, [Optimization of Visual Skills]

Beets, Michael, M.Ed., M.P.H., Oregon State University, [Accuracy of Voice-Announcement Pedometers for Youth with Visual Impairment]

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, Ed.D., Metro Schools, Nashville, Tennessee, [ToAD, FV/EMA]

Dortch, Jenny, M.Ed., [Primary Math Units -- MathBuilders]

Douglass, Sue, M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Castro Valley, CA [Jumbo Work & Play Tray]

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

Foley, John, Ph.D., SUNY Cortland, NY, [Accuracy of Voice-Announcement Pedometers for Youth with Visual Impairment]

Harrell, Lois, B.S., Pediatric Vision Consultant, Placerville, CA [Moving Ahead Tactile Graphic Storybooks]

Hatton, Deborah, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, FPG Child Development Institute, [The National Registry for Children with Visual Impairments, Birth to Three.]

Heinze, Toni, Ph.D., Northern Illinois University, De Kalb, Illinois, [Best Intervention Techniques]

Ingber, Janet, Music Therapist and Author, New York, NY, [Parenting Book]

Kendrick, Deborah, Author and Journalist, Cincinnati OH, [Parenting Book]

Koniak, Lane, M.S., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Portland, Oregon, [Large Format Atlas]

Krause, Kathy, M.S., Braille Transcriber, Tucson, Arizona, [Large Format Atlas]

Lieberman, Lauren, Ph.D., SUNY Brockport, NY, [Walk/Run for Fitness Kit, PE Web Site]

Lueck, Amanda, Ph.D., Professor of Special Education, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, [Developmental Guidelines, Best Intervention Techniques and Optimization of Visual Skills]

McClurg, Lana, M.A., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Arizona Schools for the Deaf & the Blind, Tucson, AZ [Woodcock-Johnson III: Tests of Achievement]

McCulloh, Karen, RN, BS, Morton Grove, IL, [Nonverbal Behavioral Curriculum]

Mowerson, Lisa-Anne, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Wallingford, Connecticut [Labeling Book and Kit]

O'Connor, Kevin, Marriage and Family Therapist, Arlington Heights, IL, [Parenting Book]

O'Donnell, Betsy, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Philadelphia, PA, [Orientation and Mobility for Families]

Perla, Fabiana, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Philadelphia, PA, [Orientation and Mobility for Families]

Rosenblum, L. Penny, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [Reclaiming Independence: Staying in the Driver's Seat when you no longer Drive]

Sanford, LaRhea, Ed.D., Consultant, Metro Nashville, Tennessee. [ToAD, FV/EMA]

Schedlin, Haley, MS Ed., Camp Abilities, SUNY Brockport, Brockport, NY [Walk/Run for Fitness Kit]

Smith, Matthew, B.S., Cartographer, Louisville, Kentucky, [Large Format Atlas]

Smith, Millie J., M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Consultant, Garland, TX, [Variable Beam Flashlight Kit and ToAD]

Stratton, Josephine Ed.D., Norwich, NY [Revision of the On the Way to Literacy Handbook; Moving Ahead Tactile Graphic Storybooks]

Truan, Mila, Ed.D., Reading Specialist, Tennessee School for the Blind [Moving Ahead Tactile Graphic Storybooks]

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

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, Columbus Public Schools, Westerville, OH

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

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

Heck, Becky, Science Teacher, Indiana School for the Blind, Indianapolis, IN

Jasko, Jan, Science Teacher, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Parma City Schools, Parma Heights, OH

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

Rahni, Faye, Science Teacher, New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY

Riccobono, Mark, Director of Educational Programs, National Federation of the Blind, Baltimore, MD

Richey, Karen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Northeast Texas Tri-District Co-op, New Boston, TX

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

Schroeder, Jimmy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Lufkin High School, Lufkin, TX

Ulwick-Sacca, Janet, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Carroll Center for the Blind, Gloucester, MA

Lots of Dots: Counting 123

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

Beattie, Micheline, Elementary Teacher and Teacher of Service for VI, Peifer Elementary, Schererville, IN

Henrichs, Deborah, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Irving School, West Allis, WI

Link, Pam, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Resource Teacher, Munfordville Elementary School, Munfordville, KY

Lobb, Nancy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Mississippi School for the Blind, Jackson, MS

Olson-Murphy, Anne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Willamette ESD, Salem, OR

Ramirez, Claudia, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Denison ISD, Denison, TX

Smith, Clo Ann, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Carr School, Santa Ana, CA

Snow, Brenda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Preschool Teacher, Sanford-Fritch Elementary School, Fritch, TX

Reclaiming Independence: Staying in the Driver's Seat When You No Longer Drive

Duffy, Maureen, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Director of Programs in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy, Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Elkins Park, PA

Griffin-Shirley, Nora, Ph.D., Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Gerontologist, Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

Orr, Alberta, MSW, CSW, Gerontologist, Brooklyn, NY

Penrod, William, Ph.D., Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Coordinator, Orientation and Mobility Program, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Sanders, Judy, President, National Organization of the Senior Blind, National Federation of the Blind, Minneapolis, MN

Webb McKinney, Nola, President, Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss, American Council of the Blind, Bonnerdale, AR

Revision -- On the Way to Literacy Handbook

Anthony, Tanni, Ph.D., State Vision Consultant, Colorado Department of Education, Denver, CO

Brint, Betsy, Representative for National Association of Parents of Visually Impaired, Highland Park, IL

D'Andrea, Frances Mary, M.A., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, DeKalb County Schools, Atlanta, GA

Feldman, Pauletta, Special Projects Coordinator, Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Rightmyer, Elizabeth Campbell, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Sapp, Wendy, Ph.D., COMS, Visual Impairment Education Services, Cohutta, GA

Story, Andrea, B.S./SFA, Teacher, Special Education Service Agency/Vision Impairment Services for Infants and Toddlers, Anchorage, AK

Tibke, Dawn, Parent, Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Scattered Crowns: A Tactile Attribute Game

Brewer, Susanne, Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Metropolitan Public Schools of Nashville, Nashville, TN

Britcher, Trina, Itinerant Vision Teacher, Harrison County Board of Education, Clarksburg, WV

Goldman, Edie, Kindergarten Teacher, New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY

Hertich, Jennifer, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Overbrook School for the Blind, Philadelphia, PA

Husman, Cheryl, Regional Consultant, Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind, Middleton, Region Three Office, Middleton, ID

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

Limon, Terri, Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Mansfield Intermediate School District, Mansfield, TX

Luthy, Nancy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind, Region 7, Gooding, ID

May, Christine, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cypress Fairbanks Intermediate School District, Houston, TX

Nametz, Cheryl, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, Holland, MI

Nelson, Debbie, CTVI/COMS, Mansfield Intermediate School District, Mansfield, TX

Rodgers, Margie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Overbrook School for the Blind, Philadelphia, PA

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

Zenger, Sharon, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Utah School for the Blind--Central, Salt Lake City, UT

Zollinger, Jan, Regional Teacher/Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind, Gooding, ID

Sound Localization Study and Portable Sound Source, Sport Edition

Barnes, Monica, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, White Hall Elementary, Richmond, KY

Farrel, Renee, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Fast, Danene, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Ohio State School for the Blind, Columbus, KY

Grimmelsman, Lynn, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Indianapolis, IN

Hughes, Kristina, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Burns Elementary, Deer Park Elementary, Estes Elementary, Owensboro, KY, Evansville Association for the Blind, Evansville, IN

Metzghar, Kim, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Breckinridge Franklin Elementary, Louisville, KY

Smith, Rachel, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Ohio State School for the Blind, Columbus, KY

StackUps: Spatial Reasoning Using Cube and Isometric Drawings

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

Fridgant, Donna, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

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

Harbison, Michelle, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Linthicum, MD

Hodge, Lisa, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Washington School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

Johnston, Jennifer F., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Gardendale High School/Jefferson County Public School System, Birmingham, AL

Ireland, Brenda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Certified O&M Specialist, Payette School District, Payette, ID

Martinez, Yvonne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Mesquite Independent School District, Mesquite, TX

Pariso, Jill R., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Orleans-Niagara BOCES, Medina, NY

Scott, Shari, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

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

Ulwick-Sacca, Janet M., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Carroll Center for the Blind, Newton, MA

Volk-Heimbach, Danelle, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Linthicum, MD

Walton, Sally, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Frederick County Public Schools, Walkersville, MD

Weatherall, JoAnn, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Wixom, David, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Industrial Arts and Technology, Missouri School for the Blind, St. Louis, MO

Turbo Phonics Beta Testers

Ansel, Candace, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Questar III BOCES, Troy, NY

Bailey, Barbara, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, CMS Schools, Sausalito, CA

Boggs, Eldre, Program Coordinator, Anne Arundel Public Schools, MD

Chamberlain, Mary Noel, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, IA

Christaldi, Camille, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Oswego County BOCES, Fulton, NY

Foersterling, Sandra, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Hamilton Public Schools, Hamilton, OH

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

Mangis, Susan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, San Juan Unified Schools, Carmichael, CA

Nannariello, Barbara, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Orange/Ulster BOCES, Thiells, NY

Palau, Karen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Buffalo Public Schools, Buffalo, NY

Pastwa, Janet, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Hillsboro County Schools, FL

Pierce, Carol N., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Middlebury Public Schools, Middlebury, MA

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

Richards, Donna, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Jamesville Public Schools, Jamesville, NY

Stern, Diane, Henry Viscardi School, Long Island, NY

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

ToAD Field Testers and Expert Reviewers

Burnett, Rebecca, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Metro Schools, Nashville, TN

Cernkovich, Judy, Retired, Wood County Educational Service Center, Bowling Green, OH

Clyne, Michelle, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Illinois Deaf-Blind Services, Lombard, IL

Kelly, Barbara, Early Interventionist, Visually Impaired Pre School Program, Louisville, KY

Newcomb, Sandra, Program Coordinator, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Olsen-Murphy, Anne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Willamette ESD, Salem, OR

Sanford, LaRhea, Consultant, Metro Schools, Nashville, TN

Smith, Millie J., M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Consultant, Garland, TX

Yale, Kay, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Gadsen County Public Schools, Quincy, FL

Walk/Run for Fitness Kit

Camper 1, 10 years old, NY
Camper 2, 9 years old, NY
Camper 3, 14 years old, NY
Camper 4, 14 years old, NY
Camper 5, 13 years old, NY
Camper 6, 12 years old, NY
Camper 7, 9 years old, CT
Camper 8, 14 years old, NY
Camper 9, 14 years old, 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; and
  5. Research into test-related issues.

Current Core Team Members
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 (ATIC)
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, M.A., M.S., 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 [deceased 2005]

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 FY 2002, 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 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 website 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 September 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 preparation materials were selected for adaptation into braille and large print upon which a new project was embarked.

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 November 2003.

Consultant Carol Allman 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 at a steady pace, with Kristopher Scott and Monica Coffey editing and facilitating production of over 60 individual test titles in braille and recorded formats. Consultation work by Accessible Tests staff included advising 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: Jane Erin of the University of Arizona on Effects of Test Medium, the ABC Braille Study by Anne Corn at Vanderbilt, et al., Gaylen Kapperman at Northern Illinois University on Results of Math Items for Visually Impaired Students, and the National Center on Educational Outcomes (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 J. 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: 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.

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

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

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.

A wide variety of state assessments and commercially available tests were edited and produced in accessible media on a contract basis during FY 2005. These included approximately 265 unique state assessments provided in some combination of braille, tactile graphics, enlarged print, and audio formats. Accompanying test administration notes were provided in accessible media when specified in the contract. Items such as braille paper, rulers, bold line writing paper, and protractors were included with tests as per specific contractual agreements. State assessments were for grades three through high school and covered some or all of the following areas: math, language arts, reading, science, and social studies. 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 will be field tested in FY 2006. 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: 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, 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: www.lighthouse.org

Several presentations were provided in FY 2005. 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, Superintendent of the School for the Blind in Vancouver, Washington, and Gary Snyder, 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 the 2004 Annual Meeting. Information on what states are doing to include visually impaired students in state assessments and specific considerations for making tests accessible were presented and discussed. Mary Ann Siller, Director of the National Education Program with AFB, disseminated copies of the 2004 Jo Taylor Leadership Institute (JTLI) Education Summary. Participants were interested in the Summary's article on Work Group Report: High-Stakes Assessments and Alternate Assessments. Next steps included a phone conference with AFB, APH, and TSBVI staff to determine key test-related issues that need to be addressed.

To build assessment initiatives for schools, AFB, APH, and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) collaborated to create three articles with checklists. These were developed in response to the top assessment priorities identified during the 2004 JTLI. They are: Model Accommodations and Procedures: A Guide for Parents; Guidelines to Support the Contract Development Process between Test Publishers and States; and Checklist for Administration of Tests to Students with Visual Impairments. The checklists provide concrete steps that can be readily used in programs to build accountability through assessments. These documents were used as the basis for presentations to attendees at the 2005 JTLI. Final articles with checklists can be viewed and downloaded from the AFB web site at: 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 Lynne Jaffe, a learning disabilities specialist, to create a presentation on Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement in Braille. Jaffe provided this presentation at the Arizona Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Conference held in Prescott in October 2004. Carol Allman presented Accommodations to Help Maximize Test Performance of Students with Visual Impairments at the National Family Conference. The audience included parents, students, educators, and psychologists. While Carol was in Louisville for this conference, members of Accessible Tests took the opportunity to discuss some department plans for FY 2006.

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.

Phil Hatlen and Debbie Willis joined forces as co-chairs of Goal 8 (Expanded Core Curriculum) to address this National Agenda goal. Debbie also continued to serve as chair of Goal 6 (Assessment).

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

At APH's 2005 Annual Meeting, poster sessions, concurrent sessions, and a general session presentation were provided on test and assessment topics, and related issues such as the expanded core curriculum. Related meetings such as the AFB Solutions Forum and National Agenda Committee Meeting were attended. Immediately following Annual Meeting, Carol Allman provided an "On the Road" workshop at the New York AER and an in-service to the New York Department of Education and state assessment staff on testing students who are blind or visually impaired. Surveys and networking with the field and with our customers continued as a means to determine customer satisfaction and specific needs for products, services, and information. Test-related contract work to review and edit state assessment and alternate assessment items, and prepare test notes for administering the alternate media editions, was accomplished throughout the fiscal year.

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

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

The National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairment (NCLVI) is a collaborative agreement funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. NCLVI was created in order to increase the number of leaders in the field of blindness and visual impairment. Since assessment of students with visual impairments is a significant area of concern, the topic of discussion for NCLVI scholars during the month of November 2005 was statewide assessments presented in accessible formats to students who are blind or visually impaired. Carol Allman and Debbie Willis joined primary instructor Amanda Hall-Lueck as Leadership Discussants during this "Assessment" course.

Accessible Tests staff attended and/or presented at various conferences which included the Association of Test Publishers Conference, the Council of Chief State School Officers Conference on Large-Scale Assessment, the Second Invitational CASMA-ACT Conference, the Educational Testing Service and College Board sponsored conference on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, Kentucky AER, Kentucky Valley Special Education Cooperative Institute, and the National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs. Presentations were also provided to groups of teachers and university students, such as Jefferson County Vision Teachers, and Vanderbilt and University of Louisville graduate students, who visited APH.

The Director of Accessible Tests served on the National Agenda Committee as chair of the assessment goal to help ensure assessment of students who are blind or visually impaired will be conducted, in collaboration with parents, by personnel having expertise in the education of students with visual impairments. Phil Hatlen and Debbie Willis continued to co-chair the expanded core curriculum goal. Two surveys to determine a national picture of the current status of the expanded core curriculum were developed and disseminated in FY 2006; results of these surveys will be compiled and reported in FY 2007. Debbie was also appointed a member of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Task Force to improve access to standardized tests and test-related materials for graduate students, professionals, and parents who are blind or visually impaired. Accessible Tests is working on a contract basis with a graduate student in need of a braille edition of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) for class as well as professional use. Debbie is also serving on the Association of Test Publishers Education Division 2007 Conference Committee.

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

Accessible Tests staff continued a collaborative effort begun in 2005 with the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), AFB, and RFB&D staff to research most promising practices in narration of math and science content for Digital Talking Books and materials. Staff helped to identify Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professionals and students to participate in a survey which is currently underway in the second year of the project. Barbara Henderson participated in the National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs (NAASLN) International Conference, November 13-15, 2006, in Denver, Colorado as one of four presenters in a regular session on Accessible Tests for Adult Students. Finally, Barbara joined five other people for a special focus group session on the Current Status of Testing Accommodations for the NAASLN population.

An additional collaborative effort is continuing with CASAS, an organization devoted to assessment of adult basic skills required for success in the workplace and in life, to develop and research the first braille edition of a CASAS assessment instrument. Barbara Henderson assisted CASAS staff in identifying additional field testing sites where braille readers ages 16 and up might participate. The goal for the CASAS study is to secure 50 field test participants by the end of calendar year 2006. Barbara also participated as a consultant and panelist in a two-part study conducted by the National Center on Educational Outcomes. The results of the study were published as an online technical report titled, Considerations for the Development and Review of Universally Designed Assessments. This document is available at: http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/OnlinePubs/Technical42.htm

Barbara Henderson furnished updated information on APH tests and test-related materials for the winter 2005 revision of Lighthouse International's Assessment Compendium: Instruments for Assessing the Skills and Interests of Individuals with Visual Impairments. The free, online document is now available at VisionConnection: www.visionconnection.org/Content/ForProfessionals/PatientManagement/Pediatrics/AssessmentCompendium.htm

During FY 2006, Barbara continued to work with the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky School for the Blind to review the online version of the Commonwealth Accountability & Testing System (CATS) in order to ensure accessibility for students who are blind or visually impaired. Accessible Test Editors Monica Coffey and Kris Scott participated on a statewide Bias Review Committee to examine potential test items on Kentucky's Core Content Tests.

Carol Allman and Barbara Henderson participated in the First Annual Invitational Summit on Universal Design in Assessment which was sponsored by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) at the University of Minnesota; eight partners and an additional eight test publishers participated. Panel members are working on an article to be submitted to a juried publication in FY 2007.

During this fiscal year, Accessible Test Editors took on three new challenges: 1) reviewing, editing, and preparing scripts for use by Recording Studio staff, as well as proofing the recorded masters, 2) checking print tests to be "enlarged" for errors or issues as a result of the enlargement process, and 3) reviewing and editing states' alternate assessments. An additional project to review and make recommendations to a test under development with regard to colorblindness and low vision concerns was undertaken. Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader in the Research Department, contributed her time and expertise to the success of this project and the continuing professional development of Accessible Tests staff.

Test and assessment projects in the areas of 1) contract work and 2) project development that results in catalog products were undertaken. In FY 2006, approximately 345 unique tests and assessments, answer documents, and test-related reference sheets were reviewed, edited, and produced in accessible media. This represents a 30% increase over a one-year period in the number of unique test materials produced on a contract basis. These tests were requested by various test publishers and state department of education staff from states that included Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Though varying in content, these tests generally assessed mathematics, science, social science, reading, and writing. Accessible Tests staff also edited and produced the Ballard & Tight IDEA English Language Proficiency tests which are used by several states for all grades in both contracted and uncontracted braille. Of the tests prepared, seven forms were alternate assessments reviewed and edited for West Virginia, and 12 forms were alternate assessments for Michigan. Test administration notes were written and provided, as requested, for about 80% of these tests. Additional city and state assessments and alternate assessments will continue to be reviewed and edited by the Accessible Test Editors, and/or produced at APH in accessible media, as requested and as resources are available to provide high quality tests in accessible media and timely delivery of test materials.

Catalog items under development by the department's Test and Assessment Project Leader are in various phases as listed below:

The following new projects were proposed in FY 2006 and approved for further development in FY 2007: Large Print Number Line and Tactile Disposable Number Lines; KeyMath-III; and the Kaufman Tests of Educational Achievement-II (KTEA-II).

For more information on the above projects, see the individual project reports in the Test and Assessment section that immediately follows Work Planned for FY 2007.

Accessible Tests staff gratefully acknowledge the direction and support of Executive Committee members and Ex Officio Trustees, and all the wonderful partners within APH and with individuals, agencies, schools, and organizations outside of APH who worked together to help make instructional materials and tests available in accessible media for individuals with visual impairments, who promoted the inclusion of individuals with visual impairments during test development, and who were actively engaged in improving the test performance of blind and visually impaired individuals through research, education, and communication. As Helen Keller said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." There is much to be done.

Work planned for FY 2007
Accessible Tests staff will work closely with APH's Contract Administration, Production, Research, ATIC, Field Services, and Communications staff, and will engage in discussions and seek direction from Executive Committee members and Ex Officio Trustees, particularly members of the Educational Products Advisory Committee and Educational Services Advisory Committee. Additional city and state assessments and alternate assessments will continue to be reviewed and edited by Accessible Tests Editors, and/or produced at APH in accessible media, as requested and as resources are available to provide high quality tests in a timely manner. Test Administration Notes will be provided for accessible media as specified by each contract or agreement. Research and development efforts that result in test-related catalog products will continue. The needs of the field will be surveyed, high priority needs identified, products completed, product-related services provided, and customer satisfaction gauged.

Accessible Tests staff will offer leadership through services, collaborative efforts and partnerships, and product-related research and development. Workshops at APH, "on the road" workshops in connection with other conferences, presentations, and webcasts on test topics and issues will be developed and made available on the APH website. Training sessions on accessible versions of the Woodcock-Johnson III: Tests of Achievement will be planned. Collaborative efforts, networking and partnering with test publishers, item developers, and assessment personnel across the country will be pursued. Research and cooperative efforts with universities and agencies such as the Association of Test Publishers, the American Psychological Association, the National Center on Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota, the National Alternate Assessment Center at the University of Kentucky, the Braille Authority of North America, American Foundation for the Blind, and others will be engaged in order to continue addressing the tracks identified at the outset of Test Central (now APH's Accessible Tests Department).

The resources and guidelines for making test items accessible in various media and the special issues with regard to testing students with visual impairments will be reviewed, revised, updated, and freely shared. Test-related information and links to resources will continue to be provided and updated on the Accessible Tests web page. Test guidelines will be discussed with members of BANA, and efforts will be made to encourage BANA to adopt guidelines so that tests and assessments will be produced in braille according to standard guidelines. APH's first Test and Assessment Catalog will be developed and disseminated.

Tests
&
Assessments

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, Consultant/Low Vision Project Leader
Eleanor Pester, Consultant/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 inaccessible to blind and low vision students, preventing them from full participation in assessment opportunities alongside their peers.

Work during FY 2006
The project leader was unable to bring this project back into active status during FY 2006 due to prior commitments. No additional work was done on the project during that time frame.

Work planned for FY 2007
It was decided that finding a partner for research into necessary design considerations for accessible answer documents is more important than ever. Many states are moving to computerized scoring of their achievement tests and current scannable answer documents are not useable by low vision and blind test takers. The project leader has made several contacts with test publishers and research entities, but a committed partner must be identified within the first quarter of FY 2007 if this project is to be pulled off the PARCing Lot again in the second quarter of FY 2007.

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

(Continuing)

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
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Art & Layout
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

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 process for production of full-color large print have made this project much more realistic in FY 2006.

Work during FY 2006
The publisher's files were received in the third quarter of FY 2006 and file conversion began. The project leader worked with Bisig Impact Group staff to set specifications for the large print formatting and a PDC meeting was held at APH to determine product structure and timelines.

Work planned for FY 2007
Work with Bisig Impact Group staff on reformatting each subtest will continue until the four volume large print set is ready for production at APH.

Collaborative Assessment DVD Series

(Continuing)

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.

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 was placed back on the PARCing lot until such time as the consultants could fit the project into their new schedules.

Work during FY 2006
The project was not removed from the PARCing Lot in the second quarter of FY 2006 as planned. Work schedules of CSB staff prevented their involvement until at least January of 2006. No further work was undertaken on this project during FY 2006, with the exception of a teleconference between CSB staff and APH project staff in August 2006 to discuss reviving the project and next steps. The project was revived and again pulled from the PARCing Lot.

Work planned for FY 2007
The project leaders will meet to discuss staffing needs. CSB contributors will provide an outline of the first (introductory) DVD in the series during the first quarter of FY 2007, so that a PDC meeting can be held to establish new timelines.

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

Work during FY 2006
Bender has submitted revised materials for all levels of all four assessment areas: food management; clothing management; self management; and home management. Item editing/revision and creation of additional items have begun.

Work planned for FY 2007
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, Model/Pattern Maker/Project Technical Advisor
Steve Paris, Production Division Manager/Project Advisor
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 currently 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 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.

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.

In 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 paper. Teachers and Department of Education personnel in the contracting state reviewed effectiveness of the rulers for student use during the state assessment window. Test administrators then filled out a short survey about the disposable protractors.

Work during FY 2006
In FY 2006, field test and survey results were gathered. These two products were placed on hold due to the survey results, which indicated that students found the paper protractors difficult to use for several reasons. It was determined that a re-design is needed.

Work planned for FY 2007
New timelines and specifications will be set for the re-design. Sales of the new plastic tactile and large print protractors in early FY 2007 will inform decisions on this project.

Large Print Protractor and Tactile Protractor

(Completed)

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
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant/Co-Project Leader
Debbie Willis, Accessible Tests Director/Project Advisor
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

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.

In FY 2005, a plastic large print/braille protractor prototype was modeled based 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 by the braille readers and were 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 were to be returned in the last quarter of FY 2005.

Work during FY 2006
Reviews of the revised prototypes were examined and final versions executed by the project leader and the manufacturing specialist during the first half of FY 2006. At that time, production specifications and timelines were established. A new machine for closing the grommets was purchased by APH, the molds were ordered and received in house, and the patterns were executed by Tom Poppe. All production materials were ordered and received in house and placed into stock in preparation for the pilot run in the last quarter of FY 2006. The final product is composed of four tactile or four large print protractors with a brief instructional brochure.

Large Print and Tactile Disposable Number Lines

(New)

Purpose
To provide an inexpensive, disposable number line in large print and tactile formats. Teachers have expressed a need for a number line of approximately 10 inches in length, which would be ready to emboss numbers upon by the teacher or by the students themselves. This item would be useful for testing situations as well as for regular classroom activities.

Project staff
Barbara Henderson, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Jeanette Wicker, Project Advisor

Background
The idea for a disposable number line was submitted by a teacher of the visually impaired who liked the APH disposable paper rulers. Her purpose was to make it easier for teachers to make a number line on the fly, without having to pull out a brailler or slate and stylus in order to fashion something for their class the next day. She felt that a number line of this kind would be very popular and fill a real need. The teacher's idea was sent through the Product Evaluation Team (PET) and deemed worthy of further development. The project was assigned to a project leader and project staff.

Work during FY 2006
In the second quarter of FY 2006, project staff communicated with the teacher who submitted the product idea. A sketch was sent to the project leader in preparation for the initial PDC meeting. The project leader met with other project leaders to brainstorm the idea and to get input on product design. It was suggested that the project leader look at ways to use existing APH number line products, or APH products which might be "adapted" for this use, before developing an entirely new item. The project leader and project staff began reviewing existing products for this purpose.

Work planned for FY 2007
As time permits, project staff will continue to review APH products and to look for any existing commercially available products which could be easily and quickly adapted for this use.

Official G.E.D. Practice Tests

(New/discontinued)

Purpose
To provide braille versions of the official practice tests for G.E.D. test preparation. The need for braille practice tests, transcribed in the same format as the actual G.E.D. tests, has been expressed by the field and specifically requested by one ex officio trustee of the American Printing House for the Blind.

Project staff
Barbara Henderson, Project Leader
Monica Coffey, Accessible Tests/Project Editor
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant

Background
In FY 2005, an ex officio trustee contacted the project leader regarding the need for G.E.D. practice tests in braille. The G.E.D. tests were available in braille, but the official G.E.D. Practice Tests were not, putting blind students at a disadvantage. It was decided that APH would seek permission to do the braille editions and market them in our catalog. A long process ensued, during which APH contacted both the publisher and the copyright holder.

Work during FY 2006
Permissions were finally granted in FY 2006, and project staff members were assigned. During the early stages of the work, the project leader discovered that another vendor was already transcribing the Official G.E.D. Practice Tests under contract with a different agency in the same state. Rather than duplicate efforts, APH abandoned the project.

Work planned for FY 2007
No further work is planned on this project.

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

Background
In 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.

A short survey about the tactile and large print protractors was placed on the APH web site in the second quarter of FY 2006. Additionally the project leader worked with an APH apprentice in the second quarter to survey state adult education agencies regarding "mandated" assessment instruments. An Excel database was created which lists web sites and contact names at agencies for adult students. The project leader contacted test publishers and reviewed commercially available tests that were recently published. Finally, the project leader researched Reading Curricula and Allied Assessments currently being used most widely in the U.S. This information was used to inform the selection of several new projects. In addition, this information was shared with the Core Curriculum Project Leader in her work with Remedial Reading Programs such as the Wilson Reading Program.

Work planned for FY 2007
A new online survey about assessment needs will be presented at the APH Annual Meeting 2006 Information Fair and on the APH web site. Several webcasts on the topic of accessible testing will be presented by APH staff with the project leader's input. Finally, trainings for Woodcock-Johnson III: Tests of Achievement, Braille Edition, will be presented at National Instructional Partnership (NIP) Events and via webcasts. The project leader will continue to review commercially available tests for potential as APH projects.

Test Ready® Test Preparation Materials

(Continuing)

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

Project staff
Barbara Henderson, Test and Assessment Project Leader
Kristopher Scott, Accessible Tests Editor/Co-Project Leader
Debbie Willis, Accessible Tests Director/Project Advisor
Monica Coffey, Accessible Tests/Project Editor
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media/Project Editor
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Art/Layout

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 permission 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.

In early FY 2005, Kristopher Scott joined Barbara Henderson as co-project leader. The project leaders 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 leaders received electronic files from the publisher and arranged with BISIG staff to convert them. Several meetings were held to discuss how to package the materials for marketing and catalog listings.

Work during FY 2006
Editing of the Plus Math, Language Arts, and Plus Reading titles continued. One level of the series, Plus Math Book 7, was brought through a trial production process in order to improve and revise our current methods of producing large print and to fashion a timeline. Bisig Impact Group staff worked with the project leaders to format the student book and teacher guide. In the last quarter of FY 2006, a trial production run will be carried out on book 7. It will be printed on the IGen-3 and the output judged. A production schedule was set accordingly.

Work planned for FY 2007
Work on the remainder of the series will continue as scheduled after the trail run is reviewed.

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
Lana McClurg, M.A., Project Consultant
Monica Coffey, Accessible Tests/Project Editor
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media/Project Editor
Kristopher Scott, Accessible Tests/Project Editor
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

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-III 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-III was brought forward as a project in 2001 in preparation for publication of the 2001 revision. Permission of the Riverside Publishing was sought and two expert consultants were hired: Lynne Jaffe, Ph.D., Learning Disabilities Specialist, Technical Assistance to Schools Assessment Team, Arizona State 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. Due to some unforeseen production problems during development of the prototypes, field testing was delayed until the third quarter of FY 2005. Nine field reviewers and 23 individuals with visual impairments participated in the field testing.

Work during FY 2006
Field testing and review proceeded, with analysis of results and group decisions on revisions being made by the field reviewers. The necessary revisions in the prototype were made in the second and third quarters of FY 2006. Final large print and braille production masters were developed in the last quarter, in preparation for the production run.

In mid FY 2006 one of the authors, Richard Woodcock, became very involved in making WJ-III more accessible to braille readers. Woodcock has communicated with Riverside Publishing to provide substitute items and additional tests so that this special edition will have all of the clusters intact. Otherwise, deletion of items which were too visual would have rendered some of the clusters unavailable for diagnostic and scoring purposes. Woodcock is also supplying a special Compuscore® CD for the braille edition.

Work planned for FY 2007
Writing of the Examiner's Manual for the Braille and Large Print Editions and the supplemental Manual for the Braille Edition will be finished in early FY 2007. A specifications meeting will be held and a pilot run will be scheduled.

Research
Department
Activities

Ralph E. Bartley, Ph.D.
Director

Adult Life

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 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 2006
APH Adult Life products and their applications to specific populations were presented by the Adult Life Project Leader as follows: Miniguide US and 'K' Sonar, information shared at the NFB World Congress on Wayfinding Technologies for the Blind, Baltimore, Maryland, October, 2005; Sherlock, LumiTest, Miniguide and more: New Daily Living Devices from APH, Workshop presented at the annual conference of the MidAmerica Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers and the Association of Southeastern Rehabilitation Teachers, St. Louis, Missouri, November, 2005; Sherlock and more: Applications of APH Daily Living Products In the Classroom, Interactive Product Demonstration and Hands-on Experience Provided for Kentucky Teachers of Visually Impaired Students at the Gateways Conference, Louisville, Kentucky, July 2006.

Information about specific products under development is provided in the remainder of this section.

Work planned for FY 2007
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.

Battery Test: Audible and Tactile Forms

(New)

Purpose
To provide persons with visual impairments, persons who are blind, and persons who are DeafBlind with a reliable and accurate method of testing power levels in batteries

Project staff
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Fred Gissoni, Project Assistant

Background
Persons who are blind, visually impaired, and DeafBlind rely on a great deal of battery-powered assistive technology to read, write, and receive other information. Several examples of assistive technology using standard batteries include APH's Book Port, (used for reading books and a variety of other material) and APH's Personal Pager (used to alert persons who are DeafBlind). Without the ability to see the LED or display on a non-adapted battery tester, persons with visual impairments can not gauge how much power is left in a set of batteries. When assistive technology does not operate because batteries unexpectedly die, persons with visual impairments may be unable to carry out essential work, leisure, or communication tasks. The provision of a reliable, sturdy battery tester that gives feedback in both auditory and tactile forms and that can be used easily by persons who are blind or DeafBlind can make it possible for these individuals to be certain of how much power remains in batteries and to better predict how much operating life is left in their assistive technology.

Work during FY 2006
A durable, consumer-friendly battery tester was located. This device is produced by CareTec in Austria. The auditory version of this product beeps three times if the battery is full, two times if the battery is moderately full, and one time if the battery is low. If the battery is dead, the device does not beep. A tactile version of this device both vibrates and beeps in the patterns mentioned above. Therefore, the tactile version can be used effectively by persons who are DeafBlind. CareTec has agreed that APH will be the exclusive distributor of this product in the United States. Fred Gissoni has written a draft of an Instruction Sheet for each version of the device. Instructions will be provided in large print and in braille with each Battery Tester.

Work planned for FY 2007
Production of the braille and large print instruction sheets will be completed, inventory will be acquired and packaged, and the product will become available for sale early in FY 2007.

Braille Financial Record Keeper

(Continued)

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, 1-07899-06, 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" X11" 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 the following link: www.aph.org/products/2005.html#n09

Information about the Braille DateBook can be found at the following link: www.aph.org/products/2005.html#n2

Work during FY 2006
It was decided that question stems would be embossed onto the DateBook paper rather than provided on pressure-sensitive labels for the customer to attach to the page. The project leader reformatted material from the EZ Track Financial Record Keeper for 8.5" X 11" braille paper and found that approximately 230 pages were required to allow space to fill in this material. The number of pages needs to be reduced to make the product convenient to use. The project leader is evaluating two strategies for reducing the number of pages without loss of significant financial information: (1) providing guidelines and allowing users to enter data in a more free-flowing manner; and (2) using fewer, more general item stems so that less page space is needed for specific questions. Field reviewers are being sought.

Work planned for FY 2007
Both versions of this product will undergo the field review process, changes will be made based on review results, and the product is expected to be available for sale late in FY 2007.

Labeling Book and Tool Kit

(Continued)

Purpose
To provide information to adults who have lost vision 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 provides guidance in organizational techniques as well as labeling. A Labeling Tool Kit is also being 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. Rehabilitation teachers can also use these materials with students whom they see infrequently.

During FY 2004, Lisa-Anne Mowerson produced materials based on her years of experience teaching these skills to individuals and groups of persons with visual impairments. Editing, restructuring, and reorganization of materials for the first third of the book were completed. During FY 2005, revision and editing of materials in the second third of the book was undertaken.

Work during FY 2006
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 project leader and an APH intern have rewritten the middle third of the book and the consultant has begun work on revising material in the final third.

Work planned for FY 2007
The consultant will complete revisions of the final third of the book, the project leader will edit these materials, and a draft will be prepared for field review. Field reviewers will be selected and the field review process will be undertaken. Materials will be edited based on field review results and final text will be made available for graphic design.

Magnitachers for Braille Labels

(New)

Purpose
To provide a durable magnetic material on which labels for cans and other metal surfaces can be brailled with a braillewriter or a slate and stylus and which can then be reused repeatedly on cans or other metal surfaces

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

Background
Braille labels that are placed on canned foods often are made from pressure-sensitive Dymo-Tape™ or another permanently affixed braille labeling material. Such labels are thrown away with the can and cannot be reused. Discarding labels that, if attached in another way, could be reused on other cans of the same type of food is costly in terms of labeling materials and time taken to re-braille the same labels. Magnetic Dymo-Tape™ offers one solution for reusable can labels. However, some persons find this material difficult to handle because it is fairly thin. A thicker magnetic label that could hold braille well would offer a more widely acceptable label for canned goods.

Work during FY 2006
The project leader and manufacturing specialist reviewed a variety of magnetic vinyl samples for thickness and ability to hold braille. A material and a packaging strategy were selected.

Work planned for FY 2007
Instructions will be written, packaging graphics will be created, and the product will become available for sale.

Magnitachers for Large Print Labels

(New)

Purpose
To provide a magnetic label for canned goods or other metal surfaces that will hold large print letters made with bold-line pens or markers up to an inch in height

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

Background
Persons who can no longer read labels on canned food products frequently make large print labels on file cards and attach these cards to cans with a rubber band. Large print label-making devices can also be used. However, each of these methods is problematic. Rubber bands can slip off of round cans and can also become entangled with cards on neighboring cans on the cupboard shelf. Label makers are expensive and may not make print large enough for some persons with low vision. A strip of magnetized vinyl with a paper surface would allow persons with low vision to write labels and reuse them on other cans of the same food.

Work during FY 2006
Samples of magnetic vinyl were examined by the project leader and manufacturing specialist, and desirable features were determined. Appropriate magnetic vinyl was located, and plans to produce a one inch high, 120 inch long roll of Magnitachers for Large Print were made.

Work planned for FY 2007
Instructions in large print and braille will be written, packaging graphics will be obtained, and the product will become available for sale during FY 2007.

Magnitachers for Sherlock Labels

(New)

Purpose
To securely attach Sherlock Labels to cans and other metal surfaces in such a way that labels can be removed and reused

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

Background
The Sherlock Talking Label Identifier, 1-07410-00, is a hand-held auditory label maker; hold the Sherlock device against one of its paper labels or plastic tags, record your label message, and Sherlock will play back your label whenever you show it the specific label or tag. This device is useful for persons who can no longer read large print and who do not know braille. The pressure-sensitive labels can be permanently attached to items such as books and CDs. In order to reuse labels on consumable items, they can be attached to a card which is fastened to a box or can of food by a rubber band. Although attaching a card to a box of food is fairly easy and efficient, using this method to attach Sherlock labels to cans is problematic. Rubber bands can slip off of round cans and can become entangled with cards on neighboring cans on the cupboard shelf. To resolve this problem, a new means of attaching Sherlock labels to cans must be devised that will hold labels firmly to cans without the need for cards and rubber bands and that also will be easily detached from empty cans and reattached to full ones.

Additional information about the Sherlock Talking Label Identifier can be found at the following link: http://sun1.aph.org/advisory/2005adv06.html#np1

Work during FY 2006
The project leader and the manufacturing specialist examined and reviewed numerous samples of magnetic vinyl and determined the most effective materials for making magnetic strips. The Sherlock label can be permanently attached to such a magnetic strip with the label's pressure sensitive adhesive. The strip sticks to food cans or any other magnetic surface and can be removed, like any other magnet, by exerting slight pressure with the fingers. When attached to the Magnitacher, a Sherlock label can be reused on cans and other metal surfaces indefinitely.

Work planned for FY 2007
Final decisions on packaging will be made and product will be available for sale.

Magnitachers for Small Braillables

(New)

Purpose
To provide a durable magnetic backing onto which the APH Small Braillable can be fastened so that the Braillable can be used repeatedly on cans or other metal surfaces

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

Background
Braillables are pressure-sensitive labels (produced by APH) that can be brailled, pulled off their backing, and pressed onto material to be labeled. The small braillable labels, 1-08872-00, hold two lines and 15 cells of braille. These labels could be reused on canned foods or other metal surfaces if they could be attached to a magnetic backing. Additional information about Braillable Labels can be found at the following link: www.aph.org/products/2005.html#i07

Work during FY 2006
The project leader and manufacturing specialist reviewed and selected appropriate magnetic vinyl to provide a magnetic backing for the Small Braillable Labels. Two sheets, containing magnetic vinyl strips that are slightly larger than the small Braillable Labels, will be packaged with two sheets of small Braillable Labels. To make a Braillable Label with a magnetic backing, braille on the Braillable, remove it from its sheet, remove a Magnitacher from its sheet, and attach the Braillable to the Magnitacher.

Work planned for FY 2007
Instructions will be written, packaging decisions will be made, and the product will be available for sale.

MiniBook

(New)

Purpose
To provide a quick and easy method for jotting down short braille notes

Project staff
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Fred Gissoni, Project Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background
When persons who can see need to write down a phone number or other small note, they quickly pull a pen from their pocket and are writing on a Post-it, pad, or other available paper within seconds. The quick note can be later transferred to a planner or other more permanent storage. APH provides several products that involve small notebooks and small slates; such products allow a person who is blind to carry braille-writing materials with them in a large pocket or bag. However, when using these materials, it can take 30 seconds or more to get a slate out of a pouch or notebook pocket, put it onto a small piece of paper, get the stylus in a hand, and be ready to write. Frequently, a person who is blind must ask a speaker to repeat information because of the time it takes to get such braille-writing materials ready to write.

The MiniBook offers a solution to this problem because it is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, can hold a slate fastened to the first blank page in the book, and offers a stylus in a pocket that is easy to remove.

Work during FY 2006
A notebook sample was obtained from a vendor and was then cut down to a smaller size by APH's model maker. Paper size was determined so that a four-line, 15-cell slate fits comfortably on one page. Vendors who make this slate have been contacted about bulk pricing. Exploration of the development cost for APH to manufacture its own 15-cell, four-line slate has been undertaken.

Work planned for FY 2007
Slates will be obtained or manufactured, notebooks will be ordered, paper specifications will be determined, and a pilot run 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

Background
Keeping bank account records on a computer provides a reliable method of maintaining check registers and account balances. However, mainstream bank account management software presents some access obstacles to 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:

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.

Work during FY 2006
Money Talks is currently available for sale. Improvements and upgrades to the program have been made based on ongoing feedback from the field. The list of enhancements is as follows:

Version 1.1, December 2005

Work planned for FY 2007
Upgrades will be made based on 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.

Work during FY 2006
Karen McCulloh submitted materials to be used to select and prepare students for the instructional course. Scheduling complications have slowed down progress, but materials submitted have been excellent and McCulloh plans to continue to submit material as quickly as her work schedule permits.

Work planned for FY 2007
A first draft prototype of the curriculum will be developed. Expert review and/or field testing may be initiated.

O&M for Families

(formerly Orientation and Mobility Family Book)
(Continued)

Purpose
To provide orientation and mobility instructors with an interactive computer-based tool to create individualized orientation and 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
John Hedges, Programmer

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 instructors 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 instructors 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 instructor could complete for the family of a particular student. Perla and 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 instructor 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 Perla and 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 regarding the child's eye condition, the functional implications of this condition, the orientation and mobility skills that the child is learning, and the child's current level of mastery of these skills. Additional sections explained the important role of the family in utilizing teachable moments and participating in various types of games and activities to enhance development of particular skills. The software allows the instructor to choose from a list of helpful activities or write individualized ones.

Work during FY 2006
Perla and O'Donnell have completed prototype content and the project leader has completed the final edit of text. All material has been "plugged" into the screen-by-screen outline. The programmer has brought revised material into the program and early prototypes of the program have been evaluated by the programmer and project leader.

Work planned for FY 2007
A beta program prototype will be developed and beta tested, with revisions incorporated into the beta review. Field review of the software will be concluded, final recommended changes will be made for a release version, graphic design will be updated, and the program will become available for sale.

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 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.

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. Ingber has submitted first and second drafts of the first three chapters of the book.

Work during FY 2006
Ingber submitted the fourth chapter of the book. The project leader and Ingber have done extensive editing and revisions on these four chapters, which are now in their final form.

Work planned for FY 2007
Ingber and the project leader will complete an edited draft of the book. Kevin O'Connor, a parenting expert, will read the 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, Technical Research Division Manager
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background
Although computers increasingly are being used as a means of written communication on the job and in social and recreational life, production of legible written communication still remains an essential skill. Jotting notes to colleagues, writing a quick comment on a page of printed material, leaving a note on the refrigerator for a family member, and filling in information on a check while shopping are only a few of the tasks that are accomplished more easily with a pen than with a computer.

Some 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.

Linda Ray, a teacher of the visually impaired, submitted one print teaching method for consideration. With this method, students are taught to shape block print capital letters by connecting dot positions within a braille cell for each letter. Additionally, students are taught to print within a template of lines of rectangular openings. By using this template, cell boundaries can be detected when printing, print remains constant in size, and characters do not drift into one another.

Early research indicated that, though braille dot positions had been used to teach both printing and script writing throughout the blindness field, teaching curricula and materials had been developed primarily for script and not for print. Print samples from persons using Ray's print teaching method and from persons who had been taught to print using a variation on this method were examined. Preliminary data indicated that, with several significant exceptions, the connecting dots method of print teaching in combination with a printing template resulted in very readable block print. However, when printed with this method, several letters were indistinguishable or ambiguous. It was deemed desirable to develop a system that could eliminate as much ambiguity as possible. Additionally, it was deemed necessary to provide materials that could help students improve their production of diagonal lines.

To resolve ambiguity between block letters of D and O, attempts were made to teach students to draw curves by using templates with curved rather than sharp corners and tracing boards with curved letters. Tracing boards also included K, M, V, W, and Y, to help students learn to draw more complex diagonals.

Results of preliminary field testing showed that curved templates and tracing boards did not help students print curved letters; D-O and 8-B remained indistinguishable. Results also indicated that tracing boards might be helpful for teaching diagonals to some students, but a more streamlined approach to materials development was needed.

To resolve the D-O ambiguity, a Greek Delta character was offered for D; this character is very recognizable and may be easier to produce than the curved D. The small Y and a restructured B were also included. The product was 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.

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 during FY 2006
Placement of letter descriptions and of embossed and engraved letter shapes on Learning pages was finalized.

Work planned for FY 2007
The project leader will work closely with the model maker to develop product prototypes which will then be submitted for field review. 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.

Reclaiming Independence:
Staying in the Driver's Seat When You No Longer Drive

(formerly Life After Giving Up Your Driver's License)

(Continued)

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, Research/Project Assistant
Valerie Cox, Administrative Assistant/Project Accommodations Coordinator
Orange Studios, Inc., Video Producer

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 35-40 minute video will include the stories of six 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 2006
Penny Rosenblum and Video Orange staff completed five video shoots. Material was edited and a 35-minute prototype was created for field review. A Resource Guide, written by Rosenblum and Terlau, was also prepared for field review. Field reviews were sent to two consumers and five professionals and were returned by two consumers and four professionals.

Based on field review responses, significant changes were made to the video and resource guide. A sixth video shoot was undertaken to obtain recommended material (e.g., older persons with vision loss and other mobility problems requiring the use of support canes or scooters; older persons with enough vision to be able to travel safely without using a cane; a vision rehabilitation therapist providing a clear description of what the VRT does). Material from the sixth video shoot was incorporated into the final version of the video and the Resource Guide was expanded to include this material as well. Files for the DVD and VHS packaging Graphics were obtained. Graphics tooling was completed for the Resource Guide and braille translation and recording of the Resource Guide was undertaken.

Work planned for FY 2007
Recording of the Resource Guide, producing the DVDs and their packaging in-house, acquisition of the VHS versions and their packaging, and printing and embossing of the Resource Guide will be completed. The product is expected to be available for sale within the first quarter of 2007.

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. Additional information about the Transition Tote System can be found at:

Work during FY 2006
Project leader acquired background materials on state standards and requirements for transition classes.

Work planned for FY 2007
Completion of this project is anticipated.

Travel Tales

(Continued)

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

Project staff
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 cannot see the behaviors being modeled; and second, many travel skills used by sighted persons are not relevant to the travel needs of blind children who must learn an alternate set of travel skills 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.

Suzette Wright and Terrie Terlau met to discuss content to be updated. Wright 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 during FY 2006
Work on this project has been delayed because of project leaders' full schedules.

Work planned for FY 2007
As project leaders' schedules permit, new content and story revision will be undertaken. Revisions planned include the expansion of some stories; the inclusion of ethnic/racial/gender diversity in protagonists; and the development of a sequence of stories about children with low vision using low vision orientation and mobility techniques.

Braille

Alphabetic Braille and Contracted (ABC) Braille Study

(Continuing through 2007)

Purpose

The Alphabetic Braille and Contracted Braille (ABC) Study was conceived as a 5-year exploration of literacy environments, skills, and experiences of children who are totally blind or have light perception only. The organizing factor of the study is a comparison of students who are initially taught contracted braille with those initially taught uncontracted braille. The study also collects data on the larger issue of how the learning environment impacts literacy skill acquisition, especially in the context of braille reading. Children in the United States and Canada are enrolled. Due to assistance from the Canadian Braille Authority and the American Foundation for the Blind, the project has expanded its budget to obtain 6 years of research (5 years of data collection)

Core Team
Anne Corn, Ed.D., Vanderbilt University, Principal Investigator
Jane Erin, Ph.D., University of Arizona at Tucson, Quantitative Research Team Leader
Sharon Sacks, Ph.D., California School for the Blind, Qualitative Research Team Leader
Robert Wall Emerson, Ph.D., Western Michigan University, Statistician, Data Storage

Other observers and researches include:
Liz Barclay, M.A., California School for the Blind
Frances Mary D'Andrea, M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, DeKalb County Schools, Atlanta, Georgia
Stephanie Anne Herlich, M.A., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Castro Valley Unified School District
Cay Holbrook, Ph.D., University of British Columbia
Julia Ituarte, M.A., Lecturer, Missouri State University
Debbie Sitar, M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Texas Tech
Diane P Wormsley, Ph.D., North Carolina Central University
Eleanor Pester, M.S., American Printing House for the Blind
Ralph Bartley, Ph.D., American Printing House for the Blind

Additional data gatherers include APH consultant, Tessa Wright Carlsen, M.Ed. Also, Sara Hines and other Vanderbilt graduate students provided research assistance.

Background
The ABC Braille Study is a 5-year study of literacy acquisition in children who are braille readers. The 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 the first time a consortium of eight universities, two organizations, and a special school for the blind have joined forces to conduct research.

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

Work during FY 2006
The students currently enrolled in the study include 19 from the first year of the study, 19 from the second year of the study, and six from the third year of the study. No children were enrolled this past year since capacity for data collection was reached, and it was decided that children enrolled beyond year three would not be in the study long enough to gather sufficient longitudinal data. Currently there are 24 children in the study who initially learned contracted braille and 20 children in the study who initially learned uncontracted braille. Enrolled children reside in 12 U.S. states and 1 Canadian province, with children coming from a range of educational environments.

Each June the full research team meets to review protocols and ensure that the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the study are addressing the most pertinent issues. At the June group meeting, hosted by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin, trends in data over the first four years were discussed. While not all the data from year four had been entered into the database, enough data were available to begin to plan for outcomes of the project. In addition to a comprehensive report to the American Printing House for the Blind, planned article topics include:

In preparation for the final year of data collection, selected surveys were modified to collect critical information from teachers of students with visual impairments.

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

Work planned for FY 2007
During the 2006-2007 school year, the existing group of child participants will continue to be monitored and visited. Researchers will continue to collect data on the existing students. Qualitative data will be sent to California and analyzed by Sacks and the Qualitative Team. Preliminary analysis of the first four years of reading data will be conducted once all of the 2005-2006 data are entered. Literature searches will be conducted and skeletons of articles will be drafted.

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/Co-Project 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, it was decided to contact a sample of customers who had purchased this product 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 braille student practice exercises to increase the student's reading speed and fluency and braille test materials to identify specific contractions the student is having difficulty with so that work can be concentrated on these, and simplified instructions for the teacher in both print and braille. In FY 2005, work on the customer survey proved unfruitful since purchasers had little recall of the product or could not be reached. The practice exercises were scanned in preparation for production.

Work during FY 2006
The practice exercises and the tests are being reformatted for presentation in large print. The braille will remain the same as the original. New instructions for the teacher are being written.

Work planned for FY 2007
Reformatting and writing will be completed and the revised product will be produced for purchase.

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 Analyses, 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 1-character items, three 2-character items, and three 3-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 analysis. 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.

In 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. A draft of the final report was written.

Work during FY 2006
A proposal to present this project at the next Getting in Touch with Literacy in December of 2005 was submitted and accepted. Additional work on the final report was done by the project leader in conjunction with this presentation which was then given by Fred Otto.

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 Wingel, Writer
Bernie Mudd, Graphics Designer
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Christine Robbins, Project Assistant
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Tessa Wright, 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 Wingell, 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. In 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 during FY 2006
Revisions of both the cover illustration and the text were completed. The book was put on the production timeline, but production was delayed to put simulated braille in the print edition to allow print readers to practice their braille skills and to better understand what their braille-reading students or children were being asked to do. Tooling for both print and braille, have now been completed.

Work planned for FY 2007
This product will be completed and made available for sale.

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
Bernie Mudd, Graphic Designer
Rosanne Hoffman, Research/Project Assistant
Loana Mason, Project Assistant
Christine Robbins, Project Assistant
Carol Roderick, Research/Project Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

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 by the textbook writer.

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 use the word child rather than children in the text since the majority of braille readers are educated in public schools 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 written and the decision was made to teach braillewriting of the letter words and letters at the same time as the letter words, letters, and sounds are taught in reading rather than waiting until the students can read ten words or so to start writing. Efforts were also made to clear the project leader's schedule so that more time could be devoted to this project. Meanwhile the textbook writer continued work on the text and teacher's guide for the 1st 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.

In 2004, content editing of the kindergarten level was completed. 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 colors, 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 1st 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 (TVI's) children and the textbook writer. This group discussed state assessment standards and drafted test and remediation materials for the kindergarten and first grade levels of the revised program.

In 2005, additions were made to the content of the kindergarten level to improve its 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. The completed draft was then transcribed into Braille. Copy errors found by the braillist were corrected in both print and Braille. The braille was proofread against the final print version. Sample print lessons were laid out two different ways with icons and formatting for field testing. For field testing, the eight textbooks were then produced in braille and the Teacher's Edition, Posttest Manual, and Assessment Forms were produced in both print and braille. Using the items written by TVI's in the summer of 2004, 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 the 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.

Work during FY 2006
The field test materials were shipped out to field testers who were asked to send in evaluation forms by the end of November. Results were reviewed as they came in and then pulled together in a more complete report. Copy errors noted in the evaluations were corrected in the production master. Additional worksheets and suggested read-aloud books were added to each lesson. A general introduction to the program, a specific introduction for the kindergarten level, and an introduction for the posttest were written. Acknowledgements, references, a table of contents, a scope and sequence chart for the level, several appendices including one with simple braille definitions to use with children, and an index of skills were added to the prototype for production. Copyright permission was unable to be acquired for several of the selections used in the prototype copy so replacement selections had to be found and the lessons were rewritten to reflect these changes. Interestingly some of these selections coincided with selections that the evaluators felt were not suitable. After many proofreading and corrections and production meetings, Building on Patterns (BOP) kindergarten level is nearing the end of production. A number of new books and research articles were reviewed during the writing of the introduction and continue to be referenced as the 1st grade level is being developed. Vocabulary, reading selections, phonics, language concepts, and braille contractions have been charted and comparisons have been made of the various levels of the old and the new to help develop a more concrete plan for developing the remainder of BOP. First grade lessons are being completed based on this information. Marjorie Ward is working with a group of four TVI's from Ohio--Lisa Goshe, Shannon Bonenberger, Robin Fillman, and Cheryl Boley, to help with the development of the lessons. If you would like to help, suggestions for revisions of the later levels of the Patterns Reading Program are being solicited on the APH Website. You may also get your name on a list to field test the 1st grade level of BOP when it is ready.

Work planned for FY 2007
The kindergarten level of Building on Patterns is expected to be available for purchase in the late fall. The 1st grade lessons are expected to be completed and prototypes will be produced for field testing during the year. Work on the program will continue with the development of the 2nd grade materials.

Cortical
Visual
Impairment

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

Project staff
Christine Roman, CVI Project Leader
Erica Rucker, Research/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 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 2006
Products completed in FY 2006 include CVI Sequences and CVI Complexity Challenges. In addition, a CVI-specific set of Swirly Mats that can be used in conjunction with the APH Lightbox will assist students with CVI learn to interact with visual motor materials. There are also new and on-going additions to the APH CVI Website.

Work planned for FY 2007
The project leader and staff will continue to prioritize and begin work on a comprehensive functional vision assessment designed for students with CVI. An additional project is the development of a CVI Starter Kit that will include materials designed to adapt objects and two dimensional materials according to the specific characteristics associated with CVI. Finally, updates will be made to the APH CVI Website and CVI appropriate adaptations of existing APH products.

CVI Assessment Kit & CVI Starter Kit

(New)

Purpose
To provide educators with materials that will facilitate functional vision assessment of students with CVI. It will include a text that can be used for background information and instructions/procedures for conducting the CVI Range (Roman, 2001, 2005). Materials in the kit will be aimed at assessment of students who have severe (Phase I), moderate (Phase II), or mild (Phase III), CVI.

Project staff
Christine Roman, CVI Project Leader
John Aicken, Assistant Director, Research
APH Production Staff

Background
CVI is the primary cause of visual impairment in children in the US and developed nations and presents unique challenges to educators. Most educational assessments and materials designed for students with ocular visual impairment are ineffective with students with CVI. The CVI Range provides educators with a specialized protocol for determining the degree and extent of CVI. Since functional educational visual assessment is mandatory for eligibility and program planning, this kit will support teachers in their efforts to make these decisions.

Work during FY 2006
This kit will contain a copy of the text by Christine Roman (in press), assessment forms, and assorted materials that may be used to conduct the assessment. The book is in its final stages of preparation for print.

The Starter Kit will include "raw materials" used to make CVI specific adaptations to functional objects and materials used in daily routines.

Work planned for FY 2007
Materials used in assessment will be developed to coordinate with specific aspects of the text. An instructional video will provide guided practice and examples of assessment strategies. An APH product review will be completed and changes will be made according to reviewer comments and recommendations.

CVI Complexity Challenges

(New)

Purpose
To help students with CVI systematically identity details in two dimensional materials. The design would be similar to the APH Common Object Pictures and could be used with or without the Lightbox. Each card sequence would begin with a single image; subsequent cards would add a single additional detail until approximately six details are added to the original image. The complexity cards could be stacked in any order so the student would be less likely to memorize image by position or order

Project staff
Christine Roman, Project Leader
John Aicken, Assistant Director, Research
Candace Jaworski, Bisig Impact Group

Background
This product addresses specific needs related to the CVI characteristic of visual complexity. Many students with CVI have difficulty visually attending to two dimensional images and identifying salient details of pictures or symbols especially when the image is presented with additional details or elements.

Work during FY 2006
This product was developed in conjunction with Candace Jaworski from The Bisig Impact Group. Jaworski prepared illustrations that represent the salient image as well as the images that add complexity.

Work planned for FY 2007
An APH product review will be completed and changes will be made according to reviewer comments and recommendations. A manual will be developed to provide instructions and suggestions for use.

CVI Sequences

(New)

Purpose
To help students with CVI practice locating a figure against backgrounds that increase in visual complexity. This product would be comprised of a series of sets in which the student would be asked to locate a common figure (apple, ball, shoe...) against backgrounds that increase in complexity. The overlay backgrounds would be overall patterns that begin with low complexity design. Overlay cards would increase in complexity requiring the student to dis-embed the figure from greater degrees of visual "clutter". Each set would have five cards, one figure card and four overlays of complexity. To provide guidelines regarding the medical conditions associated with a diagnosis of CVI.

Project staff
Christine Roman, Project Leader
John Aicken, Assistant Director, Research
Candace Jaworski, Bisig Impact Group

Background
This product addresses specific needs related to the CVI characteristic of visual complexity. Many students with CVI have difficulty visually attending to two dimensional images and identifying salient details of pictures or symbols especially when the image is against a patterned background.

Work during in FY 2006
This product was developed in conjunction with Candace Jaworski from The Bisig Impact Group. Jaworski prepared illustrations that represent the salient image as well as the images that add complexity.

Work planned for FY 2007
An APH internal product review will be completed and changes will be made according to reviewer comments and recommendations. A manual will be developed to provide instructions and suggestions for use.

CVI Swirly Mats

(New)

Purpose
To provide an adjunct to the current APH product, Swirly Mats. This version of Swirly Mats is intended to meet the specific needs of students who have CVI. The product would be made in the same way but would have additional options for students with CVI. Specifically, these Swirly Mats would be a set of ten that would be made in single colors and/or would have single color translucent items suspended inside the mat.

Project staff
Christine Roman, Project Leader
John Aicken, Assistant Director, Research
Elaine Kitchel, APH Low Vision Project Leader
APH Production Staff

Background
This product promotes increased visual attention and visual motor/function for students with CVI who require simple, moving, color, lighted materials. These principles are consistent with the principles of CVI found in the literature.

These Swirly Mats are made using the same technology as the existing Swirly Mats. Additional colors, including fluorescents would be used and some Swirly Mats would have single color translucent materials added.

Work during FY 2006
The CVI Swirly Mats are identical in design except for color and contents. They are manufactured by APH as are the original Swirly Mats.

Work planned for FY 2007
An APH product review will be completed and changes will be made according to reviewer comments and recommendations. A manual will be developed to provide instructions and suggestions for use.

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, CVI Project Leader
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant
Inge Formenti, Librarian
Malcolm Turner, Web Master/APH Production Staff

Background
CVI Synergy, a group of nine professionals, representing both education and medicine, met at APH in May 2002. The group agreed to act as advisors via a listserve to help APH develop a new web site dedicated to CVI. Unable to attend the meeting, Dr. Jim Jan served via telephone and e-mail as the medical advisor.

In 2003 the Multiple Disabilities Project Leader developed the outline for the web site and with the Research Assistant began writing text for the site and requesting submissions from the field. The APH Librarian obtained permissions on articles recommended by CVI Synergy to be placed on the web site. Photographs of children using homemade and APH products were taken.

In May, 2003 Dr. Jan organized CVI Synergy West in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This second group, also representing medicine and education, addressed the issue of definitions associated with CVI. This meeting resulted in the medical-based definition and the education-based definition for CVI that APH uses on the web site. APH announced in January of 2004 that Christine Roman would serve as the new CVI Project Leader/Consultant.

Work during FY 2006
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. In 2006 six individuals committed to providing new contributions to the website, primarily in the area of educational appplications of CVI methodologies. A reprint of an article on the use of color with students who have CVI was added in spring 2006. The CVI Website has a Contact link that is available for individual comments, questions and suggestions. These communications are gathered by the research assistant and responded to by the project leader.

Work planned for FY 2007
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

Alphabet Scramble

(Continuing)

Purpose
To provide additional print/braille, 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

Background
Alphabet Scramble is a read-aloud print/braille storybook promoting emergent and early literacy skills. The rhyming story tells of a "family" of alphabet letters as each sets out to explore the page. As each letter takes a turn crossing the page--shown as a line of repeating letters--the child has the opportunity (and motive) to track along the line of braille, gaining skill in hand movements for braille reading. In addition, Alphabet Scramble provides exposure to upper and lower case braille and large print letters, letter names, the sequence of the alphabet, and includes the letter word contraction associated with each braille letter. Visually pleasing, colorful, high-contrast backgrounds add interest for low vision learners and sighted peers. An accompanying Notes to the Reader discusses the book's purpose, proper tracking techniques, provides information about tactual recognition of braille symbols, and letter knowledge as a component of beginning reading instruction.

Prototypes were field evaluated for a six to eight week period in the spring of 2004. Preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students, including students with multiple disabilities up to age 12, benefited from using the book, responded 17 teacher-evaluators. Evaluators used the book with 29 students. Of these, 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. Before using Alphabet Scramble, teachers said 79% of the students had little or no proficiency in tracking braille. All students receiving more than two readings improved their tracking skills, teachers said. 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. "A nice tool that grows with the young braille reader," one teacher commented.

The Educational Products Advisory Committee at the 2004 Annual Meeting approved Alphabet Scramble for sale as a quota item. Final files were prepared by the project leader and given to the graphic designer to begin creation of final art. Recent shifts in the paper market made previous stocks unavailable. The project leader, technical research staff, and vendor evaluated binding methods in combination with available paper stocks. Input from six individuals, including four braille readers, was used to select the new paper stock.

Work during FY 2006
The graphic designer completed final tooling to produce both the book and the accompanying Notes to the Reader. Final specifications to guide production were provided by Technical Research. The large print and braille versions of the Notes to the Reader were produced. Braille plates were prepared, proofed, and are ready for production. Binders have been received. The print run of Alphabet Scramble is complete and available for embossing.

Work planned for FY 2007
The print run will be embossed, collated, bound and the product will be priced and made available for purchase.

Experiential Learning Kit

(New)

Purpose
To set up an experiential learning environment that promotes hand-eye coordination; cause/effect; exploration of environment (satiates curiosity-encourages movement)/depth perception; spatial awareness; cognitive mapping

Project staff
Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Kiara Wilder, Consultant

Background
In June, 2005, a focus group on early childhood education for children who are blind or visually impaired met at the American Printing House for the Blind to identify potential products for APH to consider. There was lots of discussion about "active learning," and having products that promoted children being active from an early age. Kiara Wilder, one of the participants, suggested we consider developing an experiential learning kit. This is a "starter kit" that will enable families, and those working with families and their infants who are either blind or low vision, to set up an environment that is conducive to experiential learning. The kit would have, as an example:

  1. Elastic
  2. Toy rings (example, shower curtain rings because they open and lock closed)
  3. A shiny red pom pom
  4. Shiny metal measuring spoons/cups
  5. A rubber squishy toy (in a bright color)
  6. Large jingle bells
  7. Additional items of bright, simple color and interesting texture

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

Work during FY 2006
The Assistant Director of Research has been working with Wilder, the individual who submitted the product idea, to secure a contract. The project leader met with Wilder to develop a work plan and timeline for the product, and the task was completed. Once the contract is secured, the project leader and Wilder will begin work on the product.

Work planned for FY 2007
The project leader and the consultant will work to complete the following tasks:

  1. Research product name legality (i.e. copyright or patent infringement)
  2. Research item/material lists-availability, pricing, safety (i.e. make sure included items do not contain lead)
  3. Prepare item/material lists for kit
  4. Write an introduction to product inclusive of:
  5. Explanation of the concept/purpose/philosophy of experiential learning
  6. Developmental areas that can be addressed

Flat Panel Monitor Arm

(Discontinued)

Purpose
To allow more work space for the visually impaired individual, prevent screen glare and promote good posture by eliminating the need to bend forward towards the monitor

Project staff
Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Background
Visually impaired individuals need to have the ability to work at a computer in a manner that allows them to see what is on the screen with comfort, efficiency, and with ergonomics being a top priority. The flat panel monitor arm addresses all the above for the visually impaired individual. Rather than straining to see what is on the screen, and working in a tense manner, the flat panel monitor arm addresses this situation and creates a more efficient work environment.

Work during FY 2006
The project leader, with the support of several staff, believed the Flat Panel Monitor Arm should be a cash product because it did not qualify as a quota product. APH staff contacted the manufacturer to broker a deal whereby APH could carry the Flat Panel Monitor Arm in its catalog. When the manufacturer finally responded to many attempts to contact the company, intense negotiations between the APH staff and the manufacturer failed to reach an agreement on a satisfactory price that would be reasonable to present to potential buyers of the product. In fact, the price offered by the manufacturer approximately twice that of the price APH paid the manufacturer for three it purchased for employees with a severe visual impairment. APH staff, including the project leader, made the decision that the Flat Panel Monitor Arm could not be carried as a cash product by APH.

Work planned for FY 2007
The Flat Panel Monitor Arm is no longer being considered as a cash product by APH.

Getting To Know You: A Social Skills/Ability Awareness Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments and Their Sighted Peers

(New)

Purpose
The purpose of this curriculum is two-fold: 1) To provide an opportunity for students with visual impairments and their sighted peers to learn and teach each other about the social skills needed to get along in the world and how both sighted people and people with visual impairments may differ in how they project themselves in social situations and 2) To have students with visual impairments teach sighted students the techniques they use to be independent in life. The lesson plans are divided into three levels; Lower Elementary (K-2), Upper Elementary (3-5), and Middle and High School. Each lesson includes an objective, targeted skill areas, an introduction, a list of materials needed, and an activity section that explains how to conduct the lesson. Lessons were designed to be conducted during a short half hour period, preferably during students' shared lunchtime.

Project staff
Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Nita Crow, Consultant
Stephanie Herlich, Consultant

Background
There are well documented articles and books written on the need for social skills training for students with visual impairments. There are also studies that have found that teachers of the visually impaired often teach social skills incidentally and not on a regular basis. They do not have concrete materials needed to teach social skills and time has not been set aside to address these skills. There is less published information about the curiosity that sighted students have with regard to how their peers who are visually impaired get around in the world and conduct every day tasks. While the two topics appear to be quite different, we found that including them both in this curriculum provided both groups with the opportunity to learn about each other and do so in a safe and accepting environment. The targeted group for every lesson in our curriculum is both students with visual impairments and their sighted peers.

This curriculum focuses on learning those skills that will help students understand each other and learn how they are similar and different. The lessons teach students various skills either in the area of social development or adaptive techniques. Understanding each other and getting along in the world are two of the best educational principles that a student can learn. This curriculum was originally developed in 1997-99 and the lessons have been expanded in the intervening years. The authors have used this curriculum for 8 years with various groups and presented the curriculum at two California State conferences and at the Denver AER International Conference. Additionally at least three other teachers in California have used or reviewed this curriculum and two peer reviewers on the East coast have also reviewed the curriculum. Feedback from peer reviewers has been positive. One suggestion that many reviewers mentioned was a desire for the inclusion of some of the specialized materials listed in various lesson plans. They felt this would make the curriculum a great deal easier for them to use.

Work during FY 2006
The Early Childhood Project Leader evaluated the curriculum materials, lesson plans, and activities to be implemented as part of the Getting To Know You Curriculum and concluded this would be an appropriate product to have on quota at APH. The product idea was taken through the appropriate procedures as part of reviewing new product ideas, and it was decided it should be considered for becoming an APH quota product. The project leader contacted Nita Crow and Stephanie Herlich, the individuals who submitted the product idea, and communicated to them the Assistant Director of Research would be contacting them to talk about developing a contract. The Assistant Director of Research is in the process of securing that contract. The project leader has had additional contact with Crow and Herlich informing them that there is a need to develop a workplan and timeline for reviewing, revising, and enhancing the Getting To Know You Curriculum to have it become an APH quota product. The project leader has continued reviewing the product and has developed a list of ideas for improving it.

Work planned for FY 2007
The Assistant Director of Research will continue efforts to secure a contract with Crow and Herlich. Part of the contract will be APH securing the exclusive rights to the product. The project leader will work with them to develop an appropriate workplan and timeline for the development of a final product. Once the contract has been signed and the workplan and timeline have been established, a concerted effort will be made to accomplish the tasks identified for completion in 2007.

New Product Ideas For 2007

  1. VISION PROGRAM: Vision Skills in the Natural Environment
  2. SENSORY MAT: A mat that has tactual components, visual components, and auditory components. Skills addressed include: cause and effect, reaching, rolling, grasping, crawling, sitting, standing, walking, and more
  3. PUZZLES: Puzzles that could be used on the light box.
  4. MINI-INVISIBOARD
  5. WHAT IS IT: To promote comparative thinking and the ability to generalize.
  6. ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY FOR THE EARLY YEARS

Growing Up

(New)

Purpose
A practical way to assess using the knowledge of parents, who know their child. It is a complete curriculum that provides for assessment, instruction and monitoring of progress. Specific activities are identified to use to develop areas of strength and weakenss. Growing Up is a complete curriculum for children birth to 72 months of age

Project staff
Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Lee Robinson, Consultant
John Aicken, Assistant Director of Research

Background
This program was designed for parents in home-based service programs. It has been used in a variety of settings: schools for the blind, institutions for severely disabled, Head Start programs, and day care programs. The primary audiences would be parents and teachers who work with children with visual impairments including those with additional disabilities. The assessment is completed by parents to identify what the child can do. A profile is developed from this information and leads to specific activities the parent/teacher can work on to achieve the next step in developmental sequences. The curriculum covers the six major developmental domains and has 54 sequences. Each activity suggests materials which can be used. It has been reviewed by Sharon Bradley-Johnson in her Assessment of Visually Impaired book. Virginia Bishop has trained many TVI's in Texas.

Because Growing Up is a complete curriculum that provides for assessment, instruction, and monitoring of progress of blind and visually impaired children, birth to 72 months, the Early Childhood Project Leader wanted to explore how APH might promote this product. Two possibilities exist: It can be a cash product and carried in the APH catalog or, it could become an APH quota product.

Work during FY 2006
John Aicken has been working with Lee Robinson, the individual who submitted the product idea, on how APH can carry Growing Up. The negotiations continue and several issues are being addressed. No conclusions have been reached to date.

Work planned for FY 2007
Based on the discussions between Robinson and Aicken, a decision will be made as to whether APH will carry this item as a cash product, a quota product or, whether APH will be involved with the product in the future. The work of the project leader will depend on the outcomes of these discussions.

Inventory of Basic Skills

(New)

Purpose
A tool designed to provide families, teachers, and the child with a visual impairment with information on the child's level of mastery of basic life skills comparable to age mates

Project staff
Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Sandra Lewis, Consultant

Background
There is a need to provide families, teachers, and the child with a visual impairment with information on the child's level of mastery of basic life skills comparable to age mates. There is a need to have active dialogue between families and professionals. The Inventory of Basic Skills addresses the above needs, and when administered properly, will meet those needs. However, the Inventory of Basic Skills is not a criterion-referenced assessment tool. It is an inventory for the purpose of listing a child's mastery of skills in a specific area. The Inventory of Basic Skills is to be administered five times during a child's school years: kindergarten, second, fifth, and eighth grades. The population to be inventoried are children with visual impairments falling into the above age groups.

Work during FY 2006
The project leader contacted the developers of the Inventory of Basic Skills to inquire about APH obtaining exclusive rights to the Inventory of Basic Skills and carry it as a quota product. The Division of Services for the Blind in Florida provided APH with documentation granting exclusive rights for this product. The project leader met with the consultant for the product, Sandra Lewis from Florida State University, to develop a workplan and timeline to complete work on the product. It was decided that the project leader would research the extension of the Inventory of Basic Skills to age three and make appropriate changes. Once this addition is completed, the project leader and the consultant will meet again to review the product to determine if additional revisions are needed. The project leader is working on necessary steps to extend the range of the product to age three.

Work planned for FY 2007
The project leader will complete the task of making appropriate additions to the Inventory of Basic Skills so it can be used for determining skill levels of children three years of age through eighth grade. When this task is completed, the project leader will work with the consultant to develop the final product. The product will then be sent to three expert reviewers for feedback. The product will be revised based on feedback from the reviewers. Inventory of Basic Skills should be completed by the end of fiscal year 2007.

Moving Ahead: Tactile Graphic Storybooks

(Continuing)

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

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

Background
Symbolic visual displays, such as maps and diagrams play an increasingly important role in textbooks and computer displays for students with typical vision. They present a special challenge for students with significant vision loss, who are often expected to use a tactile equivalent in the course of their studies and in high stakes testing. 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 illustrations that feature raised symbols, lines and areal patterns. Of equal importance, the storybooks offer exposure to braille and foster key emergent literacy skills. The print/braille text of the books is intended to be read aloud by an adult reader. Embedded text (in large print and 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 served as project consultant, authoring a book 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. A combination of embossed braille and Tactile Visions graphics was selected for three books. 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 discriminability. Technical Research assisted by sampling the tactile graphics on a variety of paper stocks, using different temperature and processing speeds.

Multiple prototypes of each of the four books were hand-produced: Goin' On a Bear Hunt, Splish the Fish, The Boy and the Wolf, and Turtle and Rabbit. Accompanying storyboards (featuring symbols from the story mounted to Velcro-backed pieces) were created to enable students to create their own tactile displays. A Reader's Guide including information about introducing the child to the book's tactile graphics and briefly discussing emergent literacy skills and development of tactual learning skills was written to accompany the books.

Seven teacher-evaluators at seven sites participated in an expert review and conducted the field evaluation of the books/storyboards with 23 students ranging in age from 4.5 to 11 years of age. (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, provided favorable reviews and suggested changes to specific tactile illustrations. Final revisions were determined based upon feedback from teachers-evaluators, 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. Tooling was completed for all four books' embedded words; these are to be provided as clear stick-on labels. Final text, scale drawings, and layout for Goin' On a Bear Hunt, were given to the graphic designer for creation of final art. Technical Research completed final specifications, and a production run of Goin' On a Bear Hunt was produced and became available for purchase in September 2004.

Final text, scale drawings, and layout for the second book, Splish the Fish, were given to the graphic designer. The Low Vision Project Leader reviewed and approved samples of the visual art provided by the graphic designer. 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. 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 book's page size. With these modifications and an adjustment to the graphics file, tactile images were consistently registered to pre-printed images. Final tooling for the accompanying Reader's Guide, storyboard, and embedded words packet is complete.

Work during FY 2006
Final art for Splish the Fish was completed. Final specifications for the book were completed. An adapted paper tray and a circuit interrupt switch for the Tactile Visions Machine were installed by Technical Research. An initial pilot run of 100 books revealed some inconsistency in registration.

Work planned for FY 2007
A second pilot of Splish the Fish will begin as soon as schedules permit. If it is successful, the remaining first run will be produced, priced, and made available for purchase. Pending successful production of the second book, the project leader will work with the graphic designer to complete final art for the third book, The Boy and the Wolf. Braille plates and other final tooling will be prepared for this, the third book. Technical Research will write final specifications and The Boy and the Wolf will move through production.

Preschool Attainment Through Typical Everyday Routines (PATTER)

(New)

Purpose
Curriculum and assessment tool designed to facilitate a visually impaired child's learning of the skills that preschool children are expected to master through involvement in typical household routines

Project staff
Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Sandra Lewis, Consultant

Background
Research has documented that the families of young children with visual impairments tend to allow their children to be passive participants in the activities that surround them, especially the naturally occurring events that are typically required to maintain a home. Because of the issues inherent in congenital blindness and visual impairment (difficulty with incidental learning, reluctance to explore, low muscle tone, etc.), it is the belief of the developers of the PATTER that the families of young children with visual impairments tend to allow their children to be passive participants in the activities that surround them, especially the naturally occurring events that are typically required to maintain a home. Because of the issues inherent in congenital blindness and visual impairment (difficulty with incidental learning, reluctance to explore, low muscle tone, etc.), these children don't demand, as children with vision do, to be involved with what the grown-ups are doing. As a result, these children have difficulty acquiring concepts, language, social skills, motor milestones, and self-concept.

PATTER is designed to invite parents to have their children who are blind or who have low vision help with making the bed, putting groceries in the cart, washing the car, and so forth. It is intended to encourage parents to appreciate what it means to "treat the blind child like you would any other child"--not by waiting for the child to initiate an interest in these activities (as typical children do)--but by just involving the child. It is the belief of the developers of PATTER that young children with visual impairments learn through doing--by being actively engaged in meaningful activities.

The project leader reviewed PATTER materials and decided that the product should be evaluated as a possible APH quota product.

Work during FY 2006
The product idea form was submitted by Sandra Lewis, Director of the Teacher Training Program for Teachers of the Visually Impaired at Florida State. The product idea went through the review procedures at APH, and the decision was to pursue PATTER as an APH product. John Aicken, Assistant Director of Research, worked with Lewis to secure a contract. The contract was secured, including APH gaining exclusive rights to PATTER making it eligible to become a quota product. The project leader obtained the master videos of PATTER from Lewis and they are being evaluated as to their quality. The project leader met with Lewis to develop a work plan and timeline for the product becoming an APH quota product. A work plan and timeline was established.

Work planned for FY 2007
The project leader and consultant will complete the following tasks in 2007:

  1. Thoroughly review all components of PATTER for the purpose of determining whether additional ones should be developed.
  2. Consultant will develop additional routines for participation by the child.
  3. Project leader and consultant will develop parent guide for the product.
  4. Work on a plan to have PATTER videos transferred to a DVD, and have them closed captioned. An assessment will be made as to the appropriateness of having PATTER translated into Spanish.

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

(Continuing)

Purpose
To revise the handbook for parents and teachers to include the most current information concerning emergent literacy for children with visual impairments

Project staff
Suzette Wright, Project Leader
Josephine Stratton, Project Consultant
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

Background
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. 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 Stratton, to revise and update the handbook; she and the project leader planned to co-author the updated book.

The project leader and consultant reviewed recent literature regarding emergent literacy for typically sighted and visually impaired children. As the project proceeded, it became apparent that a reorganization of the original handbook was needed. It was decided to reorganize by topic: communication/ language, concepts, tactual skills, and experiences with written language. This provides a better overview of the development of skills within each area. 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. The project consultant provided drafts of sections addressing emergent writing, transition to early reading, phonemic awareness, tips for using story boxes and tactile experience stories; these were edited by the project leader. However, she was not able to provide further material. The project leader assumed responsibility for writing the remainder of the new handbook. As work proceeded, drafts were submitted to Stratton for comment. Texas Tech University staff provided an extensive literature review on the topics of tactual learning and emergent literacy for children with visual impairments

Work during FY 2006
The project leader completed a draft of the revised handbook suitable for review. The majority of the information now included is recent; original material has been rewritten to integrate it with new material. The project leader worked with the graphic designer to complete two sample formats for the final document. The completed draft of the new handbook and sample formats were sent for expert review to five educators and three parents. All indicated the draft was clearly written. Seven of the eight stated it met the needs of more than 80% of teachers for information regarding emergent literacy for a young child with a visual impairment. Four of the eight reviewers stated the current draft met the needs of more than 80% of parents for information; two reviewers stated it met the needs of most (60-80%) of parents. Reviewers who indicated the draft met the needs of less than 60% of parents stated this was because the draft did not explicitly discuss the needs of a child with multiple disabilities. Seven of eight reviewers said the draft was organized appropriately for almost all teachers (80% or more). Five indicated it was organized appropriately for more than 80% of parents, and two said it was well-organized for 60 to 80% of all parents. Favorable comments were made about the draft. "This should work as a great reference resource for both families and teachers." "I like that you have lots of up to date study results so we can be assured that it's right on target for our kids." "The expository text is well-crafted and chockfull of interesting details. The bulleted lists will inform readers who don't want/need the full dose."

Nonetheless concerns were expressed by three reviewers regarding the draft's reading level. They recommended the reading level be lowered to meet the needs of a wider audience of parents. It was also suggested the draft be more explicit regarding applicability for students with multiple disabilities. The draft is being revised in accordance with these suggestions.

Work planned for FY 2007
Revisions to the draft will be completed and it will receive a final editing before going to the graphic designer for formatting in the format preferred by reviewers. The project leader will continue to work with the graphic designer to illustrate the book and to proof copy as it is formatted. Final specifications will be written, and the book will be produced, priced and made available.

The National Registry for Children with Visual Impairments, Birth to Three

(Continued)

Purpose
To establish a national registry of young children, birth to 36 months, by working with public and private agencies to collect standardized epidemiological and demographic data on young children with visual impairments. All data are coded to assure confidentiality of children and families. Collaborating agencies will forward the data to a national registry center at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky

Project staff
Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Coordinator
Deborah Hatton, Research Scientist
Edwin Shelton, Technical Consultant

Background
In 1995, the Model Registry of Early Childhood Visual Impairment Consortium Group (MRECVICG) was established to address the issue of data collection to ensure its consistent and systematic completion. The mission of MRECVICG was to develop and implement a model registry of birth to three year old blind and visually impaired children, and to demonstrate the feasibility of a registry which could be replicated on a national basis. The MERCVICG was a high-powered committee representative of agencies serving children with visual impairments, departments of education, institutions of higher education, and the medical community.

In late 1998, four members of the MRECVICG developed a proposal requesting that the American Printing House for the Blind assume the project as a national project. Tuck Tinsley, Ed.D., President of the American Printing House for the Blind, presented the proposal to the Board of Trustees and in June, 1999, it was officially announced that APH would assume the project. In August, 2000, an Early Childhood Project Leader was employed in the Research Department by APH, and APH agreed to begin collecting data in January, 2001. The Board is to be commended for approving the use of endowment funds to support this project.

Benefits of the project include:

Work during FY 2006
The project coordinator continued efforts to add additional participants to the project. When the project was taken over by APH in 2001, there were eight states participating. Presently there are 26 states participating, and another five states have been trained to get involved. Most states have several agencies providing early intervention services to blind and visually impaired children, birth to 3. With this in mind, there are presently 43 agencies participating. Two thousand, one hundred and fifty-five surveys were entered into the database as of December 31, 2004. Approximately thirty-three hundred surveys are now in the database. An analysis was done on the 2,155 surveys, and a power point presentation developed. The project coordinator presented the data at several conferences during 2006.

Work planned for FY 2007
The project coordinator will continue to encourage more states and agencies to participate in the project. Project coordinator will present at various conferences and seminars to promote the project. An analysis will be done of the surveys entered after December 31, 2004. Project coordinator will work on ways to support participating states and agencies to extract their own data and prepare a report on surveys entered.

Educational
Games

Scattered Crowns: Tactile Attribute Game

(Continuing)

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

Project staff
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Bisig Impact Group

Background
Despite recent efforts and products, there is still a lack of recreational materials available from APH that 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 indicated the need for, and renewed interest in, games and recreational materials--especially those that reinforce important tactile skills and concepts. Since its debut, more game-related product ideas have been formally submitted to APH from the field.

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 for SQUID Issue 2). The game is foremost for children who are between the ages 5-12 with visual impairments and blindness, but is also fun for sighted peers and family members.

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, designing accessory materials (i.e., visual/tactile design of various crowns, attribute roller, etc.), and outlining game play options that would make the game as versatile as possible for a wide range of ages and skill levels.

Once the project leader developed a conceptual sketch of the 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 (through Product Documentation Completed) was set.

Work during FY 2006
Initially, the project leader conducted a training workshop at the 2005 APH Annual Meeting in October, titled Recreational Approaches to Building Early Tactile Skills, which focused on current recreational products. Audience feedback was specifically requested on possible features and playing options for Scattered Crowns. Using the audience feedback, paired with earlier suggestions from the Product Development Committee, the project leader embarked on prototype development in November 2006.

Preparing 15 field test prototypes involved the following tasks performed by the project staff:

By the end of February 2006, all 15 prototypes were ready for field testing. The project leader identified field test sites across the country and developed field test evaluation packets. The field test stage spanned from early March to mid-May. The data from the returned evaluation forms were compiled by the project leader and then checked for accuracy by a research assistant.

The prototype was field tested by 15 evaluators representing the states of Idaho (3), Maryland, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania (2), Tennessee, Texas (3), Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia. The student sample consisted of 56 visually impaired/blind students who ranged in age from 4- to 20-years old, with the majority (81%) under the age of 12; over half (56%) were in grades K-5. Nearly equal percentages of the students were female (54%) and male (46%). A full 46% of the student sample used braille as their primary reading medium; lesser percentages were reported as large print readers (21%) or regular print readers with magnification (24%); the remaining percentage of students were classified as combined large print/braille readers or pre-braille readers. Over one-fourth (27%) were reported as having other disabilities such as cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, cognitive impairments, and ADHD.

One-hundred percent of the evaluators indicated that Scattered Crowns was successful in reinforcing skills/concepts such as texture discrimination, scanning/searching/tracking within a grid layout, spatial concepts (e.g., left/right, below/above, next to, center, etc.), and turn-taking. Other promoted skills include shape recognition, counting skills, and sorting/organization skills. Noted strengths included the following: tactile discrimination and color of crown pieces, versatility of the game for various age groups, visual and tactile appeal, appropriateness for regular education centers, durability, uniqueness, and "lots of fun" to play. Based upon the evaluators' feedback, the following improvements are planned: darker blue color under grid dividers, elimination of crown headpieces, inclusion of both the three-part roller and the three individual attribute rollers, combined print/braille game instructions, added storage device for collected crowns, extra masking overlays, and orientation cut in masking overlays.

In late July, the project leader conducted a teleconference call with a few of the field evaluators for the purposes of 1) sharing field test results; 2) reviewing the project leader's intended revisions to the kit components based upon field test input; and 3) garnering further ideas for unresolved design features (e.g., crown headpieces and crown-collecting device). This teleconference call also was held in response to one of EPAC's recommendations to "explore non-traditional ways to convene focus groups using current technology to assist APH with research and product development." All participants encouraged APH to continue to conduct teleconference calls with field evaluators after results are tabulated.

The project leader reconvened the Product Development Committee after needed revisions were determined based upon field test results. A PowerPoint was shared that outlined each planned component of the game, the quantity of each, and expected production methods/processes. The remaining goal dates of the partially-developed timeline were established, slating May 2007 as the Availability date for the product.

Work planned for FY 2007
Given the extensiveness of the tooling and components involved in Scattered Crowns, pre-production tasks will span the first and second quarters of the fiscal year. The project leader will be responsible for completing documentation, finalizing game art with the outside graphic vendor, working with the Model/Pattern Maker in the final design of all screen printed/thermoformed game components, identifying a vendor for the attribute rollers, verifying final product specifications with Technical Research staff, providing clean file to the Braille Department for braille translation of the game instructions, and so forth. The project leader will closely monitor the initial pilot/production runs to assess quality of the final product. It is anticipated that this product will be officially complete during FY 2007. The project leader, however, will continue to be involved in preparing brochure content and demonstrating the product at up-coming workshops and conferences.

Toodle Tiles

(Completed)

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, Co-Project Leader
Larry Skutchan, Co-Project 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 1800's. 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. 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.

Work during FY 2006
The game underwent extensive internal testing, revision, and improvement, as well as beta testing. Beta testing revealed a few glitches, which were fixed, but the field testers suggested myriad additions and alterations that really made the game much more functional. Once those alterations were made, the game specifications were drawn up, duplication took place, and the product became available for sale. No work on this project is planned for 2007.

Low Vision

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.

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 2006
Drs. Hall-Lueck and Heinze video taped interventions they performed with young children who had a wide range of pathologies. Once the raw footage was obtained, 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. The project leader is currently editing the script and the video for inclusion in the product.

Work planned for FY 2007
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.

Developmental Guidelines for Students with Visual Impairments

(Project Modernization)

Purpose
To add current information, make the charts easier to read, correct typographical errors, and to make the entire product more user-friendly

Project staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant
Amanda-Lueck, Consultant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background
The original product, Developmental Guidelines, was produced in 1999. It was based upon research available at the time. Since then, new research is available and different conclusions may be reached concerning young children and what influences their development. It was felt that the original product needed to be updated to include current research and new ideas and concepts that have emerged from current research.

Work during FY 2006
The original text was reviewed and revised by Amanda Lueck, one of the original authors. The text was then sent to the project leader who reviewed and edited it. The revised text is now undergoing a second edit for word usage, sentence construction, grammar, punctuation and format. Charts are under study for formatting changes and a photo search is also underway.

Work planned for FY 2007
Edits will be finalized and the text will be re-formatted and sent out for expert review. Once reviewed, revisions will be made based upon the review. Final formatting will then be conducted and product documentation, tooling and production will take place.

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

(Continuing)

Purpose
To provide teachers and practitioners with a functional vision assessment and learning media assessment for students who are on an academic educational track

Project staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
LaRhea Sanford, Consultant
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 2006
The instruments, protocols and worksheets were reviewed and edited. It became clear to the project participants that a manual would be needed for persons administering the tests and conducting the protocols. The writers set about drafting a user's manual which was then reviewed and edited with the help of the project leader. The manuscript is currently in the revision phase.

Work planned for FY 2007
The revised product will be field tested and reviewed by experts. Revisions will then be made based upon field testing feedback and expert recommendations. The product will then enter the documentation, tooling, and production phases.

Large Format Atlas

(Continuing)

Purpose
To develop guidelines for the creation, formatting and appearance of Large Format 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 needs large formatting for maps and textbooks

Project staff
J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant
Lane Koniak, Project Consultant
Kathy Krause, Project Consultant
Matt Smith, Cartographer
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

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 a large format. Previous attempts to create such an atlas met with poor results. It was decided to convene a focus group made up of people who had expertise in both low vision and geography, as well as people with experience in literacy issues and student use issues 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 format 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 2006
The project leader and research assistants worked with the consultants to provide thoroughly researched and edited text to cover Australia, New Zealand, Russia, other countries of the former Soviet Union and Oceania which will be in Section II.

The project leader worked with the consultants and cartographer, to develop maps for both Sections I and II of the atlas. All maps and charts are made according to the Essential Characteristics of Large Print Maps, a list of guidelines drafted by the Large Print Atlas Focus Group. During the year APH acquired a new printer called iGEN. Many tests had to be run in order to develop critical color output on the iGEN. Critical color is color that adheres to strict standards for hue, luminance, and saturation. This is important for students with low vision and those who may also be color blind.

Appropriate non-tear paper had to be located for production printing. Special material had to be located and obtained to make overlays, and several samples were obtained from bidding vendors. Photos were located and permissions acquired and entered into a database. A database was built for the maps as well. Sections of text were edited and re-edited, then Section I was sent out to an expert for a bias review. Specifications on binding, covers and other materials are currently being drawn up and finalized.

Work planned for FY 2007
Section I will move into production phase and is expected to be available in January of 2007. 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 II will be prepared for field testing. Field testing will then be initiated in August, 2007. Once questionnaires are received, data will be collated, processed and analyzed and changes will be made based upon field test results.

Multi-Camera CCTV

(New)

Purpose
To provide a way for students to access information from their textbooks and classroom presentations on the board, Power Point, or from the overhead projector all at the same time. Currently when a student with a visual impairment attends class he can use a portable CCTV to look at his textbook, but the chalkboard, the power point presentations, slides, or overhead presentations are still inaccessible to him. The multi-camera CCTV would provide a way to overcome that limitation.

Project staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Tim Curtin, Developer
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background
In 2005 Developer Tim Curtin approached APH with a proposal to develop a multi-camera CCTV. Directors and staff at APH held several meetings with Curtin to discuss the feasibility of APH playing a part in the development of the technology. In 2006 an agreement was reached and Curtin went about the business of developing the technology in cooperation with the engineering department at Purdue University. In June, 2006, Curtin conducted some basic consumer research to determine what options and functions, consumers wanted from such a product. The raw data were shared with the project leader who is currently analyzing it.

Curtin developed two short video presentations to demonstrate some of the expected capabilities of the dual CCTV system.

Work planned for FY 2007
It is expected that the basic dual CCTV system will be developed and work will turn toward refining the system and add options. Schematics and drawings will be developed by Curtin and shared with APH. The data will be analyzed and results extrapolated. A prototype should be available for testing by consumers by the end of 2007.

Optimizing the Reading of Continuous Text in Students with Low Vision

(Completed)

Purpose
To conduct basic research to determine visual accommodation needs requirements, and strategies of students with low vision when reading passages of continuous text. To develop a decision tree based on the data analysis.

Project staff
J. Elaine Kitchel, APH Project Leader
Amanda Hall Lueck, Project Consultant and 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 were collected, analyzed and published.

Work during FY 2006
The research phase of this project was completed. The data will now be synthesized and a decision tree will be made based upon it.

Work planned for FY 2007
The development of the decision tree will take place during FY 2007. The product phase has a new name, Determining Appropriate Visual Reading Media for Students with Visual Impairments.

Robinspring 32

(New)

Purpose
To provide adequate, lightweight, and safe lighting in a wavelength range that is comfortable and useful to persons with low vision

Project staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Robin Mumford, Developer
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Background
Ever since the development of the APH Variable Intensity Desk Lamp a search has been on for a better lamp. Even though the APH lamp provides adequate light, it is heavy and hot. Until recently, the technology to provide not just adequate light, but light of the most appropriate wavelength in a lightweight fixture, was not available. But now this technology has been developed by Robin Mumford in the form of the Robinspring 32 lamp. This lamp emits light in the 3200 Kelvin temperature wavelength, which is light in the yellow range, optimal for persons who suffer from retinal and corneal disease.

Work during FY 2006
Mumford was contacted by the project leader. They had conversations about the Robinspring 32 and its applications for persons with eye pathologies and/or low vision. The idea was then sent to the Product Evaluation Team (PET) and the PARC team where it was accepted as a possible product. Conversations with the developer are still ongoing to explore the feasibility and details of APH carrying the Robinspring 32 as a product and to establish contract negotiations. The developer also is seeking approval from Underwriters Laboratory which is a necessary step for an electrical product carried by APH.

Work planned for FY 2007
It is expected that contract negotiations will take place and come to a conclusion satisfactory to all parties. It is also expected that the product will gain approval from Underwriters Laboratory. At that point the product would become an APH product.

Swirly Mats

(Completed)

Purpose
To provide teachers of the visually impaired and their students with a bright, luminescent, ever-changing display of color to use in Functional Vision Evaluations, Vision Development Activities, and for play

Project staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant

Background
Swirly Mats were developed as one of the components of the ToAD kit. While in development it became apparent that Swirly Mats could also stand on their own as products. The first swirly mats developed were quite complex, showing two colored liquids, glitter, and foil components inside a vinyl envelope. The prototypes seemed fine for students with vision problems but no other complicating problem. These were called Swirly Mats FVA. But for students with CVI and other complications, much simpler mats were needed. Simple mats with just one color floating in a clear liquid and clear liquid with red, blue and yellow disks inside were developed. These were called Swirly Mats CVI.

Work during FY 2006
After identifying a company able and willing to make Swirly Mats according to APH specifications was identified, the company, Listawood, made several issues of samples for APH to evaluate. After four rounds of evaluation and revision, specifications were finalized. Guidebooks and User notes were written, revised, formatted and made ready for printing. The technical specialist found sources for the specified glitters and other foil elements to go into the swirly mats. He designed and found a source for a carrying case for the Swirly Mats. He then worked with the company on final tooling. In August 2006, the finished goods arrived at APH, were packed together with their documentation, guidebooks, Velcro buttons, and plastic folders and made available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2007
The product is complete. No work is expected during 2007.

ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Vision

(formerly Toy Chest)

(Continuing)

Purpose
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. It was also desirable for ToAD to function as the Vision Modality of the Sensory Learning Kit.

Project staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
James Thompson, Electronics 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 2006
The field test instrument was completed and the materials were sent out for field testing. Changes were made to the content and the accessories based upon the field test responses. Field testing indicated that additional materials and a teacher's guidebook needed to be added so the product could function as the Vision Modality for the Sensory Learning Kit. Therefore TADPOLE, a selection of materials and a teacher's guidebook are in development to add to the range of abilities served by ToAD.

Work planned for FY 2007
TADPOLE will be completed and reviewed by experts. Revisions will be made based upon expert review. Designs and formats will be finalized and prepared for production. Specifications will be drawn up. The product will be produced and made available.

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 is devised to help students develop their emerging literacy skills.

Project staff
Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Robert Armstrong, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Larry Skutchan, Programming Consultant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

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. Lessons were developed and graphics and audio files of automobile sounds were found to accompany them. The first four lessons were 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 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.

Work during FY 2006
The code has been altered to accommodate key commands used by persons with low vision and blindness. Documentation has been written for the user. The guidebook has been edited, revised and is ready for field testing. Beta test sites have been identified and beta testing is underway.

Work planned for FY 2007
Revisions will be made based upon testing data. Thereafter product documentation, final product specifications, and final tooling will take place. Duplication will take place and the product will be made available.

Mathematics

Add-on for Brannan Cubarithm

(New)

Purpose
To develop instructional math materials for use with blind or visually impaired students in the primary grades to supplement math instruction in the classroom

Project staff
Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background
Math has consistently been a difficult subject for students with visual impairments. There are a limited number of supplementary materials available to teach math concepts to visually impaired students. A product submission form from a teacher in the field was received by APH requesting an Algebra add-on for the Brannan Cubarithm. Students in the Algebra class were having difficulty setting up complex equations.

Work during FY 2006
In April 2006, the product idea was approved by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) and removed from the PARCing Lot. The product submission from a teacher in the field asked for an add-on for Algebra. The project leader's initial efforts involved determining the symbols needed, the design of the new cubes, and consulting with math teachers in the field. After extensive research it was determined that an Algebra add-on was not a workable idea due to the large number of symbols that would be needed. Students would spend too much time searching through the cubes to find the appropriate symbols.

However, due to input from two teacher groups and a review of the California Braille Math Standards it was determined that this idea, with modifications, would be better focused initially toward the development of symbols that were needed for pre-Algebra activities for the elementary level math classes. Also, teachers are requesting color coding and print on the cubes to help sighted peers and paraprofessionals or volunteers who do not know braille but are working with the visually impaired student. The symbols, the color coding, and the arrangement of the print and braille on the cubes have been determined. Prototypes of some cubes have been made.

Work planned for FY 2007
Work for FY 2007 includes development of prototypes of all of the cubes needed, developing a storage system that allows for easy location of cubes by students, and documentation for use of the cubes by sighted adults who do not know braille.

Lots of Dots: Counting 1, 2, 3

(Continuing series)

Purpose
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, the second in a series of three, 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
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

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.

Work during FY 2006
The layout and illustrations were completed. The enrichment guide was written. Field test sites were identified and field testing was completed. Revisions were made to the enrichment guide and the coloring book. The enrichment guide was translated to braille.

Work planned for 2007
The product will be available for sale. Work will begin on the final book in the series.

Primary Math Units -- MathBuilders

(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, Braille Project Leader
Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Project Leader
Derrick Smith, Math Consultant
Darlene Donhoff, Technical/Clerical Assistant
Jenny Dortch, Consultant/Project Assistant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Bridgett Johnson, Graphic Designer, Bisig Impact Group
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant
Ann Travis, Research/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.

History of Project

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

In July 1997, project consultants, Leibfritz and Susan Millaway, met at APH and reviewed in detail the teaching strategies for the kindergarten and first grade Primary Math Units. A draft of an introductory book that presents the philosophy and overview of the program was developed by the project leader later in fiscal year1997. In fiscal years 1998 and 1999 worksheets were developed to supplement the Lessons for Unit 1: Matching, Sorting, and Patterning for kindergarten through third grade.

In fiscal year 2000, the decision was made to field test by units rather than waiting for the program to be finished in its entirety. Tooling of Unit 1 prototype worksheets for field testing began. In FY 2001, evaluation forms for the introduction and Unit 1 were drafted. Tooling of the prototype worksheets continued with coordination of the print and braille requiring much more time than originally planned. In fiscal year 2002-2003 Jenny Dortch completed the final draft of the introductory book and Unit 1. The evaluation forms for the book, lessons, and worksheets were developed. During fiscal year 2004, the evaluation forms, Guidelines (introductory material), and Unit 1 Lessons for Kindergarten through third grade were finalized and prepared for field testing. Materials were placed with teachers having braille reading students in kindergarten through third grade for approximately 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. Dortch continued work on Units 2, 3, and 4 during fiscal years 2004 and 2005. These units cover Number Concepts, Place Value, and Number Operation.

Work during FY 2006
Revisions were made to Unit 1, Matching, Patterning, and Sorting and to the General Guidelines based on the feedback from the field testing. MathBuilders was selected as the name for the series. Manipulatives were added to Unit 1 based on feedback from field testing. Graphic design and braille translation were completed. Tooling for worksheets began.

A consultant, Derrick Smith, was hired for Unit 6 -- Geometry and Unit 8 -- Data Collection, Graphing, and Probability/Statistics. Objectives were reviewed for alignment with National Council of Teachers of Math Standards for Unit 6. Lessons were outlined and a rough draft has been developed for Unit 6.

Lessons for Units 2, 3, and 4 were received from Dortch. Revisions for these units began.

Work planned for FY 2007
Production and release of Unit 1 and General Guidelines are expected to occur in winter of 2007. Revisions and refinement of Unit 6, development of worksheets, and field testing are planned to occur in FY 2007. Work will begin on Unit 8 with a review of objectives for alignment to NCTM standards and the development of a draft document as well as the continuation of revisions to Units 2, 3, and 4.

Microcomputer
Applications
&
Products

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), the APH studio, and the software under development in the Department of Educational Research, APH staff realized that the creation of a digital audio component that could be used by a variety of applications would be most beneficial.

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 2006

Work planned for FY 2007

There are still several advanced features that require significant amounts of research to implement. Among these are the addition of a band pass filter and pattern detection.

Yet another area of interest is streaming technology. The digital audio component should provide full streaming services to the client in a variety of environments. Server side implementations of the component should be able to provide a local user navigation and time scale services on the server side, thereby reducing the amount of data that 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 develops under different programming languages and with the need to provide these technologies to other companies that wish to license APH's software, the flexibility of ASE's interface was improved. The first version of ASE was packaged as a standard Windows Dynamic Link Library (DLL). This is an extremely efficient means of passing large amounts of information from one component to another. Unfortunately, this technique is feasible to use only with the C programming language. As ASE's capabilities expand and the demands on it from client software 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 converted it to Windows and adding functionality. While this braille subsystem is a separate component, ASE communicates directly with that component as a convenience to software authors.

Work during FY 2005

Work planned for FY 2007

Book Port

(Continuing)

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

Book Port Image

Project staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Steve Gomas, Project Consultant
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer
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 without having to stay near the computer. While this device, the Road Runner, is no longer available, its popularity and utility were unsurpassed, especially for those students and professionals who had large amounts of material to read.

Research staff began planning enhancements to the device and its interface. So, when its unavailability became apparent, staff began design on a new device that addressed the shortcomings of Road Runner while building increased functionality and flexibility for the future. These new issues included: increased, removable storage media, incremental deletes, more file types, better navigation and review, and a simplified interface. The unit needed to be able to accommodate memos, so the number of keys was increased to allow braille input for making annotations. The unit also needed to be able to play digitized audio so that it may play Digital Talking Books.

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 that reads electronic books, takes notes, and plays audio files. Blind students and professionals find that its combination of synthetic speech and digital audio capabilities makes Book Port the perfect tool for nearly any reading need. Measuring only 2.75" by 4.75" by 1", its small size, large storage capacity, and battery operation and low power consumption make it the perfect hand-held device for a portable reading solution.

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 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 a 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 the user record and playback memos on the device. Book Port features its own date and time clock, multiple alarms, and a sleep timer that automatically turns off the unit after a predetermined amount of time.

Book Port Software Disc The software that comes with Book Port makes it easy to send a variety of file types including documents and websites from your 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. Digital Talking Books such as those from Bookshare.org and Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (www.rfbd.org) are 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. You 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 you need to send a page or file, the software queues up the material and sends it the next time you connect Book Port to your computer.

The software used to send files from your PC to Book Port shows a preview of the content of the files you highlight, 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 you hear the contents of that file, and the preview window shows statistics about that file. If the file is in contracted braille, the preview window shows the reverse translated version of the first portion of that file.

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

Work during FY 2006
Version 2.2.x, March 2006

Version 2.2, March 2006

Work planned for FY 2007
Staff plans several enhancements to the hardware, firmware, and software. They should be ready to release a new version of the hardware during the 2nd quarter of FY 2007 that addresses the following issues and adds the following features:

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 DTDs 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 DTDs and requirements for digital distribution of talking books in the United States. The committee consists of talking book libraries from around the world, alternative media producers, schools and training centers, and experts from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to identify and define the parameters of this file format. A large part of this committee is represented by the Digital Access Information System (DAISY) Consortium, which is another group comprised of alternate media producers from around the world. Their mission was to create a digital distribution system that met the needs of the users and producers and one that would be compatible from country to country. European, Australian, Canadian, and some Asian countries are already using the DAISY 2.x file specifications to produce and distribute Digital Talking Books.

When NLS first commissioned the study, they were mainly on a quest for information about how to produce and distribute Digital Talking Books for United States citizens, and this is still their primary goal. But as the process evolved and their needs coincided so well with the needs of many others, they soon found themselves, under the leadership of 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 Document Type Definition (DTD) that defines the elements in the text, and an XML file called the Navigation Control to tie the parts together. The Open Ebook's package file, which contains a list of all of a book's associated files, is also included.

Having attended the meetings defining the standards and insuring APH's interests were represented, research programmers gathered information about the issues and technologies and wrote specifications for a software package that uses the NISO Digital Talking Book Document Type Definition. These standards are integrating the audio representation of a work to let a student read a textbook in whatever media he desires. The package, Book Wizard, also provides services to make it simple and efficient to create such a book. Keeping all this in mind, staff is also aware that using a 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, they insured specifications were defined to meet these requirements. Keith Creasy is a member of the Digital Rights Management committee, and helped identify features and characteristics about protecting books that would be least intrusive to readers while still offering publishers the protection they desire.

Work during FY 2006
The following enhancements were made to Book Wizard Reader (BW) and Book Wizard Producer (BWP):

Work planned for FY 2007

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 DTBs.

Functionality will be added to allow for user response to items in a DTB when called for. This should allow a DTB to be used for interactive teaching and computerized testing.

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 capabilities of the device 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 the unique formatting requirements of braille into account.

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, to provide support to the production area for various Digital Talking Book (DTB) production issues, and to disseminate information on current uses of assistive technology

Project staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Rob Meredith, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer
Mike McDonald, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Bill Freeman, Programmer

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 (DTB) 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.

Work during FY 2006
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 DTBs 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 DTBs.

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 began debugging a production application that embosses braille to a selected device and retains the parameters of the last job to make it easier on the operator. A contract programmer was hired to write this application, but he has inefficient at supporting or updating his work.

Staff began looking at ways to implement new procedures from NLS that require checksum files on all the CDs recorded for distribution to NLS.

Staff provided support and markup services to other project leaders, so all product documentation is accessible in electronic format.

Work planned for FY 2007
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. Advice, 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.

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

Student PDA

(New)

Purpose
To develop a state-of-the-art portable personal data assistant (PDA) that meets the needs of the modern student or professional who is blind or visually impaired

Project staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Marc Mulkahy, Project Consultant
Matt Tang, Project Consultant
Mike McDonald, Programmer
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Bill Freeman, Programmer

Background
For several years, APH has been looking for a low-cost, simple-to-use, inexpensive replacement for a note-taking system like the Braille 'n Speak (BNS) Scholar. It is clear

that the BNS is close to the end of its life cycle. It is based on very old technology, and both its hardware and software are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.

Today's more connected world and less expensive parts make it possible to design an all-purpose device that can serve as a student's tool for a variety of tasks. These include note-taker and word processor, tape recorder and player, DAISY player, and with the addition of software, many other tools including GPS map tool, e-mail, and Internet browser.

The unit should use a commercial operating system designed for low power consumption. This insures the device continues to evolve and insures the availability of a wide variety of software applications. These applications are often commercially developed packages with rigorous testing and a known user base.

There are several choices for an operating system including Pocket PC, Palm, Linux, and a European system known as Symbian.

Linux looks like the clearest choice. Because it is an open source, it continues to grow, and there are no royalties involved in redistribution. There are also thousands of open source software packages that run on the Linux platform. Linux contains built-in accessibility, and there is at least one open-source screen access package available.

While the development staff was well on its way to the design of this product, events at the CSUN 2006 conference changed things. A company called Level Star showed a working prototype of a unit called Icon that was remarkably similar to what APH had been designing.

Level Star and APH agreed to collaborate on a version of the Icon that contained a built-in braille keyboard. The two companies would share their software expertise, and APH would use Level Star's excellent hardware design.

Work during FY 2006
Image of the Icon Braille +

Work planned for FY 2007

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 who are working on large works to preserve notes about pronunciation and characterization. These features also allow 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.

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 2006
Version 3.5.1, August 2006

Version 3.5, June 2006

Version 3.0.3, March 2006

Version 3.0.2, March 2006

Version 3.0.1, March 2006

Version 3.0, February 2006

Work planned for FY 2007
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 2006
This program received no updates during 2006. This project is complete.

Talking Typer for Windows

(Completed)

Purpose
To provide an accessible, interactive keyboard training on the Windows platform

Project staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
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 6-month period in a variety of sites, and the field test participants played a very active role in shaping the development of this product. Field testing began in September 1999 with an early prototype of the system and the programmers quickly replaced features that were difficult to understand with methods suggested by participants. The field testers and customers suggested adding some lessons that used common phrases, so the research assistant 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.

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 2006
No updates were made to Talking Typer.

Work planned for FY 2007
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 Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant

Background
Customers and experts in the field have expressed the need for an educational type of game such as hidden word and crossword puzzles. 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 2006
Version 1.5, July 2006

Work planned for FY 2007
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 2006
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 2007
The project version 1.x is complete. A new version is expected to be complete early this year.

Verbal View of Online Mail

(New)

Purpose
To teach effective use of e-mail to blind and visually impaired computer users

Project staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant/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
The only prerequisite to this tutorial, Verbal View of the Net and the Web, talks about the Net and the Web and describes the various ways to connect to the Net.

Online mail--most commonly called Electronic Mail or e-mail for short--now ranks with telephone calls in popularity. This tutorial only discusses e-mail on the Net. (You are able to send and receive e-mail with mobile phones and other devices.)

Usually, you rely on a word processor (like WordPad or Microsoft Word) to write, edit, format, and read ordinary documents. They are usually located on your computer.

You must rely on a different kind of program to write, edit, format, and read as well as send and receive online mail. Typically, you rely on an e-mail program (alias e-mail client) to perform these tasks.

Outlook Express is the e-mail program that comes with Internet Explorer; this e-mail program is the most used at the present time on Windows XP. The program named just Outlook is the e-mail program that comes with Microsoft Office; this program extends the functionality of Outlook Express. Outlook Express and Outlook are different programs and Microsoft has two different support teams for them because they are substantially different. Both programs come with an Address Book in which you can enter information about persons, organizations, or businesses, called contacts. You must upgrade to Outlook 2003 (part of Microsoft Office) if you want a calendar and appointment book as well.

Most developers of screen readers and screen magnifiers focus efforts on Internet Explorer and Outlook Express because Microsoft products currently dominate the Net and the Web. Today, virtually every newcomer to Windows XP receives and sends online mail via Outlook Express; therefore, this tutorial covers Outlook Express.

Work during FY 2006

Work planned for FY 2007

Verbal View of the Net and the Web

(New)

Purpose
To teach blind and visually impaired computer users background information about the Internet

Project staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant/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
A new technology typically affects a specific industry or group of workers or customers. It is a rarity that an emergent technology affects every industry and virtually every person worldwide. Usually it takes a long time for a technology to spread throughout its sphere of influence. There are two recent innovations, however, that violate these patterns: the Net - a worldwide network of connected computers and the Web - a global collection of connected multimedia documents. Both of these developments have emerged in the past quarter century and have already influenced every aspect of human endeavor throughout the civilized world.

Now, that a personal computer costs about the same price as a quality television set or high-performance stereo system, an individual can afford a personal computer and can access the Net and the Web any time anywhere. The personal computer has invaded every area of human activity, and its ubiquity has made the Net and the Web commonplace. No other technology has spread throughout the culture as rapidly as the personal computer--those placed on desktops and those concealed within most appliances--cell phones, microwaves, cars, medical equipment, and tools of all kinds.

The personal computer, together with the Net and the Web, has altered and enhanced all aspects of culture and human interaction forever. This tutorial, Verbal View of the Net and the Web, presents an overview of this omnipresent technology. You will rely on this technology when you take courses, when you work, when you play, when you communicate with others, and when you visit a library. Additional tutorials from APH about the Net and the Web describe ways to send and receive e-mail on the Net, browse documents on the Web, and much more.

These tutorials are written for blind computer users who possess computers (desktops or laptops) that run Windows XP. They teach readers how to connect to the Net, surf the Web, send and receive e-mail, and much more. All the essential aspects are explained, and all the essential tools are discussed. No prior knowledge of the Net or of the Web is assumed.

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

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

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

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

Work during FY 2006

Work planned for FY 2007
This project is complete. The material will be updated as needed.

Verbal View of Web Documents

(New)

Purpose
To teach blind and visually impaired computer users how to make effective use of their Internet browser

Project staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant/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
The prerequisite to this tutorial, Verbal View of the Net and the Web, talks about the Net and the Web and describes the various ways to connect to the Net. This tutorial focuses on the Web, now the most useful and influential part of the Net. Web, short for the World Wide Web, consists of hypertext documents (alias web pages) linked together in a "web" of interconnected documents.

Usually, you rely on a word processor (like WordPad or Microsoft Word) to write, edit, format, and read ordinary documents. They are usually located on your computer. You learn later that ordinary documents and other types of documents are also available on the Web and that you can retrieve (download) them and store them on your computer.

You must rely on a different kind of program to retrieve, display, and read Web documents. Typically, you rely on a Web browser to perform these tasks. Internet Explorer is the Web browser that comes with Microsoft Windows XP; this Web browser is the most used at the present time. (Even customers of America Online rely on Internet Explorer although AOL owns Netscape Navigator, a rival Web browser.)

A companion program, Outlook Express, is the e-mail program that comes with Internet Explorer. This e-mail program receives its just due in Verbal View of Online Mail.

A Web browser (like Internet Explorer from Microsoft or Mozilla from Firefox) lets you retrieve and read Web documents (alias Web pages) stored on the Net or on your computer. You don't write, edit, or format Web pages with a Web browser! You just retrieve them and read them. However, you can save Web pages on your computer in three different ways: as complete Web pages and read them with a Web browser; as HMTL documents and read and edit them with Microsoft Word; or as text documents and read and edit them with NotePad.

Most developers of screen readers focus efforts on Windows XP and Internet Explorer because Microsoft products currently dominate the Net and the Web. Today, virtually every blind user surfs the Web with Internet Explorer from Microsoft. Therefore, this tutorial covers Internet Explorer.

You can use the keyboard or the mouse in every part of Internet Explorer. In particular, complete keyboard support is provided: on Web pages, on the Active Desktop, and throughout the help system.

Work during FY 2006

Work planned for FY 2007

Verbal View of Web Searches

(New)

Purpose
To teach effective use of Internet searching to blind and visually impaired computer users

Project staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant/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
A Web browser lets the computer user reach the Web. A Web search program, usually called a Search Engine, then lets her locate Web pages.

This tutorial describes the most important online phenomenon of our time--the Google Search Engine. Google governs online life, information acquisition, and citizenship in the global community. Google influences people in every nation and in every language. Google makes folks of all races and of all educational and social backgrounds equal while online. Google dominates the Web in every aspect; it has no rivals!

Google's influence rivals that of television in its scope and its general acceptance. No online activity, except for e-mail, rivals Google in importance and popularity; 250 million visitors to the Web google daily. Now, the word "google" is used as a noun and as a verb; you read and hear the phrase "google it" as often as the phrase "watch TV." This book explains why Google outshines its competitors, and how you will benefit when you also become a daily googler!

This book discusses Web searches primarily. Other kinds of online searches are also discussed because of their usefulness.

Google works well when you learn a few basics. It works magnificently when you learn a few more Web search conventions and tricks. This book covers those mostly ignored Web search options that can make you a power user and master over the Web. Familiarity with Google's mostly-ignored search options will make your online life more efficient and enjoyable. Besides, you can impress friends and colleagues with your Google skill--not to mention save time and perform better Web searches.

Work during FY 2006

Work planned for FY 2007

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/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 can 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 during FY 2006
This project is complete. Future revisions are anticipated as new features are added to Windows and as new versions of Windows are 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

(Continuing)

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/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 during FY 2006
This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2007
Future modifications will be made to the material as new versions of Word are released.

Verbal View of Word Advanced

(Continuing)

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

Project staff
Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant/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 APH.

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 during FY 2006
This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2007
Future enhancements will be made as new versions of Word are released.

Multiple
Disabilities

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 Jan van Dijk. A guidebook will accompany the boxes.

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

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

Work during FY 2006
The instruction guide was written, designed, and is ready for print. The guide has been translated to braille. The vendor responsible for the manufacturing of the boxes was sold to another company, which decided not to produce the product for APH. The project was put on hold until a new vendor could be located. A new vendor was confirmed in July. Purchasing placed the first order of boxes, u-channels, and Calendars books. The instruction guide is in queue to be printed.

Work planned for 2007
The product will be available for sale.

Jumbo Work & Play Tray

(New)

Purpose
To provide a larger version (2'x2') of the current APH Work & Play Tray to be used by learners participating in active learning techniques. Placing various items in the tray allows learners using a HOPSA Dress to explore the items with their feet. Infants and toddlers can lay or sit in the center of the tray and the toys will not roll out of arm's reach.

Project staff
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Sue Douglass, Consultant

Work during FY 2006
Sue Douglass submitted the product idea to APH. The project leader held a brainstorming meeting with APH staff to consider manufacturing options. Two materials (ABS plastic and urethane) are being considered for manufacturing.

Work Planned for 2007
APH will develop prototypes of the tray and send them out for review.

Manual for Child-Guided Strategies for the Assessment of Children who are Deafblind and Have Multiple Disabilities: The van Dijk Approach to Assessment

(New)

Purpose
To provide a training manual that documents the validity and reliability of the van Dijk approach to assessment

Project staff
Catherine Nelson, Consultant and Author
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Sandi Baker, Consultant

Background
APH currently sells the CD titled, Child-Guided Strategies for the Assessment of Children who are Deafblind and Have Multiple Disabilities: The van Dijk Approach to Assessment. This training manual will be packaged with the CD to provide a comprehensive tool to professionals working with learners (birth-21) who have congenital deafblindness or multisensory impairments. The focus of the assessment tool is to gather information for program planning and educational intervention for learners in educational settings.

Work in FY 2006
Outline and time line of the project was created.

Work planned in 2007
The manuscript will be completed. It will be sent to seven professional reviewers. Revisions of the manuscript will be made. The design and layout of the book will be completed. Field testing using a combination of experts and practitioners will begin.

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: www.aph.org/edresearch/md_results.html

Since that time, the Multiple Disabilities Project Leader continues to work on products recommended by the survey, and on existing APH products that need to be updated to meet current APH and educational standards.

Work during FY 2006
The Sensory Learning Kit (including the development of electronic assessment forms) and Tactile Connections were made available for sale. Work continued on the Expandable Calendar Boxes and Lots of Dots: Counting 1, 2, 3. Work began on revising the Variable Beam Flashlight Kit (a component of the Sensory Learning Kit). A contract was signed with Millie Smith, author of the SLK, to continue as lead consultant on revising the sensory modules of the old SSK. APH accepted Catherine Nelson's proposal to write the Manual for Child-Guided Strategies for the Assessment of Children who are Deafblind and Have Multiple Disabilities: The van Dijk Approach to Assessment.

Work planned for 2007
The project leader will continue to research, identify, and develop needed products, conduct presentations to the field, and address questions referred from customer service. Work will continue on the Jumbo Work & Play Tray, the Manual for Child-Guided Strategies for the Assessment of Children who are Deafblind and Have Multiple Disabilities: The van Dijk Approach to Assessment, and work will begin on the Taction/Proprioceptive Kit.

Variable Beam Flashlight Kit

(New)

Purpose
To revise an existing APH product to meet current APH standards

Project staff
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Millie Smith, Consultant

Background
The activity cards within the current Variable Beam Flashlight Kit are inaccessible and unnumbered, causing confusion as to the order of the cards. The kit was a component of the old Sensory Stimulation Kit (SSK), and the flashlight and colored lenses are components of the new Sensory Learning Kit (SLK). The Variable Beam Flashlight Kit is sold separately, so the need to bring the intervention strategies in compliance with the SLK was identified.

Work during FY 2006
The project leader compiled and edited information from the old activities cards and the new SLK, and wrote additional materials for a new book titled, The Color Beam Book: For Use With the Variable Beam Flashlight Kit. Millie Smith served as the expert reviewer on the manuscript. The manuscript has been turned over to graphic design.

Work planned in 2007
The layout and design will be completed. The product will be made available for sale.

Physical
Fitness

Going Places: Transition Guidelines for Community-Based Physical Activities for Students Who Have Visual Impairments, Blindness, or Deafblindness

(Completed)

Going Places Cover

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
Lauren Lieberman, Consultant/Co-Author
Scott Modell, Consultant/Co-author
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 deafblindness) joined the team to create this exciting product.

Work during FY 2006
The book is available for sale. Lauren Lieberman and the project leader presented the field test results at the National Convention & Expo of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance in April in Salt Lake City.

PE Web Site

(New)

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

Project staff
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Inge Formenti, Librarian

Background
APH funded a 3-year study on parent-child physical activity intervention among families of children with visual impairments. During year three of the study, APH produced a resource manual for the participating families. Upon completion of the study, it was recommended that APH make the information available on its website.

Work during FY 2006
The original resource manual was updated and made available on the APH Web site. Viewers can navigate between PE programs, organizations, articles, books, equipment, events, magazines, mailing lists, national services, regional and state services, sport camps, switches, toys and games, and websites. This is a live document; viewers can submit items to be reviewed for placement on the Web site: www.aph.org/pe/index.html

Work planned for FY 2007
The project leader will continue to monitor the site, solicit and review submissions, and request article permissions.

Physical Health and Education Projects and Needs

(Continuing)

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

Project staff
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Background
Five 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. APH now has two balls available for sale, the Revolution Sport Ball and Jacob's Rib-It-Ball. A third ball is still in development.

Work during FY 2006
A sound localization study was conducted on the sport edition of the Portable Sound Source and the Sound Localization Guidebook. Going Places, a curriculum targeted to teens and young adults on community-based activities, was made available for sale. Production trials continued on the Sound Ball. Work began on the Walk/Run for Fitness Kit. APH launched a new website on health and physical education. APH co-funded a study to investigate the accuracy of physical activity measures of youth with visual impairments (pedometer validation). An APH funded study, "Beliefs About Physical Activity Among Children Who Are Visually Impaired and Their Parents," was published in JVIB.

Work planned for FY 2007
Production will begin on the Sound Ball and the Walk/Run for Fitness Kit. Both products will be available for sale. 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 2003).

Project staff
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Robert Wall, Consultant
Rebecca Price, COMS, Consultant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
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 2003, 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 2006
Robert Wall designed the sound localization study and APH staff conducted the sound localization testing. Nineteen young children participated in the study, which consisted of a

pre test and a post test. The children were divided into three study groups. Revisions of the guidebook are completed. Bid packages were sent out to possible vendors to manufacture the Portable Sound Source.

Work planned for FY 2007
The Portable Sound Source will be manufactured and packaged with the Sound Localization Guidebook and made available for sale.

Push Button Padlocks

(New)

Purpose
To provide individuals who are blind with an easy to use padlock for storing personal items at home or work, and for individuals who are members of a health/fitness center and have need to secure their personal belongings in a locker. This is not a quota item.

Project staff
Tristan Pierce, Co-project Leader
Tony Grantz, Co-project Leader

Background
The project leader purchased several push button padlocks as thank you gifts for the students who participated in the Going Places field testing. The locks were well received and it was recommended that APH sell these locks. APH realized that an individual who is blind would need to seek help in learning the combination of the lock. This is particularly troublesome for those living alone. If someone else knows the combination, the security of the lock is jeopardized. APH decided to create the braille documentation for each lock.

Work during FY 2006
APH held a brainstorming session to determine the most efficient and economical way of bringing this commercially available item into house and attaching braille documentation to each lock.

Work during FY 2007
The product will be available for sale.

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 that 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
Lauren Lieberman, Consultant
Moira E. Stuart, Researcher
Tessa Wright, Consultant/Project Assistant

Background
Camp Abilities is a 1-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 Lauren Lieberman. She submitted this 3-year study to be conducted at Camp Abilities. Lieberman has gained an international reputation in the field of adapted education for youth that are visually impaired. Her experience combined with Moira Stuart's expertise in the field of sport psychology will provide the necessary expertise to successfully complete this study. 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 2006
The end product of the 3-year study resulted in presentations at several national conferences. The article, "Beliefs About Physical Activity Among Children Who are Visually Impaired and Their Parents," was published by JVIB in April 2006, Volume 100, Number 4.

Research: Accuracy of Voice-Announcement Pedometers for Youth with Visual Impairment

(New)

Purpose
To investigate the accuracy of physical activity measures of youth with visual impairments. Two objectives were set for this study:

Project staff
Michael W. Beets, Researcher, Author
John T. Foley, Researcher
Daniel W. S. Tindall, Researcher
Lauren J. Lieberman, Consultant
Tristan Pierce, APH Liaison

Background
Camp Abilities is a 1-week developmental, residential sports camp for children who are blind, deafblind, and may have multiple physical impairments. John Foley and Lauren Lieberman submitted the study for APH funding.

Work during FY 2006
Thirty-five youth with visual impairments walked four 100-meter distances while wearing two units (right and left placement) of three brands of voice-announcement (VA) pedometers (Centriosä Talking Pedometer, TALKiNG Pedometer, and Sportline Talking Calorie Pedometer 343) and a reference pedometer (NL2000). Registered pedometer steps for each trial were recorded and compared to actual steps assessed via digital video. Inter-unit agreement between right and left placement was low. A systematic error was observed for the VA pedometers on the left placement, while right placement VA pedometers were below ±3% from actual steps. The reference pedometer was unaffected by placement. Overall, VA pedometers demonstrated acceptable accuracy for the right placement, suggesting this position is necessary for youth with visual impairments.

Work planned for FY 2007
The study has been submitted for presentation at the 2007 AAHPERD Convention & Expo in Baltimore, MD.

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 and two schools).

Work during FY 2006
The manufacturing of the balls was awarded to ESC. The balls will be manufactured in Taiwan. Cosmetic samples were delivered in July and approved with modifications by APH. Full working production samples are expected in September.

Work planned for FY 2007
Produce balls and make available for sale.

Science

Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments

(formerly Science Skills Inventory)

(Completed)

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 Rosanne Hoffmann and edited by Elaine 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 during FY2006
The product was revised and edited according to results from the field testing and expert review, and renamed Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments, a Handbook for the Classroom Teacher and Teacher of the Visually Impaired. BRF, html and text files of the product were prepared for inclusion on the CD that accompanies the product. The first round of production was completed at the beginning of August 2006, making the product available for sale, effective immediately.

Work planned for FY2007
The project is complete and no further work is planned.

Azer Interactive Periodic Table Study Set

(Continuing)

Purpose
To develop an accessible, interactive study set 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/Project Assistant/Science Advisor
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Bisig Impact Group

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 has been very successful and motivating for his students. To avoid "reinventing the wheel," the project leader recommended that APH use Azer's model for the interactive version.

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

Throughout FY 2005, the development of the Periodic Table of the Elements (Reference Chart) was given priority over the development of the interactive model because of the urgent demand from the field for the chart itself. Nevertheless, work related to the Azer Interactive Periodic Table Study Set did not cease. Refinement of Azer's science teacher's atomic model and separate element pieces dominated most of the year's efforts. By July 2005, a complete, single mockup according to 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 pieces of each provided element varied (for chemical equation purposes), but not all elements were represented.

Although August 2005 was originally slated as the "prototype date," multiple copies could not be readied for lack of an accompanying guidebook/instructional manual. The consultant, due to other responsibilities, was unable to provide the project leader with final content for this component. Therefore, the preparation of multiple prototypes for field testing purposes was postponed.

Work during FY 2006
Significant strides on this project were made throughout FY 2006, particularly during the third quarter of the fiscal year. The APH project staff executed the following prototype-related tasks:

By the end of August 2006, 10 complete prototypes of all the tangible pieces for the AZER Interactive Periodic Table Study Set were built. Throughout the remainder of the fiscal year, the project staff's attention was focused exclusively on the completion of the guidebook content and supportive photos. Because of the consultant's busy school schedule, the responsibility of guidebook preparation fell solely upon the project staff.

Work planned for FY 2007
The initial test stage will be initiated during the first half of the school year. Field evaluators will be contacted, evaluation packets will be developed, and prototypes will be mailed. Given the expanse of the kit's components and usefulness throughout the school year, the evaluators will be given at least 3 months to critique the prototype. Field test results will then be compiled and used to determine necessary revisions. Definitive goal dates for in-house production will be set by the Product Development Committee. All efforts, at that time, will be devoted to completing tooling, specifications, and initiating first pilot/production runs.

Periodic Table of the Elements (Reference Chart)

(Completed)

Periodic Table of the Elements (Reference Chart)

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, Bisig Impact Group

Background
The project leader initially 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 would serve as a tactile reference chart and a second that would be interactive in design.

The original project concept branched into two distinct products, namely Periodic Table of the Elements (Reference Chart) and Azer Interactive Periodic Table Study Set. [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 commercially-available Periodic Tables, including existing braille-only versions. She also contacted the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) regarding color assignment of element groupings.

Actual prototype development was underway in October 2004. Using an electronic file template of an atlas plate, the project leader used CorelDraw to first plot braille and needed tactile elements. Once the design accommodated for the tactile/braille portion, a new layer was created for the visual counterpart. High-contrast colors and readable fonts were incorporated. Critical registration/alignment between the two layers was maintained.

After the final designs 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 laminated 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 that listed 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 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 made suggested revisions according to field tests results. 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 electronegativity of each element. With regard to the large print/tactile Periodic Table chart itself, minimal changes were namely 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 (2 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 during FY 2006
The pilot run of the Periodic Table of the Elements was completed in December 2005. APH's Periodic Table of the Elements is presented in a combined large print/braille format. This full-color/tactile reference chart is ideal for classroom use and is accompanied by both large print and braille Reference Booklets which orient the student to the layout of the chart. The Reference Booklet, which should be used in combination with the chart, contains seven individual tables that provide information about each element's atomic number, atomic symbol, atomic mass, melting point, boiling point, electronegativity, and electron configuration. The total size of the double-laminated print/braille chart is 22.75" x 13"; a reinforced fold line allows the chart to be stored at a smaller size. By July 2006, repeated production runs were undertaken to satisfy nearly 650 orders of the complete kit, as well as sales of 111 and 179 units of the separate large print and braille guidebooks, respectively.

The project leader prepared content for the product brochure and demonstrated the use of the product at workshops and conferences.

Work planned for FY 2007
The product is officially complete. No further work is planned by the project staff. However, work will continue on the Azer Interactive Periodic Table Study Set [see separate report].

For further information about the Periodic Table of the Elements [Reference Chart] please visit the following link:

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/Co-author
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant

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 2006
Extensive product development throughout both FY05 and FY06 was limited due to the project leader's involvement on other products of higher priority. However, some 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, cross-section of the Sun). The project leader explored inclusion of 3-dimensional models that would assist the young student in understanding many of the abstract concepts encountered in astronomy. The project leader also kept versed and familiar with the Astronomy books (e.g., Touch the Universe, Touch the Stars) published by the National Federation of the Blind in order to prevent duplication of effort or design. APH's astronomy module will be designed with a younger audience in mind, incorporating more interactive, tactile components.

Work planned for FY 2007
During FY 2007, the prototype development of Sense of Science: Astronomy will continue. The project leader will identify field test sites and develop evaluation packets. Revisions will be determined based upon field test feedback.

Tactile Graphics

Feel 'n Peel Stickers II

(Completed)

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 J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
David McGee, Technical Research
Steve Paris, Production Manager
David Manteuffel, Purchasing Manager
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Bisig Impact Group

Background
Given the 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 marks on braille papers. Feedback garnered from several teachers of the visually impaired indicated 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 from other in-house staff regarding the expected components and presentation of the product. Besides the packages initially planned by the project leader, committee members expressed the following possibilities: raised print numbers and letters, color name labels, and jumbo braille.

In October 2004, the project leader conducted a 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 the following six packages of stickers would be prepared for availability:

  • Numbers
  • Color Name Stickers
  • Stars
  • Point Stickers II
  • Reward Statements II
  • Assorted Package (including two magnetic sheets)

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. 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.

In November 2004, the project leader wrote content for the accompanying Suggested Uses sheet. At this point in the timeline, Documentation Complete was 3 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.

Work during FY 2006
During the 2nd quarter of FY 2006, the project leader closely monitored the quality of received parts from the outside vendor and oversaw early collation of the packages by APH's Educational Aids department. Brochure content was prepared for marketing purposes. Feel n' Peel Stickers II packages were formally announced as a new APH product in March 2006. The new set of stickers comprises five packages including: Numbers (Literary Braille), Reward Statements, Stars, Point Symbols, and Color Names. An Assorted II package includes samples of all the new sticker types, plus two magnet sheets. Final selling prices were determined as $24.00 for each individual sticker package and $96.00 for the Assorted II Package. All packages are available with Quota funds.

Work planned for FY 2007
The product is officially complete. However, 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.

For more information on Feel n' Peel Sticker II, please visit the following link: http://sun1.aph.org/catalogs/cat_html/daily06-07.html#A3

Graphic Art Tape

(Completed)

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 for 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-graphic art tape for a variety of purposes in her classroom for many years. She 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 are malleable, allowing the creation of curved paths and circles.

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 now available. Consequently, the tape's off-the-shelf availability is declining.

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. 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 content for the Suggested Uses Sheet using ideas outlined by the project consultant. Samples constructed by the project consultant were incorporated into the final visual layout of this document.

Work during FY 2006
The product became available for sale in February 2006. The final product included three different widths of black, crepe-finish tape including 1/4", 1/8", and 1/16" on individual plastic dispensers, in 18-yard rolls. An included 11 x 17, full-color Suggested Uses Sheet provides a sampling of possible uses. The product was cross-referenced in other tactile-related products (e.g., SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine, Rolling Right Along Construction Kit).

Work planned for FY 2007
The product is officially complete. No further work is planned by the project staff. Additional uses of the tape, as identified by teachers/parents/students will continue to be monitored and shared as extended applications on APH's Web site and at future tactile graphic workshops.

Further information about Graphic Art Tape can be found at the following link: http://sun1.aph.org/advisory/2006adv03.html#P2

IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts [Classroom Suite Edition]

(New)

Purpose
To update APH's IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts for compatibility with IntelliTools, Inc.'s new Classroom Suite player on both Mac and PC platforms

Project staff
Karen J. Poppe, Project Leader/Co-Developer
Gerald Abner, Project Consultant/Co-Developer
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Bisig Impact Group

Background
In April 2004, IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts was introduced to APH's product line. The seven tactile and print overlays included in this package reinforce pre-braille skills, including shape discrimination, texture recognition, spatial concepts, and the braille cell configuration. The overlays are titled the following:

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

The overlays can be mounted on top of the commercially-available IntelliKeys keyboard. Recorded, child-narrated scripts prompt the student to find a specific shape, texture, braille dot, etc., on the overlay, providing auditory feedback when the selected objects are depressed. These same overlays can be used as stand-alone worksheets should the customer not have access to the IntelliTools' keyboard and software.

Of all the IntelliTactiles packages currently available from APH, the Pre-Braille Concepts package has proven to be the most popular. Selling nearly 800 units since its debut, this particular package continues to show increasing sales from year to year.

Work during FY 2006
The original recorded scripts for IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts were prepared on CD using IntelliTools' IntelliPics player. IntelliTools Inc.'s recent upgrade to their new Classroom Suite player necessitated a product modernization to APH's existing package. During the second and third quarters of FY 2006, the project staff undertook activities that would ensure an abbreviated timeline for the reintroduction of the upgraded package. Specifically, these activities included the following:

In one manner or another, every component of the existing product, with the exception of the print/tactile overlays, had to be tweaked or completely retooled for the production of the updated Pre-Braille Concepts package. Despite the numerous revisions, the timeline for the re-introduction of the product was kept to less than a year turnaround. The updated package is scheduled for production by the end of the calendar year.

Work planned for FY 2007
The project leader will monitor the quality of the initial runs and assist in a variety of promotional efforts. The project leader will also explore the possibility of providing companion raised-line overlays to the IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts package that will assist in the young child's transition from boldly raised/textured shapes to more subtle, abstract tactile displays.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 1]

(formerly known as Activity Game Book)

(Completed)

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

Project staff
Karen Poppe, Co-Project Leader
Fred Otto, Co-Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Technical Assistant
Bisig Impact Group

Background

The project leaders initiated work on the project by creating original tactile puzzles and brain teasers that could serve as regular features in 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 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 front cover art from one edition to the next, with slight variations to distinguish one edition from another.

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. Evaluators listed the following benefits of the tactile activity magazine: allows students to get the same experience doing the same types of activities sighted peers enjoy; provides motivating activities to develop tactile and cognitive skills; can be used independently or with blind and sighted peers; represents high-quality tactile graphics; has a variety of games and puzzles; easy and enjoyable to use; represents a variety of tactile methods; and 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 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 no more than 25 activities, the included activities for the first two issues still represented a diverse assortment of activities such as tactile puzzles, mazes, matching games, dot by dot pictures, hidden pictures, logic puzzles, break-the-code items, find-the-differences pages. Each new issue will have a unique catalog number. Unlike 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 are planned to be available for future generations of children to enjoy. It is the project leaders' hope that 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 of FY05 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 of SQUID: Issue 1 was completed by the end of August.

Work during FY 2006
Quota approval was requested and received from the Educational Product and Advisory Committee at the 2005 APH Annual Meeting. During November, the project leaders monitored the production run of SQUID: Issue 1. Due to the complexity of the product (i.e., a variety of tactile methods and die-cutting procedure), some growing pains were experienced during the first production run which necessitated re-brailling and hole-punching for four of the activities. The corrected activities, however, were quickly embossed and collated into the final packages before actual sale. The introduction price for the package was $45.00. SQUID: Issue 1 contains the following activities:

•All Arms•Lily Pad Hop
•Andy the Ant•Parts of a Whole
•Beat Me to the Punchline•Pog Pond
•Break the Code--Breakfast Foods•Six-Legged Critters
•BUTTERFLY Coloring Page•Sports Word Search
•Connect the Dots•Stained Glass Window
•Donut Deals•Tic-Tac-Toe
•Dots and Stripes Forever•Trail Mix
•Faces Tell A Story•Tree Hunt
•Here, Kitty!•Tulips or Daisies?
•Island Fun•Two Crowns
•Like Father, Like Son?•Word Play

Work planned for FY 2007
Work is officially complete on SQUID: Issue 1. First year sales indicated a greater popularity of the product than anticipated. Within the first 9 months after its debut, the first issue had sold nearly 700 copies. The Premier Issue was showcased at several international conferences, as well as at in-house workshops and APH-sponsored product training Web casts. The resounding comment made by teachers and others reviewing the product is that nothing similar exists, nor of comparable tactile quality.

The project leaders will continue to produce future issues of SQUID and aim for bi-annual availability of new issues. For work activities related to the preparation and production of SQUID: Issue 2 and SQUID: Issue 3, please see separate reports.

For more information on SQUID: Issue 1, please visit the following link: http://sun1.aph.org/catalogs/cat_html/daily06-07.html#B

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 2]

(Continuing)

Purpose
To continue the development of new issues of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine which feature an assortment of activities for developing young children's tactile skills within a recreational context

Project staff
Karen J. Poppe, Co-Project Leader
Fred Otto, Co-Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Bisig Impact Group

Background

A prototype of a tactile activity booklet (formally known as SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine) was field tested in early 2005 [see separate report on SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine: Issue 1]. Twenty-five activities from the original field test prototype were selected for final inclusion in SQUID: Issue 2. Activities were chosen to reflect a variety of tactile methods such as thermoform, embossed paper, and thermography for the purpose of familiarizing young children with a variety of raised-line images. As in SQUID: Issue 1, visual counterparts for each activity appear in an accompanying booklet for use by peers with low vision, as well as by sighted parents, teachers, and siblings.

Work during FY 2006
Tooling activities for production of SQUID: Issue 2 spanned the first and second quarters of FY 2006. Thermoformed masters were created, braille plates were finalized, and the graphic layout of 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. Final tooling of SQUID: Issue 2 was completed by the end of March.

Postponed 2 months from the original goal date, the pilot run of SQUID: Issue 2 was underway in August 2006. The project leaders monitored the quality and collation of the issue's 25 activities which included the following:

A Meets ZMore Six-Legged Critters
A-maze Me!Ms. Placed
Bird TreeNot Just Any Treat
Break the Code--Winter ClothingParts of a Whole
Circles All AroundSafe Hallways
Connect the DotsSailing Along
Crowded HouseScattered Crowns
Different is BestSquidley's Pals
FLOWER Coloring PageStep-By-Step
FLOWERS Word SearchString Along!
Hop, Two, Three!Turtle Shells
Mirrored Images?Word Play
Missing Links 

SQUID: Issue 2 was available for sale by the end of August 2006. With the production of each issue, new strategies for ensuring accurate hole-punching, embossing, die-cutting, and collation of the activity sheets are determined and applied to future production runs.

Work planned for FY 2007
Work was officially complete on SQUID: Issue 2 by the end of the fiscal year. The magazine series will continue to be showcased at international conferences, as well as at in-house workshops and APH-sponsored product training Web casts. The production of future issues of SQUID will continue with a goal to provide a new issue every 6 months. For work activities related to the preparation and production of SQUID: Issue 1 and SQUID: Issue 3, please see separate reports.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 3]

(New)

Purpose
To continue the development of new issues of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine which feature an assortment of activities for developing young children's tactile skills within a recreational context

Project staff
Karen J. Poppe, Co-Project Leader
Fred Otto, Co-Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Technical Assistant
Bisig Impact Group

Background

The premier issue SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine debuted in FY 2005. This magazine series is intended to encourage young children's development of important tactile skills within a recreational context. Each issue's activities reflect a variety of tactile methods such as thermoform, embossed paper, and thermography for the purpose of familiarizing young children with a variety of raised-line images. Visual counterparts of all the tactile activities are included as well with the expectation that they could be used by peers with low vision and sighted parents, teachers, and siblings. The momentum to continue the development and production of the SQUID series was quickened by the positive reception of the first issue; over 600 issues were sold in less than a year's time. The on-going goal is to introduce two new SQUID issues every year. Unlike a "subscription" ordering method, customers are able to order needed amounts of SQUID issues for their children/students. The Premier Issue and all future issues of SQUID are planned to be available for future generations of children to enjoy. It is the project leaders' hope that SQUID issues will become commonplace in home settings where the children can acquire early tactile skills within a relaxed atmosphere with their family and friends.

Work during FY 2006
While the tooling and production efforts of SQUID: Issue 2 [see separate report on SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine: Issue 2] were underway in FY06, the project staff initiated efforts on the development of 25 unique tactile activities for SQUID: Issue 3. A formal timeline was established at a Product Development Committee meeting held in mid-February. By the first of April, the product documentation was complete--2 months ahead of schedule. This encompassed the design of both the print and tactile activities, as well as the content updates for the "Solutions" section of the booklet. During that same month, the project staff initiated work with both the outside graphic designer for final layout of the print guidebook and with the Model/Pattern Maker for the tooling of the thermoformed activities. By the end of May, all of the thermoform layouts were complete, as well as much of the PEARL-etched plates for the embossed-paper activities.

In June 2006, all enhancements to the production thermoform masters were finalized. The project leader then provided the Braille department with translation instruction for the embossed paper and thermography activities. The month of July brought the conclusion of the graphic layout of the print booklet and related cover art. It was at this time that the product was enhanced, based upon a customer's suggestion, to make the accompanying booklet hole-punched for convenient storage in a 3-ring binder. This request was addressed by twin-looping a durable Polyblend, 3-hole-punched extender with the print/braille booklet's pages and covers. This extender alleviated the need to minimize the overall page size (usually occupied by the activities' graphics) and using needed page space for the 3-hole punch.

By the end of summer, the production of SQUID: Issue 2 and the final tooling tasks of SQUID: Issue 3 dove-tailed together. SQUID: Issue 3 includes the following activities:

A-r-r-r-gh, Matey! Raining Cats and Dogs
ASTRONOMY Word Search Ring It Alone
Beat You by a Hare Shelly's Seashells
Broken Hearts Shifting Shapes
Butterfly Wings SQUID Attack
Diamonds, Hearts, and Clovers, Oh My! Starry, Starry Flags
Dots and Squares Game Stars, Moons, and Rockets
Falling Snowflakes Stormy Weather
Inside Out Tail of Two Kites
Matching Scarves? Umbrella on a Rainy Day Coloring Page
Movie Titles Where Did Mom Park the Car?
Pizza Puzzler Word Play
Quilting B's  

Work planned for FY 2007
The project leaders will monitor the pilot/production runs of SQUID: Issue 3 slated for December 2006. Post-production activities will include preparing marketing information, showcasing the product at workshops/conferences, and initiating efforts on SQUID: Issue 4.

StackUps: Spatial Understanding Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings

(Continuing)

Purpose
To develop a tactile training tool that systematically prepares students for the interpretation of raised-line graphics illustrating 3-dimensional figures, specifically stacked cube arrangements

Project staff
Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Matt Smith, Visual Graphic Assistant
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

Background

The project leader recognized the 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. 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 was planned to comply with the National Math Standards that state that students should be able to 1) recognize, name, build, draw, compare and sort 2- and 3-dimensional shapes; 2) describe attributes and parts of 2- and 3-dimensional shapes; and 3) to investigate and predict the results of putting together and taking apart 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes.

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.

Work during FY 2006
Efforts during the first and second quarters of FY 2006 were focused on the development of 15 field test prototypes of StackUps. Project staff's tasks consisted of the following:

By the end of March 2006, all prototypes were mailed to field test evaluators across the country. Evaluators were afforded 7 weeks to use the prototype with their students and return the evaluation packets. The field test stage was completed 2 months ahead of schedule. The project leader compiled the field test results into an 80-page final report. A summary of the results were consolidated into a PowerPoint for the purpose of updating the Product Development Committee on the expected revisions and planned components.

The prototype was field tested by 15 evaluators representing the states of Alabama, Idaho, Maine, Maryland (3), Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas (2), Tennessee (2), and Washington. [See names of actual evaluators in Field Test Evaluator section of this annual report.] The student sample consisted of 56 students with visual impairments and blindness ranging in age from 5- to 20-years old, with the largest percentage (34%) between 16- to 18-years of age; 29% were between 13- and 15-years of age; 14% between 10- and 12-years of age; and lesser percentages between 5- to 6-years of age (2%), 7- to 9-years of age (12%), and 19- to 20-years of age (9%). Nearly half (46%) were reported as being in secondary grades. The student sample was almost evenly split between males (55%) and females (45%). The majority of the students (66%) were reported as braille readers; 20% were large print readers; and 11% were regular print readers with magnification. The remaining percentages of students were either combined print/braille readers or auditory readers--2% each. One-fifth of the student sample had other disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, and learning disabilities.

The majority of students using the prototype were reported as either "demonstrating significant strides" or "a little more understanding" of the concepts or skills related to stacked cube arrangements and raised-line drawings. Next to each learning objective listed below is the average student rating out of a possible high of three:

Learning ObjectiveStudent SampleAverage Student Rating
Build a 3-D model that matches a 2-D tactile displayn = 542.46
Identify a 2-D tactile display that matches a 3-D modeln = 482.40
Determine possible cube arrangements using the same number of cubesn = 512.43
Build a 3-D solid when given a mat plann = 522.54
Create a mat plan when given a 3-D solidn = 412.30
Create a Front-Right-Top view when given a 3-D stacked cube arrangementn = 402.20
Create a 3-D model of a stacked cube arrangement when given a Front-Right-Top viewn = 412.30
Find the volume of stacked cube arrangementsn = 372.65
Find the surface area of stacked cube arrangementsn = 252.84

One hundred percent of the evaluators said that the textures of the loop Velcro (soft) and hook Velcro (rough) on the 3-D cubes corresponded correctly with the textures on the tactile Stacked Cube Arrangement cards. Likewise, 100% indicated that the blue loop and white hook Velcro provided ideal visual contrast. The majority (79%) indicated that the Velcro cubes were an appropriate way to build stacked cube arrangements, with (92%) reporting that the cubes were durable for repeated use. As one teacher wrote, "The Velcro cubes keep the model together for maximum manipulation." One-hundred percent of the evaluators verified that having the tops of the cubes represented by a different texture (rough) than the sides of the cubes (smooth) was helpful for the student's orientation and interpretation of the tactile display. The mat plan cards were especially found to be a helpful tool for students to independently build stacked cube arrangements, noting that "once the students learned how to interpret them, it was a foolproof method of directions for building 3-D models."

With regard to the guidebook, 100% of the evaluators indicated that it was helpful and thorough, with 88% indicating that the presented activities were consistent with the NCTM Math Standards. As one teacher stated, "It gave a logical progression to understanding isometric illustrations--logical progression of concepts and plenty of practical suggestions." StackUps was deemed by all evaluators to be appropriate for tactile readers in grades 6-8, with a similarly high percentage (93%) indicating appropriateness for low vision students in these same grades. Slightly lower percentages of evaluators indicated that StackUps was appropriate for use with both tactile readers and low vision students in secondary grades--87% and 80%, respectively. Over half (67%) said that the product would be helpful to sighted peers.

Based upon the evaluators' feedback, the project leader plans the following notable improvements to the product: 1) inclusion of a thermoformed raised-line grid in lieu of the hook-Velcro platform to provide a stable working surface; 2) conversion of the mat plan cards from a embossed paper method to a thermoformed process to add durability and tactile clarity; and 3) additional stacked cube arrangement cards for further practice.

The project leader reconvened the Product Development Committee in June 2006 and reviewed expected revisions to the final product. The remaining goal dates of the partially-developed timeline were established, slating July 2007 as the "Availability" date for the product.

Work planned for FY 2007
Given the extensiveness of tooling and the component involved in StackUps: Spatial Understanding Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings, pre-production tasks will span the first and second quarters of the fiscal year. The project leader will be responsible for the following: authoring the final guidebook content; working with the Model/Pattern Maker to finalize tactile presentations of the stacked cube arrangement cards, mat plans, raised grid, etc.; with assistance from the purchasing manager, identifying a suitable vendor for the provision of the Velcro cubes; providing clean file of the guidebook to the Braille Department for translation purposes; reviewing proofs from the outside graphic designer of the final layout of the print guidebook, as well as, CD versions (e.g., HTML and PDF files); verifying final product specifications compiled by Technical Research; and so forth.

The project leader will closely monitor the initial pilot/production runs of StackUps to assess the quality of the final product. It is anticipated that this product will be officially complete during FY 2007. The project leader, however, will continue to be engaged in preparing brochure content and demonstrating the product at upcoming workshops and conferences. Field-reviewed tactile techniques for depicting stacked cube arrangements in textbooks and tests will be encouraged for in-house graphic production.

Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication

[Spanish Edition]

(New)

Purpose
To provide a Spanish version of the currently available Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication guidebook

Project staff
Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
Rodger Smith, Programmer/Technology Assistant
Maria Delgado, Spanish Editor
Mario Eiland, Programmer/Technology Assistant/Spanish Editor
Rachel Chaney, Contracted Spanish Editor
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Designers

Background
The English version of Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication became available from APH in September 2005. This product provides a comprehensive set of tactile symbols that is appropriate for use by visually impaired and blind students who lack a formal means of communicating. Although most of the product is not language dependent for actual use (e.g., mounting cards, accessories, labeling material), the guidebook, which features an extensive Pictorial Library detailing the construction of tactile cards, was determined ideal for Spanish translation so that it could be used by a broader audience (e.g., Spanish-speaking parents). It was the project leaders' original intent to offer the Spanish version at the same time as the English version. However, due to the vast tooling necessary to introduce the latter, preparation of the Spanish version was curtailed until after the initial introduction of the complete kit.

Work during FY 2006
Throughout FY 2006, the project leaders were engaged in the following tasks:

*The development of the HTML version was sidelined between November 2005 and June 2006 until in-house HTML standards were finalized during the preparation of the HTML version of Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments [see separate report].

As of August 2006, all necessary product tooling was complete to generate the Spanish version of the guidebook, including hardcopy, HTML, and PDF versions. Having missed the original deadline of May 2006 for Availability, dates for actual pilot/production runs were rescheduled with the Product Development Committee.

Work planned for FY 2007
The product will be officially available in FY 2007 and the project leaders will continue to showcase Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication at appropriate conferences and workshops.

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 project is to learn which media are appropriate for which uses. Another goal is to identify and expand the available methods/tools useful for the production of tactile displays, whether by APH or by the individual teacher, transcriber, or student.

In addition, tactile graphic products are frequently submitted by teachers or other professionals who would like to collaborate with APH in producing their materials. 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 2006
Throughout the year, project staff conducted a variety of tactile graphic workshops and training sessions (both in-house and at national conferences), initiated contacts and gathered input from the field, and proposed new product ideas. Examples of these activities are listed below:

Work planned for FY 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.

Toys

Tangle® Toy Kit

(Completed)

The Tangle Book cover

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 2006
The Tangle Book was produced in large print and packaged with three Tangle Toys. A braille version of the book is available separately. The Tangle Toy Kit is available for sale.

Model/Pattern Maker

Product involvement during FY 2006

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

With regard to Production efforts, the Model/Pattern 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 examples of the Model/Pattern Maker's contributions to projects developed during FY 2006:

AZER Interactive Periodic Table Study Set

The Model/Pattern Maker assisted in the prototype design of AZER Interactive Periodic Table Study Set.

The following tasks were involved:

Braille Library Display

The Model/Pattern Maker worked with members of the APH Curatorial staff and built a fiberglass duplicate of a sample of museum-quality braille to be placed on permanent display in the APH Museum.

Cubarithm Add-Ons

The Model/Pattern Maker built preliminary prototypes of 19 new cubes to be used with APH's existing Brannan Cubarithm Cubes. Cost estimates are currently being sought.

Letter and Phonics Cards

The Model/Pattern Maker assisted in the early design and prototype development of Letter and Phonics Cards. Initial tasks included preparing screen art layout, building thermoform masters, and selecting appropriate material for production.

NLBCT Answer Sheets

The Model/Pattern Maker made 40 specially designed answer templates intended for use by blind applicants when being administered the National Literary Braille Competency Test. These templates are printed, braille embossed, die-cut, and then adhered to the answer sheets, which are supplied by the National Library Service.

Scattered Crowns: A Tactile Attribute Game

The Pattern/Model Maker designed and prepared the screen art and thermoform patterns for the crown pieces and the attribute rollers, the thermoformed game grid, the actual design of the 3-part and individual rollers, and basic graphic design of the castle wall used for the final game art. Prototypes of all parts were built for field test purposes.

Sense of Science: Astronomy

The Pattern/Model Maker initiated the tactile art designs on several overlays planned for the kit.

StackUps: Spatial Understanding Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings

The Model/Pattern Maker assisted in the prototype design of StackUps. The following tasks were involved:

The Model/Pattern Maker will continue to be instrumental in the preparation of the final tooling needed for the in-house production purposes.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 2]

The Model/Pattern Maker prepared original tactile art and final thermoform patterns for production purposes. Tactile layout dictated and served as a template for visual artwork included in the accompanying print booklet.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 3]

The Model/Pattern Maker prepared original tactile art and final thermoform patterns for production purposes. Tactile layout dictated and served as a template for visual artwork included in the accompanying print booklet. Assistance on plate-tooling of the embossed-paper activities was also provided.

Tactile Protractor

The Model/Pattern Maker built the production thermoform pattern for the Tactile Protractor.

Tools for Assessment and Development (ToAD)

The Model/Pattern Maker built production thermoform patterns and designed a cutting die for the production of the plastic bowl to be used in both ToAD, as well as Let's See, an existing APH product.

Wings of Freedom Award

The Pattern/Model Maker constructed a solid walnut base with brass information for the Wings of Freedom Award, which is made of crystal.

World at Your Fingers

Working with Fred Otto, Research Project Leader, the Model/Pattern Maker innovated the process of both silkscreening 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 finalized during FY06.

Technical Research Division

Technical Research Division Activities

(Continuing)

Purpose
The Technical Research Division functions as a "bridge" between the concept of the project leader's product and the concrete reality 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 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 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 2006
Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments

(Completed)

The name was changed from Science Skills Inventory Print with CD. Technical Research worked with the project leaders to complete product specifications for production in November 2005. The tooling for the CD was completed the first of June 2006. Technical Research monitored the product through the first production run in late July 2006. It was made available for sale the first week of August.

Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments: Advance Preparation & Skills Checklists

(Completed)

This developed into two separate parts. This will be sold individually and is also part of the full kit. Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production in November 2005. Technical Research monitored the first production run in late July 2006.

Algebra Add-on Cubarithm

(New)

Technical Research attended a brainstorming PDC meeting May 2006 conducted by the project leader for discussing/soliciting ideas for making Algebra add-ons for the Brannan Cubarithm Kit. The discussion centered on design and the amount of necessary cubes. Technical Research will begin designing product specifications, as the product parts become more concrete.

Alphabet Scramble

(Continuing)

Technical Research designed and turned over product specifications to production in March 2006 and has monitored the ordering of printed pages and binders needed for the first production run of this product into stock. Technical Research assembled to sample books for the project leader to display for the AER conference in June 2006. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product as it is produced.

Alphabet Scramble, Braille Notes to Reader

(Continuing)

Technical Research designed product specifications, gave them to production, and is monitoring the first production run of this product.

APH Insights Calendar 2007

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with Communications department and met with a new vendor who would emboss and assemble the calendars to send to APH as finished products available for sale. When received, there was a problem noticed of having low braille. It was determined that the embossing was of good quality, but that the low braille was likely caused by either the folding process, collating, or the packaging to send the calendars to APH. The vendor sent workers to APH to repackage the calendars standing on their sides rather than stacked on top of each other. This is being documented in specifications as a requirement for future productions with any vendor for this product. Technical Research monitored the completion of the product into stock.

Azer Interactive Tactile Periodic Table

(Continuing)

Technical Research is working with the project leader to develop product specifications and will monitor each step of the product through production.

Book Wizard Producer

(Continuing)

This product is a composing program for books on CD. Technical Research completed product specifications in July 2002, but will have to make updates as the project leader determines final changes to better satisfy customer requirements. Technical Research will monitor the first production run.

Braille Contractions Recognition Print Teacher's Kit

(Continuing)

The product's name has been changed from Braille Code Recognition Program to Braille Contractions Recognition and will be made available in both print and braille versions. Technical Research is working on completing product specifications once the project leader completes the final design changes.

Braille Contractions Recognition Braille Teacher's Kit

(Continuing)

The product's name has been changed from Braille Code Recognition Program to Braille Contractions Recognition and will be made available in both print and braille versions. Technical Research is working on completing product specifications once the project leader completes the final design changes.

Braille DateBook 2007 Kit

(Completed)

Technical Research requested new catalog numbers determined how many kits to make and monitored getting the parts updated for translation. Technical Research followed the production of the product into stock in June 2006.

Braille DateBook 2007 Calendar Tabs

(Completed)

Technical Research obtained the 2006 plates, checked them against standards and furnished them to the Braille department along with guides and a sample in March 2006 to have the new 2007 plates made. Translation, braille plates, and production was completed and placed into stock in June 2006.

Braille Transcriber's Kit - Countries and Continents

(Completed)

The project leader changed the official name to Braille Transcriber's Kit: Countries and Continents in June 2005. Technical Research completed product specifications, turned them over to production, and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in November 2005.

Brigance, Green - Large Print Edition

(New)

Technical Research met with the project leader to discuss manufacturing options and needs for field testing in May 2006. This product will likely become six separate catalog items: The Complete Test, four individual Test Volumes and a Braille Teacher's Manual. Technical Research is working with the project leader in putting together the necessary materials for required for field-testing. Technical Research will begin work on developing specifications as determined from field test results.

Brigance (Yellow) Diagnostic Inventory of Early Development II

(New)

Technical Research attended a brainstorming PDC meeting in June 2006 conducted by the project leader. An overview of the product, along with ideas for design and layout of proposed components were discussed. Technical Research will begin developing product specifications as the ideas become more firm.

Building on Patterns Kindergarten Level

(Continuing)

Technical Research designed and turned over product specifications to production on seven storybooks and the Color Me book in April 2006, and four more parts in July 2006, and the final two items (teacher's editions) the first of August 2006. Technical Research is working on completing product specifications for the final packing of the Braille and Print kits and will be turning them over sometime by the end of August or the first of September 2006. Technical Research continues working with all production areas to assure these products will run smoothly with as little production problems as possible.

Building on Patterns Grade 1 & Grade 2

Technical Research began working with the project leader in August 2006 to determine the basics of what these two levels of Patterns will contain. Once this information is documented it will be used to formulate a schedule for content development, filed testing, development of the products' specifications, tooling development, and final production of the items. Technical Research will continue to monitor the development of these two series of products.

Child Guided Strategies for Accessing Children Who Are Deafblind or have Multiple Disabilities CD, MAC Version

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications, turned them over to production in February 2006, and monitored this with numerous delays on the CD from a vendor into stock in July 2006.

Child Guided Strategies for Accessing Children Who Are Deafblind or have Multiple Disabilities CD, Spanish Version

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications, turned them over to production in February 2006, and monitored this with numerous delays on the CD from a vendor into stock in July 2006.

Clear Plastic Braille Slate

(Completed)

This product is part of Crafty Graphics Kit II. Technical Research completed specifications, turned them over in August 2005. Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product into stock in November 2005.

Clear 4 Line / 40 Cell Simbraille Template

(Completed)

This product is part of Crafty Graphics Kit II. Technical Research completed specifications, turned them over in August 2005. Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product into stock in November 2005.

Compass and Spur Wheel Set

(Completed)

This product is part of the Crafty Graphics Kit II. Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over in August 2005. Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product in December 2005.

Crafty Graphics Kit II

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications for this kit that covers three items available as separate catalog items and turned them over in August 2005. Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product into stock in December 2005.

CVI Perspectives - DVD

(Completed

The project leader changed the name from New Promise for Children with CVI, DVD. Technical Research completed product specifications, turned them over to production in October 2005, and monitored the first production of this product into stock in November 2005.

CVI Perspectives - Video

(Completed)

The project leader changed the name from New Promise for Children with CVI, VHS. Technical Research completed product specifications, turned them over to production in October 2005, and monitored the first production of this product into stock in November 2005.

CVI Swirly Mats

(New)

Technical Research attended a PDC meeting on this product held in June 2006. This product will consist of 10 mats suited for CVI and will be made with the same manner as the current FVI and CVI Swirly Mats. Technical Research will begin designing product specifications as information is made available from the project leader.

Developmental Guidelines

(New)

The project leader conducted a brainstorming PDC meeting in May 2006 to discuss revising an existing product, making it more accessible. This would likely include a CD with HTML, BRF, and TXT files of the book and consumable forms. Technical Research will work to design product specifications as the project leader makes decisions on the parts for this product.

Electronic Brailler by Perkins

(Completed)

Technical Research developed very basic specifications and monitored this product into stock in June 2006.

Expandable Calendar Boxes - Black

(Continuing)

The project leader decided to make this in two different colors, black and white. Each kit will contain six boxes and plastic channel pieces to be used for clamping boxes together or for labeling. Each kit will include a purchased print book by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired as well as an original work produced by the project leader listing suggested uses for the boxes. Technical Research is working on completing product specifications and will monitor the first production of this product into stock.

Expandable Calendar Boxes - White

(Continuing)

The project leader decided to make this in two different colors, black and white. Each kit will contain six boxes and plastic channel pieces to be used for clamping boxes together or for labeling. Each kit will include an purchased print book by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired as well as an original work produced by the project leader listing suggested uses for the boxes. Technical Research is working on completing product specifications and will monitor the first production of this product into stock.

EZ Track Calendar 2007

(Completed)

Technical Research has been project leader for this annual product since 2003. Technical Research worked with a graphics designer to get the 2007 version ready and in production. Technical Research developed specifications and monitored the production of this product into stock in July 2006.

EZ Track Calendar Inserts 2007

(Completed)

Technical Research has been project leader for this annual product since 2003. Technical Research worked with a graphics designer to get the 2007 version ready and in production. Technical Research developed specifications and monitored the production of this product into stock in July 2006.

Feel 'n Peel Stickers 2

(Completed)

This product is an extension to the current Feel 'n Peel Sticker Kit and is offering the labels individually as well. There are Color Names, Point Symbols, Stars, Rewards, and Numbers. Technical Research developed and turned over product specifications in June 2005 on all six products and monitored the first production runs for each into stock in March 2006.

Fun with Braille, Braille Version

(Continuing)

After field testing the project leader made a decision have this available in print and braille versions. Technical Research is finished product specifications and turned them over to production in late August 2006. Technical Research will monitor the first production run into stock.

Fun with Braille Book, Large Type Version

(Continuing)

After field testing the project leader made a decision have this available in print and braille versions. Technical Research is finished product specifications and turned them over to production in late August 2006. Technical Research will monitor the first production run into stock.

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 project leader.

Going Places, Transition Guidelines

(Completed)

This product developed into three separate catalog items, a print version, a braille version, and a Worksheet pack. Technical Research developed, completed, and distributed product specifications for all three in February 2006 and monitored the completion of the products into stock in July 2006.

Graphic Art Tape

(Completed)

This was a new product that included three different widths of black crepe tape. The tape was made available in widths of 1/4", 1/8", and 1/16". Technical Research completed product specifications, turned them over to production in November 2005, and monitored the first production run of the product into stock in February 2006.

Home Grown Video: Students Who Are Deafblind Using APH Products

(New)

Technical Research will begin preliminary product specifications as more information becomes available from the project leader.

IntelliTactiles: PreBraille Concepts, Classroom Suite

(New)

The Project Leader called PDC meeting in April 2006 to discuss an upgrade to an existing product, due to the manufacturer upgrading their software. Technical Research obtained new catalog numbers and is creating new product specifications for the three parts, the full kit, the print guidebook and the braille guidebook. These specifications were turned over to production in August 2006.

Kelvin Talking Voice Controlled Thermostat

(Completed)

Technical Research completed and turned over product specifications in September 2005 and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in October 2005.

Kevlar Cane

(Continuing)

Technical Research will develop product specifications, as new information becomes available from the project leader.

Labeling Tool Kit

(Continuing)

This product will consist of two catalog items, a braille version and large type/cassette version. Technical Research will begin product specifications as the project leader furnishes information on these products.

Large Print Color World Atlas - Section 1

(Continuing)

This product has grown into four individually available for sale items. Technical Research is completing product specifications and is working with the project leader, graphics designer, and Large Type to have printing standards established. Technical Research will finish specifications and turn them over to production as well as continue to work with production and the project leader to monitor this product through its first production run.

Large Print Protractor

(Continuing)

This has developed into two products; the Large Print Protractor and the Tactile Protractor. Technical Research completed specifications, turned them over to production in May 2006, and will be monitoring the first production run of the product.

Large Print Toss Away Protractor

(Continuing)

The project leader has put this product on hold. Technical Research will resume work on specifications when more information is received from the project leader.

Life Science Tactile Graphics Kit

(New)

Technical Research attended a brainstorming PDC meeting by the co-project leaders in June 2006 where possible contents of the product discussed. It will be similar to the Basic Science Tactile Graphics Kit. Technical Research will begin preliminary specifications, as information becomes available for the project leaders.

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

(Completed)

Technical Research completed and turned over specs in February 2006 along with the files and monitored the first production run of the activity guide into stock May 2006.

Living with CHARGE CD

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications and conducted a turnover meeting in February 2006. Technical Research followed this product as it went into stock in April 2006.

Lots Of Dots: Counting 1 2 3

(Continuing)

Technical Research developed a scale drawing of a three cell braille template and sent it to the project leader, who approved it and forwarded it to the graphics designer to use in designing the page layouts. This same file was used to purchase a cutting die for the polyblend template included in the book. Technical Research die-cut the braille cell templates needed in March 2006. Production supervisor die cut and packaged the foam braille dots. Technical Research ran all 54 set ups "13 copies of each." Large Type assembled and bound the books, which enabled the project leader to avoid a 1-year delay in field testing with this project. Technical Research is now working on completing product specifications and will be conducting a specification meeting with production in the near future.

Magnet Mate Math

(Abandoned)

After much work, Technical Research has been notified that this project has been dropped. No further work will be done on this project by Technical Research.

Magnitachers

(New)

Technical Research met with the project leader in March 2006 to review the product, which has now become four separately items. There will be Large Braille labels, Small Braille Labels, Large Print Labels, and Sherlock labels. They are to be made out of flexible magnetic sheets, kiss-cut in different sizes. Technical Research is working on developing product specifications for each product and will monitor each through the first production run.

MathBuilders Unit 1

(Continuing)

This product's name has been changed from Primary Math Units to MathBuilders Units. Technical Research has worked with the new project leader on developing product specifications for Unit 1, which covers seven individual parts. Technical Research along with the project leader and Purchasing are compiling all the shapes and textures needed for Unit One's Manipulatives set. Many of the additional items are being culled from existing kits.

Maxim Eyes

(Completed)

This new product was added to the schedule in November 2005. Technical Research developed and distributed specifications to the production areas and monitored the first production run into stock in December 2005.

Miniguide US - Braille

(Completed)

Technical Research completed and turned over specifications in June 2005 and monitored the first production run of this product in October 2005. Technical Research developed and provided to production a tool to use for opening the units, after a number of them were nearly destroyed by improper opening methods. Technical Research was able to repair the units.

Miniguide US- Print

(Completed)

Technical Research completed specifications and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in October 2005. Technical Research developed and provided to production a tool to use for opening the units, after a number of them were nearly destroyed by improper opening methods. Technical Research was able to repair the units.

Moving Ahead: Boy and the Wolf

(Continuing)

Technical Research will begin work on developing specifications once production on Splish is complete and we prove out the production methods.

Moving Ahead: Splish the Fish

(Continuing)

Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over in November 2005. Production requested some changes in production methods, which necessitated reworking the specs incorporating the changes. Technical Research completed the changes and distributed the revised specs. The printed pages were received from the vendor in January 2006. Technical Research conducted registration testing of the raised tactile lines to the printed pages in early April 2006, which proved successful and developed a formula allowing for the proper registration of raised lines to the printed pages. These were forwarded to the graphics designer for finalizing the files needed for the production. In mid June 2006 Technical Research worked with Production in having a pilot run of 100 produced, which is still in process. After the final assembly of the 100, Technical Research will conduct a debriefing to review the process and determine whether to proceed with the full run of 700 or do another 100 units as a second pilot run.

Moving Ahead: Splish the Fish, Braille Reader's Guide

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications, turned them over in November 2005, and monitored the first production run in June 2006. It will not been made available for sale until the storybook is completed.

Moving Ahead: Turtle and Rabbit

(Continuing)

Technical Research will begin work on developing specifications once production on Splish is complete and we prove out the production methods.

Multi-Purpose Cart

(Completed)

A decision was made to have a available for purchase through APH. Technical Research developed specifications in November 2005, Purchasing placed an order, and this was placed into stock in January 2006.

Number Line - Large Print

(New)

The project leader held a brainstorming PDC meeting in May 2006. Technical Research will begin work on developing product specifications, as information becomes available from the project leader.

Number Line - Tactile

(New)

The project leader held a brainstorming PDC meeting in May 2006. Technical Research will begin work on developing product specifications, as information becomes available from the project leader.

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 will develop specifications once the print version is determined.

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

(Continuing)

This product has evolved into a completely new design of the existing product. Field-testing was completed, and Technical Research will finish product specifications as the project leader finalizes needed revisions.

Orion TI-36X Talking Scientific Calculator

(Completed)

A decision was made in July 2005 to offer this as a replacement for the TI-34 calculator which the manufacturer discontinued. Technical Research monitored this product as it was placed into stock October 2005.

Parenting Book -- Braille Version

(Continuing)

Technical Research will work on developing product specifications as the project leader finalizes the products' concepts.

Periodic Table of the Elements Reference Chart

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications in September 2005 and worked closely with the project leader to monitor the first production run of this product into stock December 2005.

Phonics and Letter Cards

(New)

The project leader held a brainstorming PDC meeting in May 2006 and the content of the kit was discussed. As parts are finalized by the project leader, Technical Research will begin developing product specifications.

Picture Recipes - Revised

(New)

Technical Research attended a brainstorming PDC meeting called by the project leader in May 2006 to discuss possible changes and/or additions of the existing product to make it more accessible. Some things discussed were braille labeling, a braille guidebook, and a CD containing assessable files, including a BRF. Also changes to production methods to improve the quality of the product and to reduce costs were discussed. Technical Research will develop product specifications as decisions become finalized.

Portable Sound Source - Sport Edition

(Continuing)

Technical Research designed and developed new circuitry for this device. The product is smaller, more portable electronic version of the original. It is remote controlled with a key fob sized remote that you can use to turn the unit on and off, change the pitch, rate, and volume from a tested range of 100 to 150 yards. There will be a companion guidebook in both print and braille including a CD with an HTML copy of the book. Technical Research re-worked the existing tooling and printed circuit board artwork reflecting improvements in the design and updated all bid packet information to keep it as accurate as possible for sending to prospective bidding companies following the completion of field-testing in June 2006. A meeting was held with the project leader in early July 2006 to review field test results and plan for the changes that may be needed based on these results. Technical Research is working with the project leader and Purchasing to finalize a bid package to send out to perspective manufacturers for bidding on producing the unit and the remote device.

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 10 each of the two preferred designs. Technical Research is working with the project leader helping to 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 monitoring the product through the first production run.

Reclaiming Independence: DVD

(New)

Technical Research is working on product specifications and will complete them, as final information becomes available from the project leader. This will be the first APH product that will actually have the DVD duplicated in house.

Reclaiming Independence: VHS

(New)

Technical Research is working on product specifications and will complete them, as final information becomes available from the project leader.

Reference Sheet Pack - Miniguide US

(Completed)

Technical Research completed and turned over specifications in June 2005 and monitored this through the first production run in October 2005.

Remote Unit: Miniguide US

(Completed)

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. Technical Research completed and turned over specifications in June 2005 and monitored this through the first production run in October 2005.

Robinspring32

(New)

The project leader held a brainstorming PDC meeting in May 2006. This is a new desktop fluorescent lamp, which would consist of the lamp, a replacement bulb and a small amount of product documentation. There are concerns regarding UL/CSA approval of the lamp, and the project leader has contacted the vendor to determine if this matter could be resolved. Technical Research will design product specifications once it is determined that APH will actually offer the lamp for sale.

Scattered Crowns: Tactile Attribute Game

(Continuing)

The project leader held a PDC meeting in June 2006 to layout the final content of the product. It will contain a game board, associated game pieces, and two sets of game rollers. One set will consist of three individual rollers and the second is three rollers fastened together inline. The remainder of the production schedule was completed at this meeting. Technical Research is working on completing product specifications.

Sense of Science -- Astronomy

(Continuing)

The project leader held PDC meeting on this product in April 2006. Technical Research will begin working on preliminary product specifications as information becomes available from the project leader.

Sensory Learning Kit

(Completed)

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 completed and turned product specifications over to production in May 2005 and monitored the pilot run of the product into stock in October 2005. Technical Research continues to monitor the progress of the individual electronic items that are purchased overseas as they are received in house that will be made available for sale individually.

Sound Ball

(Continuing)

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 2005; and 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 modified the circuitry design to accommodate the lighted charger and to also allow for two separate sound balls. Sample circuit boards were reviewed and the vendor sent six sample balls complete with electronics to evaluate the vendor's foaming process and to assure the electronics will survive the foaming process intact.

Sample printouts of art for the box were received from the vendor in June 2006 and approved. Final box size was established. A single sample of a molded ball only (no electronics) was received in late May 2006. Technical Research reviewed the sample with the project leader, and it was approved. The vendor has sent samples for each of the nine other cavity molds for texture/external markings approval. These samples were approved August 2006. The next step will be for the vendor to send in 20 fully operational production samples for approval prior to production start up. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of these two products.

SQUID

(Completed)

This was formally called Activity and Game Book. Technical Research designed product specifications and turned them over in July 2005. Technical Research helped to monitor the first production run on this product into stock in November 2005.

SQUID - A Tactile Activities Magazine, Issue 2

(Continuing)

Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production in March 2006. The pilot run is currently in process, and Technical Research is monitoring the product as it is being completed.

SQUID - A Tactile Activities Magazine, Issue 3

(New)

The project leader conducted a PDC meeting on this product in February 2006. The goal date for having this product in stock is October 2006. Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production in early August 2006.

StackUps

(Continuing)

Technical Research attended a PDC meeting in June 2006. This product is now four separate catalog items as well as part of the full kit. There will be a braille guidebook, a large print guidebook, Mat Plan Worksheets, and the cubes sold as a set. Technical Research worked with Purchasing to obtain quoted for the cubes and to also to obtain quotes for a vendor to actually assemble the Velcro onto the cubes. This is very labor intensive and would be better to have done outside APH to avoid tying up production labor in house. To date a manufacturer in the U.S. has quoted on making the cubes but not on applying the Velcro. Two vendors have been contacted overseas to quote on cube manufacturing and the Velcro application. We have received a quote and are waiting on a second.

State Map Collection

(New)

This product will divide into four individually sold products. There will be the Northeast Region, Southeast Region, Central Region, and Western Region. Technical Research developed product specifications for all four regions and turned them over to production in June 2006. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product through the manufacturing process.

Swirly Mats: CVI Set

(Continuing)

Technical Research worked with a vendor to produce sample mats. Problems were found and solved. Technical Research then completed product specifications, turned them over to production in April 2006, and is currently monitoring the first production run of the mats.

Swirly Mats: FVA Set

(Continuing)

Technical Research worked with a vendor to produce sample mats. Problems were found and solved. Technical Research then completed product specifications, turned them over to production in April 2006, and is currently monitoring the first production run of the mats.

Tactile Connection - Spanish Guidebook

(Continuing)

This is the 12th and final part of this product. Technical Research held a specification meeting in January 2006. Technical Research continues to monitor this product through the manufacturing process.

Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication

(Completed)

Technical Research completed and turned specifications over in January 2005. This grew into 12 individually sold products including the full kit. All but the Spanish guidebook has been completed. They are the braille guidebook, large type guidebook with CD, 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. Technical Research monitored the first production runs of each of the parts in September and October 2005.

Tactile Protractor

(Continuing)

This has developed into two products; the Large Print Protractor and the Tactile Protractor. Technical Research completed specifications, turned them over to production in May 2006 and will be monitoring the first production run of the product.

Tactile Toss Away Protractor

(Continuing)

The project leader has put this product on hold. Technical Research will begin work on specifications when information is received from the project leader.

Tadpole Manual, Braille

(New)

After field-testing, it was decided to add another manual for multiply handicapped children in both print and braille. Technical Research will begin working on developing product specifications.

Tadpole Manual, Print

(New)

After field-testing, it was decided to add another manual for multiply handicapped children in both print and braille. Technical Research will begin working on developing product specifications.

Talking Watch with a Leather Band

(Completed)

Technical completed specifications, turned them over to production in April 2006, and monitored the first production of the product into stock in May 2006.

Talking Watch with a Stretch Band

(Completed)

Technical completed specifications, turned them over to production in April 2006, and monitored the first production of the product into stock in May 2006.

Tangle Toy for Tots

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production in August 2005. Technical Research worked with the project leader to monitor the first production run of the product into stock in October 2005.

Test Ready

(Continuing)

The project leader determined that there will now be 20 separate catalog items as these are a series of tests covering Mathematics, Language Arts, and Reading. Each product consists of a student booklet and a teacher's guide. Each student booklet will be presented in large print, braille, audiocassette, audio CD, and possibly a DTB (Digital Talking Book). The teacher's guide will be presented as a CD containing HTML, BRF, and PDF. Technical Research is developing product specifications and will complete them, as information becomes available from the project leader.

ToAD (Tools for Assessment and Development)

(Continuing)

Technical Research is working on completing product specifications for the eight individual catalog parts for this kit and will finalize them once the project leader has completed all revisions and/or additions to the product.

ToAD Light Source Items

(Continuing)

Technical Research received notice from project leader in August 2006 that an additional light will be added to this and is working on incorporating the information into the product specifications.

ToAD Object Cards

(Continuing)

Technical Research received notice from project leader in August 2006 that additional cards will be added to the set in and is working on incorporating these additions into the product specifications.

ToAD - Squire Toad's Puzzle Book

(Continuing)

The project leader has added extra pages to the book, and Technical Research will incorporate these additions into the product specifications.

Toodle Tiles

(Completed)

Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over to production in May 2005. Some changes were made that necessitated Technical Research completely revising product specifications. Also, software products are now being produced in house. This resulted in changes that were also incorporated into the specifications. The revised specifications were turned over in March 2006. Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product into stock in August 2006.

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 will complete product specifications once all testing and changes have been made to the program.

2 Camera Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) Project

(New)

Technical Research participated in two brainstorming sessions regarding the concept of a battery operated self-contained LCD television for use in a classroom. Regulatory requirements, logistics of manufacturing, the high cost of the unit, and other points were discussed. Technical Research looked into finding suppliers for the LCD/LCM by searching the Internet and contacting overseas suppliers. Technical Research turned over recommendations for suppliers for an LCD/LCM for this project. Early into the research it was learned that there are a myriad of quality/resolution/response time/etc levels to be considered. Based on what Technical Research knows about this product, a higher quality, higher resolution, faster response time monitor grade screen was selected and recommended for use in this product.

Variable Beam Flashlight w/Disks - Upgrade

(New)

Technical Research attended a PDC meeting in June 2006 to discuss revisions of an existing product. The new kit will include two flashlights, two lens packs, and two sets of nine Colored Lens packs along with print and braille guidebooks. The guidebooks will contain a CD with BRF, PDF, HTML files and photos. The cards in the existing product will be replaced by the guidebook with CD. Technical Research has begun preliminary work on developing product specifications.

Verbal View of Email Lists

(New)

Technical Research is working on developing product specifications, as information becomes available from the project leader.

Verbal View of Online Mail

(New)

Technical Research is working on developing product specifications, as information becomes available from the project leader.

Verbal View of the Net and the Web

(New)

Technical Research completed specifications, turned them over to production in June 2006, and will follow the product through the first production run.

Verbal View of Web Documents

(New)

Technical Research is working on developing product specifications, as information becomes available from the project leader.

Verbal View of Web Searches

(New)

Technical Research is working on developing product specifications, as information becomes available from the project leader.

Verbal View of Word

(Completed)

Technical Research completed the product specifications, turned them over, and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in October 2005.

Verbal View of Word -- Advanced

(Completed)

Technical Research completed the product specifications, turned them over to production in September 2005, and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in October 2005.

Walk/Run for Fitness Kit

(New)

Technical Research attended a PDC meeting held in April 2006 by the project leader to discuss the concepts of the product. Technical Research worked with Purchasing to order the items (guide rope, anchors, connecting devices, pedometers, etc.) needed for prototypes to send out for field-testing. Technical Research will develop product specifications as the project leader receives feed back from the field-testing results.

Wireless Personal Pager

(Completed)

Technical Research completed specifications, turned them over to production in April 2006, and monitored the first production of the product into stock in May 2006.

Woodcock-Johnson III, Student Braille Edition

(Continuing)

Technical Research worked with the project leader in developing prototypes that were sent out for field-testing. Technical Research will complete product specifications once field test revisions are decided. Technical Research will work with the project leader to monitor the first production run of this product.

Woodcock-Johnson III, Student Large Print Edition

(Continuing)

Technical Research worked with the project leader in developing prototypes that were sent out for field-testing. Technical Research will complete product specifications once field test revisions are decided. Technical Research will work with the project leader to monitor the first production run of this product.

World at Your Fingers

(Continuing)

This project has become two separate parts. Technical Research completed and turned over product specifications in May 2006 and will monitor the first production run of the product into stock.

World at Your Fingers - Paper Map Set

(Continuing)

This project has become two separate parts. Technical Research completed and turned over product specifications in May 2006 and will monitor the first production run of the product into stock.

ZeitGeist: English Version

(Completed)

Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over in May 2006. The first production run of the product was placed into stock in June 2006.

ZeitGeist: Spanish Version

(Continuing)

Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over in May 2006. The ZeitGeist units were received in June 2006, but were rejected and returned. When acceptable units are received, this product will be assembled and placed into stock.

Other Technical Research Projects

Product Updates/Redesigns

Technical Research was asked to work on redesigns for several products this year. Many of the redesigns involved material changes to help improve the product and to improve worker safety conditions. In addition some, but not all, changes resulted in cost savings that allowed APH to minimize or even avoid cost increases on these products. Some of the products impacted are listed below: bolt practice boards, desktop reading stand, graphic aid to math, vertical bolt board, and the vent tool.

Bolt Practice Board

Technical Research implemented an ECR (engineering change request) on this product to change the board materials from having a hand cut and finished wood board to a CNC (computer numerically controlled) machined plastic board. Technical Research monitored the first run of this product through production in June 2006.

CD Duplication

Technical Research continues to work with all involved areas to facilitate the in-house production of CDs. Tooling delivery and tracking are still issues but have somewhat improved. Technical Research continues to monitor the situation and will assist in the process in whatever ways requested.

Desktop Reading Stand

This product was made and finished completely by hand from maple veneer plywood and wood solids. Technical Research worked with the purchasing department, outside vendors, and project leaders to convert the design to CNC machined plastic parts. Technical Research has implemented an ECR to change the materials used in this product to the plastic parts. Once stock of the existing wooden reading stand is sold a production run using the new design will be started. Technical Research will monitor the production run of the new design when it is implemented.

Graphic Aids To Math

(Product Modernization)

Technical Research investigated methods of simplifying the current design of the product frame made using white pine. The wood goes through several machining operations on a table saw and is hand cut and finished. Technical Research located a vendor who would 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 suggested gluing the frame around the grid, so it could not be easily removed. Technical Research determined that silicone RTV (room temperature vulcanizing) adhesive was best suited for this and revised specifications for these changes. In March 2006 the first run using the new frame design was completed. This filled all customer back orders. Technical Research also monitored the second production run using the rubber frame. No production problems were encountered.

Let's See

(Product Maintenance)

Technical Research met with the project leader, Purchasing department, and the Model Shop in March 2006 to discuss the unavailability of a small bucket with a handle. A decision was made to design and manufactured a bucket at APH using a vacuum form method. This same bucket, without the handle is to be used in ToAD. Technical Research created an engineering bill of materials and routing for the pail and filed an ECR on this product. Technical Research also worked with Purchasing to obtain a machine specifically designed for crimping the grommets. The plastic for the pail arrived in mid June and the machine for crimping the grommets arrived in late June 2006. The machine was installed, adjusted by the Maintenance, and the first run of the new pails was manufactured in July 2006.

Light Box

(Product Maintenance)

Technical Research met with Purchasing, General Electric's (GE) factory representative, and the Underwriter's Laboratories Inspector on the Light Box in April 2006. The supplier of the connectors for the light tube called "tombstones" changed the dimensions of the parts without notifying either GE or APH. The "tombstones" were made so that a groove in the parts accepted the edges of the white metal reflector in the light box unit. In the changing of the grooves, the metal shield was not fitting as closely around the parts. Technical Research identified and quantified the problem and communicated this data to the UL inspector. Technical Research then worked with the inspector directly at APH to determine if the parts received would be acceptable for UL inspection pending determination from GE on whether this variance was a one time only or if it will be this way from now on. The GE representative reported that the variance was permanent. Technical Research proceeded to re-design the reflector to allow it to better accept the tombstones. This action prevented a potential shut down of production by the UL inspector.

Material Change from Propionate to PETG

(Product Maintenance)

In May 2006, Purchasing informed Technical Research that a clear plastic material used for many products called "propionate" was becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, more costly, and minimum order quantities were rising. There were five different sizes needed of this material that were used in 12 different products. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and an outside vendor to obtain samples of a material called PETG. Technical Research cut the samples to the appropriate sizes and worked with Maintenance to make sample for each of the 12 products that were made using the propionate. Both Maintenance and Technical Research felt the new material handled better in the production processes and, in addition, the new material did not have an odor the previous material did. The new samples were submitted to the appropriate project leaders of the effected products. After examination of the samples all project leaders agreed to use the new material. Technical Research and Purchasing have filed all necessary paperwork replacing the propionate in all existing products. The new PETG material was ordered and used in production. This was submitted and accepted as an APH continuous improvement project.

Mini-Lite Box

(Product Maintenance)

After sporadic quality problems with the overseas factory making the Mini-Lite Box, APH informed the U.S. representative that they needed to find a new factory for manufacturing the unit. In December 2005 the last shipment of units was received from the previous factory. APH inspected the full shipment of 2000 units and rejected 195. The US representative located a suitable replacement factory, and Technical Research worked with Purchasing and the U.S. representative to have all existing tooling transferred to the new factory. Technical research supplied Purchasing and the new factory with specifications, schematics, and testing information for this product. Pre-production samples were received and tested in April 2006. Also, 195 sample circuit boards were received and tested in July 2006. Final production approval was given in July 2006, and the new vendor began their first production run of 2000 units. The shipment is scheduled to arrive in late 2006. Technical Research will monitor this first shipment through the testing and incoming inspection areas.

Motion Pad

(Product maintenance)

Technical Research was informed that the vendor was no longer including a "record key" pin with this kit in June 2006. Technical Research met with the project leader, explained the situation, and offered alternatives. Upon reaching an agreement, Technical Research ordered "small hex keys" that could be used in place of the discontinued key. Technical Research received the hex keys and gave them to Production allowing the product to be packaged and placed in stock. Technical Research followed through with the appropriate paperwork to document the change in the product and to make the change permanent. The entire process from notification of the problem to the resumption of product production was taken care of by Technical Research in less than 51 hours.

Print/Braille Protractor with Goniometer

(Product Maintenance)

In late May 2006 production was halted due to the inability to produce good quality braille embossing on a clear plastic purchased protractor used in the goniometer. This embossing had been done before with no problems. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and the vendor to investigate the problem. The punching die and punch press were examined by Technical Research and Maintenance and were found to be functioning properly. It was finally learned that the vendor had changed the material they used to make the protractors. The change did not affect any of their other customers since no one else embossed them. Technical Research began investigating materials that APH could use to have a protractor blank made specifically for our use and found a plastic called PETG that was suitable. Technical Research then contacted Susan Osterhaus (the original product submitter) to obtain her input on a re-design of the print markings on the protractor. Upon her approval, new tooling was developed including new cutting dies and a silk screen. Upon completion of the die design the vendor ran a sample of die cut blanks. Technical Research approved the blanks and gave the vendor the approval to proceed with production. After arriving in house, the blanks were screen-printed and put it into the punch press for final die cutting and embossing. By designing the blanks to match the previously purchased protractors' shape the existing punching/embossing die was able to be re-used, avoiding the expense of having another die made. The finished protractor had the wand attached to complete the goniometer as before. This now gives APH greater control and a more repeatable process when producing this product for future runs.

Vent Tool

(Product Modernization)

This tool is a part in the Tactile Graphics Kit. It was being made by hand. A wooden dowel was cut and shaped to accept a hand sharpened stylus point. Technical Research worked with Purchasing in August 2006 to locate a vendor who would fashion the item out of 0.375" diameter black Delrin with a sharpened steel stylus point. Samples were reviewed and approved by the project leader and the Model/Pattern Maker. Technical Research will complete the needed paperwork changing the materials from hand-fabricated wood to a machined Delrin rod.

Vertical Bolt Board

(Product Modernization)

Technical Research implemented an ECR on this product to change the board material from hand cut and finished wood to a CNC machined plastic. Technical Research monitored the first run of this product through production in April 2006.

Presentations and Workshops

Creasy, K. (2006, July). Using Electronic Texts, NIMAS, and Book Wizard Producer. Gateways, Louisville, KY.

Hedges, J. (2006, August). Low Vision Access TO CATS Online. Accessible Tests Workshop, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B. W. (2005, November). Panel on Accessible Tests for Adult Learners: GED Testing Service, Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS), CTB/McGraw-Hill and APH. National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs (NAASLN) International Conference, Denver, CO.

Henderson, B. W., & Eiland, M. (2005, October). Accessible Tests Through Multiple Literacies. Poster Session at Information Fair, APH Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B. W., & Eiland, M. (2006, August). Update and Demo on Computer-Based Testing (CBT). Workshop on Making Tests Accessible for Visually Impaired Students, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B. W., Eiland, M., & Hedges, J. (2006, January). Update and Demo on Computer- Based Testing (CBT). Workshop on Making Tests Accessible for Visually Impaired Students, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2006, January; 2006, August). Color and Format Guidelines for Computer Testing. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2006, January; 2006, August). Reading, Typography and Low Vision. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2006, January; 2006, August). Text and Graphic Considerations for use when Developing Tests for Students with Low Vision. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2006, March). Lighting and Low Vision. Spring Fling Conference, Nebraska City, NE.

Kitchel, E. (2006, May). Lighting and Low Vision. Conference of Rehabilitation Professionals, Turkey Run State Park, IN.

Kitchel, E. (2006, May). Lighting Assessments: What Are They and How Do I Get One? Conference of Rehabilitation Professionals, Turkey Run State Park, IN.

Kitchel, E. (2006, July). Introduction to ToAD: Tools for the Assessment and Development of Vision. Cooperative Workshop with University of Louisville Vision Program, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2005, November). Creative Expression for the Student with Low Vision, Mid America Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers, St. Louis, MO.

Otto, F. (2005, October). Tactile learning and play activities. Table presentation at National Federation of the Blind, Kentucky chapter Braille Awareness Day, Main Library, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2005, December). Graphicacy. Getting In Touch With Literacy conference, Denver, CO.

Otto, F. (2006, July). World At Your Fingers and other map products. Gateways conference, APH, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2006, August). World At Your Fingers. Jefferson County teachers of the visually impaired in-service, APH, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F., & Pester, E. (2005, December). Basic research for quality braille materials. The Seventh Biennial Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, Denver, CO.

Otto, F., & Pester, E. (2005, December). Mastering braille contractions for reading success poster session. The Seventh Biennial Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, Denver, CO.

Pester, E. (2005, October). Mastering braille contractions for reading success poster session. One Hundred Thirty-Seventh Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., Louisville, KY.

Pester, E. (2005, November). Methods and materials for teaching braille to adults. Opening Doors: Literacy Through Braille Symposium, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Division for Blind Services, Dallas, TX.

Pester, E. (2006, July). New braille products coming soon--Building on Patterns and Fun with Braille. Presentation for student teachers from the University of Louisville at the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E. (2006, August). New braille products coming soon--Building on Patterns and Fun with Braille. Gateways to Independence Workshop for Vision Teachers, Kentucky School for the Blind and the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E. (2006, August). New braille products coming soon--Building on Patterns and Fun with Braille. Presentation for the Jefferson County Teachers of Children Who Are Visually Impaired In-service. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2006, January). Sensory Learning Kit: Accessing the World Differently. ATIA, Orlando, FL.

Pierce, T. (2006, February). Fun for Everyone. National After School Conference, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2006, March). Product Showcase: Sensory Learning Kit, Tangle Toy Kit, Tactile Connections, Rib-it-Ball. Vanderbilt Students at APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2006, April). Going Places: Transition Guidelines for Community-Based Physical Activities for Students Who Have Visual Impairments, Blindness, or Deafblindness. AAHPERD, Salt Lake City, UT.

Pierce, T. (2006, May). Sensory Learning Kit and Tangle Toy Kit. South Dakota Web Cast, APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2006, June). Product Showcase: SLK, Tangle Toy, Going Places: Transition Guidelines for Community-Based Physical Activities for Students Who Have Visual Impairments, Blindness, or Deafblindness. University of Louisville Training Program at APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2006, June). What APH has to Offer. Camp Abilities, SUNY Brockport, Brockport, NY.

Pierce, T. (2006, July). Product Showcase: Going Places: Transition Guidelines for Community-Based Physical Activities for Students Who Have Visual Impairments, Blindness, or Deafblindness, Baseball Game, Rib-it-Balls, Revolution Ball. Japanese Grand Softball Team, APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2006, July). Walk/Run for Fitness Kit, Going Places: Transition Guidelines for Community-Based Physical Activities for Students Who Have Visual Impairments, Blindness, or Deafblindness. Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2006, August). Going Places: Transition Guidelines for Community-Based Physical Activities for Students Who Have Visual Impairments, Blindness, or Deafblindness. Jefferson County, KY Public School Teachers, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2005, October). Recreational Approaches to Building Early Tactile Skills. The 137th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2005, October). SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine. [Poster Session] The 137th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2005, November). Make a Picture for Your Fingertips! APH Museum Workshop for Girl Scouts, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, January). Tactile Graphics: Making Tests Accessible to Students with Visual Impairments. Accessible Test Department Training Workshop, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, February). In-House Product Training for APH Employees: New Tactile Graphic Products. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, March). Tactile Graphic Products. Vanderbilt In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, April). Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding and SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine: APH Webcast. Webcast for Vision Teachers in South Dakota, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, June). Tactile Graphic Products. Jefferson County Public Schools VI Teachers In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, June). Tactile Graphic Products: Setting the Stage, Draftsman, and SQUID Tactile Activities Magazine. University of Louisville Teacher Prep Group, APH, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, July). Make a Picture for Your Fingertips! APH Museum Workshop. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, July). Tactile Graphics Poster Session. KSB Gateways Conference. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, August). Tactile Graphics: Making Tests Accessible to Students with Visual Impairments. Accessible Test Department Training Workshop, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J., & Otto, F. (2005, October). SQUID sightings. Poster presentation at APH Annual Meeting Information Fair, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2005, October). Miniguide US and 'K' Sonar. National Federation of the Blind World Congress on Wayfinding Technologies for the Blind, Baltimore, MD.

Terlau, M. T. (2005, November). Sherlock, LumiTest, Miniguide and More: New Daily Living Devices from APH. MidAmerica Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers and the Association of Southeastern Rehabilitation Teachers, St. Louis, MO.

Terlau, M. T. (2006, May). Daily Living Product Overview. Dakota AERState Conference Webcast, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2006, July). Sherlock and More: Applications of APH Daily Living Products In the Classroom. Gateways Conference for Kentucky teachers of Visually Impaired Students, APH, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. (2006, June). APH Math Products. Florida State University, Teacher Prep Group. Tallahassee, FL.

Wright, S. (2005, June). University of Louisville Teacher Prep Group and O&M students, APH, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2005, July). Product Fair: Current Projects and New Products. [Poster Session] Gateways Conference, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2005, October). Resources for Literacy Educators. [Poster Session] The 137th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2005, October). Revision of the On the Way to Literacy Handbook. [Poster Session] The 137th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Wright, S. (2006, March). Emergent Literacy: Current Projects and New Products. Product presentation to Vanderbilt graduate students, APH, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S., & Wicker, J. (2005, December). A Broader Vision: In Touch with Professional Resources for Literacy Educators. [Poster Session] Getting In Touch with Literacy, Denver, CO.

Product Materials

Henderson, B. W. (2006) Test Ready: Introduction to the Teacher's Guide for Large Print. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Henderson, B. W., Vaught, M., & Corbett, K., (2006) Tactile Protractor and Large Print Protractor: Package Insert & Instructions. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Jahnel, K., Conlin, K., Pierce, T., & Poppe, K. J. (2005). Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication. [Spanish Edition]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Swirly Mats CVI Guidebook. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Swirly Mats CVI User Notes. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Swirly Mats FVA Guidebook. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Swirly Mats FVA User Notes. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2006). ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Vision Teacher's Guidebook. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Koniak, L., Rucker, E., Smith, M., Travis, A., & Vaught, M. (2006). Address: Earth, charts.. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Otto, F. (2006). Braille Transcriber's Kit: Countries & Continents--Suggested uses guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Otto, F. (2006). World At Your Fingers: Tactile/visual world maps and skill-building activities. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pierce, T. (2006). Expandable Calendar Boxes Instruction Guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pierce, T. (2006). Lots of Dots Enrichment Guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2005). DRAFTSMAN Tactile Drawing Board: Instruction Booklet. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2005). Feel n' Peel Stickers II: Suggested Uses Sheet. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2005). Periodic Table of the Elements Reference Booklet. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J., & Otto, F. (2005). SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 1]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J., & Otto, F. (2006). SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 2]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Smith, M. (2006). Address: Earth; Maps and Illustrations. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Swenson, A. (2006). Graphic Art Tape: Suggested Uses Sheet. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Publications

Henderson, B. W. (2006). New Perspectives on Assessment of Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired. AER Division IV (Psychosocial Services), Winter 2006 Newsletter.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Blue Light, Ultraviolet Light and Eye Damage. InformeDesign, University of Minnesota.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Color and Format Guidelines for Computer Testing. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Large Print: Guidelines for Optimal Readability and APHont, a Font for Low Vision. Ontario, Canada: Equal Opportunity.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Lighting Considerations for Persons with Low Vision; multimedia, Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Power Point Presentations and Persons with Low Vision; multimedia. Boise, ID: Idaho Training Clearinghouse.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Reading, Typography & Low Vision; multimedia. Queensland, Australia: Queensland Department of Employment and Training.

New Products

Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments.....7-00000-00

Advance Preparation and Skills Checklist.....7-00001-00

Alphabet Scramble.....5-01199-00

Alphabet Scramble; Notes to Reader, Braille.....5-01198-00

APH Insights Calendar 2007.....5-18971-07

Braille DateBook 2007.....1-07899-07

Braille Transcribers Kit: Countries & Continents.....1-04102-00

Braille/Print Protractor w/Goniometer (Redesign) 1-04115-00

Calendar Tabs 2007.....1-07898-07

Child Guided Strategies f Accessing Children D/B M/H CD Mac.....1-31001-Mac

Child Guided Strategies f Accessing Children D/B M/H CD Spanish.....1-31001-SP

Clear 4 Line/40 Cell Simbraille Template.....1-00077-00

Clear Plastic Pocket Slate w/Stylus.....1-00078-00

Compass and the Spur Wheel Set.....1-08852-01

Crafty Graphics Kit II.....1-08852-00

CVI Perspectives DVD.....1-30014-DVD

CVI Perspectives Video.....1-30014-00

Electronic Brailler by Perkins.....1-00860-00

EZ Track 2007 Calendar.....1-07900-07

EZ Track 2007 Calendar Inserts.....1-07901-07

Feel 'n Peel Stickers II Assorted.....1-08864-00

Feel 'n Peel Stickers II Color Names.....1-08869-00

Feel 'n Peel Stickers II Numbers.....1-08865-00

Feel 'n Peel Stickers II Point Symbols.....1-08868-00

Feel 'n Peel Stickers II Reward Statements.....1-08866-00

Feel 'n Peel Stickers II Stars.....1-08867-00

Going Places Transition Guidelines Braille Version.....5-13090-00

Going Places Transition Guidelines Large Print Version.....7-13090-00

Going Places Worksheet Pack.....5-13091-00

Graphic Aid for Mathematics, Revised Edition.....1-00460-01

Graphic Art Tape.....1-08878-00

Kelvin Talking Voice Controlled Thermostat.....1-03973-00

Light Box Level 3 Activity Guide Large Print/CD Spanish Version.....7-08690-SP

Living with CHARGE CD.....1-31003-00

Math Flash.....D-19910-01

Maxim Eyes.....D-00500-00

MiniGuide Quick Reference Sheet Pack.....1-07006-01

MiniGuide US with Braille User's Guide Kit.....1-07007-00

MiniGuide US with Print User's Guide Kit.....1-07006-00

Multi-Purpose Cart.....1-02593-00

Orion TI-36 Talking Scientific Calculator.....1-07335-01

Periodic Table of the Elements Reference Booklet, Braille.....5-08855-00

Periodic Table of the Elements Reference Booklet, Print.....7-08855-00

Periodic Table of the Elements Reference Chart.....1-08855-00

Remote Unit, MiniGuide US Kit.....1-07009-00

Sensory Learning Kit (SLK) 1-08611-00

SLK Routines/Guidebook & Assessment Forms Set, Print Edition.....7-08611-00

Splish the Fish, Braille Reader's Guide.....6-44906-00

Splish the Fish, Moving Ahead Series.....6-77902-00

SQUID: A Tactual Activities Magazine, Issue 1.....1-08862-01

SQUID: A Tactual Activities Magazine, Issue 2.....1-08862-02

Swirly Mat Set: CVI.....1-08153-00

Swirly Mat Set: FVA.....1-08154-00

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications Access/ w/Caulking.....1-08837-01

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications Black Cards.....1-08837-02

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications Blue Cards.....1-08837-03

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications Braille Guidebook.....5-08873-00

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications Gray Cards.....1-08837-04

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications Green Cards.....1-08873-05

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications Kit.....1-08837-00

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications LT Guidebook w/CD.....7-08873-00

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications Red Cards.....1-08873-06

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications White Cards.....1-08873-07

Tactile Connections Symbols f/Communications Yellow Cards.....1-08873-08

Talking Typer for Windows.....D-03430-01

Talking Watch with Leather Band.....1-03977-00

Talking Watch with Stretch Band.....1-03976-00

Tangle Toy for Tots Guidebook, Braille.....5-08750-00

Tangle Toy for Tots Guidebook, Print.....7-08750-00

Tangle Toy for Tots: Tot Tangler.....1-08750-00

Toodle Tiles.....D-00300-00

Verbal View of the Net & Web.....D-10512-00

Verbal View of Word.....D-10510-00

Verbal View of Word: Advanced.....D-10511-00

Wireless Personal Pager.....1-03975-00

World at Your Fingers.....1-01190-00

ZeitGeist, English Version.....1-03974-00

ZeitGeist, Spanish Version.....1-03974-SP

Completed Projects Chart 06-78

Complected Projects Chart

Active Projects Chart - 225

Active Projects Chart

Parking Lot Projects Chart - 19

Parking Lot Projects Chart

Pipeline Projects Chart - 28

Pipeline Projects Chart

Project Status Chart

Project Status Chart