Annual Report 2007

American Printing
House
For The Blind

Research
&
Development Activities

Fiscal 2007

Mission

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

Introduction/Letter from Director of Research

October 12, 2007

Dear Reader:

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) presents the Annual Research Report for 2007.

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.

In FY 2006, APH conducted R&D involving 351 products/projects. The status of APH R&D of 342 products for FY 2007 (October 1, 2006, through September 30, 2007) is summarized as follows:

 ActiveParking LotCompletedPipeline
Assessment64280
Assistive Technology & Electronics10174
Career Education & Transition0100
Comm. Modes & Literature Education442199
Daily Living & Social Interaction164103
Early Childhood17482
InSights0010
Math222122
O&M/Concept Development9500
Physical Education5050
Recreation & Leisure4130
Social Studies & Geography8280
Science8100
Visual Efficiency & Low Vision6030
Total213258420

In the 2007 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.

Although the APH Team takes pride in the fact that the 84 new product catalogue items surpassed totals for FY 2006, and set a new APH benchmark record, we are especially proud of the number of complex products that were completed and made available for sale. We will always focus on quality products to meet the need and will not just "chase numbers."

A recent article by Pomerantz, Moorman, and Litwack in the Review of Educational Research posits that more parental involvement in a child's academic life is not always better. It suggests that the quality of the involvement is most important. Applying this concept at APH, we remind ourselves that the quantity of products we produce is not as important as their quality.

Sincerely,

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

Pomerantz, E.M., Moorman, E.A., & Litwack, S.D. (2007). The how, whom, and why of parents' involvement in children's academic lives: More is not always better. Review of Educational Research, 77, 373-410.

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 2007 committee members were:

Educational Products Advisory Committee:

Chair -- Joseph Catavero (NY)

2007 -- Bernadette Kappen (PA)
2009 -- Nancy Niebrugge (CA)
2008 -- Lorri Quigley (UT)
2009 -- Steven M. Rothstein (MA)
2008 -- Dean Stenehjem (WA)
2007 -- Tom Winton (NC)

Alternate

Jean Small (ME)

Educational Services Advisory Committee:

Chair -- Jean Martin (MN)

2008 -- Michael J. Bina (MA)
2007 -- Jacqueline Denk (KS)
2007 -- James Downs (GA)
2008 -- Barbara L. Perkis (IL)

Alternate

Jean Small (ME)

Department of Research Staff

Educational Research

Aicken, John, M.B.A.Assistant Director
Bartley, Ralph, Ph.D.Director
Boyer, Charles "Burt", M.A.Project Leader (Early Childhood)
Corcoran, Katherine, B.S., B.F.A.Model/Pattern Maker
Cox, ValerieAdministrative Assistant
Creasy, Keith, B.S.Programmer
Eiland, Mario, B.A.Programmer
Freeman, Bill, B.S.Programmer
Gilmore, Terri, A.S.Graphic Designer
Hedges, John, B.S.Programmer
Hoffmann, Rosanne, Ph.D.Research Assistant
Kitchel, Elaine, M.Ed.Project Leader (Low Vision)
McDonald, Michael, B.S.Programmer
Meredith, RobProgrammer
Otto, Fred, B.A.Project Leader (Tactile Graphics) part-time
Pester, Eleanor, M.S. Project Leader (Braille)
Pierce, Tristan, M.I.A.Project Leader (Multiple Disabilities)
Poppe, Karen, B.A.Project Leader (Tactile Graphics)
Poppe, TomModel/Pattern Maker
Roderick, Carol, B.A.Research Assistant (part-time)
Roman, Chris, Ph.D.Project Leader (CVI Consultant) part-time
Rucker, Erica, B.A.Research Assistant
Rutledge, AnitaDesign Specialist/Process Engineer
Smith, Rodger, A.A.S.Programmer
Skutchan, Larry, B.A.Manager, Application Programming
Terlau, Terrie, Ph.D.Project Leader (Adult Life)
Travis, Ann, B.A.Research Assistant
Vaught, Monica, B.A.Research Assistant
Wicker, Jeanette, M.A.Project Leader (Core Curriculum)
Wright, Suzette, B.A.Project Leader (Emergent Literacy) part-time

Technical Research Division

Donhoff, DarleneAdministrative Assistant
Hayden, FrankManager, Technical Research
McGee, DavidManufacturing Specialist
Robinson, JamesManufacturing Specialist

Accessible Tests Department Staff

Allman, Carol, Ph.D.Consultant & Instructor (part-time)
Baynes, NancyAdministrative Assistant (part-time)
Garrett, DenaAccessible Test Editor (part-time)
Henderson, Barbara, M.A.Project Leader (Test & Assessment)
Isham, Kerry, M.A.Accessible Test Editor
Scott, Kristopher, M.A.Accessible Test Editor
Sell, Michael, B.S.Accessible Test Editor
Turner, Monica Coffey, M.Ed.Accessible Test Editor
Willis, Deborah, M.A.Director, Accessible Test Department

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.

Alliance Public Schools, Alliance, NE
Blind Babies Foundation, San Francisco, CA
Boulder Valley School District, CO
Camp Abilities, Anchorage, AK
Camp Abilities, Brockport, NY
Camp Abilities, Tucson, AZ
Cerebral Palsy Kid Center, Louisville, KY
Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, Colorado Springs, CO
Cypress Fairbanks ISD, Houston, TX
Denison ISD, Denison, TX
Edison Elementary, Santa Anna, CA
Edison Elementary, Tonawanda, NY
Gilmore County Fire Services, Ellijay, GA
Gwinnett County Schools, Parkview High School, Lilburn, GA
HAC SSA, Borger, TX
Home of the Innocents, Louisville, KY
Irving School, West Allis, WI
ISDB Region Three Outreach Office, Middleton, ID
Jessamine Early Learning Village, Wilmore, KY
Kent County ISD, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Grand Rapids, MI
Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY
Lions World Services for the Blind, Little Rock, AR
Minnesota State Academy for the Blind, Faribault, MN
Mississippi School for the Blind, Jackson, MS
Montgomery County Public Schools, Silver Spring, MD
Munfordville Elementary School, Munfordville, KY
New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Alamogordo, NM
North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, Grand Forks, ND
Orange County Schools, Hillsborough, NC
Peifer Elementary School, Schererville, IN
Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh, PA
Round Rock ISD, Round Rock, TX
South Australian School for the Vision Impaired, South Australia, Australia
St. Louis School, Tyler, TX
St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairments, Upper Darby, PA
St. Tammany Parish Public Schools, Covington, LA
State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport, NY
Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX
Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Ogden, UT
Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA
Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, Pittsburgh, PA
Willamette ESD, Salem, OR
Woodland Elementary, Eagan, MN

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.

Abner, Gerald, Itinerant/Assistive Technology Specialist, Jessamine Early Learning Village, Wilmore, KY [IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts: Classroom Suite Edition]

Azer, Samir, Science Teacher for the Visually Impaired, Louisville, KY [Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set]

Bailey, Ian, O.D., Optometrist, San Francisco, CA, [Optimizing Reading of Text]

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

Boley, Cheryl, M.Ed., Administrator of Braille Production Program, Ohio State School for the Blind, Columbus, OH [Patterns Revision]

Bonenberger, Shannon, M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Ohio School for the Blind Outreach Department, Columbus, OH [Patterns Revision]

Buckley, Wendy, M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Boston, MA [Light Box Computer Activities to Support Language and Literacy]

Buhler, Kristen, M.S. in Education and M.M. in Choral Conducting, Teacher of Blind and Visually Impaired, Northwest Regional ESD, Hillsboro, OR [Patterns Revision]

Burnett, Rebecca, Ed.D., Itinerant Teacher, Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, TN [ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Visual Skills; FVLMA: Functional Vision, Learning Media Assessment]

Chen, Deborah, Ph.D., Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA [Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments]

Coomes, Adam, B.S., Cartographer, Louisville, KY [Address: Earth, Sections II and III]

Curtin, Tim, M.S., Inventor, Lafayette, IN [Maxim Eyes Video Magnifier]

Devine, Kevin, B.S., Cartographer, Louisville, KY [Address: Earth, Sections II and III]

Dilworth, Kate, M.S., Special Education, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Certified O&M Specialist, Northwest Regional ESD, Hillsboro, OR [Patterns Revision]

Dornbusch, Helen, O.D., Optometrist, San Francisco, CA [Optimizing Reading of Text]

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

Ethridge, Edith, M.A. Ed., CLVT, Low Vision Specialist, Kentucky School for the Blind, Retired, Louisville, KY [Personal Vision Portfolio]

Finley, Robin, M.Ed., Reading Specialist, Ohio State School for the Visually Impaired, Columbus, OH [Patterns Revision]

George, Sr. Elaine, Materials Assistant, St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairments, Upper Darby, PA [Sense of Science: Astronomy]

Goshe, Lisa, M.A. in Special Education, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Columbus City Schools, Columbus, OH [Patterns Revision]

Hagood, Linda, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist, Austin, TX [SAM: Symbols and Meaning]

Hall-Lueck, Amanda, Ph.D., Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA [Best Intervention Techniques; and Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments]

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

Hartmann, Liz, Ph.D., Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA [Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments]

Hassman, Dotta, M.L.S., IMC Coordinator, Iowa Braille School, Retired, Vinton, Iowa, [Early Braille Trade Books]

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

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

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

Kekelis, Linda, Ph.D., Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA [Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments]

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

Koniak, Lane, M.A., Retired Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Portland, OR [Address: Earth]

Krause, Kathy, M.Ed., Retired Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Tucson, AZ [Address: Earth]

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

McCulloh, Karen, RN, B.S., Executive Director Disabilityworks, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Morton Grove, IL [Nonverbal Behavioral Curriculum]

Mowerson, Lisa-Anne, M.S., B.A., Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Wallingford, Connecticut [Labeling Book and Kit]

Mumford, Robin, M.S., Inventor, Garden City, NJ [Vivid Vision Lamp]

Nelson, Catherine, Ph.D., Salt Lake City, UT [Manual for Child-Guided Strategies for the Assessment of Children who are Deafblind and Have Multiple Disabilities: The van Dijk Approach to Assessment]

O'Connor, Kevin, M.P.S., M.A., B.A., Marriage and Family Therapist, Arlington Heights, IL [Parenting Book]

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

Olson, Paul H., Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, Grand Forks, ND [Treks]

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

Read, Izetta, B.A., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Santa Barbara County Education Office, Santa Maria, California [Patterns Revision]

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

Rosenblum, L. Penny, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [Reclaiming Independence: Staying in the Driver's Seat When You No Longer Drive]

Sanford, LaRhea, Ed.D., Vision Coordinator Ph.D., Tennessee Dept. Education, Nashville, [ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Visual Skills, and FVLMA: Functional Vision, Learning Media Assessment]

Schedlin, Haley, M.S. Ed., Camp Abilities, SUNY Brockport, Brockport, NY [Jump Rope Kit, Walk/Run for Fitness Kit]

Schimmelpfennig, Sue, M.A., Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Northwest Regional ESD, Hillsboro, OR [Patterns Revision]

Scoggin, Deanna, M.A.T., M.S.S.W., Teacher of the Visually Impaired (Retired), Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY [Patterns Revision]

Smith, Derrick W., M.A. Ed., NCLVI Fellow/Doctoral Candidate, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX [MathBuilders: Unit 6, Unit 7, & Unit 8]

Smith, Matthew, B.S., Cartographer, Louisville, KY [Address: Earth, Sections I and II]

Smith, Mildred (Millie) J., M. Ed., Retired Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Consultant, Farmersville, TX [SAM: Symbols and Meaning; Variable Beam Flashlight Kit; TADPOLE]

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

Strickling, Chris Anne, Ph.D., Private Consultant, Occupational Therapy, Director of the Actual Lives Performance Project, Austin, Texas [SAM: Symbols and Meaning]

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

Ward, Marjorie E., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Emeritus, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH [Patterns Revision]

Wingell, Robin, B.S. Ed, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Santa Barbara County Education Office, Santa Maria, CA [Patterns Revision]

Field Evaluators

Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set

Baldwin, Paul, Science Instructor, Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

Bergman, Peggy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Gwinnett County Schools, Parkview High School, Lilburn, GA

Davis, John, Science Teacher, Minnesota State Academy for the Blind, Faribault, MN

Devine, Joanne, Vision Support Teacher, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh, PA

Hoover, Carol, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Round Rock ISD, Round Rock, TX

Killebrew, Jeff, Science Teacher, New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Alamogordo, NM

Kuhn, Rebecca, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

McCoy, Jonathan, Chemistry Teacher, Gwinnett County Schools, Parkview High School, Lilburn, GA

Megarry, Jan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, Colorado Springs, CO

Braillable/Thermoformable Vinyl

Ahrensbach, Lisa, LOC Certified Braille Transcriber, Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Ogden, UT

Brown, Phillip, Chaplain, Gilmore County Fire Services, Ellijay, GA

Dardis, Anne, St. Tammany Parish Public Schools, Covington, LA

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

Jones, Skye, School Services Officer/Braille Transcriber, South Australian School for the Vision Impaired, South Australia, Australia

Klein, Judy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Montgomery County Public Schools, Silver Spring, MD

Lien, Candy, Braille Teacher and Consultant, North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, Grand Forks, ND

Matyczyn, Jean, VI Media Coordinator, Kent County ISD, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Grand Rapids, MI

Nelson, Kathy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, Pittsburgh, PA

Nousanen, Diane, LRC Director, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Parker, Marie, Braille Transcriber, Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Ogden, UT

Robinson, Stacey, Braille Reader, Eagleville, TN

Shepard, Christy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cypress Fairbanks ISD, Houston, TX

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

Stauffer, Mary, Vision Teacher, Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, Pittsburgh, PA

Swatosh, Joshua M., Braille Reader, Wausau, WI

Thomas, Catherine, Braille Transcriber, Brooklyn, NY

Ware, Charlene, Coordinator of Rehabilitation Teaching, Lions World Services for the Blind, Little Rock, AR

Whiteside, Marcy, Independent Consultant/Retired, Delta Junction, AK

Jumbo Work & Play Tray

Basilo, Elizabeth, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Blind Babies Foundation, San Ramon, CA

Douglass, Sue, M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Blind Babies Foundation, Albany, CA

Harper, Brenda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, St. Louis School, Tyler, TX

Markert, Tammy, Occupational Therapist, Cerebral Palsy Kid Center, Louisville, KY

Peyton, Lara, Occupational Therapist, Home of the Innocents, Louisville, KY

Jump Rope Kit

15 Campers, Camp Abilities, Tucson, AZ

Haley Schedlin, AZ Camp Abilities Track and Field Specialist, SUNY Brockport, NY

45 Campers, Camp Abilities, Brockport, NY

Cate Swartz, NY Camp Abilities Staff, Brockport, NY

11 Campers, Camp Abilities, Anchorage, AK

Connie Gajkowski, AK Camp Abilities Counselor, SUNY Brockport, NY

Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden

Albright, Rita, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Boulder Valley School District, Boulder, CO

Family 1, Auburn, NY

Family 2, Crowley, TX

Family 3, Redwood City, CA

Family 4, Chicago, IL

Husman, Cheryl, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, ISDB Region Three Outreach Office, Middleton, ID

Maida, Beverly, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Rochester City School District, NY

Underwood, Melinda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, VABVI, Brattleboro, VT

MathBuilders Unit 6: Geometry

Boggs, Eldre, Resource Teacher for the Visually Impaired, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Annapolis, MD

Cooper, Nicole, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, McDonald County R-1, Anderson, MO

Glenn, John, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Bellingham Public Schools, Bellingham, WA

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

Stevenson, Rose, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Pasadena Independent School District, Pasadena, TX

Tudor, Joyce, District Vision Specialist, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Marion School District, Marion, AR

Wright, Laurie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Education Services, Canton, NY

Zajac, Rebecca, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Flint Community School District, Flint, MI

MiniBook

Brannan, Buddy, Self-employed, Erie, PA

Chavez, Olivia, Project Manager, Services for Visually Impaired, Education Service Center - Region 19, El Paso, TX

Chuha, Louise, Rehabilitation Teacher, Blind and Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh, Braddock, PA

Cohen, Peter H., Resource Room Teacher, Sensorially Disabled Program, Sullivan Correctional Facility New York State Department of Corrections, Ellenville, NY

Courcelles, Martin, Braille Proof Reader, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dixon, Judy, Consumer Relations Officer, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, Arlington, VA

Eccles, Jim, Residential Life Counselor, Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

Emmons, Betty, Homemaker, Anthony, KS

Giesbrecht, Kerri, Student and Homemaker, British Columbia, Canada

Hoerber, Robin F., Homemaker, Braille Tutor, Volunteer, Midlothian, VA

Jackson, Dezman, Student, Mobile, AL

Larson, Ann, Homemaker, Muskogee, OK

Lieberg, Marlaina, Self-employed, Burien, WA

Lien, Candy, Braille Teacher and Consultant, North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, Fargo, ND

Morrow, Kimberly, Media Relations Specialist, Unity, Overland Park, KS

Neal, Olga, Domestic Engineer, Grand Forks, ND

O'Brien, Sherill, Homemaker, Tampa, FL

Piscitello, Charlie, Counselor and Student Advisor, Genesee Community College, Batavia, NY

Porter, Anna, Retired Rehabilitation Teacher, Homemaker, Lancaster, PA

Sorter, Judi, Communications Consultant, Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

Thompson, Corietta, Silver Springs, MD

Turner, Richard, Braille and Technology Instructor, Oregon Commission for the Blind, Portland, OR

Walsh, Kate, Receptionist, AAA Mid-Atlantic, Springfield, PA

Ward, Jean, Rehabilitation Instructor for the Blind, Tennessee Rehabilitation Center, Vision Impairment Services, Smyrna, TN

Wiglesworth, Keith, Debt Eliminator, Freedom Financial Group, Rockingham, NC

Witucki, Kristen, Member Services Representative, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Princeton, NJ

TurboPhonics

Aranguren, Maria, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Centereach, NY

Brush, Amy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, CABOCES, Olean, NY

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

Elmore, Mary, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Wilkes County Schools, North Wilkesboro, NC

Foesterling, Sandra, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cleveland Elementary School, Hamilton, OH

Galluch, Karen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Buffalo, NY

Halton-Bailey, Barbara, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Charlotte, NC

Kraft, Aura, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Huntington Station, NY

Lewis, Barbara, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, North Carolina

Maguire, Cristina, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Wyckoff, NJ

Pastwa, Janet, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Tampa Bay, FL

Pierce, Carol, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Haverhill, MA

Simmons, Jennifer, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Central Davie Education Center, Mocksville, NC

Stern, Diane, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Henry Viscardi School, Albertson, NY

Young, Tonya, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Canton, NY

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

Word PlayHouse

Consagra, Kim, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Greece Central School District, Rochester, NY

Durant, Pamela, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Vermont Association for the Blind, Burlington, VT

Garrett, Michelle, Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Crowley Independent School District, Crowley, TX

Harper, Doris, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Monroe -2 Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), Rochester, NY

Herder, Jane, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, St. Louis Public Schools, St. Louis, MO

Keale, Donna, Outreach Coordinator for the Blind, Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, Colorado Springs, CO

Lumpkin, Cindy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Oklahoma School for the Blind, Muskogee, OK

Petersen, Merrilee, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Davis School District, Bountiful, UT

Ross, Linda K., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Newport News Public Schools, Newport News, VA

Sigel, Jamie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Tussey Mountain School District, Defiance, PA

Spears, Laura, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Frederick County Public Schools, Winchester, VA

Strand, Brooke, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

Woods, Sharon, Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Montana School for the Deaf and Blind, Lodge Grass, MT

Accessible Tests
Department
Activities

Deborah H. Willis
Director

Accessible Tests Department

[Formerly Test Central]

(Continuing)

Purpose

The goal of APH's Accessible Tests Department 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.

A Test Central Council (TCC) was formed and met at APH in March 2002 and February 2003. Recommendations that resulted from these two meetings included the following:

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 an APH department under the general direction of the Vice-President of Products and Services, Bob Brasher. 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.

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 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.

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. During FY 2003, over 100 tests were reviewed and edited; Notes for Test Transcribers and Test Administration Notes were prepared by Accessible Test Editors Kris Scott and Monica Coffey for presentation of tests in braille with tactile graphics.

The Accessible Tests Department's original 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 the APH Web site. The Let's Get Ready for Testing survey 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.

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.

In FY 2004, Accessible Tests staff worked with APH's Communications Group to design and make available the Accessible Tests Services brochure. This brochure can be viewed and downloaded at: http://www.aph.org/tests/services.html In addition, Making Tests Accessible for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, which is the second document in the TEST ACCESS series, was finalized and printed just in time for unveiling at the Accessible Tests Workshop held at APH in September 2004 and at the 2004 APH Annual Meeting. TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, Second Edition, can be viewed and downloaded at: http://www.aph.org/tests/access2/index.html

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 APH's Accessible Textbooks Department, is a 35-year veteran braille transcriber who had brailled state, local, and commercial tests for over 10 years. Dena also serves on the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) Formats Committee.

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

Several presentations were provided early 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 Deborah (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.

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, on November 9, 2004. ETS staff learned general information about challenges in assessing persons who are blind or visually impaired. Carol Allman and Barbara Henderson facilitated this session. The second workshop was coordinated with CTEVH in San Francisco, California, on March 3, 2005. The one-day workshop targeted Department of Education staff, teachers, test developers, and publishers. A third was held at Harcourt for their assessment staff in San Antonio, Texas. Finally, a fourth workshop was presented as a pre-conference session in conjunction with the CCSSO Large Scale Assessment Conference in San Antonio, Texas, on June 18, 2005. This event was of particular interest to test publishers and department of education personnel and assessment staff planning to attend the CCSSO conference.

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

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

A wide variety of state assessments and commercially available tests were edited and produced in accessible media on a contract basis during FY 2005. These included approximately 265 unique state assessments provided in some combination of braille, tactile graphics, enlarged print, and audio formats. Accompanying test administration notes were provided in accessible media when specified in the contract. One state contacted the Accessible Tests Department for assistance in putting their released items into braille and audio formats. These test items were used as practice tests prior to the spring and fall 2005 testing seasons. Materials 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.

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 in August 2005. The audience included parents, students, educators, and psychologists.

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: http://www.lighthouse.org

To build assessment initiatives for schools, AFB, APH, and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) collaborated to create three articles with checklists. These were developed in response to the top assessment priorities identified during the 2004 JTLI. They are: Model Accommodations and Procedures: A Guide for Parents; Guidelines to Support the Contract Development Process between Test Publishers and States; and Checklist for Administration of Tests to Students with Visual Impairments. The checklists provide concrete steps that can be readily used in programs to build accountability through assessments. These documents were used as the basis for presentations to

attendees at the 2005 JTLI. Final articles with checklists can be viewed and downloaded from the AFB Web site at: http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=58&TopicID=264

A collaborative research study between Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS), AFB, and APH got underway in FY 2005. 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.

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 that 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.

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 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.

In FY 2006, the goal of the Accessible Tests Department as it relates to the APH mission continued to be addressed. Phil Hatlen, Ph.D., 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). 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 FY 2006 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, Garrett 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 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 Web site. 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.

The collaborative effort with CASAS to develop and research the first braille edition of a CASAS assessment instrument continued. 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 available at VisionConnection:
http://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.

In FY 2006, test and assessment projects in the areas of contract work and project development that results in catalog products continued at a brisk pace. Approximately 345 unique tests and assessments, answer documents, and test-related reference sheets were reviewed, edited, and produced in accessible media. This was about 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 and Tighe IDEA English Language Proficiency tests which are used by several states for all grades in both contracted and uncontracted braille. Of the tests prepared this fiscal year, 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 in FY 2006 by the department's Test and Assessment Project Leader were in various phases as listed below:

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

For updated information on the above projects, see the individual project reports in this document. For a more thorough account of Test Central and Accessible Tests activities and accomplishments, see the Accessible Tests Department report in the FY 2006 Annual Report of Research and Development Projects and Activities.

Work during FY 2007

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 provided two test-related workshops during FY 2007. Carol Allman gave a one-day workshop at the South Carolina AER on test-related issues to about 70 attendees. The audience was primarily South Carolina instructors; other participants included various state and local administrators and assessment staff. The second workshop was provided as a half-day post-conference workshop in connection with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Conference on Large Scale Assessment. A two-hour presentation addressing similar test-related issues was also provided as part of the CCSSO conference program. About 25 people participated in each of these two CCSSO sessions. In addition to these, two presentations were offered by Accessible Tests staff on Test Preparation Issues for Visually Impaired Students and Improving Alternate Assessments for Visually Impaired Students at the 2007 Council of Exceptional Children Conference.

During these workshops and presentations, approximately 150 professionals, parents and students from across the country received training, information, and resources. Some of these individuals returned to their school systems, agencies, or companies and provided training to their colleagues. Test publishers participating in the workshops included representatives from CTB McGraw-Hill, Educational Testing Service, Measured Progress, Pearson Education Measurement, and Questar. Other agencies/organizations receiving training included National Center on Educational Outcomes, North Carolina State University, Texas Education Agency, Illinois State Board of Education, and various state and district education staff.

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. Another activity underway in the last quarter of FY 2007 is a Web cast by Research staff on designing readable tactile graphics. An interactive Web cast on Tactile Graphics: Touching on the Basics was presented on September 11, 2007. Prior to the live Web cast, tactile graphics packages were prepared and sent to participants for their active involvement in the hands-on training. Training included an overview of tactile graphics in testing, terminology, skills tactile graphics readers need, basic methods, and guidelines for developing tactile graphics, and more.

The Director of Accessible Tests continued to serve 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. She also continued as co-chair of the expanded core curriculum goal to promote blind and visually impaired students' skills and abilities in the expanded core curriculum areas. In FY 2007, the Director of Accessible Tests served as a member of the American Psychological Association's Task Force to improve access to standardized tests and test-related materials for graduate students who are blind or visually impaired, and served on the Association of Test Publishers Education Division 2007 Conference Committee. During an on-site visit from federal DOE staff, Debbie Willis met with Annette Reickman and Mark Snyderman to present the goals, activities, accomplishments, current and future product plans for the Accessible Tests Department. Debbie was accompanied by Barbara Henderson during the spring 2007 Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) to provide similar information to members of EPAC; and Debbie provided FY 2007 service-oriented information to APH's Educational Services Advisory Committee members.

In FY 2007, development of APH's first Test and Assessment catalog was initiated, produced, and made available to test publishers, item developers, assessment staff, vision professionals, and other interested parties. The 2007 editions of the Sample Test Items were prepared and a limited number were produced in braille, large print, and audio formats for use in FY 2007. An introduction was written and changes to select items were made this fiscal year that will be incorporated into the 2008 editions to be produced in FY 2008. The second edition of TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible to Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired was reviewed, updated, and some new sections added; a third edition of this document that provides information and guidelines on a variety of test-related issues relevant to the accessibility of test items presented in alternate media will be made available in FY 2008. The Test-Related Services brochure is also in the process of being reviewed and updated. It will be produced and disseminated in FY 2008 as well.

Consultation and reviews in FY 2007 were offered by members of Accessible Tests as follows:

KeyMath 3 Standardization Edition -- In early 2007, AGS Publishers contracted with Accessible Tests to review KeyMath 3 standardization materials. Barbara Henderson, with the assistance of Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader in the Research Dept., reviewed the test items for color choice and layout/design which might impact persons with low vision or color vision issues.

National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) Case Studies of English Language Learners (ELLs) with Disabilities -- Barbara Henderson and Debbie Willis reviewed case studies written by NCEO staff for purposes of instructing teachers and education staff. The "scenarios" are meant to illustrate how educators might meet the needs of ELLs with disabilities in their local school systems.

Tests of Adult Basic Education for English Language Learners (TABE CLAS-E) Large Print Editions -- At the request of CTB McGraw-Hill Publishers, Accessible Tests staff reviewed their large print editions of the TABE for adults with low English literacy skills. Five test levels were reviewed by three different staff members in March 2007. Considerations for the review were features such as font style and size, page layout, and quality of pictures, which will impact optimal readability for persons with low vision.

Test Publishers -- At the request of Pearson, Test Editor Kris Scott met with Pearson Measurement staff in Austin, Texas, to discuss proposed changes on the Texas Alternate Assessments. Accessible Tests staff also worked with members of Pearson's state assessment project staff to pre-review and provide feedback on future test items for accessibility, bias, sensitivity, and content issues. At the request of Harcourt, some of Hawaii's science performance items were reviewed and feedback was provided to project staff. Debbie Willis attended the 2007 Association of Test Publishers Conference, participated in the Education Division activities and discussions, and disseminated guidelines and brochures to interested parties.

During FY 2007, enhancements were made to the Accessible Tests Web page. With the assistance of webmaster Malcolm Turner in Communications, the following information, resources, and features were updated or added:

Collaborations

Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) Braille Edition Field Test --

CASAS is an organization devoted to assessment of the adult basic skills required for success in the workplace and in life. Field testing of the first CASAS test to be translated into braille took place in spring 2007. In addition to transcribing the test, APH staff identified additional field test sites. To date, 54 adults and teenagers have participated in the field testing and calibration study. CASAS researchers will be analyzing the field test materials and starting the re-calibration process early in FY 2008.

National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) Project: Effective Practices for Description of Science Content within Digital Talking Books -- This project addresses the need for a "best practices" document regarding narration/description of complex science and math content for digital talking books and other audio formats. The third round of the Delphi survey was posted in the fall of 2006 and results were compiled. Bryan Gould, project director, gave presentations on preliminary findings at several conferences in spring 2007, including the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) Conference held in Orlando in January 2007. The culmination of this project will be that APH, AFB, CAST, and other project collaborators will write a document outlining most effective practices as identified by the survey results; examples in audio format will accompany this document. An article regarding this study and results is expected to be published in FY 2008.

Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky School for the Blind -- Barbara Henderson 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 and Testing System (CATS) in order to ensure accessibility for students who are blind or visually impaired. In May 2007, Accessible Test staff participated in a Bias Review Committee Meeting at the request of the Kentucky Department of Education and WestEd to examine potential test items on Kentucky's Core Content Tests. Also during May 2007, Henderson participated in a meeting of the Kentucky DOE's Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Workgroup. The meeting was held at Strode Station Elementary, a UDL model school in Winchester, Kentucky. For additional information about this project, visit the Strode Station Web site: http://www.clarkschools.net/strode/

National Center on Educational Outcomes -- A member of Accessible Tests 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.

American Foundation for the Blind -- Test and Assessment Project Leader Barbara Henderson was interviewed for the November 2006 issue of the AFB online journal AccessWorld ®. The overview article about accessible testing for visually impaired students is available at: http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw070608

Professional Development of Future Leaders -- Erika Forster, a teacher of students with visual impairments in Coquitlam, British Columbia (a suburb of Vancouver), who was also a 4th year doctoral student in school psychology at the University of British Columbia, spent a busy and productive week at APH learning, reviewing products and materials, and gaining resources from the staff in Accessible Tests, Research, and Field Services. The specialty placement focused on the provision of psychological services for students who are blind or visually impaired. It also involved a practicum at the Visual Impairment Program located at Sunny Hill Health Center in Vancouver, British Columbia, attendance at the 2007 CEC Conference in Louisville and the International Association of Special Education Conference held in Hong Kong in June 2007. As part of her professional development, Forster had the opportunity to tour a school for the blind in China.

First Annual Invitational Summit on Universal Design in Assessment -- Members of Accessible Tests participated in the First Annual Invitational Summit on Universal Design in Assessment that 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 late FY 2007.

Braille Authority of North America -- At the current time, there are a number of test-related features of informal as well as formal assessments that transcription guidelines/rules do not address. On October 11, 2006, a meeting was held at APH to discuss these assessment issues. Diane Spence, Dena Garrett, Monica Coffey, Kris Scott, Barbara Henderson, and Betsy Burnham, a member of the Accessible Textbooks Department at that time and APH representative to BANA, participated in an open discussion. Dena Garrett, Accessible Media Editor who works with Accessible Tests on a part-time basis, drafted some guidelines that were reviewed by Accessible Tests staff. Numerous questions and ideas were relayed to Garrett. Based on this input, Garrett refined and added test guidelines before proposing them to BANA Formats Committee members.

Assessment Survey 2007: New Directions -- In order to stay in touch with current and future assessment needs, and to make plans to address the needs of vision professionals, assessment staff, and students with visual impairments, a survey was developed and posted on the Accessible Tests Web page. Twenty-three states and over 140 respondents participated in the online survey. Data were compiled, a preliminary report was written, and results were disseminated and placed on the Accessible Tests Web page. For a full report, visit: http://www.aph.org/tests

The tests reported as being in greatest demand are achievement tests and intelligence tests. Five of the 10 most needed achievement tests are either available from APH or are under development at APH. These results let us know that we are on target and responsive to the needs of the field with regard to achievement tests and individually-administered criterion referenced tests. However, none of the intelligence tests reported as needed are available from APH. This caused APH staff to re-examine this issue. A Test Group made up of some of the best assessment/VI professionals in the field and APH staff was formed; teleconferences were held to discuss this topic and develop a plan of action. The purpose and focus of the second teleconference were to assess the level of interest in working as a team to develop a new position paper to be disseminated and posted on the APH Web site, and to gather background information and input from members of the newly formed Test Group. It was determined that there was great interest and need for a position paper; the specific charge as a result of this teleconference was for members to submit a list of 10 components that each member views as substantial and necessary to include in the proposed position paper.

Test and Assessment Products

Approximately 500 state, district, and alternate assessments were reviewed and edited by Test Editors in the Accessible Tests Department for presentation in contracted or uncontracted braille with tactile graphics, large print, and/or audio formats. These tests and related materials such as manuals and reference charts were requested by test publishers and state department of education staff that included American Institutes of Research, CTB McGraw-Hill, Data Recognition Corporation, Hadley School, Measured Progress, Measurement Incorporated, NCS Pearson, New York State Department of Education, Questar, ThinkLink, Touchstone Applied Science Association, University of Kansas, and the Wisconsin State Department of Public Instruction. Though varying in content and grade levels, the tests generally assessed mathematics, science, social science, reading, and writing for grades 3-11. Test administration notes were written and provided, as requested, for about 80% of these tests.

Doug Trent in Contract Administration and Debbie Willis have worked with test publishers to respond to several Request for Proposals. Test Editor Monica Coffey Turner transferred to Field Services; this opened a Test Editor position to be filled. In addition, in order to expand on APH's capacity to continue addressing assessment needs, a third Test Editor position was announced. The two open positions were filled and two new Test Editors were added to the staff. To help ensure the highest quality test materials, Test Editors are working toward certification in literary braille by the National Library Service.

Various catalog items under development by the Test and Assessment Project Leader in the Accessible Tests Department include the following:

New! APH Tote (4-66001-00) -- This roomy canvas tote was designed to accommodate large print test materials such as the Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ III) test books. The zippered bag is black with the blue APH Innovation Logo.

Brigance® Diagnostic Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills, Revised (CIBS-R), Large Print Edition -- BISIG Impact has provided the project leader with proofs for all of the test sections. The project leader is in the process of reviewing and editing the proofs for needed revisions on the last three sections.

Brigance® Diagnostic Inventory of Early Development, Second Edition (IED II), Large Print Edition and Braille Edition -- Field test materials in braille are complete in translation; large print materials are formatted and ready to be printed. Test sites have been identified; field testing was scheduled for Summer and Fall 2007.

Collaborative Assessment DVD Series -- Members of California School for the Blind (CSB) assessment staff are working with APH project staff to plan and develop the first in a series of DVDs on collaborative assessment; upcoming script-writing and filming will take place at CSB.

New! GlaReducers (1-03062-00) -- The product was made by an outside vendor according to APH specifications and became available for sale as of January 2007. The package contains two pink and two yellow, translucent, 8.5 x 11 inch, vinyl sheets for reducing glare on a full page of printed material.

Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, 2nd Edition (KTEA II) Large Print and Braille Editions -- Consultants were identified and project timelines were determined. This project was recently moved forward to an active phase of development.

New! Large Print (1-04116-00) and Tactile (1-04117-00) Protractors --The production run was completed and the products were stocked in late December 2006. Each package contains either four tactile or four large print protractors and an instruction sheet.

Test Ready®Test Prep Series -- Work continues on the Test Ready Math components: teacher guides and test booklets for grades 3-8 in large print, braille, and audio formats.

Toss-Away Number Line -- It was determined that there is need for a disposable or "toss away" number line. The Test and Assessment Project Leader did preliminary background work to determine if an existing product satisfied the expressed need. This project is being taken over by the Core Curriculum Project Leader in Research in order to expedite development as an accompaniment to a set of math materials being created called MathBuilders. The goal is to design an inexpensive, quick-use number line that can be glued or stuck to a test page or to the student's desk. The Toss-Away Number Line will be useful in instructional as well as test-related environments.

New! Woodcock-Johnson III®: Tests of Achievement, Large Print Edition (4-66000-00) -- The production run was completed in early February 2007 and the product made available for sale as of February 14, 2007. The kit consists of two 8.5 X 11 inch, full-color, spiral bound test volumes and a package of GlaReducers. The APH Tote (4-66001-00) is an optional item for use with this product.

Woodcock-Johnson III®: Tests of Achievement, Braille Adaptation (4-66000-00) -- Work continued on various components including revisions needed for the braille edition, development of the examiner's manuals for administering the braille adaptation, and the special Compuscore® CD. Richard Woodcock, Ed.D., one of the original test authors, was instrumental in adding several equivalent verbal tests, which will enable complete clusters for braille-reading students.

Products scheduled for active development in FY 2008-09 include:

For more detailed information on each of the above products, refer to the Table of Contents for individual project reports.

Work planned for FY 2008

Accessible Tests staff will work closely with APH's Contract Administration, Production, Research, Accessible Textbooks, Field Services, and Communications staff, and 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. State and district assessments as well as 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 by providing products in accessible media, and by engaging in test-related consultant work, product-related services, collaborative efforts and partnerships, and product-related research and development. Workshops at APH, "on the road" workshops in connection with other conferences, presentations, resources, papers, information, and Web casts on test topics and issues will be developed and made available on the APH Web site. 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 guidelines, resources, and brochures for making test items accessible in various media and the special issues with regard to testing students with visual impairments will be produced and freely shared. The 2008 Sample Test Items will be produced in braille, tactile graphics, large print, and audio formats, and used for educational purposes. 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.

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 work together to help make instructional materials and tests available in accessible media for individuals with visual impairments, who promote the inclusion of individuals with visual impairments during test development, and who are actively engaged in improving the test performance of blind and visually impaired individuals through research, education, and communication. Helen Keller had a vision of progress and sagely advised, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." There is still much to be done.

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 W. Henderson, Project Leader
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader/Consultant
Eleanor Pester, Braille Project Leader/Consultant
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.

A proposed timeline was submitted but 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 during 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 achievement tests and current scannable answer documents are not useable by visually impaired test takers. The project leader made several contacts with test publishers and research entities, but a committed partner was not identified within the first quarter of FY 2007. The project was not pulled off the PARCing Lot in the second quarter of FY 2007 as originally planned.

Work planned for FY 2008

In the first quarter of FY 2008, the project leader will pull this project into active development again. It has been decided that some accessible large print and braille answer documents are needed for several different purposes. Work will resume on the design of kinds of braille and two types of large print answer sheets.

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 W. Henderson, Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
BISIG Impact Group, Graphic Art & Layout

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.

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

Work during FY 2007

Work with BISIG Impact Group on reformatting each of the 11 subtests continued, until a proof of the two volume large-print set was ready for the project leader to review. This review was completed in the last quarter of FY 2007.

Work planned for FY 2008

BISIG will finalize the electronic files according to the project leader's review and provide production masters. If things go as planned, the product will be available in the second quarter of FY 2008.

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 DVDs 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 W. Henderson, Project Leader
Michael Sell, Accessible Test Editor/Project Assistant
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 the consultants could fit the project into their new schedules.

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 during FY 2007

The project leader met with the Directors of Research and Accessible Tests in the third quarter to discuss staffing needs. CSB contributors provided an outline of the first (introductory) DVD in the series, so a teleconference was held to establish new timelines and to discuss a planning meeting. It was decided that the project leader and the project assistant would travel to CSB in the fourth quarter to meet with the assessment team, hold a planning meeting, and to meet the students who will be filmed for the DVDs. In this same period, RFPs went out to local and California-based videographers.

Work planned for FY 2008

CSB staff will meet with the videographer and begin to shoot footage according to the filming outlines established at the planning meeting.

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, Adult Life Project Leader
Barbara W. 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, scorable testing protocols, and concise, clear testing directions.

Telephone conferences with Bender have resulted in the finalization of four 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. Based on this plan, Bender 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 during FY 2007

Bender has continued to work on assessment items, and has revised and resubmitted several sections per discussion with the project leader.

Work planned for FY 2008

Bender and the project leader will complete item revisions. Prototype development is expected to be completed and expert review will be initiated.

GlaReducers

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide full-page-sized glare reducing sheets for use with assessment tests

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader/Co-Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

While developing the large print edition of the Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ III) Tests of Achievement, the project leader decided to include a glare reducing sheet. Since we had no such product, but did have the Bright Line Reading Guide, the project leader conferred with Elaine Kitchel. The two determined that the same materials, used in the reading guides might be used in an 8 1/2" x 11" full-page sheet to reduce glare for WJ III. There would be a need to provide both yellow and pink sheets.

Work during FY 2007

The material was ordered from the vendor with rounded edges, placed in a labeled plastic bag, and placed into stock. The WJ III pilot run was in the second quarter and each kit included one package of the glare-reducing sheets, which are also available for sale separately.

Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (KTEA-II)

Large Print Edition and Braille Edition

(New)

Purpose

To make a widely-used, individualized academic achievement test available in braille/tactile and large print formats

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader
Ann McCall, Ph.D., Consultant
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media Editor/Project Advisor

Background

KTEA-II has a broad scope and is targeted towards students ages 5-25. Students performing at lower than expected levels, such as students with multiple disabilities, can demonstrate some of straight-forward, skill-specific tasks in this test. Key academic skills in reading, math, written language, and oral language can be assessed and remediated according to age-based and grade equivalent standards.

Practitioners in the field have expressed the need for a test that can be administered in less time than some of the other popular achievement tests, allowing them to get baselines and information for immediate intervention. The project leader had already proposed KTE-II as a product, obtained approval, and placed it on the PARCing lot awaiting time for further development. At the suggestion of staff at Kentucky School for the Blind, who need to use the test with several blind students, this project was moved onto the active timeline in the third quarter of FY 2008.

Work planned for FY 2008

Work will begin with discussions of formatting considerations for both braille and large print editions. The project consultant and project leader will meet with transcription staff to begin editing and transcription for each medium. Field review is targeted for the last quarter of FY 2008.

KeyMath®-3: Large Print Edition and Braille Adaptation

(New)

Purpose

In keeping with a long-time collaborative tradition between AGS/Pearson Assessment and APH, a large print version and a braille/tactile adaptation will be developed. This instrument has been widely used to assess math skills of students who are visually impaired.

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader
Debbie Willis, Accessible Tests Director/Project Advisor
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media Editor/Project Advisor
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader/Project Advisor

Background

Continuing a long tradition of working with AGS Publishing to develop the original KeyMath® and KeyMath® Revised, in braille/tactile formats, APH arranged with the new publisher, Pearson Assessment, to develop KeyMath®-3. Field testing has been completed and publication of the print battery is expected in the first quarter of FY 2008. APH received the final, approved copy ahead of the print publication date in order to expedite production of the braille and large print editions.

Work during FY 2007

Pre-publication copy and copyright permissions were secured from the publisher. The project leader and project advisors reviewed all test items for bias, and editing for braille translation began.

Work planned for FY 2008

Work with BISIG Impact Group on formatting for large print will begin and continue until prototype materials are ready for expert/field review. Braille/tactile materials will be readied for field review at the same time. Field review is targeted for fall 2008.

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

(Abandoned)

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 both instructional and testing environments

Project Staff

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

Background

Blind and visually impaired students taking tests do not always have appropriately designed protractors provided to them in the testing situation. Sometimes they don't get a protractor at all because protractors aren't included with the tests. 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. Teachers and Department of Education personnel in one 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 models.

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 was needed.

Work during FY 2007

New timelines and specifications were set for the re-design. Brisk sales of the new plastic tactile protractor and large print protractor, and good feedback from the field on the products, indicated that the need for a throwaway version of the protractors would not warrant expenditure of additional research and development funds. The project was abandoned in the second quarter.

Large Print Protractor and Tactile Protractor

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide accurate, low-cost, and easy-to-use tactile 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 led to the design of two separate protractors, one with braille/tactile 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 returned in the last quarter of FY 2005.

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 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 was composed of four tactile protractors or four large print protractors with a brief instructional brochure.

Work during FY 2007

A production run was scheduled for the first quarter. This production run was somewhat problematic due to unexpected stresses on the plastic wands as they were thermoformed. Technical Research staff was able to troubleshoot--a new cutting die was ordered, and processes were quickly revised. After some trial and error, a successful run was made, and the protractors were placed into stock during the first quarter.

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
Nancy Bayens, Administrative Assistant, ATIC/Accessible Tests

Work during FY 2007

A new online survey about assessment needs was presented at the APH Annual Meeting 2006 Information Fair and on the APH Web site. The 2007 Assessment Needs Survey: New Directions was also posted on the Accessible Tests Web page. A summary of results can be found at http://www.aph.org/tests/new_directions.html. The project to make the Wechsler Individual Intelligence Test II (WIAT-II) available through Harcourt Assessment was implemented as a result of being expressed as a high priority need on the survey. This test can be ordered from APH so long as permission is granted to the individual or organization by Harcourt Assessment. The project leader also studied trends and determined that another high priority was pulling the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement II (KTEA-II) from the PARCing Lot and into active development. Overall, the survey confirmed that fact that APH is being and has been responsive to the expressed needs of the field in the area of assessment: five of the top 10 priorities are already approved as projects or are in active development. Note: one of the top 10 tests is out of print and is no longer available from the publisher.

The project leader worked with the Director of Accessible Tests to develop the new Assessment Catalog and with Research Department staff to review current assessment products for obsolescence or modernization. The project leader also did an update of the Accessible Tests Web page.

Over 200 customer service calls and e-mails were forwarded to the project leader by Customer Relations and other APH staff for more detailed information than they can supply on the topic of test availability.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project leader will facilitate training workshops and Web casts for APH assessment products. The Accessible Tests Web site will be updated again and new links to resources posted. Several new editions of well-known assessments will be released soon, so the project leader will be reviewing a lot of materials in FY 2008 for accessibility and possible development as APH products. Finally, products for development of Daily Living Skills, Job Skills, and Career Interest Inventories will be brought forward as the next new products on the horizon.

Test Ready® Test Preparation Series

(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 W. Henderson, Project Leader
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media/Project Editor
Kristopher Scott, Accessible Tests Editor/Project Editor
Michael Sell, Accessible Tests Editor/Project Assistant
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant/Project Assistant
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 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.

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.

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 worked with the project leaders to format the student book and teacher guide. In the last quarter of FY 2006, a trial production run was carried out on Book 7. It will now be printed on the IGen-3 and the output judged for quality. A production schedule was set accordingly.

Work during FY 2007

A trial run on the project was delayed until an HTML file and an audio version could be prepared. ALT text from the audio script was needed for generation of the HTML file. The co-project leader was unable to devote time to the project due to a heavy load of test editing. An audio script was developed during the first and second quarters, which the project leader reviewed and edited. The project leader finalized the scripts in the third quarter; the studio and BISIG began their work on the HTML and audio components. A database of titles in the series was created by the project assistant in order to organize and document the process.

Work planned for FY 2008

The production process will be further documented, a database of titles in the series utilized in the production of subsequent titles, and the rest of the student books and accompanying teacher guides for Plus Math funneled through the system. Availability will depend upon the quality of the master files and the effectiveness of the database for organization of the work. The next subject to be produced will be Plus Reading.

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement -- Braille Edition

(Continuing)

Purpose

To make this widely used Psychoeducational Assessment instrument available in braille/tactile format

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader/Editor
Lynne Jaffe, Ph.D., Consultant
Carol Anne Evans, M.Ed., Consultant
Lana McClurg, M.A., Consultant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
BISIG Impact Group, Design and Layout

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, Learning Disabilities Specialist, Technical Assistance to Schools Assessment Team, Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind and Carol Anne Evans, 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 2 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.

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.

Field testing and review proceeded in FY 2006, 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.

Work during FY 2007

Writing of the Examiner's Manual for the Braille Edition and the supplemental Manual for the Braille Edition was finished in early FY 2007. In the same period, the project consultant conferred with the author, Richard Woodcock, who became very interested in the edition for braille/tactile readers. He proposed substituting certain "equivalent" tests for existing tests in the WJ III, so that all clusters would remain intact. No parts of the test would be inaccessible to persons who are visually impaired.

In addition, Woodcock offered to furnish a special Compuscore® CD for the braille adaptation as his contribution to the project. Several teleconferences were held with Riverside Publishing staff and the staff of Woodcock's foundation. The project leader and the project consultant continued their work on revisions with the assistance of APH braille transcribers.

The project leader worked with BISIG to make formatting decisions for the Examiner's Manual for the Braille Adaptation. Final proofs on the standard and extended batteries were completed in the last quarter. Work began on formatting the APH Supplemental Manual. Artwork was finalized for the covers and CD.

Work planned for FY 2008

Revisions will continue. The project leader will facilitate creation of the revised Test Record. A new timeline for completion of the Compuscore® CD will be set according to the information we receive from Riverside Publishing about their Quality Assurance process and from Woodcock about his timeline.

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement -- Large Print Edition

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader/Editor
Lynne Jaffe, Ph.D., Consultant
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader/Project Advisor
Carol Anne Evans, M.Ed., Consultant
BISIG Impact Group, Design and Layout
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 large print 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, Learning Disabilities Specialist, Technical Assistance to Schools Assessment Team, Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind and Carol Anne Evans, School Psychologist, Davis School District, Farmington, Utah.

Because of the desire to make a full-color large print edition available, it was decided that the large print formatting would be done by APH ATIC staff using their current techniques as a pilot project. 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 and review took place in FY 2006, 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 production masters were developed in the last quarter, in preparation for the production run.

Work during FY 2007

Writing of the Examiner's Manual for the Large Print Editions was finished in early FY 2007. A specifications meeting was held and a pilot run scheduled. BISIG provided the production masters. The initial proofs revealed some problems with the PDF file, so production was held up until a new file could be provided. Troubleshooting was done by Technical Research staff so that the production run was completed and the product became available in the second quarter of FY 2007.

Research
Department
Activities

Ralph E. Bartley, Ph.D.

Director

Adult Life

Adult Life Needs

(Ongoing)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

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 has continued to characterize the development of products for adults.

Work during FY 2007

APH Adult Life products and their applications to specific populations were presented by the Adult Life Project Leader as follows: Money Talks, Applications for Adults with Visual Impairments, Web cast presented for Accessible World, Louisville, Kentucky, October, 2006; Stocking Stuffers, APH Products for Adults, Web cast presented for Accessible World, Louisville, Kentucky, November, 2006; Daily Living Products from APH, Web cast presented for the Conference of the Dakotas Chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Louisville, Kentucky, November, 2007; Miniguide US and 'K' Sonar, workshop presented at the Southeastern Orientation and Mobility Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, March, 2007; Miniguide US and 'K' Sonar, Electronic Travel Devices from APH, workshop presented for the Kentucky Office for the Blind, April, 2007.

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

Work planned for FY 2008

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

(Completed)

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

Erica Rucker, Project Leader
Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Fred Gissoni, Project Assistant/Technical Support Specialist
Darleen Donhoff, Administrative/Technical 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 makes 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.

A durable, consumer-friendly battery tester was found to be manufactured by CareTec in Austria. The auditory version of this product beeped three times if the battery was full, two times if the battery was moderately full, and one time if the battery was low. If the battery was dead, the device did not beep. A tactile version of this device both vibrated and beeped in the patterns mentioned above. Therefore, the tactile version could be used effectively by persons who were deafblind. CareTec agreed that APH would be the exclusive distributor of this product in the United States. Fred Gissoni wrote a draft of an Instruction Sheet for each version of the device.

Work during FY 2007

Internal product testing by six APH staff members who were blind and long-term external testing by the project leader and two other adults who were blind and who lived in the Louisville, Kentucky, area confirmed the accuracy and ease-of-use of this product. Instructions were translated in to Spanish, recorded on cassette in both languages, and provided in print and braille in English for this product.

Release of this product was delayed due to recurring problems with the construction of the battery door. These manufacturing issues were ultimately resolved successfully by CareTec. Both versions of the product became available for sale in July 2007 as follows: EZ Test Battery Tester, Audio Feedback Version, Catalog #1-03968-00 -- Price, $56.00;

EZ Test Battery Tester, Audio/Tactile Feedback Version, Catalog #1-03969-00 -- Price, $78.00.

Additional information about this product can be found at:
http://sun1.aph.org/advisory/2007adv08.html#P4

Work planned for FY 2008

Both versions of this product are now available for sale. No additional work is planned for FY 2008; product development is complete.

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
Fred Gissoni, Project Assistant

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 that APH 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" X 11" paper in a three-ring binder, would include all of the organizational information found in its large print EZ Track counterpart.

Information about the EZ Track Financial Record Keeper can be found at the following link: http://sun1.aph.org/advisory/2003adv11.html

Information about the Braille DateBook can be found at the following link:
http://sun1.aph.org/advisory/2006adv07.html

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 project leader evaluated 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 was needed for specific questions. Neither of these strategies proved to be ideal.

Work during FY 2007

Assistance of Gissoni, Technical Support Specialist at APH, was sought and obtained. The project leader and Gissoni have discussed solutions and are exploring new ideas for maintaining product integrity and reducing the number of pages, the most promising being a book describing how to make a Financial Record Keeper based on the types of income and expenses relevant to the individual.

Work planned for FY 2008

Prototype development and field review will be undertaken after basic design issues have been resolved.

'K' Sonar Instruction Manual

(New)

Purpose

To provide orientation and mobility instructors with the conceptual context and sequenced student exercises for teaching the effective integration of the 'K' Sonar and the long cane

Project Staff

Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
William Penrod, Project Consultant
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant

Background

In December 2004, APH released the 'K' Sonar, an electronic travel device that aids perception by providing information about the location and type of object in its range. Skilled 'K' Sonar users can move around obstacles quickly, without touching them with a cane, and can locate landmarks that are out of their cane's reach. Skilled 'K' Sonar users can also distinguish various types of objects according to the quality of 'K' Sonar sounds produced. A demonstration recording, packaged with the 'K' Sonar, showed the pitch-distance relationship (the lower the pitch, the closer the object), and also showed how the 'K' Sonar produced different tone colors in response to the amount and type of ultrasound reflected back from various objects.

During the years since the 'K' Sonar has been available, numerous orientation and mobility specialists have requested a more structured instruction manual for the device. The product under development provides such a comprehensive approach to 'K' Sonar instruction. When mounted on a cane, the 'K' Sonar contributes to a synergy in which the travel device resulting from the combination of 'K' Sonar and long cane is more than the sum of each individually. The 'K' Sonar Instruction Manual will offer orientation and mobility instructors the conceptual context in which to understand this synergy and a series of sequenced exercises designed to integrate information and experience derived from the 'K' Sonar; the cane; and the student's overall kinesthetic, proprioceptive, and motor response systems.

Work during FY 2007

As a result of structured experiments with the 'K' Sonar and the long cane, the project leader has developed an instructional model for integrating 'K' Sonar and long cane skills, and has operationalized this model into a sequence of exercises. The project leader has written the first draft of the manual, which includes essential background information for understanding the operation of the 'K' Sonar and sequenced exercises for teaching its integration with the long cane.

Work planned for FY 2008

William Penrod, Director of the Orientation and Mobility masters' degree program at the University of Louisville, will examine and edit the manual. Then, the project leader and Penrod will field test the manual and its sequence of exercises and make changes in materials as needed. The manual is expected to be available for purchase before the end of FY 2008.

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. During FY 2006, the project leader completed the editing/writing of the middle third of the book. The consultant and project leader redesigned the structure for the final third of the book. This portion of the book was originally based on structure and presentation style used in face-to-face teaching; consequently, the book's material required major reorganization in order to support learning without the aid of a teacher and student group.

Work during FY 2007

The consultant rewrote the final chapters of the book, and the project leader expanded and edited them.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project leader and consultant will complete the revisions of the final third of the book, 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.

MagneTachers for Braille Labels

(Formerly MagneTachers 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 that 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-TapeTM 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-TapeTM 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.

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 during FY 2007

The manufacturing specialist searched diligently for a manufacturer capable of providing rolls of magnetic vinyl in the size and quantity that were needed. A manufacturer was found late in FY 2007. Content for braille/print directions was finalized. In-house expert review was conducted and appropriate changes were made. Information for the writing of specifications was collected.

Work planned for FY 2008

Internal expert review of materials and instructions will be conducted, appropriate changes will be made, and the product will become available for sale in FY 2008.

MagneTachers for Large Print Labels: Jumbo Size

(Formerly MagneTachers for Large Print Labels)

(Continued)

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.

During FY 2006, samples of magnetic vinyl were examined by the project leader and manufacturing specialist, and desirable features were determined. It was necessary to locate samples that were coated with a paper-like finish that would hold writing when done with bold-line pens or markers. Vendors who produced these materials were located.

Work during FY 2007

The manufacturing specialist searched diligently for a manufacturer capable of providing rolls of magnetic vinyl with the necessary coating in the size and quantity that were needed. A manufacturer was found late in FY 2007. Content for braille/print directions was finalized. In-house expert review was conducted and appropriate changes were made. Information for the writing of specifications was collected.

Work planned for FY 2008

Specifications and tooling will be completed, and the product will become available for sale.

MagneTachers 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 a half-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 2007

MagneTachers for such labels that were 1-inch tall were already being developed. However, a large number of persons with low vision read print that is one-half-inch tall or smaller. Using larger labels can be cumbersome. To meet the needs of persons with low vision who can read smaller handwriting, the appropriate magnetic vinyl was located, and plans to produce a half-inch tall, 120-inch roll of MagneTachers for Large Print were made.

Work planned for FY 2008

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.

MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels

(Formerly MagneTachers 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 message 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 Sherlock 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 that 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 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

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 MagneTachers, a Sherlock label can be reused on cans and other metal surfaces indefinitely.

Work during FY 2007

The manufacturing specialist searched diligently for a manufacturer capable of providing magnetic vinyl with the magnetic field direction required in order for Sherlock labels to be read on metal surfaces. A manufacturer was identified in late FY 2007. Content for braille/print directions was finalized. In-house expert review was conducted and appropriate changes were made. Some information for the writing of specifications was collected. At this time, two packaging protocols are under consideration. When final decisions are made, this product may be packaged in either or both of the following ways: two sheets of MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels (24 MagneTachers) and one package of Sherlock Labels (25 labels); or two sheets of MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels (24 MagneTachers) with no Sherlock Labels.

Work planned for FY 2008

Specifications and tooling will be completed, and the product will become available for sale.

MagneTachers for Small Braillables

(Formerly MagneTachers for Small Braillables)

(Continued)

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, Catalog #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:
http://sun1.aph.org/advisory/2004adv09.html

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. To make a

Braillable Label with a magnetic backing, braille on the Braillable, remove it from its sheet, remove a MagneTacher from its sheet, and attach the Braillable to the MagneTacher.

Work during FY 2007

The manufacturing specialist searched diligently for a manufacturer capable of providing magnetic vinyl, kiss-cut label sheets with cuts slightly larger than Sherlock Labels. A manufacturer was found in late FY 2007. Content for braille/print directions was finalized. In-house expert review was conducted and appropriate changes were made. Some information for the writing of specifications was collected. Two packaging protocols are being considered. When final decisions are made, this product may be packaged in either or both of the following ways: First, two sheets, containing a total of 24 MagneTachers that are slightly larger than the small Braillable Labels, may be packaged with two sheets of small Braillable Labels (24 total labels). Second, two sheets of the MagneTachers may be packaged alone, without the Braillable label sheets.

Work planned for FY 2008

Instructions will be written; packaging decisions will be made; and the product will be produced and become available for sale.

MiniBook

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

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

Background

When persons who can see need to write down a phone number or other small note, they quickly pull a pen from their pocket and 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 that can be easily removed from a pocket in the binder. During FY 2006, the size of the notebook was resolved and an appropriate-sized slate mold was ordered. Small twin-looped notebooks with detachable pages were added to materials under consideration for inclusion in the MiniBook kit.

Work during FY 2007

Prototype notebooks of the size requested were obtained, and prototype drilled paper packs were made for them. Prototype spiral notebooks with perforated pages for easy page removal were also produced in the same small size as the prototype binders. The mold for a four-line, 15-cell slate was completed. Problems with the processing of materials through the mold were resolved so that high quality slates could be produced consistently.

Field review was undertaken with 32 adult consumers, half of whom were frequent and half of whom were occasional slate-and-stylus users. Each of these groups was divided into two equal parts--one part testing the spiral notebook first, and the other testing the binder first. The first set of field test materials were mailed out, and most have submitted their evaluations of these materials. The second set of materials has been sent out and respondents will have completed these evaluations before the end of FY 2007.

Work planned for FY 2008

Field review responses will be analyzed, and appropriate changes will be made on the basis of these results. Final decisions about kit contents will be made, and the MiniBook will be produced and become available for sale.

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, Administrative/Technical 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 6 months prior to the product becoming available for sale in July 2005.

Enhancements to Money Talks made in FY 2006 include:

Version 1.1, December 2005

Work During FY 2007

Improvements and upgrades to the program, made during FY 2007, are based on ongoing feedback from the field and include:

Version 1.2, February 2007

Version 1.2.X, August 2007

Work planned for FY 2008

Upgrades and improvements will continue to 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.

Karen McCulloh has 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 during FY 2007

McCulloh and the project leader have discussed next steps and materials on six conference calls throughout the year. McCulloh has submitted additional assessment protocols and the background and protocol for conducting Session 1.

Work planned for FY 2008

McCulloh will continue to write session protocols as quickly as her full schedule permits and will engage the project leader in conference calls as needed.

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, Consultant/Author
Betsy O'Donnell, COMS, Consultant/Author
Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader
John Hedges, Programmer
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant

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.

During FY 2006, Perla and O'Donnell completed prototype content and the project leader completed the final edit of text. All material was "plugged" into the screen-by-screen outline. The programmer brought this revised material into the program, and early prototypes of the program were evaluated by the programmer and project leader.

Work during FY 2007

A beta program prototype has been tested by the project leaders and two research assistants. Recommendations for change have been made, and some of these changes have been implemented by the programmer. Other changes await implementation.

Work planned for FY 2008

The computer program will be changed in line with suggestions from project leader and research assistants. The resulting prototype will be evaluated by consultants, and then will undergo field review by orientation and mobility instructors. Final 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, Consultant/Author
Kevin E. O'Connor, Consultant
Deborah Kendrick, 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 17 effective parents who were visually impaired. Research conducted at APH confirmed that very little information was available for blind parents regarding issues related to visual impairment and parenting. The need for an informational parenting book was further assessed through a survey of professionals in the field of visual impairment and blindness. Survey results indicated that: training was not available for professionals in the area of parenting and visual impairment; there were a significant number of blind parents who could have benefited from information related to blindness and parenting; and a self-help informational book could maximally benefit many such parents or parents-to-be. Of particular concern among survey respondents was the need for support and information to counteract the negative stereotypes about blindness such as the belief that persons with visual impairments could not be effective parents.

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

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 database and submitted this material to the project leader. The project leader completed content analysis and results summaries for the data. Ingber has submitted first and second drafts of the first four chapters 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 during FY 2007

Ingber has completed a draft of all remaining chapters of the book. The project leader has reanalyzed data to expand on material written, and has edited/written material for all chapters.

Work planned for FY 2008

Photos will be incorporated, and prototype layout will be completed. 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. It is anticipated that the book will become available for sale in late FY 2008.

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 reconfigured to provide one learning page per letter. Each learning page will include a letter description (the braille dot combinations to be connected for that letter), a raised image of the letter shape, and an engraved, pencil-traceable letter. Additional feedback from the field was sought by consulting Sally Mangold and by conducting a focus meeting at the AERBVI International Conference in July, 2004.

Feedback from the field was reviewed and a plan for the project prototype was finalized. As a result of this input, an additional description of each print letter based on position in the cell and not on dot numbers will be included on learning pages. Letters will also be presented in an order that allows students to master simple strokes and then join them into multi-stroke letters. Placement of letter descriptions and of embossed and engraved letter shapes on learning pages was finalized.

Work during FY 2007

Project leader's schedule constraints precluded further development of the product prototype.

Work planned for FY 2008

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)

(Completed)

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 45-minute video includes the stories of six persons who have successfully coped with the loss of driving. These individuals 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 is provided in large print and on cassette.

This video is 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 vision rehabilitation therapists and orientation and mobility specialists; eye care specialists who have to tell patients they can no longer drive; and generic geriatric agencies and 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. Similarly, a social worker at a senior center may share the video with a group of elders in a workshop or class setting.

During FY 2006, Penny Rosenblum and Orange Productions 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). 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 during FY 2007

The recording of the Resource Guide was completed, and Resource Guide files were created in the standard alternate formats to be provided with the kit. Graphic Design layout of the Resource Guide was completed, and print and braille copies were produced.

Final edits were completed of the video, DVDs were produced in-house, and VHS versions were obtained. The VHS and DVD versions of the product and the braille Resource Guide were made available for sale in July 2007 as follows:

Reclaiming Independence DVD: Catalog #1-30020-DVD, Price $60.00
Reclaiming Independence VHS: Catalog #1-30020-00, Price $60.00

Additional information about this product can be found at:
http://sun1.aph.org/advisory/2007adv08.html

Work planned for FY 2008

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

Step By Step: An Interactive Guide to Mobility Techniques

(New)

Purpose

To offer university students who are studying to become orientation and mobility specialists a visual tool that they can use outside of class time to learn, review, and practice the mobility techniques that they are learning to teach

Project Staff

Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant/Co-Project Leader
Sandy Rosen, Author/Consultant

Background

In the Product Idea Submission Form that Sandy Rosen prepared for APH, she provided the following background information about this project. "A laserdisc prototype (developed through a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education, was originally field-tested by students and faculty in orientation and mobility at three universities: The University of Texas at Austin, Western Michigan University, and San Francisco State University. Feedback from students and faculty not only revealed multiple effective uses for such a database and interactive learning tool, but it also confirmed that there were significant differences among the universities in how students were taught to perform mobility skills.

"Surprised by this finding, and wanting to develop a tool that would have national relevance, a symposium was held at San Francisco State University in February 1993. University faculty in O&M from throughout the United States were brought together to share the methods of performing mobility techniques that they each teach at their respective universities and colleges. In this symposium, participants demonstrated their individual methods for performing each technique and, as a nationally representative

group, came to a general consensus on acceptable basic standard and accepted alternate methods for performing techniques."

Compiling information developed at this symposium, Rosen produced the Step by Step program, which she describes in the Product Idea Submission Form. "Step by Step combines text, full-motion and stop-action video, and photographs to demonstrate and describe basic, intermediate, and advanced mobility skills used by travelers who are blind. It is an interactive instructional program that has been developed to supplement university professional preparation programs. Users of the program can test their understanding of the techniques, identify errors commonly made by those who are learning to travel, and determine appropriate measures to correct each error. It is a system that lends itself to both individual use and collaborative learning where small groups of students go through the activities together.

"The focus is on learning the elements of how each technique is performed, visually identifying common performance errors made by travelers who have visual impairments, and then learning how to correct those errors in order to enable a person to travel more efficiently, effectively, and to avoid potential injury."

Work during FY 2007

Rosen provided APH with both written and DVD materials. Written materials include photos and detailed descriptions of all techniques covered by the symposium. Additional written materials provide a quick review of all techniques. Videos and electronic photos provide both demonstrations of techniques and assessments in which students select the video that best answers a specific technical question.

The co-project leader has viewed videos and has read written materials. Written materials are well-prepared. They require correction of only a few keyboarding errors in order to be submitted for expert review.

Rosen has redone a number of photos and videos that were "blurry," and she will submit replacement pages and video to APH as soon as they are prepared.

Materials were originally developed with Macintosh® hardware and were to operate on both the Mac and PC platforms. Rosen suggests that a persistent problem, involving the cut off of materials in scroll boxes on the DVD when run on a PC, may be due to cross-platform development issues. This question is being investigated by the project leader and cross-platform consultants in order to find a resolution.

Work Planned for FY 2008

After issues discussed above have been resolved, prototypes will be submitted for expert review, changes will be made as needed, and the product will become available for sale.

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 APH strongly recommended that APH develop career preparation materials. The Transition Tote System was produced to meet this need. This product provided instruction in the following skill areas: personal organization, self-awareness, self-advocacy, work exploration, job seeking, and job keeping. An extensive list of important educational and vocational resources was also included. The Transition Tote Case was developed to provide an organizational system for storing job-search materials and to serve as a carrying case for braille and large print media, cassette recorders, note takers, and laptops.

Revision of the Transition Tote System is needed because its resource sections have become outdated, because experienced users suggest that several new content areas should be included, and because the Tote Case has never functioned as originally intended. Resource information was collected during 1996 and 1997. Major changes in assistive technology, vendor contact information, and service delivery systems have occurred since that time and need to be incorporated into resource lists. Inclusion of material that might help students use recorded materials more effectively and 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.

During FY 2006, the project leader acquired background materials on state standards and requirements for transition classes.

Additional information about the Transition Tote System can be found at:
http://www.aph.org/catalogs/cat_html/products07-08.html#bv-tote

Work during FY 2007

The project leader contacted the primary consultant on the original Transition Tote regarding revision issues. This consultant would like to update and provide major expansion of the Transition Tote system. During FY 2007, the consultant conducted extensive exploration of additional funding sources and potential collaboration partners.

Work planned for FY 2008

Plans for updating and possibly expanding the Transition Tote System will be finalized and work on this product will begin.

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 television, in books, and almost everywhere in visual range. Blind children do not benefit from sighted models for two reasons: first, they cannot see the behaviors being modeled; and second, many travel skills used by sighted persons are not relevant to the travel needs of blind children who must learn an alternate set of travel skills 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 2007

Work on this project has been delayed because of project leaders' full schedules.

Work planned for FY 2008

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.

Art

Braille Beads

(New)

Purpose

To provide inexpensive plastic braille beads for students to create bracelets, chokers, and ankle bracelets for personal use, gifts, and to support fundraising efforts

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Model/Pattern Maker
Anita Rutledge, Design Specialist/Process Engineer

Background

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

Work planned for FY 2008

APH will determine if a movable mold can be manufactured at a reasonable cost that will allow APH to offer plastic beads inexpensively. If it is determined that tooling is too expensive, APH will not proceed with the product.

Braille

Alphabetic Braille and Contracted (ABC) Braille Study

(Continuing through 2008)

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 through Summer 2007
Robert Wall Emerson, Ph.D., Western Michigan University, Statistician, Data Storage
Jane Erin, Ph.D., University of Arizona at Tucson, Quantitative Research Team Leader
Sharon Sacks, Ph.D., California State University Qualitative Research Team Leader
Diane P. Wormsley, Ph.D., North Carolina Central University, Principal Investigator beginning Summer 2007

This is the final year of the project. Below is the list of contributors to the project and their roles in the project.

ABC Braille Cumulative Contributor List

Research Team

Research Support

Research Assistants

Observers

APH Officers

APH ABC Braille Study Staff

APH Support Staff

Financial Contributors

In Kind Contributors

Test Publisher Acknowledgement

We would like to thank the following for allowing APH to emboss the test instruments we used.

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-kindergarten 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 2007

This past 2006-2007 academic year was the last year of data collection for the study. No new children were enrolled this past year since capacity for data collection was reached, and it had been decided previously that children enrolled beyond year three would not be in the study long enough to gather sufficient longitudinal data. Currently there are data on the 24 children in the study who initially learned contracted braille and 20 children in the study who initially learned uncontracted braille. Four children were dropped from the study because they had been identified as having multiple disabilities. Data from these children will be included where it is appropriate to do so. Enrolled children reside in 12 U.S. states and one Canadian province, with children coming from a range of educational environments.

Each June the full research team meets face to face to review the past year's research and to provide direction for the next year. At the June group meeting, hosted by the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky, researchers discussed the manner in which the data analysis would be divided among the research team. Researchers were assigned to writing groups for each of the research questions. Dates for the writing groups to meet were designated, and deadlines set for preliminary analysis of data to be finalized.

Work planned for FY 2008

During the 2007-2008 school year, researchers will be continuing to work in their various writing groups. Rob Wall Emerson is analyzing the data with respect to quantitative results for research question one. Jane Erin is leading the analysis of the data with respect to results for research question two. Sharon Sacks is leading the team concerned with analyzing the qualitative data for research questions three and four. Diane P. Wormsley is leading the team analyzing the data on hand movements usage.

Writing teams will be pulling together the existing literature and research, and including the data from the ABC Braille Project into submissions for various journals. At the moment there are five teams at work. It is anticipated that other aspects of the study will be dealt with by small writing groups when the main research questions have been answered.

The preliminary results will be presented at the APH Annual Meeting in October 2007. Data analysis is expected to take a considerable amount of time, due to the quantity and complexity of the data. The ABC Braille Research Team will be presenting again at Getting In Touch With Literacy at which venue it is anticipated that additional results will be presented.

Final results are anticipated by Summer 2008.

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 and the Product Evaluation Team 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. Simplified instructions for the teacher will be included 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. In 2006, the practice exercises and the tests were reformatted for presentation in large print. The braille is expected to remain the same as the original. The writing of a teacher's manual with instructions for using the materials with a student was begun.

Work during FY 2007

Reformatting and writing were completed. Two additional stories which contain all of the contractions were added for oral reading practice. Specific directions for pretesting and posttesting and using the practice materials were included. Specifications for the cover copy, the exercises, and the parts included in the program were finalized. The teacher's manual is now ready for braille transcription.

Work planned for FY 2008

Following the braille transcription of the teacher's manual, it will be proofread against the print version to check for inconsistencies. Both print and braille copy will be printed and packaged for sale. This product is expected to be available for purchase.

Fun with Braille Book

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Eleanor Pester, Project Leader
Robin Wingel, Writer/Consultant
Bernie Mudd, Graphic Designer
Christine Robbins, Project Assistant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Tessa Wright, Research/Project Assistant

Background

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

During FY 2002, ideas were collected slowly for use in the books, while efforts were concentrated on Quick Pick Braille. Then at the California Transcribers and Educators for the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH) Conference in FY 2003, a very creative teacher, Robin Mengel Wingel, gave a wonderful presentation entitled, Fun Ideas for Teaching Braille with many clever 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. In 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 during FY 2007

This product was completed and available for purchase in November 2006.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project has been completed.

Revision of Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program

(Continuing series)

Purpose

To revise and update Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program

Project Staff

Eleanor Pester, Project Leader

Deanna Scoggins, Consultant/Writer
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Rosanne Hoffman, Research/Project Assistant
Carol Roderick, Research/Project Assistant
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader/Writer

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 5 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 talk about a child rather than children in the text since the majority of braille readers are educated in public rather than in residential schools and are likely to be working on braille reading individually rather than in a group. The kindergarten lessons were edited to reflect this change.

In 2003, introductory lessons for the kindergarten level were written and the decision was made to teach braillewriting of the letter words and letters at the same time as the letter words, letters, and sounds are taught in reading rather than waiting until the students can read 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.

In 2004, content editing of the kindergarten level was completed. This included adding a teacher's note on using the braillewriter versus the slate and stylus to introduce braillewriting and adding allergy alerts when food is used as part of a lesson. The mechanics of braillewriting were taught early to allow the child to be as independent as possible as early as possible. A checklist for the mechanics of braillewriting was provided to help the teacher track the child's progress and identify where the child still needs help. Some selections written especially for the original Patterns were edited to relate better to kindergarteners and to emphasize concept development for a visually impaired child. Meetings were held with the graphic designer to discuss graphics needed and work out designs for covers. Several meetings were also held to talk about production. Work continued on the 1st grade level which included the development of original stories and activities for the lessons and additional planning on selections and phonics and vocabulary to be included. During the summer, the project leader held a working meeting with six teachers of primary visually impaired children and the textbook writer. This group discussed state assessment standards and drafted test and remediation materials for the kindergarten and first grade levels of the revised program.

In 2005, additions were made to the kindergarten level for presenting the tactual graphics on the covers and those used in the introductions of the color words to children who are blind and have limited concept development and usually do not automatically recognize two dimensional representations of three dimensional objects. These textbook introductions were also used along with the titles to begin working on the skill of forecasting. Forms were created for recording the progress on the work covered in each textbook. For field testing, the eight textbooks were then produced in braille and the Teacher's Edition, Posttest Manual, and Assessment Forms were produced in both print and braille. Sample print lessons were laid out two different ways with icons and formatting for field testing. Using the items written by the Teachers of the Visually Impaired last summer, the Kindergarten Posttest was put together. Several evaluation forms were developed for the field testing and expert review.

In 2006, field testing was conducted. Results were reviewed as they came in and then pulled together in a more complete report. Revisions included additional worksheets, suggestions for read-aloud books at the end of each lesson, and the correction of copy errors. A general introduction to the program, a specific introduction for the kindergarten level, and an introduction for the posttest were written. Acknowledgements, references, a table of contents, a scope and sequence chart for the level, several appendices, and an index of skills were added. Copyright permissions were secured where they were needed and replacement selections were found and lessons rewritten when permissions were unable to be secured. Such selections were often ones that evaluators had recommended changing anyway. A number of new books and research articles were reviewed during the writing of the introduction and are very helpful as the 1st grade level is developed. A group of teachers of the visually impaired from Ohio is helping with the development of some of the stories.

Work during FY 2007

The kindergarten level of Building on Patterns became available for purchase in November of 2006. Development of the lessons for 1st grade continued. When a draft of the 1st grade lessons was about half done, two experts reviewed the lessons. Possible cover art and titles for the proposed seven units for the level were discussed with one of the experts and our graphic artists. The other expert felt that too many things were being taught in each lesson. The project leader worked with this expert/consultant on reordering the phonics and the language activities, spreading them out over the lessons for the year, and teaching them in a more systematic way. A few of the reading selections were also reordered to better fit the phonics and language being taught. This consultant has cut and pasted the lessons that were done to conform to the new plan, has filled in new activities when they were needed, and has edited the reading selections and the spelling activities accordingly. The project leader has continued on with work on additional reading selections, comprehension questions, oral reading and fluency activities, and vocabulary and concept development activities. This system has been working well. In May the project leader and the other expert who had reviewed the lessons co-hosted a meeting with the head of the Ohio teacher group and two of the teachers from the group that had worked on the project in the summer of 2004. The expert proposed reordering the lessons to reflect a day-by-day schedule for doing each lesson in 5 days. Each of the three participants mentioned have led a team of teachers of visually impaired students in reordering the lessons in this day-by-day plan. In a recent meeting with the project leader and the graphic designer, changes in the unit names and subject matter and how they would impact the proposed covers were discussed briefly.

Work planned for FY 2008

The lessons for the First Grade Level should be completed in the early fall and prepared for production. Appropriate evaluation forms and the posttest to accompany the First Grade Level will be prepared for production for field testing. The First Grade Level is expected to be field tested during this fiscal year. As soon as possible, work will begin on lessons for the Second Grade Level of the BOP Program, following the current approach that is working effectively.

Core Curriculum

Early Braille Trade Books

(New)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
Cay Holbrook, Consultant
Dotta Hassman, Consultant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant

Background

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

Work during FY 2007

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

Members of the work group included:

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

Work planned for FY 2008

Develop and field test a prototype of a kit of commercially-available leveled books adapted for braille readers. The kit would provide a commercially available book with braille overlays and a guide for teacher. The teacher's guide would include the number and frequency of the braille contractions in the book, punctuation marks, and composition signs, as well as the theme of the book with connections to core curriculum and expanded core curriculum.

Word PlayHouse

(New)

Purpose

To provide emergent, beginning, and struggling readers a tool for learning basic concepts and skills necessary to become fluent readers

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant

Background

The National Reading Panel has identified phonemic awareness and letter recognition as the two best school-entry predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first 2 years of instruction. Many reading series provide a set of letter, blends, diagraphs, and word families to help students learn alphabetic principle, letter-sound correspondence, and spelling patterns. Sets are not available in large print and braille.

Work during FY 2007

A teacher in the field submitted the idea for Word PlayHouse. She had been creating a set of letters for her students each year and requested that APH make a more durable set. The submission was approved by the PARC and PET committees. A Product Development Committee meeting was held to gain input from peers. Research was conducted to determine the quantities of letters and word families needed for a complete set. Ten prototypes were developed by the Technical Research Department and were field tested in the spring of 2007. Field reviewers provided positive feedback but asked for additional letters.

Work planned for FY 2008

Complete revisions to Word Playhouse based on field reviewers' comments. Complete the tooling needed to produce the dies and mold for production of the various sets of letters and letter combinations and begin production of Word PlayHouse.

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, Ph.D., 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 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 continuation 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 have been made to the APH CVI Web site and CVI appropriate adaptations of existing APH products.

Work planned for FY 2008

The major project planned for FY 2008 will be the continued work on the CVI Assessment Kit. The Assessment Kit will be based on the CVI Range developed by Christine Roman. The Kit will contain a copy of Cortical Visual Impairment published by the American Foundation for the Blind. This text is now complete and available for purchase for these kits in September 2007. In addition to the CVI Assessment Kit, the other major projects will be the completion of the CVI Starter Kit and the CVI Stick & Stay Kit developed by Billie Frayer. Updates to the CVI Web site will continue to be made.

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 2007

This kit will contain a copy of the text by Christine Roman is complete and available for purchase. The text published by the American Foundation for the Blind contains assessment forms and assorted materials that may be used to conduct the assessment. This text forms the foundation for the specialized assessment used to evaluate the functional vision of infants, children, and older students who have CVI. The Assessment Kit will contain concrete materials, video examples, and additional guidelines for the completion of the assessment.

The Starter Kit, which will most likely appear as a separate product, will include "raw materials" used to make CVI specific adaptations to functional objects and materials used in daily routines. A guidebook will accompany this kit.

Work planned for FY 2008

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. These kits are extensive projects and will require at least 12 additional months of work.

CVI Complexity Challenges

(Continuing)

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, Graphic Designer, BISIG Impact Group

Background

This product addresses specific needs related to the CVI characteristic of visual complexity. Many students with CVI have difficulty visually attending to 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 2007

This product was developed in conjunction with Candace Jaworski from BISIG Impact Group. Jaworski prepared illustrations that represent the salient image as well as the images that add complexity. A user manual will provide guidelines for use. The art work is now complete and the product ready for field review.

Work planned for FY 2008

An APH product review will be completed and changes will be made according to reviewer comments and recommendations.

CVI Sequences

(Continuing)

Purpose

To help students with CVI practice locating a figure against backgrounds that increase in visual complexity. This product would be comprised of a series of sets in which the student would be asked to locate a common figure (apple, ball, shoe...) against backgrounds that increase in complexity. The overlay backgrounds would be overall patterns that begin with low complexity design. Overlay cards would increase in complexity requiring the student to extricate the figure from greater degrees of visual "clutter." Each set would have five cards, one figure card, and four overlays of complexity. 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, Graphic Designer, BISIG Impact Group

Background

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

Work during in FY 2007

This product was developed in conjunction with Candace Jaworski from BISIG Impact Group. Jaworski prepared illustrations that represent the salient image as well as the images that add complexity. A manual has been developed to provide instructions and suggestions for use.

Work planned for FY 2008

An APH product review will be completed and changes will be made according to reviewer comments and recommendations.

CVI Stick & Stay Kit

(New)

Purpose

To provide an independent child-centered activity or play kit used in conjunction with a student wheelchair or highchair tray. Billie Frayer from Dallas, Texas, developed an original form of this kit, the Stick & Stay Kit. The CVI version will have materials that have reduced visual complexity and that have strong elements of single color objects. The tray cover is a washable, black cloth material that has strips of Velcro used to attach the numerous elements contained in the kit.

Project Staff

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

Background

This product promotes increased independent play/exploration, visual attention and visual motor/function for students with CVI who require simple, moving, color materials. These principles are consistent with the principles of CVI found in the literature. Again, this CVI version is intended to meet the specific needs of students who require adaptations to materials based on the characteristic visual behaviors associated with CVI.

Work during FY 2007

Work on the CVI Stick & Stay has begun via discussions with Billie Frayer, the owner of the original product, Stick & Stay. Adaptations have been made to the background "mat" and to a number of the individual activities contained in the kit. Educators who work with students who have CVI and additional disabilities have met with the project leader and have offered suggestions that are being integrated into the CVI Kit.

Work planned for FY 2008

Adaptations and adjustments will continue to be made. 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

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 a research assistant began writing text for the site and requesting submissions from the field. The APH Librarian obtained permissions on articles recommended by CVI

Synergy to be placed on the 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 2007

Updates on the CVI Web site include any new definitions of CVI, educational programming suggestions, information on materials and articles in publication, and current CVI issues. Featured Presentations provide updated information pertaining to special topics of interest. In 2006 six individuals committed to providing new contributions to the Web site, primarily in the area of educational applications of CVI methodologies. The CVI Web site 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 2008

The website, a continuing project, will be updated as new information is gathered. A reprint of an article on the use of CVI adaptations in a special education classroom will be added. A number of changes and additions will be made based on suggestions from APH staff and comments offered through the Contact Us link on the Web site.

Early
Childhood

Alphabet Scramble

(Completed)

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, Research Assistant/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 6- to 8-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; 17 teacher-evaluators responded. Evaluators used the book with 29 students. Of these, 10 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. 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. The print run of Alphabet Scramble was completed.

Work during FY 2007

The print run was embossed, collated, and bound; the product was priced and made available for purchase.

Work planned for FY 2008

This project has been completed.

Experiential Learning Kit

(Continuing)

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
Tessa Wright Carlsen, 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 2007

The project leader and the consultant collaborated to complete the following tasks:

  1. Researched product name legal issues (i.e. copyright or patent infringement)
  2. Researched item/material lists-availability, pricing, safety (i.e. make sure included items do not contain hazardous materials)
  3. Prepared item/material lists for kit
  4. Developed written activities for the following developmental areas:
    1. Eye-hand coordination
    2. Cause/effect
    3. Exploration of environment
    4. Depth perception
    5. Spatial Awareness
  5. Researched materials to be used for the bar for items that hang from over the crib

Work planned for FY 2008

  1. Write an introduction to product inclusive of:
    • Explanation of the concept/purpose/philosophy of experiential learning
    • Developmental areas that can be addressed
  2. Identify and select the material used for the bar to be placed on the crib to hold the hang-down items
  3. Select the items to include in the kit to be used as hang-down items
  4. Complete product and make available for sale by end of FY 2008

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

(Continuing)

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 2007

The 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/project to pursue and develop. The product idea was taken through the departmental procedures for reviewing new product ideas, and it was decided it should be considered for 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 secured a contract with Nita Crow and Stephanie Herlich. APH secured the rights to this product, and it will be placed on the quota list when completed. The project leader collaborated with Crow and Herlich to develop a workplan and timeline for reviewing, revising, and enhancing the Getting To Know You Curriculum.

The project leader and two consultants accomplished the following:

  1. Reviewed and revised the Getting to Know You product
  2. Identified graphics to be included in the product
  3. Identified items to be included in the kit

Work planned for FY 2008

The project leader will work with APH staff to identify the items that will be placed in the kit to accompany the written document. The project leader will work with graphic designers to finalize the graphic layout. The written document and the kit will be readied for production. The goal is to have this product ready for distribution by August 2008.

Growing Up

(Continuing)

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 weakness. 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 that can be used.

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 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 2007

APH staff worked with Lee Robinson to include Growing Up in the APH catalogues. An agreement was finalized between APH and Robinson, and Growing Up will be a pass-through item beginning in August 2007. APH will promote the product when exhibiting at conferences and other functions.

Work planned for FY 2008

This project is complete.

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, just as they might read labels included in a tactile diagram.

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. Fred Otto, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, 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 8- to 10-week period. Without dissension, teachers indicated texts and tactile graphics for all four books were interesting and appropriate for kindergarten and first grade students. 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. 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. The first production run of Goin' On a Bear Hunt 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. 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 art and specifications for Splish the Fish was completed. Final specifications for the book were completed. An initial pilot run of 100 books revealed some inconsistency in registration. A debriefing addressed possible sources.

Work during FY 2007

The remainder of the first run of Splish the Fish (700 books) was accomplished without difficulty; it was priced and made available to customers. The project leader completed final drawings for the third book, The Boy and the Wolf. The text was slightly revised, edited, and a final Word document created. The graphic designer has received the final drawings and text file, and has begun work on the book's visual background art.

Work planned for FY 2008

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 into 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.

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.

Work during FY 2007

The project leader and consultant completed the following tasks in 2007:

  1. Thoroughly reviewed all components of PATTER for the purpose of determining whether additional ones should be developed. No additional components were identified.
  2. Developed additional routines for participation by the child
  3. Coordinated PATTER videos transference to DVD format
  4. Coordinated expert review with emphasis placed on the value of PATTER being made available to the field as a quota item
  5. Videos were reviewed by BISIG to determine their quality. This process is ongoing.
  6. PATTER manuscript was reviewed and revised by project leader and consultant. Appropriate changes made.
  7. Project leader met with BISIG to begin identifying layout of product, and any graphics to be included.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project leader will work with research assistant to complete editing of product. The project leader will continue to work with consultant to finalize written document once editing is completed. BISIG will be involved in determining what graphics need to be included in the product. A final review will be made of the quality of the videos to determine if any retakes are needed to improve quality. The product will not need to be sent out for field review as three expert reviewers have provided positive feedback indicating this will be a valuable product to have on quota for the field to purchase and use. It is anticipated this product will be available for distribution by August 2008.

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, Co-author
Josephine Stratton, Co-Author/Consultant
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

Background

Josephine Stratton and Suzette Wright co-authored the first version of the handbook, which presents a framework for developing the abilities that form the foundation for literacy for children with visual impairments, from infancy through the preschool years. Since publication of the handbook in 1991, knowledge in the field of emergent literacy has expanded. A contract was negotiated with Dr. Stratton to co-author a new edition of the handbook. The project authors reviewed the literature regarding emergent literacy for typically sighted and visually impaired children. Texas Tech University staff provided a literature review on the topic of tactual learning and emergent literacy for children with visual impairments.

The authors decided to reorganize the new edition of the handbook by topic to provide a better overview of the development of skills within each area: communication/language, concepts, tactual learning, and experiences with written language. The project consultant provided rough drafts of sections addressing emergent writing, transition to beginning reading, phonemic awareness, tips for using story boxes and tactile experience stories but was unable to provide further material. The project leader assumed responsibility for writing the remainder of the new edition and incorporating material from the first edition with new material.

The completed draft of the new handbook and sample formats were sent for 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 more than 80% of teachers. 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. Many 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, which they recommended be lowered. It was also suggested the draft be more explicit regarding applicability for students with multiple disabilities and refer readers to additional resources on this and other topics affecting young children with visual impairments.

Work during FY 2007

Following the field evaluation, the draft was revised in accordance with reviewers' recommendations, including lowering the overall reading level, referring readers to additional resources, and expanding the book's appendices. The main text had been streamlined by separating and placing supporting information and research in adjoining text boxes. The draft was revised to place more information in boxes and to utilize an icon to denote research-oriented text boxes. A more comprehensive Introduction/Overview and a Preface, orienting readers to the book, were written. A glossary was added, and the lists of recommended readings and children's books received a final update. The handbook received a final editing, edits were reviewed, and the final Word document was passed to the graphic designer for formatting. A format was designed based on the sample format preferred by reviewers. The project leader collected and provided more than 250 photos to illustrate the new handbook. After finalizing the print version of the handbook, creation of the document in several accessible file formats followed. These were proofed and placed on a CD accompanying both the print version of the handbook and the braille version of the handbook. Files leading to production of the braille version of the book were completed and the braille edition was proofed. The first runs of the print and braille editions of the book are in production.

Work planned for FY 2008

Both print and braille versions of the book (and accompanying CD) will be priced and made available for purchase in the fall of 2007.

The Best for a Nest

(New)

Purpose

To modernize product; The Best for a Nest is a book that was submitted to APH by Lois Harrell, and has been distributed by APH as a quota item since 1986.

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Background

The Best for a Nest was created to allow emphasis on prepositions. Each page in the book offers a controlled written presentation. The corresponding tactile illustrations are directly related to the text. The simplicity of both allows the focus to be upon what is happening, while avoiding unnecessary details. Approximately 70% of the 136 word vocabulary is comprised of words that appear on the Dolch list. The material in the story allows opportunity for further elaboration. Basic concepts can be explored in the tactile illustrations: counting, left and right, comparisons, and top and bottom.

Work during FY 2007

A contract with Lois Harrell for the purpose of having her input on the modernization of this product was sought. The project leader identified work to be completed during FY 2008, and established a work plan and timeline for completion of the product.

Work planned for FY2008

Working with APH staff and Lois Harrell, consultant for product, the project leader will complete the following tasks:

  1. Review and revise the written document, and make any changes determined to be appropriate.
  2. Project leader will collaborate with APH staff and Lois Harrell to identify layout of product:
    1. Size of print and pages
    2. Where braille will be located on storybook pages
    3. How graphics will be done (print and tactile)

The project leader will work with APH staff on idea of having a family of items that can be used to illustrate words on each page of the book. The idea is to have Velcro board and then place items in proper position to illustrate what is on the page (i.e. tree, bird, bird nest, grass, etc.). As each page is read to the child, the child can place the items in the proper position to illustrate what is on each page. The idea is to have the statement in large print and braille on each page, and print graphics showing what is meant by the phrase on a particular page. Tactile illustration will be done by using the method described above allowing the child to manipulate items to make the illustration. This idea for tactile illustrations will be studied carefully as to appropriateness, and expert review will be conducted.

The plan is to have this product ready for production and distribution by July 2008.

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 3-year-old blind and visually impaired children, and to demonstrate the feasibility of a registry that could be replicated on a national basis. The MERCVICG was a high-powered committee representative of agencies serving children with visual impairments, departments of education, institutions of higher education, and the medical community.

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

Benefits of the project include:

Work during FY 2007

The project coordinator continued efforts to add additional participants to the project. When the project was taken over by APH in 2001, there were eight states participating. Presently there are 26 states participating, and another five states have been trained to get involved. Most states have several agencies providing early intervention services to blind and visually impaired children, birth to 3. With this in mind, there are presently 43 agencies participating. A total of 2,155 surveys were entered into the database as of December 31, 2004. Approximately 3,300 surveys are now in the database. An analysis was done on the 2,155 surveys, and a PowerPoint presentation developed. The project coordinator presented the data at several conferences during 2007.

Work planned for FY 2008

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. An advisory committee will be established to provide feedback to the project coordinator, and to assist in moving the project forward in a positive way.

An analysis of data entered between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2007, will be completed. A plan will be developed to have an analysis completed on data entered on an annual basis instead of having a 3-year wait for this data. A plan will be developed to provide participating agencies with reports on their own data. The database will be updated and revised during FY 2008.

What Is It?

(Continuing)

Purpose

To promote comparative thinking and the ability to generalize

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Lois Harrell, Consultant

Background

The initial opportunity to develop comparative thinking can be different for a child who does not have detail vision. It initially takes more time and active exposure to things, activities, and people. With the blind child who does not have a visual memory, the foundation for processing consistencies and then moving on to comparative thinking takes lots of active experience with real objects and purposeful involvement, combined with verbal descriptions to develop images that can be evoked by words. Some children may parrot phrases or labels, but they may be actually using empty words that have no value beyond rote memory until real associations are able to be made. Even when we are aware of the importance of "motor knowledge" or active experiences for the child's mind to acquire tangible associations, we are often at a loss as to how to expand on the child's interpreting skills.

The goal is to help the blind child develop the tools for comparative thinking and generalizing for a real basis. It is for us to become aware of all the rich detail information that can be internalized and interpreted through other modalities than vision. And it is for us to help the child become aware of these identifying qualities by gaining purposeful processing techniques. Why, What Is It? It is a communication game that allows the mind to exercise use of words and to direct thoughts in terms of associations and descriptors. Also, the shear reward of thinking may take the focus off of performance for others and just have the fun of, "Yes, I knew that!" What is it is a game that allows the blind child to have fun, but develop comparative thinking skills.

Work during FY 2007

A contract with Lois Harrell, the developer of this product, was sought. Harrell has indicated she will give APH exclusive rights to What Is It? so it can become a quota product. The contract should be in place prior to FY 2008.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project leader will collaborate with Harrell to review and revise the product. Once the review and revisions are completed, the project leader will have the written product edited, and appropriate changes will be made to the product. The words and descriptors will be selected to be included in the product. The project leader will work with APH staff to determine:

  1. Layout of product
  2. Size of cards showing word and descriptors
  3. Graphics to be included, if any
  4. How product is to be packaged

The plan is to have this product available for production and distribution by May 2008.

Educational
Games

Sudoku Partner

(New)

Purpose

To devise an inexpensive, easily portable, and practical way for blind users to set up and solve Sudoku puzzles

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Background

With the sudden and expanding popularity of these number-based puzzles for both recreational and classroom use, finding a tactile adaptation for them seemed appropriate. Online investigation indicates that Sudoku is being used in school classrooms with sighted students from 4th grade upward for developing logic, memory, and spatial awareness. There are also adult blind users who have devised their own adaptations, with varying degrees of success.

Based on the common practice (among sighted puzzle solvers) of using pencil marks to keep track of possible answers, the project leader wanted to design a tactile system that allows for the same kind of note-taking. This feature would set the product apart from the braille-adapted Sudoku board being sold by Marburg, which has a multitude of brailled pieces.

Work during FY 2007

The project leader experimented with different designs, first on paper and then by hand-tooling them on foil for thermoforming. The most promising design was presented to PARC, and the idea was approved for further development.

Work planned for FY 2008

The construction of usable prototypes is essential to determining if the current design is workable. It is possible that the system will be too cumbersome, or too tactually cluttered, for practical use. In this case, the project will be reevaluated to see if it is appropriate to start again from scratch or to abandon.

If the prototypes appear workable based on in-house review, a full field evaluation will be conducted with school-age students and adults. Final revisions will be made based on the evaluators' comments.

Treks

(Formerly Compass Attack)

(Ongoing)

Purpose

To develop a game for reinforcing compass skills, orientation and travel concepts, and familiarity with cardinal and secondary compass directions

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Model/Pattern Maker
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Background

The Compass Attack game was submitted by Paul H. Olson, who had created it for use with mobility students at North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind. The instructions are both simple and flexible, so the game has initial appeal and the potential for keeping interest through adaptation. The educational aspect is promoted by the requirement that students announce the cardinal or secondary direction of every move they make as they move pieces across the board.

Work during FY 2007

The project leader, in consultation with Olson, made numerous revisions to the game and wrote a new game booklet. The revised game features rule variations that can make the game simpler or more complex. At the suggestion of in-house staff, overlays have been added; these change the focus of the game from cardinal compass directions to secondary directions or street names.

The project leader designed the game board and overlays and worked with the model maker to determine production materials for the finished game. When the design of the board, overlays, and pieces was settled on, Technical Research used the drawings to write specifications for prototypes. The Jasper Company was contracted to produce samples of the game board for field evaluation.

Work planned for FY 2008

Field evaluation will be completed in the fall of 2007 using a variety of students and instructors, including those in academic settings and in O&M instruction, to see how the game fits in with other types of teaching.

Evaluation results will influence the final design of the game and its rules. Final changes will be decided on and the tooling altered accordingly. Complete production specifications will be written and active development will wrap up as the project moves toward production.

Low Vision

Address: Earth--Large Format Atlas

(Continuing)

Purpose

The Large Format Atlas provides guidelines for the creation, formatting and appearance of large print maps. Working relationships with the University of Louisville Geography Department, National Geographic, and experts in the fields of geography and history also have been established. Highly-trained consultants have provided useful input in the production of a truly accessible large format atlas for students with low vision. These efforts will ultimately produce an atlas that will be visible, understandable, and useful for the student with low vision who is a large print reader.

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Lane Koniak, Consultant
Kathy Krause, Consultant
Judith Schwartz, Consultant
Robert Forbes, Consultant/University Liaison
Matt Smith, Cartographer
Sylvia Kuster, Bias Reviewer
Lynn Golbetz, Bias Reviewer
Candace Jaworski, Graphic Designer, BISIG Impact Group
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background

The American Printing House for the Blind received a strong recommendation from the Publications Committee in 2001 and in previous years to produce a world atlas in large 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 to write the chapter content for the Atlas, while APH staff checked facts, made edits, and maintained good communication among all parties.

Vice President in charge of Public Affairs, Gary Mudd, and his administrative assistant, Nancy Lacewell, met several times with officers of National Geographic in Washington, D.C. They opened a dialogue between APH and National Geographic for the purpose of exploring the potential for a joint effort in producing a large print atlas. During these conversations, it became apparent that APH processes and National Geographic processes were not compatible and collaboration was not feasible. The decision was made to continue work on the atlas with the expert help available from the University of Louisville Geography and Geosciences Department. Two years later, National Geographic offered to review maps after they were developed by APH in collaboration with the University of Louisville's Geography and Geosciences 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.

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

Work during FY 2007

Section I moved into production phase, after several bias and content reviews of the text. Maps were sent to National Geographic for review and revisions were made based upon the very few suggested changes. Technical Research personnel drew up specifications and production schedules. Section I of Address: Earth was produced in July of 2007 and is now available. Chapter composition, map development, and format work will continue on Sections II and III of the atlas concurrently.

Several new writers were added. These writers have expertise in the countries about which they write. Text development and editing will continue. Text has already been developed for Oceania, Australia, several eastern European countries, and several Caribbean countries. Maps have been developed for much of Africa, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Maps have also been drawn for Russia, and many of the eastern European countries. Photo acquisition continues.

Work planned for FY 2008

Development of Sections II and III will continue with units currently under development for Europe, Africa, South America, Central America, and the Polar Regions.

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

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Amanda Hall-Lueck, Lead Consultant
Toni Heinze, Consultant
Carol Roderick, Research Assistant

Background

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

Amanda Hall-Lueck, an educator and researcher in the fields of low vision and early childhood, has proposed and worked on this project. The resulting VHS/DVD is expected to be of great assistance to the practitioner who is seeking to find ways to resolve function of the visual system and lead the young child through appropriate developmental stages. Hall-Lueck and Toni Heinze video taped interventions they performed with young children who had a wide range of pathologies. Once the raw footage was obtained, Hall-Lueck wrote a script to accompany it. The footage and script were turned over to the project leader for development of a professional-style video. Hall-Lueck also developed a short sample video to use at professional conferences.

Work during FY 2007

The taped material was screened for sound and video quality, and it was time coded.

Work planned for FY 2008

Categorization into usable clips is ongoing. The script is being edited and timed to accompany the video, at which point 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 video will then be reviewed by experts. Once the review is done, suggested changes will be made and the presentation will be closed captioned. It will then be duplicated and made available for sale.

CCTV Ruler

(New)

Project Staff

Erica Rucker, Co-Project Leader
Elaine Kitchel, Co-Project Leader/Project Assistant
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Background

APH received a request and an idea from a consumer to make a clear ruler for use by people who also use video magnifiers. Apparently a clear ruler works much better with a video magnifier because it is much easier to see what is being measured if one can see what is underneath the ruler. The consumer sent in a prototype to illustrate her thoughts about the design.

Work during FY 2007

The project leader worked with the Technical Research Department to develop several prototypes including some with metric measurements.

Work planned for FY 2008

A set of prototypes will be finalized and sent out for field testing. Revisions to the product will be made based upon data gathered during the field test. Design and materials will be finalized. Specifications and documentation will be finalized and the ruler will be produced.

Determining Appropriate Visual Reading Media for Students with Low Vision

(Formerly known as Optimizing the Reading of Text)

(Continuing)

Purpose

The purpose of this project was to conduct basic research to determine visual accommodation needs, requirements, and strategies of students with low vision when reading passages of continuous text. With the research now done, the focus shifts to the development of a decision tree based on data analysis.

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Amanda Hall-Lueck, Consultant/Researcher
Ian Bailey, O.D., Consulting Research Optometrist
Helen Dornbusch, O.D., Consulting Research Optometrist

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. Data were collected, analyzed, and published.

The data analysis was incorporated into a report and published in the Journal of Blindness and Visual Impairment in 2006. The results of the study are being analyzed with the development of a decision tree to help teachers and interventionists select appropriately-sized learning media for students with low vision.

Work done in FY2007

A working model of the decision tree has been developed and is in the refinement phase. The writing of the manual is underway.

Work planned for FY 2008

The user's manual will be completed, edited, and formatted. A CD of both the decision tree and the manual will be developed for purposes of accommodation. Once these processes take place, the project will go into production phase. It is planned for this project to be completed in FY 2008.

Developmental Guidelines For Infants with Visual Impairments 2nd Edition

(Continuing)

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
Amanda Hall-Lueck, Consultant
Laurianne Matheson, Research Assistant

Background

The first edition of Developmental Guidelines was made available in 1999. Since that time, there has been significant research conducted in the areas of early childhood, child development, and development of children with visual impairments. The authors, Amanda Hall-Lueck, Deborah Chen, Elizabeth Hartman, and Linda Kekelis requested the opportunity to update the material in the book.

Work during FY 2007

The project leader initially edited for punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Later, the project leader edited for style, and enlisted the help of a research assistant with particular writing capabilities. The writers were also invited to participate in style revisions. Currently, resources are being checked, style edits continue, formats are under consideration, and the search for photos is underway.

Work planned for FY 2008

The revisions, formatting, photo search, and edits will be completed. Expert review will take place and revisions will be made based upon that review. After that, documentation and specifications will be drawn up.

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 K-12 students who are on an academic educational path

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Dr. LaRhea Sanford, Consultant
Dr. Rebecca Burnett, Consultant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Candace Jaworski, Graphic Designer, BISIG Impact Group

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, there is no particular functional vision assessment of academic students available that is accepted as the standard by those who conduct these assessments. However, Drs. LaRhea Sanford and Rebecca Burnett have developed one that has established credibility and use 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.

For several years Sanford and Burnett used and distributed a functional vision assessment/learning media assessment of their own creation. Over the years they have refined and revised it. They received so many requests for it that the sale and distribution became a burden to them. They approached APH with a proposal that APH become owner of the instruments and take on the responsibilities of sale and distribution. This idea was presented to the PET and PARC committees in January of 2005. The proposal was accepted and the project was first assigned to the Accessible Tests Department, and later to the Low Vision Project Leader.

Work during FY 2007

Prototypes of the instrument were developed and sent to recognized experts for further review. A practitioner's guidebook designed to accompany the assessments, was also developed and reviewed. After expert review, suggested changes from the experts were discussed with Sanford and Burnett. Specific changes and additions were identified and made according to expert feedback.

Work planned for FY 2008

The product specifications and documentation will be drawn up and the product will soon enter the production phase. The product is expected to be complete early in the 2008 calendar year.

Innovations Tote Bag

(New/Completed)

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Barbara Henderson, Tests & Assessment Project Leader/Project Assistant
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Background

In recent years APH has worked to standardize some products or product components in order to save space and cut costs to the consumer. To this end, APH decided to select one sturdy bag that would accommodate the contents of several existing products.

Work during FY 2007

The project leader contacted several companies and researched others to find the best bag that met the specifications, for the best value. A bag was identified. The project leader worked with the graphic designer to develop a "look" for the bag. The designer made a clever design, which was then approved and applied to the bag. The bag was printed, received, stocked, and made available.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project is complete.

MaximEyes Video Magnifier

(Formerly Maximize Multi-Camera Video Magnifier)

(Continuing)

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Laurianne Matheson, Consultant
Tim Curtin, Technical Developer
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Background

In the late 1960s and early 70s Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTV) began to be used regularly as aids for people with visual impairments. Today CCTV's are called video magnifiers (VMs) and they are used around the world as popular devices for individuals with visual impairments who want to increase their abilities or facility to read and write.

The video magnifier in its most basic form consists of a monitor, a video camera, a lens for the camera and a reading/writing stand. With all video magnifiers the viewer is able to focus the lens, adjust the magnification, regulate the luminance and contrast and choose a positive (black letters on white background) or negative (white letters on black background) monochrome picture depending on preference. With today's VMs, color, handheld and head-mounted versions have become available along with the traditional stand models. Connectability to other media sources such as PCs and DVD players is also now possible.

CCTVs and/or VMs enable greater magnification, simple image manipulation (such as reversing the image contrast), and more natural working distances than when one uses traditional magnification devices. The success of the user is traditionally measured by testing the person's reading rate, reading comprehension, and reading endurance with the VM and with optical devices alone.

In 2006, APH was approached by EITAC Solutions Group with a version of a video magnifier that featured a pen fitted with a device which would cause the camera to track it. This featured allowed the user to just write, without having to manipulate an XY table at the same time. The EITAC model also featured picture-in-picture capability which would allow the user to view distant and near objects at the same time. A useful example is that a student could view the teacher across the room, and the lecture notes he/she is taking at the same time.

The MaximEyes Video Magnifier by EITAC Solutions Group offers the most advantages for use in the school or workplace through advances in ergonomics, control technology, and connectivity while comparing equivalently in price to similar models.

Work during FY 2007

A prototype was developed by EITAC Solutions Group and tested by persons with low vision. Feedback was shared with the developer who made modifications based upon suggestions. The second prototype was delivered to APH and users with low vision are in the process of testing it. Documentation will be completed before the production date and will be put into accessible forms to be included with the product. It is expected that this product will reach final production late in 2007 and will be available at that time.

Work planned for FY 2008

Improvements both in economy of size and precision of components will be continuous.

Tadpole

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide teachers of students with low vision and other disabilities with a standardized array of classic tools, strategies, and graphics to conduct functional vision assessments and vision development activities. Guidelines for the uses of the tools and materials are to be included.

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Mildred Smith, Consultant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Candace Jaworski, Graphic Designer, BISIG Impact Group

Background

Numerous and ongoing requests from practitioners in the field led to a project named ToAD that provides 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. If APH made the array and materials, they would not go out of style or become unavailable. The array would also be available on quota. An array of objects and print/graphic materials was developed and field tested along with a teacher's guidebook. During the field test stage, teachers who worked with students with severe, complicating disabilities in addition to low vision commented that the ToAD activities as well as the two-dimensional graphic materials were not appropriate for the population they served. They commented that many of the tools were very appropriate, but needed to be used in a simpler and less-complicated way, to serve the needs of their students. The project leader, with approval of Product Advisory Review Committee (PARC), and with advice from the project consultant, developed a sequence of activities and visual materials for use by this special population.

Work during FY 2007

Early in March, the project leader met with the project consultant to exchange ideas about what the product should contain, and how the activities could be structured. The project leader developed activities to accompany Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book and sent them to the consultant for her review and comments. The project leader made changes based upon the consultant's feedback. Work began on the development of appropriate foundation activities for multi-handicapped students, to accompany the ToAD array of tools. These activities are still in development.

Work planned for FY 2008

The activities for the teacher's guidebook will be completed. Documentation will be drawn up as well as specifications and processes. HTML and braille ready files will be developed to provide accessibility for users with visual disabilities. TADPOLE will then go into production phase. It is anticipated that TADPOLE will be produced in the last quarter of the 2008 calendar year.

ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Vision

(Formerly known as 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 are to be included.

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
LaRhea Sanford, Consultant
Rebecca Burnett, Consultant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
Candace Jaworski, Graphic Designer, BISIG Impact Group
James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker

Background

Numerous and ongoing requests from practitioners in the field led to a product that would provide a standardized set of tools, 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 standard 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 also is to be available on quota.

Products for inclusion in the ToAD array have been evaluated according to durability, market longevity, reflectivity, color, texture, size, shape, luminosity, appropriateness, and other qualities. Three electronic components were developed by the model maker and the technical research staff. Development of two-dimensional graphic materials was carried out by the project leader with input from the consultants. One-hundred eight Match-and-Sort cards and 12 Squire Toad's Puzzles comprised the two-dimensional graphic parts. Five vinyl, water-filled mats were designed and prepared in England and field tested, for inclusion in the ToAD array. Additional purchased components were gathered for possible inclusion.

Work during FY 2007

The ToAD items were revised according to feedback from field testing. The Teacher's Guidebook was written, edited, field tested, revised, and prepared for printing. HTML and braille ready files were generated. Designs and formats were finalized and prepared for production. Specifications and documentations were drawn up by Technical Research Staff.

Work planned for FY 2008

The product is now in the production phase and should be available in December 2007.

Toodle Tiles

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide students with high-contrast, large image computer games that are the equivalent of games their peers commonly use for recreational purposes. This game provides opportunities for practice in scanning and concept development skills.

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Larry Skutchan, Co-Project Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Darlene Donhoff, Administrative/Technical Assistant
Carol Roderick, Research Assistant
Teri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Background

Toodle Tiles is a tile game based roughly upon the game of Mahjong which was popular in the early 1920s. 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 has sound elements for positive or negative feedback, a professional music score, as well as programming elements that 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 by Technical Research staff. Programming of all game parameters and features, including the outline, base tier, structure design, clue commands, and accessibility formats was completed. The game has undergone extensive internal testing and revision, as well as beta testing by participants from the public sector. Improvements were made based upon feedback from beta testers. The game was completed, produced, and made available in 2006.

Turbo Phonics

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide kindergartners and their teachers with phonemic awareness/phonics software designed to be visible and meaningful to children with low vision. The goal is to devise software to help students develop emerging literacy skills.

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
Jenny Dortch, Content Consultant
Robert Armstrong, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer
Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader/Programming Consultant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Darlene Donhoff, Administrative/Technical Assistant
Bridgett Johnson, Graphic Designer, BISIG Impact Group
Carol Stewart, Studio
Erin Jones, Narrator
John Zinninger, Studio Recorder

Background

In the year 2000 a report came out from the National Reading Panel that maintained phonemic awareness and phonics presentation are 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 those with large graphics, 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, critical items too small to be recognized, and graphics with colors that do not contrast well enough to be interpreted accurately by a kindergartner with low vision.

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

Lessons were developed and graphics and audio files of automobile sounds were found to accompany them. The lessons were sent to the project leader who modified them to accompany an animated figure who talks to the viewer. All 26 lessons were then formatted and put together in the form of a manual for the classroom teacher or Teacher of the Visually Impaired, as well as inserted into the program code of the software. Audio portions were recorded by the APH studio and labeled. They too were inserted into the program code.

Work during FY 2007

The guidebook has been edited, and revised. Both it and the software were beta tested by teachers who had students of the appropriate developmental level and who also had visual impairments. Improvements to both the program and the teachers' guidebook were made based upon beta tester feedback. A student workbook was also developed as requested by beta testers. All components have been edited, revised, and are approaching production.

Work planned for FY 2008

This product should be completed by the close of the 2007 calendar year, or shortly thereafter.

Vivid Vision Lamp

(New)

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
Darlene Donhoff, Administrative/Project Assistant
Robin Mumford, Engineer/Developer

Background

Since 2001 APH has pursued the development and acquisition of a lamp that would emit light friendly to persons with low vision. Most classrooms, indeed most schools and

workplaces, are lit by fluorescent tubes which emit light with strong spikes in the UV-A, (380nm to 315nm), and blue light (500nm to 381nm) ranges. Light in these ranges has been shown to be harmful to primate retinas, and has also been shown to produce glare, discomfort, and light blindness with slow recovery in persons with low vision.

The challenge for APH was to develop or locate a light source which emitted light only in the green and red ranges (680 to 501nm), which would be lightweight and useful for students. In 2006 the project leader became aware that Robin Mumford, an engineer who had devoted much of his time to studying light and low vision, had developed a lamp which emitted light in the exact range desired.

Work during FY 2007

The project leader contacted Mumford about his lamp. He sent five samples to APH for testing. The project leader tested the lamps with a wide array of persons with low vision and each one appreciated the light emitted from the lamp. They found the light to be comfortable yet bright enough to do near tasks. Only one subject suffered from glare while using the lamp. Mumford engineered an amber filter to be used by persons who need to filter out most of the green light and use only wavelengths in the red to yellow range.

PARC recommended that an informational booklet accompany the product. This book would include information about how to use the lamp. In addition the booklet would answer the following questions: What modifications could the user make to the lamp or the setting for optimum user benefit? How is the Vivid Vision Lamp different from other lamps on the market? How can the Vivid Vision Lamp help my student with low vision? How does the Vivid Vision Lamp work? It was agreed that the project leader would write and develop the informational booklet, drawing on research and general information. The project leader has started a draft of the booklet.

Work on serialization, contractual agreements, packaging, and labeling continues.

Work planned for FY 2008

Finalization of work started in 2007, including writing of the consumer booklet, will be completed. Specifications will then be drafted and the product will enter the production phase.

Mathematics

Add-on for Brannan Cubarithm

(Discontinued)

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.

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 during FY 2007

Continued research on this project determined that the number of symbols needed for this project at an elementary level was still an overwhelmingly large number of pieces. This large quantity of cubes would make it difficult for young children to use. Upon the advice of two noted experts in the field of math education for students with visual impairments, the project was abandoned from active development stage by the PARC committee in December 2006.

Work planned for FY 2008

Add-on for Brannan Cubarithm is no longer a consideration for production by APH.

Braille/Print Yardstick

(New)

Purpose

To provide persons with visual impairments or blindness with an accessible yardstick

Project Staff

Monica Vaught, Research Assistant/Project Leader
Susan A. Osterhaus, Consultant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager

Background

In the past, accessible yardsticks were produced by multiple vendors and readily available. However, more recently, vendors have focused on producing accessible metric system measurement tools. Thus, the meter stick is more commonly produced than the yardstick. And, the supply of accessible yardsticks has been depleted. Meanwhile, the need for measuring large items in English/Imperial measurements remains. Recognizing this need, Susan Osterhaus submitted the Braille/Print Yardstick as a new product idea in October 2005. The project leader completed background research and the Product Submission Review in May 2006, and presented the idea to the Product Evaluation Team in June 2006. The Product Advisory and Review Committee placed the project into active development in July 2006.

Work during FY 2007

Several commercially-available yardsticks were reviewed for accessibility and potential adaptability. Osterhaus assisted in the review, and she provided desired characteristics and specifications for the Braille/Print Yardstick. The project leader worked with Technical Research to develop a concept drawing and sample material. Osterhaus evaluated these items and gathered input from eight students as well as a teaching assistant and a middle school math teacher. Per this review process, revisions were made to the Braille/Print Yardstick concept drawing.

Work planned for FY 2008

Final tooling and specifications will be completed. The product will be made available for sale.

Graphic Aid for Mathematics

(Revision)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Background

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

Work during FY 2007

The project was presented to and approved by the PARC, but currently no significant work on it has begun.

Work planned for FY 2008

The main work on this project, consisting largely of finding sources of and obtaining appropriate substitutes for the existing pushpins and rubber bands, will be done. The field evaluation will take advantage of the existing customer base, as well as trustees and consultants who are known to be users of the current product.

Large Print and Tactile Disposable Number Lines

(Continuing)

Purpose

To provide an inexpensive, disposable number line in large print and tactile formats

Project staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader (former project advisor)
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Barbara Henderson, Project Advisor (former project leader)

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 and deemed worthy of further development. The project was assigned to a project leader and project staff.

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 during FY 2007

Prototypes of a Toss-Away Large Print Number Line and a Toss-Away Tactile Number Line have been developed. A desk top stick-on number line with braille and large print was requested through another product submission from a teacher in the field. This request will also be included in the types of number lines available from APH.

Work planned for FY 2008

Complete the development and field testing of the Toss-Away Large Print Number Line and the Toss-Away Tactile Number Line. Develop and field test a prototype for the desk top stick-on number line for use in elementary classrooms.

MathBuilders

(Formerly Primary Math Units)

(Continuing)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Project Leader
Eleanor Pester, Braille Project Leader
Derrick Smith, Math Consultant
Darlene Donhoff, Administrative/Technical Assistant
Jenny Dortch, Consultant/Project Assistant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Background

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

During the Mathematics Focus Group Meeting in September 1994, this program was discussed and specifications were determined. During 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.

In 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, a Doctoral Student at Texas Tech, 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 Units 6 and 8.

Work during FY 2007

A production schedule for Unit 1 was completed targeting the sale of the first unit for September 2007. A prototype of the Geometry Unit was completed and field tested at 10 sites for three months in the spring of 2007. The text for Unit 8 was written and the development of a prototype was initiated.

Work planned for FY 2008

Complete the revisions based on field reviewers' comments and begin the production of Unit 6, Geometry. Complete the prototype and field testing of Unit 8, Data Collection, Graphing, and Probability/Statistics. Begin the development of Unit 7, Fractions.

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
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 made the most sense.

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 2007

Added AMR Wideband Plus support, an audio data compression technique geared toward spoken word content that the National Library Service switched to for use with new Digital Talking Books (DTBs).

Work planned for FY 2008

Staff will continue the implementation of AMR Wideband Plus for both encoding and decoding including support for encryption.

Windows Direct Show filters should be supported. This would allow users of APH audio editing software to use third party plugins, commonly referred to as DirectX Plugins, for signal processing.

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

Yet another area of interest is streaming technology. The digital audio component should provide full streaming services to the client in a variety of environments. Server side implementations of the component should be able to provide a local user navigation and time scale services on the server side, thereby reducing the amount of data that 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 2007

Work planned for FY 2008

Expand the support for more complex controls that are not covered by MSAA. Enhance the keystroke announcement feature to include digitized human speech. Correct other known minor issues.

Book Port

(Continuing)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Steve Gomas, 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 Transfer CD Disc

The software that comes with Book Port makes it easy to send a variety of file types including documents and Web sites 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 get sent to Book Port as if the device were especially designed for them. Sending Web pages to the device for portable reading is as easy as right clicking the Web page, and then choosing Send to Book Port from the context menu that appears. 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 if the unit is not 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 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 http://www.aph.org/tech/bp_info.htm

As the years of software improvements continued, the hardware components became obsolete and difficult to purchase. A new model was needed that included features like:

Work during FY 2007

Work planned for FY 2008

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

Background

The need for a program that supports multiple output media arose from several places including APH's and other Accessible media publishers' desire to efficiently produce textbooks in the media that best meets a student's needs. Such a task requires intelligent software and a file format that is both universal and expandable.

The first step in creating such software is to identify or define the file format that best supports the characteristics required by all the output media types. Careful analysis and a worldwide trend to the extensible markup language (XML) convinced staff that this file format provided the structure, features, and extensibility required. The existence of math markup languages such as Math Markup Language (MML) and LaTex also provides the possibility of integration into the final file format.

XML uses a Document Type Definition (DTD) to define the vocabulary for a markup language, and these DTD's can become quite elegant and elaborate. Creating one from scratch is not a trivial task.

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

When NLS first commissioned the study, they were mainly on a quest for information about how to produce and distribute digital talking books for United States citizens, and this is still their primary goal. But as the process evolved and their needs coincided so well with the needs of many others, they soon found themselves, under the leadership of Michael Moody, defining the standards. They are working through the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) to define the characteristics of a file format that will meet the needs of all these producers, as well as the end user, provide compatibility among countries, and remain extensible to provide the option to grow. The file format they chose uses a number of existing technologies, so it will be possible to create tools and applications to work with such files much more easily than if they had defined their own file formats.

The new file format was submitted to the National Information Standards Organization, and it gained approval in December 2002. A revision was approved in 2005. The format is called NISO z39.86. The NISO Digital Talking Book combines Simultaneous MultiMedia Integrated Language (SMIL) 2.0, with a 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, 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 2007

The following enhancements were made to Book Wizard Reader and Book Wizard Producer:

Work planned for FY 2008

Future long-term enhancements include the following:

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

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

Programmers will incorporate library checkout and check-in facilities and remote server support. This makes it possible for two editors, both in remote locations, to work on the same book. This collaboration process is expected to be an effective means of getting more complex books to students more quickly.

Braille+

(formally Linkit)

(Continuing)

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 sought a low-cost, simple-to-use, inexpensive replacement for a note-taking system like the Braille 'n Speak (BNS) Scholar.

Today's more connected world and less expensive parts make it possible to design an all-purpose device that can serve as a student's tool for a variety of tasks including note-taking, recording, playing audio content, calculating, timing, Web browsing, e-mailing, and subscribing to periodicals. Expansion should be possible to permit a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and cell phone chips contained in the unit's housing.

Braille+ PDA

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.

While the development staff was well on the 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. The Braille+ became available for sale in April 2007.

Work during FY 2007

Work planned for FY 2008

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 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

Background

The rapid advances in use and development of software, hardware, accessibility considerations, and educational theories require significant attention. The Technology Group in the Educational Research Department monitors and participates in numerous activities to keep abreast of developing trends and current implementations and encourages trends, policies, and standards that use technology to promote APH's mission. These ongoing endeavors help keep APH personnel knowledgeable and influential in the areas of regular and assistive technology.

The Technology Group stays informed through participation in numerous listserves focusing on programming and accessibility issues. The group actively uses and beta tests pre-releases of operating system code, key applications, active accessibility, Java Swing components, screen enlargement, and speech or braille output accessibility aids. The group attends conferences, presents products and activities, and demonstrates APH products related to technology. The Technology Project Leader and two of the programmers are also members of the DAISY Consortium to help ensure that APH is ready for the conversion to digital talking books and that APH is represented in the shaping of guidelines and specifications. In its efforts to influence direction, the Technology Group creates software for both internal research and use as direct products, applies expertise to help make APH effective and Accessible in its production of braille and large print and its application of new and emerging technologies to these processes, and disseminates information to APH and directly to users. The group promotes accessibility within APH by establishing techniques that make the entire company Accessible.

Work during FY 2007

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

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

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

Technology staff provided advice and expertise at Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) sessions, evaluated products submitted to APH for possible production or sale, helped ensure the accessibility of APH's Web site and online ordering systems, and participated in modernizing APH's recording studios.

The Technology Group regularly provides advice and technical assistance to APH's Business Contract Department and meets with staff from Customer Relations to familiarize them with new products as they near their introduction date. Staff regularly consults and assists with technical or information requests via phone and e-mail.

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

With three staff members on the DAISY Mark Up and Specification team, the group actively used the specifications and worked to improve weaknesses in the specifications. The project leader is a member of the File Specification Group of the American Foundation for the Blind's Solutions Forum, the Kentucky Department of Education's Computerized Testing Task Force, and a member of a task force designed to study tools and techniques that help publishers meet the needs of blind students when providing electronic files of their textbooks.

One programmer is 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 implemented 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 2008

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. Advising, 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.

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
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
John Zinninger, Senior Technician
Dave McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant

Background

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

Studio Recorder was originally written for internal use at APH to serve as a tool for creating direct to digital audio recordings for the National Library Service (NLS). It contains many features that ease the task of recording, editing, and proofreading audio books. It also includes features that simplify the production of analog cassette tapes from the digital master.

While Studio Recorder was originally written for use by the professional narrator and narration monitor, its simple operation makes it ideal for nearly anyone interested in recording, editing, and producing spoken word audio documents in an efficient manner.

In addition to all of the benefits of digital recording and playback technology common to digital recording software, Studio Recorder provides unique capabilities geared to both spoken word content and, more specifically, recordings intended for distribution on audiocassette or via the World Wide Web. The software supports projects ranging from the quick and simple home recording to the most demanding and professional task.

Features such as the intercom mode allow recording professionals, who often collaborate from separate booths, to communicate through the PC's speakers and sound card. Other features, such as the ability to mark and label points in the recording; make it easy for narrators working on large works to preserve notes about pronunciation and characterization; allowing quick reference to information from past recording sessions. The phrase detection capabilities streamline the process of sifting through cumbersome audio files. Instead of using time as the criterion for navigation, these features allow the narrator to use content for maneuvering through the audio file in a manner similar to that of moving through text in a word processing program.

Studio Recorder also provides advanced capabilities such as punch in/out recording, linear fade, instantaneous editing, and time-specific alarm tones that assist the user in sizing a document to a cassette tape.

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 2007

No modifications were made to Studio Recorder during this period.

Work planned for FY 2008

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 that 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 2007

The program was updated to run under Vista.

Work planned for FY 2008

This project is complete. Updates will occur as needed.

Talking Typer for Windows

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide Accessible, interactive keyboard training on the Windows platform

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer

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

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 2007

The program was corrected to run under Vista properly.

Work planned for FY 2008

New features may be added to Talking Typer for Windows V.1, however most will be deferred to Talking Typer for Windows V.2. Necessary corrections and updates will be made as needed. Talking Typer V 1.0 is complete.

Maintenance issues continue to arise with this product, and users continually request enhancements.

Talking Word Puzzles

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

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

Background

The need for an educational type of game like hidden word and crossword puzzles has been long expressed by customers and experts in the field. APH's Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) supported the idea for such a project in May 1998, and the programming group began work on the program in FY 2000. Project staff wrote program specifications for the program. Features planned include an intuitive text-to-speech and large print navigation system through the puzzle grid. The interface includes appropriate, responsive speech and highlighting feedback as the student uses the shift key along with the arrow keys to mark a word in the grid and distinguishable characteristics as the student moves across words already marked. Specifications also call for a creation process that allows the teacher to enter either a list of words or a list of words and clues to those words in the case of a crossword puzzle. This data gets committed to persistent storage and all puzzles get dynamically generated from this information.

Work during FY 2007

The program was updated to run properly under Vista.

Work planned for FY 2008

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 2007

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 2008

The project in 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 blind and visually impaired computer users' effective use of email

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Author/Consultant
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
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 2007

Work planned for FY 2008

This project is complete. Updates will occur as needed.

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, Author/Consultant
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
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 2007

Work planned for FY 2008

This project is complete. The material will be updated as needed.

Verbal View of Vista

(New)

Purpose

To provide a tool to teach the Vista operating system to blind computer users

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Consultant
Keith Creasy, Programmer

Background

The Verbal View series provides unprecedented instruction and detail about specific topics for blind computer users. With the release of Vista in February 2007, APH considers it important to provide pertinent training material on current technology. Vista contains thousands of changes and enhancements, and this tutorial covers them.

Even since the release of XP, the PC hardware and usage models have changed. Serial ports, parallel ports, and floppy drives are no longer even shipped on new PCs. The emphasis has switched from work on the PC to work on the internet.

Work during FY 2007

Work planned for FY 2008

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, Author/Consultant
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
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 html 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 2007

Work planned for FY 2008

This project is complete. The material will be updated as needed.

Verbal View of Web Searches

(New)

Purpose

To teach blind and visually impaired computer users' effective use of internet searching

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Author/Consultant
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
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 2007

Recorded and synchronized the text and audio

Work planned for FY 2007

This project is complete. Updates and enhancements will occur as the subject matter evolves.

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, Author/Consultant
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
Robert Conaghan, Studio Monitor

Background

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

Staff identified a tutorial written by Peter Duran and approached him about licensing the rights to his work then distributing it as a Digital Talking Book. The result of this collaboration, Verbal View of Windows is a comprehensive tutorial on using Windows XP from the view point of a blind or partially sighted student or professional. It covers nearly every aspect of Windows XP, and it presents this material from the keyboard user's perspective.

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

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

Work during FY 2007

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

Work planned for FY 2008

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, Author/Consultant
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
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 2007

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2008

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 with Microsoft Word in a format most useful to blind and visually impaired computer users

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Author/Consultant
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
Robert Conaghan, Studio Monitor

Background

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

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

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

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

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

Work during FY 2007

No work was performed on this project during FY 2007.

Work planned for FY 2008

This project is complete. Future enhancements will be made as new versions of Word are released.

Multiple
Disabilities

Expandable Calendar Boxes

(Complete)

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 accompanies the boxes.

Project Staff

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

Background

An online calendar box survey was conducted to determine how calendar boxes are used and what dimensions would be most appropriate. APH decided to sell an existing book, Calendars, by Robbie Blaha and published by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) with the boxes. APH focused on writing the instruction guide, which explains how to use and adapt the expandable boxes. The prototype boxes and the instruction guide were professionally reviewed.

Work during FY 2007

An inventory of Calendars was ordered from TSBVI. APH printed the instruction guide, had the boxes manufactured, and purchased the connecting channels. The product is available for sale in two colors, a white box set, and black box set.

Jumbo Work & Play Tray

(Continuing)

Purpose

APH will provide a large (2' x 2') tray to be used by learners participating in active learning techniques: learners using a HOPSA Dress explore items in the tray with their feet; infants and toddlers sitting in the tray have toys within arm's reach

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Sue Douglass, Consultant
Anita Rutledge, Design Specialist/Process Engineer

Background

Sue Douglass submitted the product idea to APH. The project leader held a brainstorming meeting with APH staff to consider manufacturing options.

Work during FY 2007

APH developed prototypes of the tray and sent them to five professionals (occupational therapists and teachers of the visually impaired and multiply disabled) for review.

Work planned for FY 2008

APH will review comments from Occupational Therapists and Teachers of the Visually Impaired who used the tray during the summer. Revisions (if needed) will be made, and the product will be manufactured and made available for sale.

Light Box Computer Activities to Support Language and Literacy

(New)

Purpose

To provide the existing artwork from the APH Light Box Materials in a digital format that can be used in a Windows or Mac platform to design cause and effect, choice making, early symbol use, and language development and early literacy activities for multiply disabled children who use touch screens and switches when learning on a computer

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Wendy Buckley, Author/Consultant

Background

While attending a technology workshop sponsored by the Indiana Deafblind Services Project, a request was made that APH make the Light Box artwork available electronically so that students can make a smooth transition from light box activities to new computer activities. Teachers do not have time to find artwork and scan it into the computer, plus they want the commonality of the artwork to help students with multiple disabilities make the transition. The product will help provide students with activities utilizing slides, transitions, graphics, and action buttons.

Work during FY 2007

An online survey was conducted to help APH determine which of the existing Light Box Materials artwork needed modernization. Per respondents' requests, five new pieces of art will be created for the new product, items of particular interest to the audience (i.e., switch, wheelchair, etc.).

Work planned for FY 2008

The guidebook will be written; and all artwork will be redrawn in an electronic format (Vector) and printed in a hard copy, laminated form. The product will be field tested.

Lots of Dots Series

(Series)

Purpose

This three set series (Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC's, Lots of Dots: Counting 123, and Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden) is designed to facilitate braille character and number recognition through a series of repetitive activities designed for young children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities. These raised-line coloring books are designed for future readers who will use large print or braille.

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader/Author
Monica Vaught, Research 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 ABC's, it was recommended at the 2003 Annual Meeting that APH create a numbers book.

Work during FY 2007

Lots of Dots: Counting 123 was completed and is available for sale. Work began on the final book in the series, Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden. The layout and illustrations were completed. The enrichment guide was written and translated into Spanish. Field test sites were identified, and field testing was conducted.

Work planned for FY 2008

Field test revisions will be incorporated into the product. Final tooling and specifications will be completed. APH will conduct the pilot run and final production run. The availability of Coloring the Garden will complete the Lots of Dots series.

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

(Continuing)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Catherine Nelson, Consultant/Author
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Sandi Baker, Consultant
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant

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. The 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 during FY 2007

The first half of the manuscript was written and edited.

Work planned for FY 2008

The manuscript will be completed and sent to professional reviewers. Revisions of the manuscript will be made. The design and layout of the book will be completed.

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 met at APH in March 2001. The group identified a total of 48 product ideas and held detailed discussions on the revision of APH's Sensory Stimulation Kit (SSK), the development of a tactile (communication) symbol system, and the value of adaptable calendar boxes. The 48 product ideas were developed into a needs survey that was distributed nationally and received international participation. The results of the survey were presented at the 2002 Annual Meeting and are still available on the APH Web site: http://www.aph.org/edresearch/md_results.html

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

Work during FY 2007

The Expandable Calendar Boxes, Variable Beam Flashlight Kit, and Lots of Dots: Counting 123 became available for sale. APH continued working with Sue Douglass on the Jumbo Work & Play Tray and with Catherine Nelson on the Manual for Child-Guided Strategies for the Assessment of Children who are Deafblind and Have Multiple Disabilities: The van Dijk Approach to Assessment. APH began working with Millie Smith on SAM: Symbols and Meaning. Preliminary work began on an O&M manual for wheelchair users. A poster was presented at Annual Meeting that provided attendees with the opportunity to prioritize yet-developed products from the original Multiple Disabilities list. The results confirmed the original results presented at 2002 Annual Meeting.

Work planned for FY 2008

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 SAM: Symbols and Meaning.

SAM: Symbols and Meaning

(New)

Purpose

To provide a program to help build the conceptual foundation for successful symbol use including words, objects, tactual symbols, pictures, and graphics for learners with visual impairment and multiple impairments

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Millie Smith, Author/Consultant
Chris Strickling, Contributing Writer
Linda Hagood, Contributing Writer

Background

This is the continuing revision and replacement of the modalities of the Sensory Stimulation Kit (discontinued). This kit is being designed to complete the communication/intervention continuum that APH has created by the sequential use of the Sensory Learning Kit, SAM: Symbols and Meaning, and Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication.

Work during FY 2007

The author and contributing writers were identified and contracted for the project. Writing on the manual began. Tangible items for the kit have been identified.

Work planned for FY 2008

The guidebook will be completed and prototypes of tangible items created. Field test sites will be identified.

Select Switch

(New)

Purpose

To provide a multifunction switch that can operate battery-powered toys

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

During APH presentations on the Sensory Learning Kit, customers requested a device that could operate battery-powered toys.

Work during FY 2007

Conceptual drawings were presented to Technical Research. CAD drawings and electrical drawings were created, and a bid package was written. The product manufacturing was awarded to an American manufacturer based in Taiwan.

Work planned for FY 2008

Samples of the product will be manufactured and reviewed. Field Testing will take place and revisions will be incorporated into final design.

Variable Beam Flashlight Kit

(Complete)

Purpose

To revise an existing APH product to meet current APH standards

Project Staff

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

Background

The activity cards within the previous Variable Beam Flashlight Kit were 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 2007

The design and layout was completed. The product is available for sale.

Physical
Fitness

Jump Rope Kit

(New)

Purpose

To create an exercise product for individuals who are blind that is fun, easy-to-learn, and can be done independently and safely

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Lauren Lieberman, Author
Haley Schedlin, Author
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

Through APH funded research at sports camps, the need for teens to participate in good cardiovascular activities was reinforced. Jumping rope is an activity that can be enjoyed with peers or independently; it is lightweight so it travels well on business trips; and by using a shock absorption mat, a defined area is established to prevent migration and possible accidents from happening.

Work during FY 2007

The draft of the manual was written. A variety of jump ropes were reviewed and five were chosen for field testing. Testing with the ropes and mats took place at sports camps in Alaska, Arizona, and New York. The assessment tool was approved by the Institutional Review Board at SUNY Brockport.

Work planned for FY 2008

Test results from the camps will be incorporated into the manual. Results will determine which shock absorption mat and three ropes will be chosen for kit inclusion. The manual will be completed and reviewed.

PE Web Site

(Continuing)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader

Inge Formenti, Librarian

Ann Travis, Research Assistant

Monica Vaught, Research Assistant

Background

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

Work during FY 2007

The project leader continued to monitor the site, solicited and reviewed submissions, and requested article permissions.

Work planned for FY 2008

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

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 prompted a new designation in the budget for Health and Physical Education.

Work during FY 2007

APH completed and made available for sale the accessible Push Button Padlock, the Walk/Run for Fitness Kit, and the APH Sound Ball. APH continued working on the sport edition of the Portable Sound Source and the Sound Localization Guidebook and began development of the Jump Rope Kit.

Work planned for FY 2008

APH will complete the Portable Sound Source and Sound Localization Guidebook, and the Jump Rope Kit. Work will begin on bringing a Japanese developed version of adapted tennis to the U.S. market. 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, Sport Edition

(Continuing)

Purpose

To have a reliable sound source that is small enough and adaptable enough to use in physical fitness and leisure activities (i.e., basketball, rock climbing, hiking, etc.). The 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 Manager
James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

Background

APH recognized 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. A product specific electronic survey was conducted to determine new needs for the Sound Localization Guidebook. 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.

Work during FY 2007

Bid packages for the Portable Sound Source were sent out and awarded to an American manufacturer based in Taiwan. The guidebook was completed.

Work planned for FY 2008

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

Push Button Padlocks

(Completed)

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 health/fitness centers and have need to secure their personal belongings in lockers. This is not a quota item

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Co-project Leader
Tony Grantz, Co-project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

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 2007

Educational Research, Technical Research, and Educational Aids Production joined together and determined the most efficient and economical way of attaching combination-specific braille documentation to each lock. The product is available for sale.

Sound Ball

(Complete)

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 Manager
Jeff Halter, Consultant

Background

The need for an electronic sound ball was established through a survey conducted by Don Potenski, former 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 needs and features they desired in a ball. Prototypes were developed and tested at sport camps for visually impaired children across the country.

Work during FY 2007

The balls were manufactured in Taiwan and are available for sale.

Walk/Run for Fitness

(Complete)

Purpose

To create an independent and measurable walking and running system for individuals who have visual impairment, blindness, or deafblindness

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Lauren Lieberman, Author
Haley Schedlin, Author
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

APH co-funded with SUNY Brockport Foundation two research projects conducted at Camp Abilities: Accuracy of Voice-Announcement Pedometers for Youth with Visual Impairment and An Analysis of Gait Kinetics of Visually Impaired Children. The two studies reinforced the need for an independent guide wire system that can be used at public and private schools, at home in backyards, and at local parks.

Work during FY 2007

Participants' pre test and post test results and comments were incorporated into the guidebook. Additional rope types were identified and tested by APH staff. The guidebook was printed and embossed; the kit tangibles were purchased; the tether, looped-rope, and guide wire were cut, tied, and assembled; and all kit items were packaged. The product is available for sale.

Science
(Projects for this category can be found in the following Tactile Graphics section.)

Tactile
Graphics

3-D O&M Kit

(New)

Purpose

To provide a comprehensive kit of three-dimensional items that can be used for orientation and mobility instruction, especially with young children who benefit from more realistic, concrete representations

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Background

Past research indicates the efficacy of using interactive, three-dimensional models for teaching environmental concepts, especially to young children. From constructed 3-D representations, generalizations to the actual environment can be made. Realistic models allow information to be presented in small scale without the added complexity that simple raised-line images can pose for inexperienced, young tactile readers.

The need for 3-D models for mapping purposes was expressed in compiled data from past field test activities and in the results from product-specific, on-line surveys. The need was also supported by multiple submissions of previously designed kits (e.g., Buddy Road Kit manufactured in New Zealand) for APH's review.

In 2003, the project leader conducted an on-line survey regarding the need for a 3-D O&M Kit. The survey requested feedback as to needed components if development of such a kit was undertaken. The results of the survey revealed the following:

Work during FY 2007

In August 2007, with permission from the Product Advisory Review Committee, the project leader transferred the 3-D O&M Kit from PARCing Lot status to active development.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project leader will initiate early acquisition of commercially-available items for kit inclusion, as well as identify parts that will be originally designed and manufactured at APH. Kit components will likely be recommended for use with several existing Velcro boards, such as Picture Maker, InvisiBoard, and the new tri-fold board included with Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Kit [see separate report]. Multiple prototypes will be built and field tested.

ALL-IN-ONE Board (Magnetic/Velcro®/Dry-Erase)

(New)

Purpose

To provide a multi-platform, adjustable board for use with either hook-Velcro accessories or magnetic pieces (homemade, obtained from APH, or purchased commercially), as well as with dry erase markers, that would facilitate a variety of learning activities within a home or classroom setting. Target populations include young children, students, and adults with visual impairments, as well as parents and teachers working with this population.

Project Staff

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

Background

After researching and eliminating the risk of duplicating a similar tool already commercially available, the project leader submitted a formal proposal to develop a unique product that would provide the following:

Both magnetic- and Velcro-backed pieces are successfully and commonly used with visually impaired/blind students because they are interactive and stay in place during tactile/visual exploration. Provision of the All-In-One Board will allow teachers and parents to use a wide-variety of existing magnetic and Velcro accessories that can be handmade, commercially-acquired, or purchased from APH. Although only a few magnetic options are available from APH at this time (e.g., magnetic sheets included with Feel n' Peel Stickers II), this product line can certainly be extended once the board is available and as guided by requests from the field [See separate report on Textured Magnetic Sorting Circles].

Work during FY 2007

In January 2007, the project leader conducted a Brainstorming Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting to garner additional advice and ideas from a larger audience of APH staff. It was determined that the primary task of designing the prototype and eventual production tooling would be carried out by the Model/Pattern Maker. A complete timeline was determined and posted on the active development chart.

Despite the complexity of the prototype design, the pace of development was expedited by a quickly-identified solution to the adjustable handle that allows for various slant angles, regardless of which side of the board is used. Other prototype activities by the project leader and Model Maker involved the following:

Early reviews from members of the Educational Product and Advisory Committee were very positive indicating that they liked the lightweight, colorful, and adjustable features of the board. They expected that the product would be very popular with their teachers and recommended that APH anticipate large sales.

By the end of August, multiple prototypes of the All-In-One Board were completed (a month ahead of schedule) and available for field testing. The project leader then developed an evaluation form and contacted field test sites. The field test stage was formally initiated by the end of the fiscal year.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project leader will oversee the field test stage and eventually prepare a final report of the field test results. Product enhancements will be based upon the reviewers' feedback. PDC members will reconvene to re-evaluate the current timeline and to determine final production quantities. The project staff will prepare necessary tooling and related specification drawings that are needed internally and/or by an outside vendor to mass produce the product. The development of educational accessories, especially magnetic ones, will be pursued to extend the usability and versatility of the All-In-One Board.

Azer's 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 Assistant/Science Advisor
Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
BISIG Impact Group, Guidebook Layout

Background

The project leader originally proposed the idea of an interactive periodic table to APH's former Product Review Committee, along with the idea for a static reference chart of the periodic table itself. 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.

Progress on this project during FY 2004 was intermittent as other projects took precedence. Nevertheless, the following goals were achieved in 2004:

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 field's urgent need for the chart itself. However, refinement of the atomic model and separate element pieces dominated most of the year's efforts. By July 2005, a complete, single mock-up according to the consultant's specifications was developed by the project staff.

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

By the end of August 2006, multiple prototypes of all the tangible pieces for the Azer's 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 teaching schedule, the responsibility of guidebook preparation fell solely upon the project staff.

Work during FY 2007

The field test stage was initiated during the first half of the school year. Field evaluators were contacted, evaluation packets developed, and prototypes mailed. Given the expanse of the kit's components and potential usefulness throughout the school year, the evaluators were afforded five months to use and review the prototype with their students. Field test sites represented the states of Washington, Tennessee, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Texas. The sample consisted of 34 students with visual impairments/blindness in a variety of settings including residential schools, itinerant programs, and resource centers. Of the students reported, all were between the ages of 12 and 18 [19% between the ages of 13-14; 56% between the ages of 15-16; and 26% between the ages of 17-18]. Fifty-three percent of the students were male and 47% were female. Exactly half of the sample used braille as their primary reading medium, 44% were large print readers, and the remainder was reported as combined auditory/braille readers or dual readers of both large print and braille. Slightly over one-fourth (26%) of the students had other disabilities, including cerebral palsy, severe hearing loss, and learning disabilities.

With regard to the actual prototype, 100% of the evaluators were pleased with the following features and components:

A high percentage of the evaluators were pleased with the textures of the subatomic pieces (86%); the content of the guidebook (88%); the layout and presentation of the guidebook (88%); the storage binder and organization system for the Velcro pieces (88%); and the name of the product (88%). All of the evaluators recommended that the product be produced and made available from APH, noting that the product was 100% suitable for both tactile and low vision readers in secondary grades; 75% of the evaluators extended that suitability to both tactile and low vision readers in grades 6-8, and 88% rated it as appropriate for sighted peers as well.

Regarding the student's experience with the prototype, 100% were reported as enjoying the use of the prototype. Specific comment include: "Wow, it's great to be able to solve the problems on our own and not have to rely on sighted students to give us the information," and "Now I wish I could take chemistry over again...it would have been much easier." One teacher noted that students enjoyed the ability to move the parts, explaining that "regular print students draw diagrams, but blind student have to rely on someone else to make diagrams. This allowed blind students to manipulate the models."

The chart below summarizes student knowledge as assessed by their teachers:

Assessment of Student Knowledge and Skills after Using Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set

Based upon your observations, indicate each student's progress in mastering the objectives covered in the prototype. Use the following rating scale for each student who participated in field testing.

NA = Not applicable: Did not cover this objective

AM = Student already mastered skill before field test

1 = No progress shown after using the prototype

2 = Demonstrated a little more understanding of this concept than in the past after using the prototype

3 = Demonstrated significant strides in understanding this concept after using prototype

n = 27

Learning Objective# of Students reported for each rating
Arranging element categories on the Velcro board15--Rating of 3
10--Rating of 2
1--Rating of 1
1--Rating of AM
Distinguishing between metal and nonmetal elements15--Rating of 3
9--Rating of 2
2--Rating of 1
1--Rating of AM
Identifying the location of subatomic particles in an atom17--Rating of 3
4--Rating of 2
5--Rating of 1
1--Rating of AM
Arranging electrons in energy levels to determine electron configurations13--Rating of 3
8--Rating of 2
6--Rating of 1
Determining oxidation number of elements 7--Rating of 3
4--Rating of 2
8--Rating of 1
8--Rating of N/A
Identifying an element's valence electrons12--Rating of 3
9--Rating of 2
6--Rating of 1
Building electron dot diagrams15--Rating of 2
6--Rating of 1
6--Rating of N/A
Demonstrating how elements combine via ionic bonds12--Rating of 3
5--Rating of 2
3--Rating of 1
7--Rating of N/A
Demonstrating how elements combine via covalent bonds 8--Rating of 3
9--Rating of 2
3--Rating of 1
7--Rating of N/A
Balancing simple chemical equations10--Rating of 3
11--Rating of 2
5--Rating of 1
1--Rating of N/A
Balancing complex chemical equations 5--Rating of 3
9--Rating of 2
1--Rating of 1
12--Rating of N/A

Several improvements to the prototype, based upon evaluator feedback, are planned and include:

At the conclusion of the field test stage, the project leader conducted a Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting to familiarize production staff with the components of the kit and planned production processes. A complete timeline was developed; June 2008 is the expected availability date.

The third and fourth quarters of FY 2007 were devoted to final production tooling, selecting materials, and identifying vendors for each of the kit's components, including the following:

The project leader prepared the artwork for silk-screened interactive element pieces and accessories, and completed the guidebook content two months ahead of schedule.

Work planned for FY 2008

Tooling will continue for Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set throughout the first and second quarters of FY 2008. This includes preparing thermoform patterns, silkscreens, cutting dies, final guidebook layout and design, braille translation, HTML preparation, and specifications for outside vendors. The project leader will continue to be involved in product development, monitoring the pilot and first production runs of the product in June 2008 and product demonstrations at workshops and conferences once available.

Flip-Over Concept Books

(New)

Purpose

To develop a series of interactive tactile/print books to encourage the development and understanding of basic concepts in young children with visual impairments and blindness

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
BISIG Impact Group, Logo Design

Background

Flip-Over Concept Book Logo

In April 2006, the project leader submitted a formal proposal to develop a series of interactive tactile/print books to encourage young children's development and understanding of basic concepts related to shape, texture, spatial concepts, counting, etc. Inspired by recommendations from the Early Books Focus Group, which met at APH in June 2004, these books will address the group's specific requests for both "concept books" as well as "inexpensive, simple books for children 3- to 5-years of age." A decade has passed since the introduction of Tactile Treasures, an APH product that provides static worksheets for the review of basic concepts and general exposure to tactile graphics. Unlike Tactile Treasures, the Flip-Over Concept Books will incorporate an interactive feature whereby the child independently flips pages or adjacent print/tactile panels that can be matched or sequenced. The panels turn so that, for instance, the child can find all the panels that have a rough texture, continue a line path, complete a sequence, build an image, etc. Additional skills targeted include page turning, fine motor skills, independent choice-making, and problem-solving. The product idea was officially approved for development by the Product Advisory Review Committee.

In January 2007, the project leader conducted a Brainstorming Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting to familiarize a wider APH audience with the product and explore design options. The project leader stressed the goals of making the books full-color and tactile, and durable. Although the primary goal of the project was to develop a new series of tactile/print books, a secondary goal emerged: to explore a new process for printing and registering print and tactile parts minus the in-house, labor-intensive, and costly process of screen printing. In lieu of screen printing, wide-format printing in combination with thermoforming became the project staff's new challenge. If successful, the implications of this process could be far-reaching and open new possibilities for the design and production of future dual-format products.

Work during FY 2007

Throughout the first and second quarters of FY 2007, the project leader was engaged in the design of two selected Flip-Over Concept Books--Parts of a Whole and Line Paths. Specific tasks related to the prototype development of each included:

By the end of July, prototype development was approaching an end--all visual artwork was readied, thermoform masters were complete, and accompanying documentation was authored. The remaining task was to fully test the wide-format printing and thermoforming of the panels which, by that time, was determined to be a flat-bed, wide-format printer to prevent slippage of the heavy-weight vinyl as it was being printed, consequently maintaining exact alignment between the printed and tactile elements.

Because of the additional time needed to investigate and refine this new printing process, the actual field test stage was delayed until the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. In anticipation of the upcoming field evaluation, the project leader readied an evaluation packet (reviewed by Research staff for objectivity and thoroughness) and began to identify possible field test sites.

Work planned for FY 2008

The field test stage will conclude by the end of the first quarter of FY 2008. The project leader will then prepare a final report of the field test results and incorporate needed product changes based upon the reviewers' feedback. PDC members will regroup to establish a final timeline, determine production quantities, and identify expected production materials and procedures. The project staff will then embark on the necessary tooling tasks to ready the books for final availability. Future development of similar books, guided by the recommendations from field evaluators, will be considered.

IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts [Classroom Suite Edition]

(Completed)

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, Consultant/Co-Developer
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
BISIG Impact Group, Guidebook/Cover Layout

Background

Pre-Braille Concepts overlays

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:

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 pressed. 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 is the most popular.

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:

Every component of the existing product, with the exception of the print/tactile overlays, had to be tweaked or completely re-tooled 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.

Work during FY 2007

Re-tooling tasks were finalized during the first quarter of 2007. The first production run was completed and an "Airplane" announcing the product was released January 31. Visit the following for the product's announcement: http://sun1.aph.org/advisory/2007adv02.html#P2

Due to a faulty master CD, corrected CDs had to be produced; these were distributed to customers in April.

Work planned for FY 2008

No further work on this project is anticipated. Future requests for additional IntelliTactiles packages will be monitored.

Picture Maker Accessories: Geometric Shapes

(New)

Purpose

To broaden the assortment of interactive Velcro® pieces that can be used with the Picture Maker (or other existing Velcro boards)

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant

Background

Since the debut of APH's Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit in 2000, the project leader has received numerous requests from workshop attendees and from respondents to product-specific surveys to provide a wider variety of Velcro pieces that can be used with Picture Maker. These requests range from more lengths/textures of strips to more geometric shapes of various sizes and textures. Although additional hook-Velcro is included with the kit to create self-constructed pieces, teachers find it more convenient to have ready-made materials available from APH.

Picture Maker continues to be one of APH's most popular and versatile products. As detailed in the accompanying guidebook, Picture Maker can be used for many concept-teaching tasks. By adding a greater variety of Velcro-backed manipulatives, the product's uses and applications can be extended. Target populations include young children, students, and adults with visual impairments, as well as parents, teachers, and O&M instructors working with this population.

Work during FY 2007

Despite lagging behind the development of related products, that is, Picture Maker Accessories: Textured Strips and Storage Panel [see separate reports], notable tasks were accomplished on Geometric Shapes including:

Work planned for FY 2008

Once intended parts for the accessory package are clearly defined by the project leader, the Product Development Committee will determine production dates and quantities. The project leader will monitor the first production run of Picture Maker Accessories: Geometric

Shapes, which will be the last produced of the three, planned accessory packages. The final product will be a hybrid of parts acquired from outside vendors and those uniquely produced by APH.

Picture Maker Accessories: Storage Panel

(New)

Purpose

To provide additional storage space for the Velcro® pieces currently included in the Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit, as well as for planned Picture Maker accessory packages: Textured Strips and Geometric Shapes [see separate research reports]

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Terri Gilmore, Documentation Layout

Background

Since the debut of APH's Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit in 2000, the project leader has received product feedback from workshop attendees and from respondents to product-specific surveys. One commonly expressed complaint is the lack of room to store the 100-plus strips and shapes included in the kit. Typically half of the existing board is devoted to storage, consequently minimizing the available drawing/mapping area. To correct this drawback, the project leader proposed an 8.5" x 11", two-sided Veltex®-covered panel to house additional shapes and diagramming strips. The design mimics a component in the Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set [see separate research report] that incorporates a three-hole punched polyethylene edge for storage in a standard binder. Customers also have the option of sandwiching the panel into the bi-fold Picture Maker board and securing it with Velcro tabs.

Work during FY 2007

In May 2007 the Product Development Committee established a complete timeline for the project, slating January 2008 as the Availability date. Field test was assessed as unneeded due to the simplicity of the design and established need for the product. The Model/Pattern Maker furnished prototypes to outside vendors to acquire estimated costs. The project leader prepared a product information sheet and had it transcribed into braille, as well as graphically enhanced by the Graphic Designer for final production purposes.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project leader will monitor the quality of the first production run of Picture Maker Accessories: Storage Panel.

Picture Maker Accessories: Textured Strips

(New)

Purpose

To broaden the assortment of interactive Velcro® pieces that can be used with the Picture Maker (or other existing Velcro boards)

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer/Documentation Layout

Background

Since the debut of APH's Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit in 2000, the project leader has received numerous requests from workshop attendees and from respondents to product-specific surveys to provide a wider variety of Velcro pieces that can be used with Picture Maker. These requests range from more lengths/textures of strips to more geometric shapes of various sizes and textures. Although additional hook-Velcro is included with the kit to create self-constructed pieces, teachers find it more convenient to have ready-made materials available from APH.

Picture Maker continues to be one of APH's most popular and versatile products. As detailed in the accompanying guidebook, Picture Maker can be used for a many concept-teaching tasks. By adding a greater variety of Velcro-backed manipulatives, the product's uses and applications can be extended. Target populations include young children, students, and adults with visual impairments, as well as parents, teachers, and O&M instructors working with this population.

Work during FY 2007

In January 2007, the Product Development Committee (PDC) established a partial timeline for the project--Goals 1 through 5a. Prototype development and related field testing were deemed not necessary because of the amount of teacher feedback previously gathered through surveys and at conferences, as well as the general similarity of the planned materials and production methods of the new components compared to the existing Picture Maker pieces.

Extending over the next 3 months, the project leader prepared drawings of 75 new textured strips, specifying quantity, dimensions, color, and material selection for each. A new material--flocked styrene--was chosen for some the strips. Unique pieces such as "railroad tracks" and "dashed road" strips were incorporated to facilitate mapping needs.

Once expected components were more clearly defined, the PDC met again to establish the rest of the product timeline. Hard tooling (i.e., thermoform masters, silkscreen art, and cutting dies) was readied. Early cost estimates were requested and received from the vendor for the remaining pieces. The project leader prepared content for the product information sheet, which was then transcribed into braille and professionally prepared for print production. By the end of July, all in-house tooling was complete, 3 months ahead of schedule.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project leader will monitor the first production run of Picture Maker Accessories: Textured Strips. The majority of the parts will be produced by an outside vendor, but the railroad strips and dashed road strips will be silk-screened and vacuum-formed in-house. Official availability of the product is slated for January 2008.

Scattered Crowns: Tactile Attribute Game

(Completed)

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 Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
BISIG Impact Group, Visual Graphic Layout

Background

Scattered Crowns: Tactile Attribute Game

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 (e.g., Compass Attack, renamed TREKS) 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. 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 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.

The project leader conducted a training workshop at the 2005 APH Annual Meeting, 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 students who are visually impaired/blind 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 include 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 July 2006, 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 processes. The remaining goal dates of the partially-developed timeline were established, slating May 2007 as the Availability date for the product.

Work during FY 2007

Preproduction tasks for Scattered Crowns spanned the first and second quarters of the fiscal year, including the following:

The project leader closely monitored the production run [500 units total] to assess quality of the final product. Scattered Crowns: Tactile Attribute Game, formerly approved for quota eligibility by the Educational Product Advisory Committee (EPAC) at the 2006 APH Annual Meeting, was made available for sale in August 2007. The project leader was involved in the preparation of brochure content. The product will debut at the 2007 APH Annual Meeting.

The production of Scattered Crowns successfully introduced an additional production method for producing accurately registered, multi-colored tactile components that will have future impact on the development of similar products. The first production run resulted in minimal-to-zero scrap rate.

Work planned for FY 2008

With the product now officially available, the project leader will demonstrate the game at workshops and conferences. She will also continue to assess and pursue the development of additional recreational games and materials. For more information about the product visit: http://www.aph.org/advisory/2007adv08.html

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 Assistant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Sr. Elaine George, Consultant

Background

Usra Major

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 and the Product Advisory and Review Committee and received approval from both.

Tactile Usra Major

Extensive product development throughout both FY05 and FY 2006 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 up-to-date with the print/tactile astronomy books (e.g., Touch the Universe, Touch the Stars) published by the National Federation of the Blind in order to prevent duplication of effort or design. APH's astronomy module will be designed with a younger audience in mind, incorporating more interactive, tactile components.

Work during FY 2007

Efforts throughout FY 2007 focused on the continuation and more consistent development of the prototype components. Significant strides were made, especially in the creation of more than a dozen visual/tactile overlays and materials. By the end of August, thermoformed parts of the tactile images were readied; from these first-off parts, the project leader began to prepare print counterparts. Other prototype tasks involved the origination and authoring of complementary activities that referenced the use of the tactile/print overlays. Other materials, such as the Quick Fact cards and electronic worksheets were refined. Additional input regarding needed overlays, as well as initial editing of some of the written activities, was garnered from a very creative, experienced teacher who served as a consultant to the project and a user/field evaluator of previous Sense of Science modules.

Work planned for FY 2008

During FY 2008, 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.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 3]

(Completed)

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, Project Leader/Tactile & Visual Designer
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
BISIG Impact Group, Layout of Print Activities Booklet

Background

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine #3

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; nearly 1000 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. SQUID issues will hopefully 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 2007

The final tooling of all the activities for Issue 3 was completed prior to the beginning of FY 2007. SQUID: Issue 3 includes the following activities:

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

The project leader monitored the pilot/production runs of SQUID: Issue 3 throughout the second quarter of FY 2007. Post-production activities included preparing marketing information, showcasing the product at workshops/conferences, and initiating efforts for additional SQUID issues [see separate reports on SQUID: Issue 4 and SQUID: Issue 5].

Work planned for FY 2008

Issue 3 of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine is now available. For the official announcement of this newest issue, visit: http://sun1.aph.org/advisory/2007adv03.html

The project staff will continue the development of additional SQUID issues.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 4]

(New/Completed)

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, Project Leader/Tactile & Visual Designer
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
BISIG Impact Group, Layout of Print Activities Booklet

Background

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine #4

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; nearly 1000 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. SQUID issues will hopefully 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 2007

While the tooling and production efforts of SQUID: Issue 3 [see separate report on SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine: Issue 3] were underway in FY 2007, the project staff initiated efforts on the development of unique tactile activities for SQUID: Issue 4. A formal timeline was established by the Product Development Committee (PDC). By the end of November, the product documentation was completed on 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.

Tooling activities reflected the following timeline of events:

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

SQUID: Issue 4 includes the following activities:

All About Abe
Alphabet Soup
Balloon Burst
Beyond Castle Walls
CASTLE Coloring Page
Clown Around
Coming Through
Don't Mis-State Me
Galaxy Quest
Incredible Shrinking Bedroom
Magic Carpet Ride
Max Out
Money Tree
Out of Sync
Paige Turner's Bookshelf
Peacock Feathers
Present View
Put On a Happy Face
RAINFOREST Word Search
Rising Sun
Sortin' Socks
SQUID Squares
Stargazer
Word Play

This package also contains a tactile sticker sheet of smiley faces that can be used to complete one of the activities. The project leader monitored the pilot/production runs of SQUID: Issue 4 during the last quarter of 2007.

Work planned for FY 2008

Post-production activities include preparing marketing information, showcasing the product at workshops/conferences, and continuing efforts on SQUID: Issue 5 and initiating work on SQUID: Issue 6.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 5]

(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, Project Leader/Tactile and Visual Designer
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
BISIG Impact Group, Layout of Print Activities Booklet

Background

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine #5

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; nearly 1000 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. SQUID issues will hopefully 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 2007

While the tooling and production tasks of SQUID: Issue 4 [see separate report] were underway in FY 2007, the project leader initiated efforts on the development of original tactile activities for SQUID: Issue 5. A formal timeline was established by the Product Development Committee in March. Between April and June, the project leader originated new activities and finished documentation a month ahead of schedule that encompassed the design of both the print and tactile activities, as well as the content updates for the Solutions section of the magazine.

Early tooling activities reflected the following timeline of events:

July

August

September

Work planned for FY 2008

Continuation of the tooling for SQUID: Issue 5 will continue into the FY 2008, with an expected completion date of October 2007. The activities planned for SQUID: Issue 5 are the following:

Alligator Alley
Broken Arrow
Bubble Trouble
Eggs-tra Fun
Favorite Season
Hair Dilemma
House Hunt
Melting Away
Mouse Trap
Oh No Dominos!
On Target
Opposites Attract
Piece It Back Together
Popcorn Pick Up
RAINBOW Coloring Page
Rain Down
Smooth Ride
Talking In Circles
That's Where the Ball Bounces
Three-Ring Circus
TRANSPORTATION Word Search
Turn Over a New Leaf
Word Play
Yummy Ice Cream

This package also contains a sheet of tactile star stickers that can be used to complete one of the activities. The project leader will monitor the pilot/production runs of SQUID: Issue 5 during the second quarter of 2008.

Post-production activities include preparing marketing information, showcasing the product at workshops/conferences, continuing efforts on SQUID: Issue 6 and initiating work on SQUID: Issue 7.

StackUps:
Spatial Understanding Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Matt Smith, Visual Graphic Assistant
BISIG Impact Group, Print Guidebook Layout

Background

StackUps

The project leader recognized the lack of products that 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 presentation. 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 two- and three-dimensional shapes; 2) describe attributes and parts of two- and three-dimensional shapes; and 3) to investigate and predict the results of putting together and taking apart two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes.

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 product timeline was set.

Efforts throughout 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 sites across the country. Evaluators were afforded seven weeks to use the prototype with their students and return the evaluation packets. The field test stage was completed two months ahead of schedule--May instead of July. 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. 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 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 were reported, after using the StackUps prototype, 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 3:

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 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. 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 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. 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.

Work during FY 2007

Based upon the evaluators' feedback collected during FY 2006, the project leader incorporated 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 an embossed paper method to a thermoformed process to add durability and tactile clarity; 3) additional stacked cube arrangement cards for further practice; 4) enhancement of the tactile/visual graphic presentation of the stacked cube arrangement cards with the incorporation of a dashed line (versus solid) wherever a shift in perspective occurred; and 5) provision of Velcro-backed squares for the student to "draw" the front, top, and right side views of 3-D stacked cube arrangements.

Extensive tooling of StackUps: Spatial Understanding Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings spanned the first and second quarters of the fiscal year. Preproduction tasks encompassed the following for the project leader:

Throughout June and July, the project leader closely monitored the initial production run [a total of 500 units] of StackUps to assess the quality of the final product. She also assisted in the preparation of brochure content and demonstrated the product at local workshops. The product, which received quota approval from the Educational Product Advisory Committee (EPAC) at the 2007 APH Annual Meeting, was officially announced for sale at the beginning of August 2007. The following finished catalog items are:

StackUps: Spatial Reasoning Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings, Complete Kit
Catalog #: 1-08960-00

Items Available Separately (as well as included in kit):
Catalog #: 1-08960-01--StackUps Cubes (Set of 20)
Catalog #: 1-08960-02--StackUps Mat Plan Worksheets (Package of 25)
Catalog #: 5-08960-00--StackUps Braille Teacher's Guidebook with CD
Catalog #: 7-08960-00--StackUps Large Print Teacher's Guidebook with CD

Work planned for FY 2008

The product is now complete and available for sale. The project leader will continue to demonstrate the product at in-house, local, and national workshops during FY 2008. The need for similar products to encourage the development of specific tactile skills and concepts will be explored and assessed. For more information on this product, visit: http://www.aph.org/advisory/2007adv08.html

State Map Collections

(New)

Purpose

To produce sets of embossed state outlines for transcribers, teachers, and students to use as a starting point in making tactile maps. Users can add labels, symbols, and other information as needed to make complete tactile graphics.

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Co-Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant/Co-Project Leader
Matt Smith, Mapping Assistant

Background

The need for this line of products was suggested by several respondents to surveys done in recent years. While APH has offered state outline maps before, those offered have used a large format that is incompatible with standard textbooks. The current project will produce maps in standard 11.5" x 11" format, and will combine printed and embossed images on each sheet. Maps of U.S. territories and the District of Columbia are included.

Project leaders chose to combine states into four regions and provide three copies of each state map within each region. Each set also includes a regional map to show the states in relation to each other.

Work done during FY 2007

Production of the map sets was delayed because of tooling problems with the braille plates. The plates were eventually remade and the product was placed back in the production schedule. Further difficulties arose when the printed sheets began to curl to a degree that they were unusable in the embossing press, and the printing was moved out of house to address the issue. With all tooling problems corrected, the product was ready for production and assembly in the late summer.

Work planned for FY 2008

Project staff will monitor the production of the four map sets, after which no further work is planned.

Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication (Spanish Edition)

(Completed)

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 Assistant
Rodger Smith, Programmer/Technology Assistant
Maria Delgado, Spanish Editor
Mario Eiland, Programmer/Spanish Editor
Rachel Chaney, Contracted Spanish Translator
BISIG Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

Tactile Connections

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 students who are visually impaired and blind 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 intention 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 delayed until after the initial introduction of the complete kit. Preparation of the Spanish version of the guidebook extended throughout 2006 and involved the following tasks: 1) preparing Spanish braille translations of the cards found in the Pictorial Library; 2) reviewing/editing prepared proofs of the print version of the Spanish guidebook and related cover art; 3) providing Spanish-translated Alt Tag descriptions of photos in the HTML version; 4) ensuring HTML accessibility with input from Spanish-speaking staff with blindness; 5) verifying product specifications prepared by Technical Research staff; and 6) updating the product box with a Spanish WARNING label.

Work during FY 2007

The Spanish version of the Tactile Connections guidebook was officially introduced in October 2007. The project leaders demonstrated the product at various in-house workshops throughout the year and at national conferences, including the Council for Exceptional Children Convention that was held in Louisville, Kentucky, in April.

Work planned for FY 2008

The product is now complete and available for sale. The project leaders will continue to showcase the product at local and national workshops, as well as monitor the sale of the Spanish version of the guidebook for the purpose of planning Spanish-translated components for future products. By the end of the third quarter in FY2007, a total of six Spanish guidebooks had been purchased. For more information about this product, visit: http://sun1.aph.org/advisory/2006adv11.html

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, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Fred Otto, 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; project staff provides written reviews of these submissions. Yet another aspect of this research is to monitor developments in practice, technology, and philosophy as they evolve.

Work during FY 2007

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 2008

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.

Textured Magnetic Sorting Circles

(New)

Purpose

To tactually adapt commercially-available sorting circles, offered by Learning Resources, Inc. [see photo], which can be used for creating Venn diagrams on a magnetic surface

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Background

Textured Magnetic Sorting Circles

In February 2007, a product submission was received from a teacher in Texas who suggested that APH tactually adapt Magnetic Sorting Circles available from Learning Resources [visit http://www.learningresources.com/p2p/searchResults.do?method=view&search=basic&keyword=magnetic+sorting+circles&sortby=best&asc=true&page=1] for the purpose of demonstrating Venn diagrams to visually impaired/blind students. The project leader presented the teacher's product idea to the Product Advisory and Review Committee. The product was approved and moved to the active development timeline in June 2007. It was suggested that the product be field tested with the All-In-One Magnetic/Velcro Board [see separate report].

Work during FY 2007

Concurrent with the development of the All-In-One Magnetic/Velcro Board, the project leader ordered multiple sets of Learning Resources' Magnetic Sorting Circles. The project leader modified the sorting circles by applying APH's Graphic Art Tape in tactually-discernible patterns: red circles received a solid line of graphic tape; yellow circles received a spiraling pattern of graphic tape; and the blue circles remained smooth [see photo].

The application of the graphic tape did not hinder the adherence of the circles to a magnetic surface.

Work planned for FY 2008

The project leader will send the tactually-adapted Magnetic Sorting Circles to evaluators of the All-In-One Board. Depending upon feedback provided by field evaluators, the decision for APH to offer tactually-modified Magnetic Sorting Circles as a separate teaching tool will be made.

Model/Pattern
Maker

Tom Poppe

APH Model/Pattern Maker

Product involvement during FY 2007

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. He frequently furnishes Technical Research staff with final specifications/drawings for the construction of various product components; these are inserted into the final specifications documentation.

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 2007:

APH 100th Anniversary Tactile Map

The Model/Pattern Maker participated as a member of the APH 100th Anniversary Tactile Map Committee that met regularly throughout the year to plan the layout of a tactile map which will serve as a gift to the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB). The Pattern/Model Maker designed early mockups of a map with features requested by O&M teacher at KSB. He was assigned to construction of the final commemorative map.

All-In-One Board

The Model/Pattern Maker originated the design of an adjustable, two-sided magnetic/Velcro board. This involved:

Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set

The Model/Pattern Maker initiated work on the final tooling of multiple components planned for the kit, including the thermoform masters of the 276 interactive tactile pieces, two atomic models with moveable subatomic pieces, and cutting die designs.

Calendar Boxes

The Model/Pattern Maker's original design was duplicated by the outside vendor in the mass production of the black and white calendar boxes. The specifications were included in Technical Research's specifications document.

Flip-Over Concept Books

The Model/Pattern Maker was involved in the preparation of prototype copies of two Flip-Over Concept Books--Parts of a Whole and Line Paths. Tooling tasks included:

Jumbo Work & Play Tray

The Model/Pattern Maker supervised the construction of the tooling and prototypes for field test purposes.

Life Science Tactile Graphics

The Model/Pattern Maker supervised the construction of the original tooling.

MathBuilders Unit 8

The Model/Pattern Maker originated the layout of parts for the thermoform and print graphics. The Model/Pattern Maker guided the assistant model maker through the design and construction of the thermoform pattern for the grid, using the Sense of Science grid as an example.

Picture Maker Accessories: Storage Panel

The Model/Pattern Maker prepared mockups of two versions of the Storage Panel. The prototypes were sent to outside vendors to acquire cost estimates. The final design was given to Technical Research for inclusion the product specifications document.

Picture Maker Accessories: Textured Strips

The Model/Pattern Maker prepared all production tooling for all textured strips requiring in-house production including:

Scattered Crowns: A Tactile Attribute Game

The Model/Pattern Maker prepared all of the production hard tooling for Scattered Crowns and provided Technical Research with product/design specifications. Production tooling tasked involved the following:

Sense of Science: Astronomy

The Pattern/Model Maker continued to work with the project leader on the prototype design of the tactile/print overlays.

StackUps: Spatial Understanding Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings

The Model/Pattern Maker prepared all of the production hard tooling for StackUps and provided Technical Research with product/design specifications. Production tooling involved the following:

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 3]

Model/Pattern Maker monitored Production's use of the tooling he prepared during the initial production runs.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 4]

The Model/Pattern Maker worked with the new assistant to prepare production thermoform masters for the fourth issue of SQUID.

Tools for Assessment and Development (ToAD)

Designs that the Model/Pattern Maker created for the prototype were duplicated in the final specifications for the final product (puzzle art, flashlight attachments, etc.).

Treks

Model/Pattern Maker provided guidance to the project leader during the creation of the game's grid, overlays, and playing pieces.

World at Your Fingers

Model/Pattern Maker oversaw Production staff's use of print and thermoform tooling that he readied for the actual production of the World at Your Fingers map. He also investigated other alternatives of vinyl that would be less likely to Web during the forming process.

Additional tasks included interviewing and hiring of one full-time Model/Pattern Maker Assistant and one part-time assistant.

Technical
Research
Division

Technical Research Division Activities

(Continuing)

Purpose

The Technical Research Division functions as a "bridge" between the concepts of the project leader's product and the concrete reality on the production floor. The purpose of the division is to remain as faithful as possible to the project leader's intent and function of the product while making it as inexpensive and as easily produced on the manufacturing plant's floor as possible. The division is involved in all aspects of the product including design work, materials selection, vendor selection, and process development. After developing and documenting the product's specifications the Technical Research Division works with production workers, floor supervisors, upper levels of APH management, and outside vendors to shepherd the project leader's product throughout its entire pilot and first production runs.

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

Division Staff

Frank Hayden, Manager

David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist

Darlene Donhoff, Administrative Assistant II

Work during FY 2007

All-In-One Board

(New)

At the January PDC meeting, Technical Research recommended manufacturing the board with a dry erase/rubber steel material they had already located while researching vendors for the Magnitachers products. Technical Research provided the information for the coated/magnetic receptive sheet goods to the Model Shop. This area fabricated and assembled prototypes. Technical Research worked with the Model Shop in locating vendors to fabricate the metal dry erase panels and on how to install the panels into the board. This material proved to be unsatisfactory because certain types of dry erase markers left slight but permanent traces of anything written on it. The decision was made to go with a power coated, thin gauge metal sheet, which also provided superior magnet holding properties. In testing of the powder coat finish with a variety of dry erase markers available commercially, it was determined that certain types of markers (solvent based) will still leave permanent markings on the board. Technical Research is assisting in the research to find a coating or additional coating that will allow the board to be compatible with all types of markers.

Alphabet Scramble

(Completed)

Technical Research designed and turned over product specifications and monitored the first production run of this product into stock in September and conducted a debriefing meeting in October 2007. Technical Research continued to monitor the product regarding two issues; 1) Purchasing is currently looking to change vendors for the binder that serves as the book cover, and 2) will insure the pages and cover insert are made correctly. There were problems with the first printing that needed to be corrected.

Alphabet Scramble, Braille Notes to Reader

(Completed)

Technical Research designed product specifications, turned them over to production, and followed the first production run of this product into stock.

APH InSights Calendar 2008

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with Communications to follow the production of the calendar by an outside vendor and into stock in June.

Azer's Interactive Tactile Periodic Table

(Continuing)

Technical Research has worked with the project leader to determine an alternative production method for the parts needed for this kit, which involve printing directly on vinyl using either Large Format Printing in Large Type versus using screen printing. A sample sheet layout was provided for testing of the first crucial step of determining registration through the remainder of the manufacturing process (vacuum forming and die cutting). The same layout was provided to the project leader to lay in color and print information. Vendors have been contacted to get pricing on vinyl on rolls versus sheets. Technical Research provided a sample file to a vendor for producing a small run (on paper only) to insure that registration can be held, which is critical for production methods. Technical Research has been working with the project leader to make changes in the original template and to layout and finalize the remaining parts that make up the kit. After reviewing some preliminary samples of large format printing, the project leader has decided to use the existing screen-printing process to make the parts for this kit. It is likely layouts previously created by Technical Research will be used to make both screen art and the cutting dies needed to make the parts on five sheets. Each sheet will require two to three screens for separate colors and each will have a unique cutting die. Technical Research has been working with vendors to get both samples and quotes for a tri-fold storage board. This folding board will be covered with black Veltex and will hold the hexagonal shaped elements parts via hook Velcoins on the back side of the parts. Work on tooling requirements is underway.

BookPort II

(New)

This product is anticipated available for sale by the end of 2007 or the beginning of 2008. Technical Research held a meeting to discuss the accessory items for the BookPort II and to determine how they would be listed in the system, the quantities to purchase, etc. This information has been acted upon. Technical Research continues to monitor the progress of this product.

Book Wizard Producer

(Completed)

This product is a composing program for books on CD. Technical Research monitored the first production run completed in February 2007.

Braille Contractions Recognition Print Teacher's Kit

(Continuing)

The product's name changed from "Braille Code Recognition Program" to "Braille Contractions Recognition." There will be the "Braille Code Recognition Teacher's Edition, Braille Version, Braille Code Recognition Teacher's Edition, Print Version, and Braille Code Recognition Student's Edition, Braille Version. Technical Research has specifications completed and will have a specification meeting scheduled by the end of late August to the first part of September to turn over product specifications to production.

Braille DateBook Calendar 2008

(Completed)

Technical Research requested new catalog numbers, created new bills of materials in the SYSPRO system, and quantified the number of kits to be produced. Technical Research worked with the tactile graphics department and the Braille production department to have new tooling produced and monitored the first production run of this product. Delayed production of the Calendar Tabs caused the kit to be produced slightly behind the scheduled date of June 2007. These were completed and stocked in late July.

Braille DateBook 2008 Calendar Tabs

(Completed)

Technical Research checked the new plates used for embossing the Calendar Tabs and found the margins to be incorrect. Plates were returned with the specific correction noted. The plates were remade and all tooling is now in place. Production was scheduled for June, but due to the workload in Braille, production started in mid July and completed at the end of the month. Embossed items made their way to Educational Aids were the product was completed and sent to stock by the end of July.

Braille Paper 11"x 8-1/2" Tractor Fed, Punched

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with Marketing to have this product made and available for sale in March of 2007.

Braille Paper 11"x8-1/2" Tractor Fed, Unpunched

(Completed)

Technical Research worked with Marketing to have this product made and available for sale in March of 2007.

Braille+

(Completed)

The name was changed from "Student PDA". Technical Research worked with Purchasing and the vendor in February to communicate the system APH uses for labeling and tracking electronic items for warranty purposes. After some difficulty in locating correct labeling materials the vendor was prepared to move forward on this project. Technical Research worked behind the scenes to assure the units were delivered to the Technology Group as soon as they arrived in house. The units arrived on April 20th and the Technology group received and began testing them in less than an hour after arrival in house. Testing was completed that afternoon and units were stocked and available for sale on Monday morning April 23rd. Technical Research conducted a meeting on accessory items, to determine how they would be handled in the system, quantities to purchase, etc.

Braille/Print Yardstick

(New)

Technical Research met with the project leader in early February to discuss the basic features required for the product and discussed the tooling challenges. The project leader worked with an outside consultant (Susan Osterhaus) and forwarded the feedback from the consultant. Technical Research met again with the project leader in April to review a concept drawing provided by Technical Research and minor revisions to the drawing were made. Technical Research then met with the Model Shop to obtain the shrinkage factors needed in order to make a mold for the yardstick. Technical research completed making a cut pattern on the CNC router in August and delivered the pattern to the model shop. The Model Shop will pour and form the vacuum form mold from the cut pattern provided. Finding available time in both Technical Research and the Model Shop areas continues to be a huge factor for this project, but the project is moving forward.

Building on Patterns Kindergarten Level

(Completed)

Technical Research designed and turned over product specifications in September and monitored the successful first production run of ten individual catalog items into stock by November 2006.

Building on Patterns Grade 1 & Grade 2

(New)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to determine the basics of what these two levels of Patterns will contain and formulated a length of time required for content development, field testing, product specifications, tooling, and final production of items. Work is currently underway to finalize content and create prototypes for field testing BOP Grade 1. Technical Research continues to monitor the development on these products.

CVI Complexity Challenges

(New)

A meeting was held in December 2006 to explore options for producing a series of transparent sheets. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and production to obtain sample materials and produced samples using the iGen3 in February. Unfortunately the samples were unacceptable quality. The same files were run on the APH wide format printer with better, although less than perfect results. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and an outside vendor to obtain samples. Upon receipt of the samples Technical Research mailed samples from all three sources to the project leader. Technical Research next met with the graphic design department and the project leader in June to discuss things. Technical Research is currently working with Purchasing to obtain price quotes for custom made items needed for this kit. (Printing on clear vinyl, special clear vinyl pouches, a custom two-ring binder.)

CVI Complexity Sequencing

(New)

Technical Research met with the graphic design department and the project leader in June to discuss this product. Technical Research is currently working with the purchasing department to obtain price quotes for the custom items needed for this kit. (Printing on clear vinyl, special clear vinyl pouches, and a custom two-ring binder.)

CVI Swirly Mats

(New)

Technical Research has not received any further information for these mats. It is possible this product may be dropped. APH already sells two other versions of the Swirly mats, one of which is specific for use with CVI.

Developmental Guidelines

(New)

The project leader conducted a brainstorming PDC meeting 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.

Early Braille Trade Books

(New)

This product is a collection of simple trade books (K or 1st grade level that are already published in print), which APH will add Braille and lesson plans for the TBVI teacher. The project leader held a brainstorming PDC meeting in April and a second meeting in July to discuss this project further. Technical Research is working with the project leader and Braille Translation to have tooling created for the Braille labels that will be added to the books. When a decision for the acceptable labeling method is approved in field testing, permanent tooling will be made for production of labels for these books.

Embossed XY Axis 20 x 20 Grid Graph Paper

(New)

This is a new product added to the schedule in April 2007. Technical Research worked with the project leader to develop a drawing that was used to make a Braille plate to make prototype samples for expert review. The samples were approved in August and Technical Research is now working on completing product specifications by late August to early September.

Expandable Calendar Boxes - Black

(Completed)

Technical Research developed product specifications, turned them over to production, and monitored the first production of this product into stock in November 2006. Technical Research conducted a product debriefing meeting in January 2007. It was decided the Blaha calendar book would be dropped from these kits.

Expandable Calendar Boxes - White

(Completed)

Technical Research developed product specifications, turned them over to production, and monitored the first production of this product into stock in November 2006. Technical Research conducted a product debriefing meeting in January 2007. It was decided the Blaha calendar book would be dropped from these kits.

EZ Test Battery Tester with Audio Feedback

(Completed)

Technical Research developed and distributed product specifications on this product. There were delays in getting this product into stock because of an unacceptable amount of rejects found in the initial shipment of the units. After a prolonged discussion with the vendor, it was decided to do a 100% check of each unit and package the good units. The units were checked and stocked in July. The defective units were returned to the vendor for replacement. The vendor covered APH's cost in labor to inspect the units.

EZ Test Battery Tester with Tactile/Audio Feedback

(Completed)

Technical Research developed and distributed product specifications on this product. There were delays in getting this product into stock because of an unacceptable amount of rejects were found in the initial shipment of the units. After a prolonged discussion with the vendor, it was decided to do a 100% check of each unit and package the good units. The units were checked and stocked in July. The defective units were returned to the vendor for replacement. The vendor covered APH's cost in labor to inspect the units.

EZ Track Calendar 2008

(Completed)

Technical Research has been project leader for this annual product since 2003. Technical Research worked with the Graphics Designer to get the 2008 version ready and in production. This product was produced and placed into stock July 2007.

EZ Track Calendar Inserts 2008

(Completed)

Technical Research has been project leader for this annual product since 2003. Technical Research worked with the Graphics Designer to get the 2008 version ready and in production. This product was produced and placed into stock July 2007.

Flip-Over Concept Books

(New)

Technical Research attended a PDC meeting in January. There are two books under development; each book has 10 layers of three side by side panels that can be flipped individually in order to match the appropriate print/tactual images. Technical Research is working with the project leader and the Model Shop to develop a method of production using a large format printer printing directly onto vinyl versus a traditional silk screening method. Line art of all individual images designed by the Model Shop has been scanned and converted into CAD files. Images were then placed within a master template based on positioning information also provided by the Model Shop. The completed CAD files were imported into a CorelDraw format and provided to the project leader. The project leader was then able to follow the template and add colors of her choosing. The final file was next prepped by Technical Research and provided to Production for having prototypes made for field-testing. Technical Research worked with Production to determine the viability of using this process for actual production or only for prototype purposes. Technical Research created a drawing for a cutting die needed for the field-testing (and likely production as well) and has sent a request for quotes on making the die. Technical Research has been working with a co-op engineering student to have a print test run on the large format printer at APH. Preliminary testing had proven unsatisfactory with the quality of the print being somewhat blurry and striations in the solid colors. There was also a problem with compression of the print image that prevented registration of the printed sheet and the vacuum-form mold. The compression was thought to have been the result of printing sheets on a roll feed system. The file was given to a local vendor that has multiple large format systems to have a sample run. A sample printed on a flat bed printer had a much better appearance and the registration matched precisely. This sample was vacuum-formed which verified the registration was correct. Additional vinyl has been obtained to send to the local vendor so that additional samples can be obtained and evaluated from the other types of printers they have available. The engineering co-op has also sent the file to the company that manufactures the machine APH currently uses. This sample has an even better appearance than the one from the local vendors flat bed printer. The engineering co-op is working with the machine manufacturer to try to locate companies that have the equipment that the excellent sample was produced on, to see if the required amount of sheets necessary to assemble enough books for field testing can be obtained. The decision on what vendor and type of equipment to produce these materials should be made soon.

Focus in Mathematics

(Revision)

Technical Research worked with co-project leaders to begin a redesign of this kit. Evaluations done in June determined that almost 60% of the white styrene pieces could be dropped. They have little or no value to the users and are repetitive of other materials already available. This decision will necessitate making three new vacuum form patterns and three new silk screens. The screens and patterns will all be about half the size of the current tooling. Technical Research also met with the project leaders and the production departments to work on the "braillon sheets pack" in the kit. The project leaders noted all braillon sheets will be dropped from the re-designed kit. The production areas asked if anything could be done prior to the kit's redesign to make the production of the braillon sheets easier and less time consuming. Technical Research and the project leaders offered to remove the print from the sheets in the interim if a set of printed pages was added and an Arabic number was embossed in the lower right corner of the tactile sheets. Production decided to continue to make one or two batches of the sheets using current methods until the kit redesign is completed. Technical Research will continue to assist the project leaders and become more involved in kit redesign as the plans for changes to the kit become more concrete.

From Russia with Love for Children with Sensory Impairment and Challenging Behaviors CD

(Completed)

Technical Research developed product specifications and monitored the first production of the product into stock in July.

FV/LMA Kit

(New)

This product's full name is Functional Vision Assessment/Learning Media Assessment Kit It will contain five individual products; the FV/LMA Kit, the Practitioner's Braille Guidebook, the Practitioner's Print Guidebook, Protocol Forms, Print, and Protocol Forms Large Print. Technical Research met with the project leader and a consultant in February to discuss the product and how the parts should be produced. Technical Research continues to work on developing specifications for all of these products.

Fun with Braille, Braille Version

(Completed)

Technical Research monitored the first production run of the product into stock in November 2006. A production debriefing was held January 16, 2007.

Fun with Braille Book, Large Type Version

(Completed)

Technical Research monitored the first production run of the product into stock in November 2006. A production debriefing was held January 16, 2007.

Functional Skills Assessment

(Continuing)

The name was changed from Functional Assessment/Curriculum. Technical Research will work on product specifications and documentation as the specifics of this product become more clearly defined.

Home Grown Video DVD: Students Who Are Deafblind Using APH Products

(Completed)

Technical Research developed product specifications and turned them over to production. The first production was placed into stock the last week of June.

Home Grown Video VHS: Students Who Are Deafblind Using APH Products

(Completed)

Technical Research developed product specifications and turned them over to production. The first production was placed into stock the last week of June.

Home Grown Video DVD: Loving Me

(New)

Technical Research started work on developing product specifications in August. This is the newest one of our homegrown video series.

Home Grown Video VHS: Loving Me

(New)

Technical Research started work on developing product specifications in August. This is the newest one of our homegrown video series.

IntelliTactiles: PreBraille Concepts, Classroom Suite

(Completed)

This is an upgrade to an existing product, due to the manufacturer upgrading their software. The specifications for all three products were revised and turned over to production with production scheduled for December 2006. Delays involving the print tooling caused production not to be completed until January. Technical Research conducted a debriefing in February.

IntelliTactiles: PreBraille Concepts, Classroom Suite (Print Guidebook)

(Completed)

After printed it was discovered that the wrong file was used. This necessitated having the books re-run with the correct file. The correctly printed books went into stock January 20th.

IntelliTactiles: PreBraille Concepts, Classroom Suite (Braille Guidebook)

(Completed)

Braille Guidebooks were completed in January.

Jump Rope for Fitness Kit

(New)

Technical Research worked with the project leader in April to fabricate two jump ropes of varying lengths to use in field-testing. Each rope was a cord with small plastic cylinders threaded onto the cord. In addition a section of "hula hoop" material was threaded over top of the plastic cylinders. This product is currently out for field-testing. Technical Research will work with the project leader in developing product specifications based on field test results.

Jumbo Work & Play Tray

(New)

Technical Research has worked closely with Operations Engineering in creating final, full part tooling using rapid prototyping. Operations Engineering has developed full size prototype samples for the project leader to send out for field-testing.

Large Print Color World Atlas - Section 1

(Completed)

Specifications for the full kit and all the accompanying components were turned over to production in November. Production was scheduled for completion in March 2007. However, the kits were not completed in March due to problems with the completion of files for the print textbooks set. After files were completed in May it was learned that the original page count for the textbooks had increased substantially (nearly 100%) from the counts provided and used for product specifications. The increased size of the guidebooks could have caused both a major delay and cost increase to the kit. Technical Research made sample mockups with actual page counts for the guidebooks five volumes in order to determine if they, along with the Atlas, would fit within the already received Carry Cases. It was found that all components (binder with maps, overlays and textbooks) just would fit. This avoided the obsolescence of the cases and further delays in obtaining larger sized cases. However, this does prevent the existing tooling for the Carry Case to be used for subsequent Atlas sections, which are projected to be larger. The handle on the fully packed case was tested to extreme conditions to determine if it could with stand this extra weight and appears to withstand the load. The vendor confirmed the load capacity of the handle, which is rated beyond the test findings. In early July, Technical Research took a pro-active roll, working with different departments to facilitate getting the final packaging moved from one department that was backed-up to a department that was requesting work. After reviewing the proper packing with the department supervisor the first batch of 100 Atlas kits were completed in July. Due to the weight of the fully packed Atlas (19.5 lbs.) the cartons at the bottom of the fully stacked skid were starting to bulge. Contributing to this is that the shipping carton has perforations that allow this one carton to be used for both the full kit and for individual Map Books. A quick solution was to place a strip of packing tape around the edge of the carton, thus reinforcing it. A production debriefing was held in August. This meeting focused on and reviewed issues to avoid with the goal of insuring the next production run of this kit and the next two Sections of the Atlas in the series run more smoothly.

Large Format Color Atlas Symbol Guide (2 pack) - Section 1

(Completed)

Samples of the map pages were provided to the project leader on February 20th, and approved on the same day. The guides were printed and scored in February and was completed April 2007.

Large Format Color Atlas Textbook Set (Print) - Section 1

(Completed)

Following completion of braille transcription, it was initially determined that no additional changes were needed for the print. After files were turned over, but before actual production began, a minor error in a picture description was noted. The file was pulled, content corrected and the file replaced. A preproduction sample was given to the project leader, but then issues with color appeared. The production manager reported there were multiple formats for the imbedded pictures and has requested a corrected file. After a corrected file was turned over, a good production sample was finally obtained. Large Type plans on running the five guidebooks in batches of 100 or more over a period of time. The first batch of 100 was completed in early July. A production debriefing is scheduled for August.

Large Format Color Atlas Textbook Set (Braille) - Section 1

(Completed)

Project leader decided to make available a braille copy of the Textbook Set following the November specification meeting. Preliminary specifications were written in March, waiting for completion of the translation of the print version before final documentation is possible The first two volumes of the textbook were turned over for translation in March and the remaining three turned over in April. Following the completion of transcription of the textbooks in May, Technical Research finalized specifications and distributed them in May. The braille version of the textbook set was completed in July. Technical Research was called to the production floor to resolve some confusion of matching covers/spine labels to the correct volumes. Possible changes will be discussed in the August debriefing meeting.

Large Format Color Atlas Maps & Charts - Section 1

(Completed)

The binders, map overlays, and symbol guides were placed in stock in April. Due to delays in the final tooling of the print guidebooks, the inserts for the binder were moved back in production queue, but samples were run in early June. The project leader was concerned that the sample for the binder inserts colors were too light, so a new file was created and samples from this file were approved in June. Technical Research worked with the supervisor of Large Type to have enough binder inserts run to satisfy the number scheduled for the Pilot Run of the product and to move final packaging to the Educational Aids Department. Production of the Maps and Charts completed in July and the production debriefing is scheduled for August.

Life Science Tactile Graphics Kit

(New)

Technical Research attended a brainstorming PDC meeting by the co-project leaders 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. Technical Research met with the project leaders and Model Shop in June 2007 to discuss the possibility of scanning the already produced thermoformed patterns. The idea is to find a way to electronically produce screen art versus tracing by hand and laying it out by hand. A variation of this process, scanning line drawings was used for graphics templates in the Flip-Over Books. Scanning of actual tactile forms may prove to be more difficult and these molds were made from basic sketches that have been heavily modified to suit the needs of the vacuum-forming process. Preliminary tests on scanning of raised tactile images are currently underway.

Listening Post III

(New)

Technical Research developed bid packs, which were sent out in May and a vendor was awarded the contract in June. In July, Technical Research evaluated the first samples from the vendor and wrote a report for the vendor regarding first samples of the unit. While most problems found were minor they still must be corrected before approval for production can be given. Technical Research is currently waiting for the next set of sample parts from the vendor for evaluation.

Lots Of Dots: Counting 1 2 3

(Completed)

Technical Research followed this product through its first production run. The books were completed and put in to stock in February 2007. A debriefing meeting was held in March 2007.

Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden

(New)

A PDC meeting was held in January 2007 and a timeline was set. Technical Research worked in getting prototypes made and delivered to the project leader who sent them out for field-testing the first of July. The Production Division Manager actually came in on a Sunday to personally run the field test copies. Technical Research will develop specifications based on the project leader's field test results.

MagneTachers

(New)

Technical Research met with the Project leader to review the product, which has now become five separate items. There will be Large Braille Labels, Small Braille Labels, Large Print Labels, Jumbo Print Labels, and Sherlock labels. They are to be made out of flexible magnetic sheets, kiss-cut in different sizes. As of 2007, the revised list of MagneTachers are; for Sherlock Labels, for Small Braillable Labels, for Making Braille Labels, for Making Large Print Labels (1/2"), and for Making Jumbo Print Labels (1"). The MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels is die-cut 12-up into sheets to a size slightly larger than the Sherlock Label from a lamination of 15mil flexible magnetic material and 25mil flexible rubber steel material. The rubber steel material breaks up the interference between a Sherlock Label and the Sherlock when it's applied to a metal item such as a filing cabinet. This Magnitacher should have greater versatility when using the Sherlock. The MagneTachers for Small Braillable Labels are cut/scored 18-up into sheets to a size slightly larger than the Small Braillable Labels of 25mil flexible magnetic material. Braillable Labels are sheets of clear adhesive-backed vinyl that can easily be brailled. Brailled labels can be attached to the MagneTachers and then be placed on any metal surface. Labels can be easily removed/repositioned/re-used. The MagneTachers for Making Braille Labels will be made as a flexible 12mil x 1/2" wide x 10' roll. The 12mil thickness is the thinnest flexible material found that can be easily embossed and holds the braille. This strip will have a white vinyl coating on one side that provides additional braille holding properties. The MagneTachers for Large Print Labels will be made as a flexible 15mil x 1/2" wide x 10' roll. One side of the strip is covered with a "DigiMag" matte white writable surface. The strip allows for lettering up to 36 point, The MagneTachers for Jumbo Print Labels will be made as a flexible 15mil x 1" wide x 10' roll. One side of the strip is covered with a "DigiMag" matte white writable surface. The strip allows for lettering up to 72 point. Technical Research has been in the process of working out specific details and obtaining quotes from vendors. Changes made to the products during the bidding process had complicated attempts to obtain quotations. Quotes for the five types of MagneTachers were received in early August. An estimated cost list, based on the possible content of each kit was developed and given to the project leader. This estimate will be used to evaluate the possibility of adding two more MagneTachers products. These would be MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels w/Sherlock Labels and MagneTachers for Small Braillable Labels w/Labels. Preliminary specifications are being put together at this time. Technical Research is scheduled to meet with purchasing to turn over specifications for the items so that they can begin working out details for the purchase of the five items. Specifications for the products are currently underway.

MathBuilders Unit 1

(Completed)

This product's name has been changed from Primary Math Units to MathBuilders Units. Technical Research worked with project leader to develop product specifications for Unit 1, which covered seven individual parts. Technical Research along with the project leader and Purchasing compiled all the shapes and textures needed for Unit One's Manipulatives set. Some of the additional items were culled from existing kits. An outside vendor produced the set of 54 textured geometric shapes. Technical Research conducted a specification meeting in February and followed these items as they progressed through their first production runs. Technical Research worked with the project leader in monitoring the first production run which was completed in August.

MathBuilders Unit 6 (Geometry)

(New)

Technical Research assisted the project leader in helping to obtain and fabricate materials that were sent out for field-testing in February. Technical Research will begin work on product specifications once all decisions are made on final parts.

MathBuilders Unit 8 (Data Collection, Graphing, and Probability/Statistics)

(New)

Technical Research met with the project leader and an outside consultant in April to work out the basic parts of what this product will be and created drawings for the two trays and graphing pieces to go in this product. The drawings of the trays were turned over to the model shop in July. Once the molds for these items are made, parts will be made for field-testing.

MaximEyes Video Magnifier

(Continuing)

The name has changed twice for this product. It was originally called Two Camera Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) Project. It developed into three individual products and the names were changed to Video Magnifier, Video Magnifier Pen, and Video Magnifier Xtra Camera. The Video Magnifier Xtra Camera was dropped and a second Pen was added. The three remaining items names are now MaximEyes Video Magnifier, MaximEyes Video Pen-Wireless, and MaximEyes Video Pen-Corded. The vendor is still in process of finalizing parts and suppliers for all the items needed to assemble the units and has begun work on UYL/FCC testing and compliance for this product. The vendor requested help from APH in sourcing electronic and electromechanical parts for the product and Technical Research put the vendor in contact with an overseas rep that has an extensive supplier network in the orient. In this case the contacts did not have the items needed and components were sourced elsewhere. The units currently have not been tested for either FCC or UL approval. Technical Research made the recommendation that regulatory agency approval be required for the purchase of these products. Until the units have been approved it is difficult to project a time line for product availability.

MiniBook

(New)

Technical Research worked with the two co-project leaders to have prototype samples made to send out for field-testing. The first round of field-testing was completed and the product is now into the second round of testing. Technical Research will complete product documentation once all field test results have been compiled and analyzed.

Moving Ahead: Splish the Fish

(Completed)

Technical Research held a production debriefing for both the storybook and the Braille Reader's Guide in March after the full production run for the storybook was completed.

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. Project leader is in the process of working with the graphics design group to lay out the print manual. Files will likely be ready to turn over sometime in August. This item will be printed outside and will be a pass through item. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this item.

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

(Continuing)

The files were delivered to Braille translation in July. Technical Research will work with the project leader to develop specifications once the print version is finalized.

Personal Vision Portfolio

(New)

Technical Research met with the project leader and consultant in December and again in February to begin defining what the product would be in an attempt to set goals for the research portion of the product development time lines. Technical Research met with them in April to discuss the binding of the print matter and a system of tabs/folders for organizing the materials. Technical Research has begun work on an outline document in an attempt to establish the rudiments of the project.

Picture Maker Accessories: Geometric Shapes

(New)

Catalog numbers for each were set up following a brainstorming PDC meeting in January. The PROJECT leader held a PDC meeting in May to provide the final product makeup.

Picture Maker Accessories: Textured Strips

(New)

Technical Research completed drawings with specifications of all parts for the textured strips, which were sent out for vendor quotes in May. A price quote was received from a vendor on June 14th. The vendor will fabricate all parts with the exception of four parts that are silk screened and vacuum formed by APH prior to die cutting. They will then be sent to the vendor to laminate, die cut, and place in the bag with the rest of the parts. The Model Shop has completed work on the tooling needed for vacuum forming the pieces. Specifications are currently underway with a projected completion date of September.

Picture Maker Accessories: Storage Panel

(New)

This an 8.5" x 11" poly sheet covered on both sides with black Veltex. The decision was made to have outside vendor to produce this item. A price quote was received from a vendor in July. Specifications are currently underway with a projected completion date of September.

Portable Sound Source - Sport Edition

(Continuing)

Technical Research designed and developed new circuitry for this device. The product is now a smaller more portable electronic version of the original. It will now be remote controlled with a key fob sized remote that can 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 Guidebook in both print and braille, including a CD with an HTML file of the book. Samples of the first printed circuit boards were received, and an approved sample was sent back to the vendor on June 24th. Work on the injection molds for the plastic parts has progressed and first piece tooling samples for the main unit's case and the buttons for the main unit were received in July. Evaluations were completed in early August with minor revisions needed to the molds. New samples of the cases and buttons are expected in late August to early September. The new samples should include cases for the remote control unit as well. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

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.

Protractor - Large Print

(Completed)

The pilot run of 100 sets of four protractors was initially started in September 2006 and it become immediately apparent that the cutting die could not properly cut the specified material. A couple different options were explored before ultimately going with the decision to have a new die made from a specialty die maker out of town. This decision was based on input from a local die-cutter. The local die manufacturers did not have the materials necessary to properly cut this type of material. After the die was obtained and the wands cut, the pilot run took place in November 2006, with full production following in January 2007

Protractor - Tactile

(Completed)

After the die was obtained and the wands cut, the pilot run for this one took place in November 2006, with full production run completed in January 2007.

Protractor: Large Print Toss Away

(Continuing)

The project leader has put these two products on hold. There has been some feedback from production and Contract Services for the need of a new Toss Away Protractor. When time permits, Technical Research has been doing some preliminary design/testing for possible production parts. Work on specifications will progress as information is received from the project leader.

Protractor: Tactile Toss Away

(Continuing)

The project leader has put these two products on hold. There has been some feedback from production and Contract Services for the need of a new Toss Away Protractor. When time permits, Technical Research has been doing some preliminary design / testing for possible production parts. Work on specifications will progress as information is received from the project leader.

Push Button Padlocks

(Completed)

Based on art developed by the project leader, a layered template comprising of art, a braille layout and a cutting die for the Padlock Combination Cards was created by Technical Research. Specifications were turned over in February. Braille transcription called for guidance in creating the tooling for the braille components as an embossed paper copy of the Padlock Combination Template didn't match with the print tooling adequately. Request for a tooled plate for tooling verification was made on February 26th. Shipment of Padlocks arrived on February 6th. Production was completed with no problems and units placed into stock in March. Technical Research conducted a production debriefing in May.

Reclaiming Independence: DVD

(Completed)

Technical Research completed specification and turned them over in May. The first production run was competed and placed into stock the last week of June.

Reclaiming Independence: VHS

(Completed)

Technical Research completed and turned over product specifications in May. The first production run was competed and placed into stock the first week of August.

Reclaiming Independence Resource Guide, Braille

(Completed)

The project leader determined that a Braille version of the resource guide should be made available for sale individually shortly before the specification meeting. Technical Research designed product specifications and hand delivered them to the areas producing the Braille guide. This has been completed and was in stock in July.

Robinspring32

(Continuing)

Technical Research met with Robin Mumford, Marketing, the project leader, and others in January. Mumford demonstrated his product and talked about modifications he could make for our version. The project leader will write a low vision booklet to include in with the lamp, which will contain guidelines for use in the classroom and at home. The vendor addressed our concerns about UL approval of the lamp. Technical Research will be meeting with Mumford and the project leader to further discuss this product.

SAM: Symbols and Meaning

(New)

The project leader held a Brainstorming PDC meeting May 29th and presented the concepts and opened the floor brainstorming for ideas on how to make some of the items in the kit. The kit will possibly include items such as weighted cup(s) with removable handles (or weight wrap for use on cups), weight wraps (for use on utensils, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, a binder for objects (different size binders with heavy plastic pages), bags for preoperational skills, i.e. breakfast bag, and a CD for distant sounds to close touch. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader to develop possible manufacturing methods/vendors for items to be used in the kit.

Scattered Crowns: Tactile Attribute Game

(Completed)

Samples of the Attribute Roller were received and inspected in March. Only one very minor molding flaw was found on all of the single Attribute Rollers, this was pointed out to the vendor who was able to easily make a correction to the mold. The finished rollers were received in early May. Production of the kits began in June. Technical Research assisted in the initial setups of all eight screens to make both the crown game pieces and textures for the attribute rollers and followed production on through the vacuum forming and die cutting. Application of the textures to the Attribute Rollers was monitored to insure proper placement and adhesion of the textures to the rollers. Production of most components was finished in July. After the specifications were turned over for this kit, the project leader made the decision to change the game box from a white corrugated to a blue Coroplast box. The initial shipment of Coroplast boxes were rejected because of poor manufacturing (there was a great deal of rolled/jagged edges). The boxes also proved to be very difficult to assemble. Purchasing reached an agreement for the vendor to pick up the boxes, repair, assemble, and ship them back to APH. It was agreed that all future shipments would come preassembled. The production of parts that are placed on the game board and assembly of the game board itself proved to be one of the more difficult aspects of this product. The die used for cutting white Veltex rectangles that are placed into the tactile grid on the board wouldn't properly cut the material. The die was sent back to the die maker to be reworked. This introduced a couple weeks delay, but did work correctly when it came back. The specified method for taping the tactile overlays with double-sided tape for application to the board proved difficult and was modified on the floor to simplify and reduce time per unit. Applying the tactile overlay to the board correctly was somewhat of a problem. A fixture (five total) was quickly fabricated by Technical Research to assist with laying the overlay on straight and without overlapping the folding edge of the board. Production completed and units stocked in July. A production debriefing meeting was held in August. There are a number of corrections needed to specifications and bills of materials on this kit. These will be updated as time allows.

Select Switch

(New)

Technical Research completed the bid package in March and worked with Purchasing to finalize the contracts in April. A vendor was selected in June and began work on the tooling for this project (molds, printed circuit board artwork, etc). It should be noted that the vendor selected already makes several of the custom parts needed for this project. This will help keep costs as low as possible on this item. Technical Research received first piece samples from the molds for this item in July. Evaluations of the parts were completed in early August. Minor problems will likely be corrected in the next round of mold samples. At this time, no samples of the electronics for this item have been received. Electronics samples are anticipated in late August to early September.

Sense of Science -- Astronomy

(Continuing)

Technical Research is in the process of experimenting with directly scanning the vacuum form molds for this item in order to create print tooling using computer graphics versus creating the print tooling by hand.

SLK Power Select

(Completed)

Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product as an individual item available for sale in October 2006.

SLK Power Scallop Switch

(Completed)

Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product as an individual item available for sale in October 2006.

SLK Adaptable Tactile Switch

(Completed)

Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product as an individual item available for sale in October 2006.

SLK Adaptable Stick Switch

(Completed)

Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product as an individual item available for sale in October 2006.

SLK Vibrating Pad with Adaptor

(Completed)

Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product as an individual item available for sale in October 2006.

Sound Ball Boing Boing "Yellow"

(Completed)

Both balls arrived in house in April 16th. Technical Research worked with the QA Department in pulling samples and performing tests on statistical samples for each of the two balls. Both shipments passed inspection, were received into stock on April 24th, and were made available for sale on April 25, 2007.

Sound Ball, Techno Beat "Red"

(Completed)

Both balls arrived in house in April 16th. Technical Research worked with the Quality Assurance Department in pulling samples and performing tests on statistical samples for each of the two balls. Both shipments passed inspection, were received into stock on April 24th, and were made available for sale on April 25, 2007.

SQUID - A Tactile Activities Magazine, Issue 2

(Completed)

Technical Research monitored the first production run into stock in September 2006.

SQUID - A Tactile Activities Magazine, Issue 3

(Completed)

The project leader had a goal of having this product in stock in December 2006. Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production in early August 2006. Production was completed in February 2007.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine Issue 4

(New)

Technical Research completed and turned over specifications in June and will monitor this issue through production scheduled for September.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine Issue 5

(New)

Technical Research is working on having specifications completed in September. Production for this item is slated for January 2008.

StackUps

(Completed)

This product consists of 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 StackUps Cubes. Technical Research worked with Purchasing to find vendor who would make the cubes and assemble the Velcro onto the cubes. The cubes arrived in house in April. Production began mid May with Technical Research providing assistance for the 12 setups on the silk screening of Mat Plan Cards, Stacked Cube Arrangement Cards. Technical Research then followed the materials on through to vacuum forming, die cutting, and packaging. After vacuum-forming the 5' x 5' Raised Line Grids Technical Research assisted in two setups for silk-screening the black line grid on the top of the formed grid. The screens did not line up with the formed parts correctly and it was found that the grids formed into yellow vinyl used in the final design did not have the same shrinkage as the material used in prototypes (white vinyl). The art for the screens was setup against the white vinyl prototypes creating the slight mismatch. Technical Research provided the project leader with two options, 1) do away with the black line or 2) live with less than ideal registration of the black line to the raised grid. The project leader felt the black line was necessary and decided to go ahead with production to determine if the existing screens would be workable. If this wasn't workable, new art would have needed to be made, creating a delay in production until art and screens could be remade. Production was able to work through the problem by stopping and cleaning the screen at regular intervals to remove bleeding (smears) from the screen thus eliminating bad parts. Revision of the screen art will be revisited following production to insure production goes smoother on future runs. This product was packaged in its specified box for the first production run. On subsequent runs it will be packaged in either a new blue Coroplast box or an equivalent white cardboard box once a final decision is made concerning this issue. Production of the worksheets was holding up the final production and packaging of the kit and wasn't started until early July. The embossed worksheets were sitting on the backed-up braille production floor. Technical Research recommended that packing be moved to Educational Aids so that the kit could be completed. Final packing completed and units stocked by the end of July. During final packaging, it was noted that the braille spine label on the braille guidebook was discolored (not clear) to a salmon or pink tint. This book should have had a clear protective front cover to which the label was applied. For this reason and that even discolored it didn't make to print underneath unreadable, the Project leader allowed to be placed into the kits for this run. Material to run additional print covers was obtained and given to Large Type. Standard adhesive label material has been placed onto the covers to determine what possible combination of materials/environment might have caused this reaction. After several weeks in Technical Research no change in the label color has been detected. A couple test covers have now been taken down to the shipping department to see if setting in the warmer/more humid conditions that books normally sit in will have any effect. A production-debriefing meeting was held in August.

State Map Collection

(Completed)

This is a collection of four separate and individually available products, 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. Following the release of specifications, Braille Production had been working with and successfully ran a test on the new sheet-fed Heidelberg and made the recommendation to manufacture the product on this piece of equipment. Preliminary tests with the existing State Map plates demonstrated satisfactory embossing for project leader but pointed out a problem with layout position of image on the plates which had been improperly tooled. A decision was made to redo all 56 plates to meet the machine requirements. Production was originally scheduled for January 2007 was delayed for a variety of reasons, including the decision to change the manufacturing process described above and retooling the plates. Tests were run once corrected plates were available. Unfortunately, it was determined that the maps printed in house were developing page curl. This prevented the sheet from being picked up and pulled into the Heidelberg consistently. Production was halted and it was then decided to go back to the originally specified production method of running on the clamshell presses but only at half the scheduled production quantity. This all happened at a time the braille floor was getting extremely backed up. Map pages were reprinted and embossing starting in early June 2007. The collation and final packaging was also being delayed due to backups in braille. This operation was moved to Educational Aids and all four kits were packaged and were in stock in July. There is a plan in place to use the sheet fed Heidelberg for the remainder of scheduled production. To accomplish this, the map pages will have to be produced outside. Technical Research requested part numbers for each page for one of the four kits. This is so they can be printed by an outside vendor as a test to prove out if this remedies the curl issue. The printed map pages from the vendor were placed into stock in late July. The production schedule had the remaining 200 kits being run two months after the Pilot Run. Due to backups in braille, production reports that they will attempt this test run when scheduling allows. Technical research will continue to monitor this product as a test using the production methods noted above. If the tests on this series of maps (central states) proves successful, Technical Research will work with the various production and production support areas to convert the remaining three sets to this process.

Sticky Dots

(Completed)

On January 30, 2007, the project leader conducted a PDC meeting for this product which is an already purchased item made for an existing kit (Rolling Right Along Construction Kit). Technical Research completed specifications and held a specification meeting on February 20th. Technical research monitored this through the first production run on March 26th and held a debriefing meeting March 29th. No reported problems.

Swirly Mats: FVA Set

(Completed)

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. The first production run of these mats was received from an overseas vendor and exhibited minor problems with leakage. Technical Research worked with the APH purchasing department and the vendor to work out an in-house inspection method to cull out any defective product. The vendor reimbursed APH for the labor involved to do this. Less than 1% defective products were found. The second shipment of these mats was purchased from a vendor in the USA. Upon arrival, this shipment also exhibited minor problems with leakage. Again, Technical Research worked with Purchasing and the vendor to work out an inspection method to cull out any defective product. The vendor furnished all labor for the inspections and performed them on-site, and reimbursed APH for the labor involved to do this. Less than 1.5% defective products were found. Technical Research has continued to work with the purchasing department and the current vendor to find ways to improve the production process and to put in place quality testing during the production runs starting with the next shipment. Technical Research required the vendor submit preproduction samples of the mats for testing. These were received in mid-August and tested for a week. The samples passed all tests. Technical Research will monitor the next production run from this vendor and may make an on-site inspection during the production of this item.

Swirly Mat Set CVI

(Completed)

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. The first production run of these mats was received from an overseas vendor and exhibited minor problems with leakage. Technical Research worked with the APH purchasing department and the vendor to work out an in-house inspection method to cull out any defective product. The vendor reimbursed APH for the labor involved to do this. Less than 1% defective products were found. The second shipment of these mats was purchased from a vendor in the USA. Upon arrival, this shipment also exhibited minor problems with leakage. Again, Technical Research worked with the APH purchasing department and the vendor to work out an inspection method to cull out any defective product. The vendor furnished all labor for the inspections and performed them on-site and reimbursed APH for the labor involved to do this. Less than 1.5% defective products were found. Technical Research has continued to work with the purchasing department and the current vendor to find ways to improve the production process and to put in place quality testing during the production runs starting with the next shipment. Technical Research required the vendor submit preproduction samples of the mats for testing. These were received in mid-August and tested for a week. The samples passed all tests. Technical Research will monitor the next production run from this vendor and may make an on-site inspection during the production of this item.

Tactile Connection - Spanish Guidebook

(Completed)

This is the twelfth and final part of this product. The Spanish book was produced and placed in to stock in October 2006.

Tactile Protractor

(Completed)

This developed into two products; the Large Print Protractor and the Tactile Protractor. Technical Research completed specifications, turned them over to production, and monitoring the first production run of the product into stock in January 2007 and a production debriefing was held later in January.

ToAD (Tools for Assessment and Development)

(Continuing)

Due to purchasing restrictions, a number of items required the selection of new vendors/products as replacements for those already selected to be placed into the kit. Technical Research worked closely with purchasing in specifying/testing/receiving approval from the project leader to get changes resolved so that specifications could be finalized. Technical Research insured that materials met the project leaders' requirements while providing the best price options for most of the items being placed into the kit. Specifications turned over on June 28, 2007. There have been a number of changes to the kit up to and following release of the product specifications. One major change has to do with the Swirly Mats sets. With the ongoing concerns with leaking and delivery lead times, the Swirly Mats will be packed in a separate carton, with all remaining components packed in a large Materials Carry-all. If there are delays in obtaining the Mats, the main part of the kit (carton 1 of 2) will be shipped with the Swirly Mats (carton 2 of 2) to follow. The Swirly Mats should be in place for the first production run. Technical Research created drawings for seven cutting dies and other miscellaneous engineering drawing for components made for APH by outside vendors. All dies have been ordered and are in place. Purchasing has placed orders for all items needed for the kit. Technical Research has been inspecting all new parts for the kit as they arrive. Preproduction samples are still needed on some items and they will be re-inspected to insure they match the approved samples upon arrival. Production of the components, which are also part of the full kit, will begin in October, with the full kit scheduled for November 2007. Building of all sub-components will be used as the Pilot Run on this kit. It should be noted that there are over 160 items to either be bought or made to produce this kit.

ToAD Object Cards

(Continuing)

Technical Research turned over specifications June 28, with production scheduled for October 2007. Production tooling files were turned over at the specification meeting and have been sent to vendor. Print samples of the Object Cards have been provided and approved by the Project leader. The Vendor will initially tried to find pre-made clear vinyl pocket sheets, these were rejected by Technical Research as the sheet did not meet the guidelines required by the Project leader. The vendor shall custom manufacture vinyl pockets sheets; samples have already been provided and approved. The pocket sheets, used to hold the individual Object Cards will be packaged in with Object Card Sheets and come to APH shrink-wrapped together as a finished goods item.

ToAD Light Source Items

(Continuing)

The Light Source Tips are parts that created delays in final specifications for this catalog item as well as the full kit. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and potential vendors. It was determined for the best pricing and consistency of parts that it would be best to have them machined from Lucite. The prototype parts were made of cast urethane, which exhibited inconsistencies in both color and dimensional stability. The project leader had recently specified a polished finish on the three parts. After inspecting preliminary samples, the project leader was not satisfied with the amount of light emitted through the tips. Additional testing by Technical Research showed that a frosted finish, similar to the prototypes caused more light to be refracted within the tip making them appear to light up or glow with a greater intensity. Technical Research worked with Purchasing to provide detailed drawings and specific color samples to work from. Samples of the Light Source tips were received in August and approved. The LED flashlight for this kit also presented problems due to purchasing restrictions (minimum quantities and costs) as well as strict size requirements of the light itself. A suitable light was located and approved in August.

ToAD Guidebook, Braille

(Continuing)

Technical Research turned over specifications June 28th, with production scheduled for October 2007. All tooling, with the exception of a master CD was turned over and in place for production.

ToAD Guidebook, Print

(Continuing)

Technical Research turned over specifications June 28, with production scheduled for October 2007. All tooling, with the exception of a master CD was turned over and in place for production.

ToAD - Squire Toad's Puzzle Book

(Continuing)

Production tooling files were turned over at the specification meeting and also were sent to the vendor. The books will come in to APH shrink-wrapped and labeled as a finished goods item.

ToAD - Squire Toad's Puzzle Book - Braille

(New)

Following a meeting of the APH Accessibility Committee, the Project leader notified Technical Research that a braille version of Squire Toad's Puzzle Book would need to be manufactured. Specifications were drawn up; bills and routings were put into place as quickly as possible and were turned over to production departments on July 26th. Tooling has been completed and is in place to meet the same production schedule (October) as the other components of ToAD.

Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book

(Continuing)

After field testing it was decided to design another puzzle book that would follow the ToAD kit. Technical Research has not begun any work on these products. This is due to the decision of Project leader that these items will not be part of the ToAD kit but will be a separate product. This was moved to a lower priority to allow efforts to be concentrated on projects nearer to their deadlines for completion of specifications.

Tasha Tadpole Manual, Braille

(Continuing)

After field-testing, it was decided to add another manual for multiply handicapped children in both print and Braille. Technical Research has not begun any work on these products. This is due to the decision of Project leader that these items will not be part of the ToAD kit but will be a separate product. This was moved to a lower priority to allow efforts to be concentrated on projects nearer to their deadlines for completion of specifications.

Trek

(New)

The name was changed from Compass Attack and the project leader conducted a brainstorming PDC in December. A second PDC was held in February 2007 to further discuss the project. Technical Research completed work on a part drawing to be used by an outside vendor to make molds for the board in June. Drawings were sent to the vendor for price quotes on both the mold and the production parts. Quotes were received in July. Prices were reviewed and found to be acceptable. Technical Research worked with the purchasing department to create a purchase order for the tooling and 25 preproduction sample pieces. These pieces will be evaluated at APH and used in field testing the product if they are found to be acceptable. Vendor samples are expected in September.

Toss-Away Number Lines, Large Print

(New)

This and the Braille/Tactile version were switched to a new project leader. Technical Research and the Project leader met in May to discuss product requirements. Technical Research is currently developing the required tooling and has worked with production to prove out the methods. Preliminary print tooling has been designed and presented to the Project leader for approval. Final print tooling will be determined by dimensional requirements of the Toss-Away Number Lines, Braille/Tactile which is also underdevelopment. The dimensional spacing of points for print and braille/tactile will match exactly. The print tooling is designed in such a manner as to allow the multi-up printed sheets to be split to a finished size that matches the size of the braille/tactile number lines. Technical Research met with the project leader and Graphics Designer to discuss print documentation size requirements. The kit will be packed in a simple folded cardboard mailer that has dimensions of 18" x 3.25". Technical Research was able to provide guidelines for a design that would be a multi-up printing job that would be cut down to size to fit within the mailing folder. Technical Research has also worked with the Translation Department to find a workable solution for manufacturing braille documentation to also fit the mailing folder. Technical Research will work with production to obtain the required materials for the Project leader to use for field-testing. Tooling and specifications are being worked on concurrently.

Toss-Away Number Lines, Braille/Tactile

(New)

Technical Research met with the project leader a number of times since May to discuss/modify what is needed for this project. Technical Research has developed a working prototype of the braille number lines and created basic layouts of the raised line tactile number lines. The braille number lines are tentatively to be run on the new Interpoint 55 braille embossing machine in the braille production department. This machine can emboss a continuous 11" wide to a specified sheet length. This feature allows for seven braille number lines to be set up and run on an 11"x24" sheet which will then be die-cut to separate the individual lines. The tooling for the raised line number lines is set to match the same dimension characteristics as the print and braille. Tooling requirements for the print and braille documentation will follow the same guidelines as those in the print kit. Technical Research will work with production to obtain the required materials for the Project leader to use for field-testing. Tooling and specifications are being worked on concurrently.

Transparent CCTV Ruler

(New)

Technical Research met with the project leader in August to begin working on designing a set of rulers in four different increments for field review. Technical Research submitted sample pieces for review by the project leader in August. The project leader has since made and inquiry into the possibility of a metric version of the Transparent CCTV Rulers. Preliminary work on tooling for the metric version is also underway. If approved, these pieces will be used to generate the print tooling and cutting dies needed to produce the product. Technical Research will begin working on product specifications once field reviews have been completed and final design is approved. Technical Research will then follow this product through production on its initial production run.

Turbo Phonics

(Continuing)

This is a software package on CD, and will include a Braille Teacher's Guidebook, a Print Teacher's Guidebook, and a Print Student's Workbook. The three items will be made available for sale separately. Technical Research met with the project leader in June to see how the project was progressing. The project leader mentioned there would be an additional component in Braille (Braille version of the student's workbook) due to requirements of the accessibility committee. Specifications are currently updated to information provided at the June meeting. A meeting was held in August to check on the progress of the project. A few minor details of the project need to be resolved but work is progressing on the specifications. Once these last few items are finalized specifications can be completed and turned over to production along with bills and routings. This is anticipated in late September or early October.

Variable Beam Flashlight w/Disks

(Completed)

Technical Research attended a PDC meeting to discuss revisions of an existing product. The new kit will now include two flashlights, two lens packs and two sets of the nine Colored Lens packs along with print and braille guidebooks. The guidebooks will contain a CD with BRF, PDF, HTML files and photos and they will also be available for sale separately. The cards in the existing product will be replaced by the guidebook with CD. Technical Research designed specs for all three items and turned them over to production. The items were produced and made available for sale in February 2007. Technical Research held a debriefing meeting on these products February 14, 2007. Concerns over time spent labeling and packing came up at the debriefing. Technical Research worked with the production floor supervisor to obtain a new box that is easier for the production floor to assemble. Specifications called for two labels to be placed on each of the flashlight packs in the kit. Technical Research proposed placing the labels on a Ziploc bag and then placing all items in that bag. This fulfills the labeling requirements and reduces time in production.

Verbal View of the Net and the Web

(Completed)

Technical Research held a specification meeting in June 2006 and the tooling was completed in August 2006. Technical research followed this product through production in September 2006. A production debriefing meeting was held following the completion of the production run in October.

Verbal View of Web Documents

(Completed)

Technical Research held a specification meeting in October 2006. Tooling for this project was completed in December 2006. Technical research followed this product through production in February 2007 and the debriefing meeting was held in April.

Verbal View of Web Searches

(New)

Technical Research completed specifications in April and tooling was scheduled to be completed the same month or in May. Problems with the recording software created delays preventing this product from being completed by a tentative mid-June date. Being able to resolve these issues while in process, did delay the release of the product, but also provided resolution for some ongoing software problems. The recording is complete and the final proofing should be complete in early July. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this item. There have been a number of set backs on this product that has prevented its manufacture. Most have to do with the software used to record the product in the studios, making it a fully synchronized text/audio Daisy Digital Talking Book. The project leader had finally placed the files necessary for production in late July. The CD production department reported that the files were corrupt and the CD's could not be produced. The problem has not been resolved as of August 10th.

Verbal View of Online Mail

(Completed)

A decision was made at the April 18th debriefing of Web Documents to move this item up in the series. Technical Research obtained part numbers, completed specifications, and turned them over in a specification meeting held May 14th. Production was completed and in stock as of June 26th. A debriefing meeting on this product was held in July.

Verbal View of Email Lists

(New)

Technical Research is continuing to develop product specifications, as information becomes available from the project leader.

Walk/Run for Fitness Kit

(Completed)

Technical Research worked very closely with Purchasing and the project leader in ordering the items (guide rope, anchors, connecting devices, pedometers, etc.) needed for prototypes to send out for field-testing. This will be sold as three separate products, the full kit, a braille guidebook and a print guidebook. Once field reviews were completed Technical Research completed product specifications and turned them over to production on April 17th. Specific information in the Guidebook containing pictures/diagrams for the tying of specific knots and the assembly instructions of components were all designed by Technical Research. Technical Research also designed and fabricated a guide rope assembly fixture in time for scheduled production. This fixture allowed the guide ropes to be wound directly onto the Cord Caddy while measuring out the required number of feet of rope. Technical Research worked closely with Production in providing instruction and monitoring the consistency of knots used for various components in the kit. Specific knots were specified to reduce the chance of failure in the field. Technical Research recommended the following safety labeling requirement for this product;

WARNING: Adults should be aware of the strangulation hazards associated with (ropes) cords and take precautions through supervision and instruction to ensure children to not become entangled.

Prior to production, the word "rope" was changed to "cords" in order that the content of the label would be generic enough to use in multiple kits. The Braille guidebook was completed in June. The print guidebook was completed in late June and delivered to Educational Aids for final kit packaging. Final packaging was completed and the kits were stocked in early July. A production debriefing was held on August 7th. There was an issue with the print guidebook that resulted in the request for a new file to be delivered to production. The project leader reported that numerous randomly scattered small black lines could be found throughout the text pages. Technical Research retrieved the file from production and a replacement should be turned over in the near future.

Woodcock-Johnson III, Student Braille Edition

(Continuing)

The project leader turned over files to Braille translation in June. There is still some concern on the scoring CD. This component will have the longest preproduction time line for this kit, but is essential for using this kit. Technical Research continues working on developing specifications, as more information becomes available.

Woodcock-Johnson III, Student Large Print Edition

(Complete)

Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over in November with production scheduled for December 2006. There were delays in production due to formatting issues with the placement of divider pages in the two books and the material selected for the covers and divider pages was discontinued just prior to the start of production. A comparable material was located and the test books were run in two batches so that covers and dividers matched. Production was completed in February and a debriefing was held in March.

Woodcock-Johnson Tote Bag (APH Innovations Tote)

(Completed)

The shipment of bags from the original vendor was not to specification. This shipment of bags will be used up as carry bags for WJIII materials, but once used up this part will be discontinued. Technical Research worked with the project leader and Purchasing to create concept drawings to better communicate with vendors the specifications of the bag. A second vendor was contacted and bid on the bags. The project leaders approved samples and all future bags will come from this vendor with the incorporated zipper and gusset panel. This bag will replace the original bag without the zipper and will be used as a generic bag for ISAVE, Envision I, and Envision II kits to help standardize carry bags and ultimately reduce the cost of the bags by increasing the volume of bags purchased.

GlaReducers

(Completed)

This Product evolved out of Woodcock Johnson III kit and consists of two each of yellow and pink transparent rigid vinyl sheets to be used for glare reduction on printed pages. It is part of the kit and is available separately. Shipment was received in November, approved and placed into stock. It was made available for sale in February and a debriefing meeting was held in March at the same time as Woodcock/Johnson III.

Word Playhouse

(New)

This product's name was changed from Phonics and Letter Cards. Technical Research worked extensively with the project leader and created prototypes for field-testing. After field-testing was completed in April, Technical Research met again with the Project leader to discuss changes after analyzing the field-testing results. Technical Research developed a number of possible layouts for production. This began with testing for the maximum number of parts that can be adequately die-cut cut at one time. Sheets of materials were laminated, as they would be in actual production, and die-cut with available multi-part dies to a find a workable maximum number. With this figure and input from the project leader a decision was made as to the best way tooling could be set up for the production floor. Layouts based on the increased/changed content of cards from field-testing were developed. Technical Research will layout print and tactual content to create the necessary tooling for manufacturing the parts. Information for specifications is being pulled together concurrently. The goal for tooling completion is the fall of 2007. Technical Research will layout the print, design the cutting dies, and create a cut pattern on the CNC router for use by the model shop to fabricate vacuum for patterns.

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.

Light Box

(Product Maintenance)

Technical Research met with Purchasing, General Electric's factory representative, and the Underwriter's Laboratories Inspector on the Light Box. 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 their 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 rep 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.

Mini-Lite Box

(Product Maintenance)

Component availability has forced the overseas factory to source new components for this product. Production approval samples were received in June for parts approval. All parts with one exception (a positive temperature co-efficient thermistor) were approved in early July. Technical Research faxed operational curves for the PTC thermistor to the vendor. The vendor has located an acceptable part and production on the units was started in early August. Units are anticipated arriving at APH's dock in November 2007.

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.

150TH Anniversary Celebration for APH - Tactile Map Committee

A staff member from Technical Research attended a tactile map committee meeting in June. This is one of several sub-committees formed to help organize events for the celebration in 2008. This committee is charged to design, develop, and have produced a printed tactile map that will be presented to the Kentucky School for the Blind in honor of the close working relationship the two organizations have had over the years. Technical research has provided downloaded satellite maps of the area to other committee members as a starting point for information gathering for the project.

Box Standardization

Working with the various project leaders Technical Research was able to create a standard design for a box to pack five existing kits: Chang, Web Chase, Tactile Connections, StackUps, and Scattered Crowns. Two of the kits had boxes identical in dimensions but each had a custom label printed directly on the box. This precluded these boxes from being used for any kit other than the kit printed on the box. By utilizing a printed label to be applied to the box the print on the boxes was eliminated and the boxes could be made interchangeable amongst several kits. By increasing the dimensions slightly, the boxes could be used on two additional kits. The re-sizing of the box also necessitated a re-sizing of the mailing bag. This was an opportunity to improve efficiencies on the production floor as well. Current bags were purchased at a discount as an overrun of discontinued stock. They were too large for the boxes we put in them so the bags had to be folded and taped to work properly. The new size is a direct fit and does not need the extra taping operations. Also, the bags were printed with three standardized labels normally printed separately and applied by hand on the production floor. This eliminates 75% of the labeling labor for the outside mailer on these kits. All of the boxes were originally cardboard and the project leader felt the use of chloroplast material would give better longevity and look more polished in product presentation. The Coroplast boxes were originally thought to be purchased completely made up and ready to pack. However, due to costing issues, the boxes were ordered flat. When they were received, Technical Research worked with Production to practice folding the boxes. This was found to be very difficult and time consuming. There were concerns of stress/repetitive motion injuries on the production floor. The boxes also had poor quality die cutting with rough edges. Technical research worked with the purchasing department to have the cartons returned for re-work. The vendor agreed the edges were poor quality and offered to fold the boxes at a 75% discount over the original folding costs quoted. The boxes were sent back to the vendor in late June. Once received, the boxes will be used in any of the five kits pending packing on the production floor. Purchasing will be ordering the chloroplast boxes fully assembled on all future orders.

Lightbox Level III Materials

Technical Research met with the project leader and a vendor earlier to discuss the ink colors currently used for silk-screened materials. The project leader approved the last shipment of materials to avoid scrap and delays in production but several of the colors were somewhat off. The vendor took samples of the desired colors and will make draw down samples of the inks for project leader's approval. Technical Research suggests that three sets be made: one to be kept by APH, one by the local sales rep, and one kept at the factory. Technical Research called the vendor in June to find out if the samples had been printed and found they had not. The local sales representative is checking into this item. Technical Research will continue to follow up on this.

Individual Calendar Kit

(product maintenance)

In May Technical Research worked with the project leader, purchasing, and production to find a replacement for adhesive mounting squares for the kit. These squares were becoming increasingly difficult to find and were expensive. Technical research found a repositionable glue stick (3M post-it glue) to use in the kit. Technical Research obtained samples and furnished those to the project leader once they had been tested. Following project leader approval Technical Research followed up with purchasing to give all pertinent ordering information and wrote an Engineering Change Request to document the change for engineering, cost, inventory, and production. This change resulted in a savings of $6.61 per kit or $9,207.73 in annual production expenses. This savings was turned in to the continuous improvement program and approval is pending.

World at Your Fingers

(Product maintenance)

This was completed and went into stock in September 2006. However, Technical Research has recently been involved with two changes in the product since its release. The first is a change of the backing board from Sintra to HDPE material. The Sintra was no longer available in the thickness used for this product. A sample of the material was obtained, tested by Technical Research, and shown to the project leader for approval. The material was approved and incorporated in all bills of material and routings. The second change was necessary due to the cartons collapsing when stacked for shipment to APH. These cartons arrive from the vendor made up (not flat like most boxes). Even with the vendor limiting the number of cartons stacked on a skid the boxes were gradually collapsing under their own weight. Small pieces of extra cardboard were added inside the box to reinforce the box to prevent it from collapsing in shipment. These cartons were received and reviewed in March 2007. The cartons were approved and have been successfully used in production runs.

Presentations and Workshops

Abner, G., & Poppe, K. J. (2006, October). IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts: Classroom Suite Edition [Poster Session]. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Allman, C. (2006, October). Accommodations in Test Administration. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Allman, C. (2007, February). Transition from Test Anxiety to Successful Test Taking for Students with Visual Impairments. South Carolina AER, Mount Pleasant, SC.

Allman, C., & Burnham, B. (2006, October). Learning Through Training. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Harrell, L., Pester, E., & Wright, S. (2006,October). Having Fun Learning and Teaching. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W., & Allman, C. (2006, October). Assessment Needs Survey 2007: New Directions. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Hoffmann, R., & Poppe, K. J. (2006, October). Science for Everyone [Product Training Session]. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2006, November). Color and Text Guidelines for the Development of Power Point Presentations and Web Pages for Audiences that May Include Persons with Low Vision, meeting of Mid America Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers, Atlanta, GA.

Kitchel, E. (2006, October). Address: Earth, a Large Format Atlas, The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2007, January). Understanding the Text, Graphic & Visual Needs of Test Takers Who are Partially-Sighted, meeting of National Test Publishers and Editors, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2007, June). Conducting a Lighting Assessment and Recording Data, workshop for Indiana Rehabilitation Teachers, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2007, June). Development of Materials for Conducting Functional Vision Assessments, meeting of Jefferson County Teachers of Visually Impaired Students, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2007, June). Natural and Artificial Light, workshop for Indiana Rehabilitation Teachers, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2007, June). Properties of Light & How to Observe Light, workshop for Indiana Rehabilitation Teachers, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2007, June). World At Your Fingers. Middle Tennessee State teachers of the visually impaired in-service, APH, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2007, March). Geography, Map Reading, and Tactile Design. Southeastern Orientation and Mobility Conference, Nashville, TN.

Otto, F. (2007, May). World At Your Fingers and Tactile Map Design. Classroom presentations, Bullitt Lick Middle School, Shepherdsville, KY.

Otto, F., Poppe, K., & Poppe, T. (2006, October). 'Round the World With Maps. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F., Rucker, E., & Travis, A. (2006, October). Tactile Maps. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E. (2007, July). Building on Patterns and Fun with Braille. Kentucky School for the Blind Annual Gateways Conference, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E. (2007, March). Building on Patterns and Fun with Braille. Vanderbilt University students at APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2006, October). Fulfilling the Need: An update on the 2001 Multiple Disabilities Survey. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2006, October). Going Places: Transition Guidelines for Community-Based Physical Activities for Students who have Visual Impairments, Blindness, or Deafblindness. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2007, July). Product showcase: Sensory Learning Kit, Expandable Calendar Boxes, Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication, Sound Ball, Going Places: Transition Guidelines for Community-Based Physical Activities for Students who have Visual Impairments, Blindness, or Deafblindness. Gateways Conference at APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2007, June). Product showcase: Lots of Dots Series, Tangle Toy, Sound Ball. Middle Tennessee University at APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2007, March). Product showcase: Sensory Learning Kit, Tangle Toy Kit, Lots of Dots Series. Vanderbilt University at APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2007, May). Product training: Lots of Dots: Counting 123, Sound Ball. APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T., & Poppe, K. (2007, April).Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication. Poster session presented at Council for Exceptional Children Convention, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T., & Poppe, K. J. (2007, April). The Effectiveness of a Tactile Communication Intervention. [Poster Session]. CEC Convention, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, October). Scattered Crowns: Tactile Attribute Game. [Poster Session] The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2006, October). StackUps: Spatial Reasoning Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings [Poster Session]. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2007, July). APH Products for the Expanded Core Curriculum: Tactile Graphic Products. Gateway to Independence Conference, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2007, March). Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding. CTEVH Conference, Santa Clara, CA.

Poppe, K. J. (2007, March). Tactile Graphic Products. Vanderbilt In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J., & Otto, F. (September, 2007). Tactile Graphics: Touching on the Basics [Webcast]. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2007, February). In-House Product Training for APH Employees: SQUID Issues 2 and 3. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Scott, K. (2007, April). Improving Alternate Assessments for Visually Impaired Students. Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Conference. Louisville, KY.

Smith, M., & Pierce, T. (2007, April). Sensory Learning Kit: Accessing the World Differently. Council for Exceptional Children Convention, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2006, November). Daily Living Products from APH. Web cast for the Conference of the Dakotas Chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2006, November). Stocking Stuffers, APH Products for Adults. Web cast for Accessible World, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2006, October). Money Talks, Applications for Adults with Visual Impairments. Web cast for Accessible World, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2007, April). Miniguide US and 'K' Sonar, Electronic Travel Devices from APH. Kentucky Office for the Blind Workshop, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. T. (2007, March). Miniguide US and 'K' Sonar. Southeastern Orientation and Mobility Conference, Nashville, TN.

Wicker, J. (2006, October). Make Your Reading Needs Known! The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. (2007, May). Product Showcase: Word Playhouse, MathBuilders Unit 1, and General Guidelines for Teaching Math to Young Braille Users. Vanderbilt Students at APH, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J., Allman, C., & Henderson, B. (2006, October). High Stakes Testing and the Visually Impaired Student. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Willis, D. H., Henderson, B. W., & Scott, K. (2007, June). Enabling Access to Items for Test-Takers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Conference on Large-Scale Assessment, Nashville, TN.

Wright, S. (2006, October). Moving Ahead Tactile Graphic Storybooks. The 138th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2007, March). Sharing the Journey: On the Way to Literacy. In Touch with Early Literacy Workshop, Louisville, KY.

Product Materials

Gissoni, F., Terlau, M. T., & Rucker, E. (2006). EZ Battery Tester, Auditory: Package Insert & Instructions. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Gissoni, F., Terlau, M. T., & Rucker, E. (2006). EZ Battery Tester, Tactile: Package Insert & Instructions. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind

Kitchel, E. (2006, December). Toodle Tiles, program specifications. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2007, July). Address: Earth; The American South, intro.; Canada, intro.; Global Warming. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2007, November). ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Visual Skills; Teachers' Guidebook; Squire Toad's Puzzle Book; Match 'n Sort Cards. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E., Rucker, E., Travis, A., & Vaught, M. (2007, July). Address: Earth; Charts; Glossary; Index. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Koniak, L., & Krause, K. (2007, July). Address: Earth, Section I. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Koniak, L. (2007, July). Address: Earth; Charts. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Lieberman, L., & Schedlin, H. (2007). Walk/Run for Fitness. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Otto, F., & Vaught, M. (2007). State Map Collections. American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E., Dilworth, K., Lein, C., Modaressi, B., Petersen, M., Stockman, D., Wilson, G., & Wingell, R. (2006). Building on Patterns: The Primary Braille Literacy Program Posttest Teacher's Manual, Criterion Referenced to the Kindergarten Level. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E., & Modaressi, B. (2006). Building on Patterns: The Primary Braille Literacy Program Color Me, Kindergarten Level. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E., & Modaressi, B. (2006). Building on Patterns: The Primary Braille Literacy Program For a Ride, Kindergarten Level. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E., & Modaressi, B. (2006). Building on Patterns: The Primary Braille Literacy Program For Me, Kindergarten Level. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E., & Modaressi, B. (2006). Building on Patterns: The Primary Braille Literacy Program Go, Kindergarten Level. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E., & Modaressi, B. (2006). Building on Patterns: The Primary Braille Literacy Program Katie and Zack, Kindergarten Level, Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E., & Modaressi, B. (2006). Building on Patterns: The Primary Braille Literacy Program People Can, Kindergarten Level. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E., & Modaressi, B. (2006). Building on Patterns: The Primary Braille Literacy Program Ready, Kindergarten Level. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E., & Modaressi, B. (2006). Building on Patterns:The Primary Braille Literacy Program Teacher's Edition, Kindergarten Level. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E., & Modaressi, B. (2006) Building on Patterns: The Primary Braille Literacy Program We, Kindergarten Level. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E., & Leibfritz, W. E. (2007). Math Builders General Guidelines. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pierce, T. (2007). Lots of Dots: Counting 123 Enrichment Guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pierce, T. (2007). The Color Beam Book. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2007). Scattered Crowns: Tactile Attribute Game: Game Instructions [Large Print/Braille Edition]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2007). SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine: Issue 3. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2007). SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine: Issue 4. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2007). StackUps: Spatial Reasoning Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings [Braille Edition]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2007). StackUps: Spatial Reasoning Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings [Large Print Edition]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J., & Abner, G. (2007). IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts, Classroom Suite Edition: Guidebook [Braille Edition]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J., & Abner, G. (2007). IntelliTactiles: Pre-Braille Concepts, Classroom Suite Edition: Guidebook [Large Print Edition]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.Rosenblum, L. P., & Terlau, M. T. (2006). Reclaiming Independence Resource Guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Smith, M. (2007, July). Address: Earth; Maps. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Wicker, J., Pester, E., Leibfritz, B., & Modaressi, B. (2007). MathBuilders, Unit 1, Matching, Sorting, and Patterning, Teacher's Guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Wingell, R., & Pester, E. (2006). Fun with Braille. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Publications

Kitchel, E. (2007). Blue light, ultraviolet light and eye damage. Minneapolis, MN: Informed Design, University of Minnesota.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Color and text signage guidelines. Pamphlet. El Paso, TX: El Paso Dept. of Public Transportation.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Graphics, testing, and electronic media. Multimedia. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Guidelines for development of PowerPoint presentations for audiences that may include persons with low vision. Multimedia. Boise, ID: Idaho Training Clearinghouse.

Kitchel, E. (2006). Lighting for low vision. Multimedia. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Reading, typography and low vision. Multimedia. Queensland, Australia: Queensland Government Department of Education, Training, and the Arts.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Reading, typography and low vision, Rev. Multimedia. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Reading, typography and low vision: A few guidelines for making large print tests more accessible, Rev. Multimedia. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Revised color and text guidelines for the development of PowerPoint presentations and webpages for audiences that may include persons with low vision. Multimedia. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E., (2007). Revised color and text guidelines for the development of PowerPoint presentations and webpages for audiences that may include persons with low vision. Multimedia. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Revised guidelines for formatting graphics in test documents in large print. Multimedia. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Wright, S., & Stratton, J. M. (2007). On the way to literacy: Early experiences for children with visual impairments, 2nd edition. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

New Products

Address Earth: Section 1 Kit1-01910-00

Address Earth: Section 1, Textbooks Print (5w/CD)7-01910-01

Address Earth: Section 1, Textbooks Braille (5w/CD)5-01910-01

Address Earth: Section 1, Maps and Charts7-01910-00

APH Innovations Tote4-66001-00

APH Insights Calendar 20085-18971-08

Black Expandable Calendar Boxes1-08652-00

White Expandable Calendar Boxes1-08651-00

Sound Ball [Yellow] - Boing Boing1-07510-00

Sound Ball [Red] - Techno Beat1-07516-00

Book Wizard ProducerD-03530-00

BOP Kindergarten Print Kit8-78450-00

BOP Kindergarten Braille Kit6-78450-00

BOP K. Textbooks Print Teachers Edition8-78451-00

BOP K. Textbooks Braille Teachers Edition6-78451-00

BOP K. Textbook Assessment Check-up Forms8-78456-00

BOP K. Student's Textbook Set of 76-78453-00

BOP K. Posttest, Print Teachers Manual8-78452-00

BOP K. Posttest, Braille Teachers Manual6-78452-00

BOP K. Posttest Students Consumbles8-78455-00

BOP Color Me Book6-78454-00

Braille Datebook Calendar 20081-07899-08

Braille Datebook Calendar Tabs 20081-07898-08

Braille Paper, 11" x 8-1/2" Tractor Fed, Punched1-04138-00

Braille Paper, 11" x 8-1/2" Tractor Fed, Unpunched1-04137-00

Braille+1-07450-00

Central State Map Collection1-04112-00

Northeast State Map Collection1-04110-00

Southeast State Map Collection1-04111-00

Western State Map Collection1-04113-00

EZ Test Battery Tester with Audio Feedback1-03968-00

EZ Test Battery Tester with Audio Tactile Feedback1-03969-00

EZ Track 2008 Calendar1-07900-08

EZ Track 2008 Calendar Inserts1-07901-08

From Russia with Love & C f/Children w/SI & C/B CD1-31002-00

Fun with Braille Book, Braille5-00110-00

Fun with Braille Large Type7-00110-00

Growing Up: A Developmental Curriculum CD8-65000-CD

Growing Up: A Developmental Curriculum Kit8-65000-00

IntelliTactiles: Prebraille Concepts Classroom Suite1-08516-01

IntelliTactiles: Prebraille Concepts Classroom Suite, Print Guidebook7-08516-01

IntelliTactiles: Prebraille Concepts Classroom Suite, Braille Guidebook5-08516-01

Large Print Protractor1-04116-00

Tactile Protractor1-04117-00

Lots of Dots: Counting 1231-10001-00

MathBuilders General Guidelines, Braille5-03560-03

MathBuilders General Guidelines, Print7-03560-03

MathBuilders Unit 1 Braille Kit5-03560-00

MathBuilders Unit 1 Consumables Pack5-03560-02

MathBuilders Unit 1 Print Kit7-03560-00

MathBuilders Unit 1 Teacher's Guide, Braille5-03560-01

MathBuilders Unit 1 Teacher's Guide, Print7-03560-01

Push Button Padlocks1-03990-00

Reclaiming Independence: DVD1-30020-DVD

Reclaiming Independence Resource Guide, Braille5-30020-00

Reclaiming Independence: VHS1-30020-00

Scattered Crowns1-08462-00

Sensory Learning Kit Adaptable Stick Switch1-08615-00

Sensory Learning Kit Adaptable Tactile Switch1-08614-00

Sensory Learning Kit Power Select1-08612-00

Sensory Learning Kit Scallop Switch1-08613-00

Sensory Learning Kit Vibrating Pad w/Adaptor1-08616-00

SQUID: A Tactile Activities Magazine, Issue 31-08862-03

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine, Issue 41-08862-04

StackUps1-08960-00

StackUps Braille Guidebook5-08960-00

StackUps Cubes (set of 20)1-08960-01

StackUps LT Guidebook7-08960-00

StackUps Mat Plan Worksheets (pack of 25)1-08960-02

Sticky Dots1-08452-00

Students who are Deafblind u/APH products DVD1-30017-DVD

Students who are Deafblind U/APH Products, Video1-30017-00

Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication

Large Print Spanish Guidebook7-08837-SP

Variable Beam Flashlight Kit1-08390-02

The Color Beam Book w/CD, Large Print Version7-08390-00

The Color Beam Book w/CD, Braille Version5-08390-00

Verbal View of Online MailD-10515-00

Verbal View of Web DocumentsD-10513-00

Verbal View of Web SearchesD-10514-00

Walk/Run for Fitness Kit1-07520-00

Walk/Run for Fitness Braille Guidebook5-07520-00

Walk/Run for Fitness Print Guidebook7-07520-00

Woodcock-Johnson III Student Large Print Edition4-66000-00

GlaReducers1-06062-00

Completed Projects Chart

Completed Projects - 84, as of 9/30/07

Active Projects Chart

Active Projects - 213, as of 9/30/07

Parking Lot Chart

Parking Lot - 25, as of 9/30/07

Pipeline Projects Chart

Pipeline Projects - 20, as of 9/30/07

Project Status Chart

Project Status, as of 9/30/07 Active, Parking Lot, Completed, Pipeline (by Categories)