Research & Development Activities

Fiscal 2008

American Printing House
For The Blind

Mission Statement

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.

Letter from Director of Research

October 23, 2008

Dear Reader,

In our sesquicentennial year, the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is pleased to present to you the 2008 Annual Research Report. Out of more than 300 project activities, over 120 projects are highlighted in this year's report. This work is a labor of love, not only by the APH staff, but also with the assistance of 140 agencies, 97 consultants, and 16 sites that conducted formal field testing.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 was another record-setting year. Twenty-six grants funded the completion of 32 projects, resulting in a record 88 new product catalog items. This fiscal year also witnessed APH's historic entry into the high-tech areas of video magnifiers and personal digital assistance devices. At the same time, the APH Research Department made decisions regarding modernization or discontinuation of older products.

In October 2007, at the 139th Annual Meeting, the ABC Braille Study's preliminary report was presented. This basic research, undertaken with some of the most respected researchers in America, was a 5-year longitudinal study on issues related to the teaching of braille in alphabetic and contracted forms. This basic research is not only a body of work that will frame braille literacy research in the future, but also a model of collaborative research in the field of blindness.

Research is often associated with numbers. In addition to the introduction of two products that have the highest price tags in APH history, note the following numbers: 150, 140, and 88 in '08. As you read the largest Annual Research Report in APH history, you will be exposed to a plethora of numbers that represent many individuals. We must always remember those who are behind the numbers or who are represented by the numbers. While our goal is to increase our quantitative-, evidence-based inquiries, it is important that we never abandon our qualitative-based inquiries.

In conclusion, the most important number may be the number one. It takes every one of us to succeed in what we do. All of us individually, working together as one, can successfully support each and every one of those we serve. Thank you for all that you do to support those in our country who are blind or visually impaired.

Sincerely,

Ralph E Bartley, Ph.D.
Director of Research

Advisory Committees

APH especially wishes to acknowledge the superb leadership and guidance from the Ex Officio Trustees serving as members of the Educational Products Advisory and Educational Services Committees. FY 2008 committee members were:

Educational Products Advisory Committee:

Chair -- Tom Winton (NC)

2010 -- Suzanne Dalton (FL)
2010 -- Stacy Grandt (WI)
2009 -- Nancy Niebrugge (CA)
2008 -- Lorri Quigley (UT)
2009 -- Steven M. Rothstein (MA)
2008 -- Dean Stenehjem (WA)

Alternate
James Downs (GA)

Educational Services Advisory Committee:

Chair -- Jacqueline Denk (KS)

2008 -- Michael J. Bina (MD)
2010 -- Angyln Franquemont (AR)
2008 -- Barbara L. Perkis (IL)
2010 -- William "Frank" Simpson (NY)

Alternate
James Downs (GA)

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
Creasy, Keith, 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, Rob Programmer
Otto, Fred, B.A. Project Leader (Tactile Graphics) part-time
Perry, Ken, B.S. Programmer
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, Tom Model/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, Anita Design Specialist/Process Engineer
Skutchan, Larry, B.A. Manager, Application Programming
Smith, Rodger, A.A.S. Programmer
Terlau, Terrie, Ph.D. Project Leader (Adult Life)
Travis, Ann, B.A. Research Assistant
VACANT Administrative Assistant II
VACANT Programmer
VACANT Project Leader (Braille Literacy)
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, Darlene Manufacturing Specialist
Hayden, Frank Manager, Technical Research
McGee, David Manufacturing Specialist
Robinson, James Manufacturing Specialist
VACANT Administrative Assistant II

Accessible Tests Department Staff

Allman, Carol, Ph.D. Consultant & Instructor (part-time)
Garrett, Dena Accessible Media Editor (part-time)
Henderson, Barbara, M.A Project Leader (Test & Assessment)
Isham, Kerry, M.A. Accessible Test Editor
McCoy Towns, Tasha Temporary Administrative Assistant
Scott, Kristopher, M.A Accessible Test Editor
Sell, Michael, B.S. Accessible Test Editor
Willis, Deborah, M.A Director, Accessible Test Department

Agencies Participating in Research

In addition to the 140 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.

Academy School District Twenty, Colorado Springs, CO
Affiliated Blind of Louisiana Training Center, Lafayette, LA
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8, Duncansville, PA
Area Education Agency 267, Cedar Falls, IA
Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, Phoenix, AZ
Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Tucson, AZ
Arkansas School for the Blind, Little Rock, AR
B.W. Sheperd State School, Kansas City, MO
Bellevue Public Schools, Bellevue, NE
Bellingham School District #501, Bellingham, WA
Benton Elementary School, Benton, KY
Board of Education and Services for the Blind, Windsor, CT
Boone County Schools, Burlington, KY
Boulder Valley Public Schools, Boulder, CO
Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary, Louisville, KY
Brighton School District, Brighton, CO
Burns Elementary, Owensboro, KY
California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA
Camp Abilities, Alpine Alternatives, Inc., Anchorage, AK
Camp Abilities, Brockport, NY
Camp Abilities Tucson, Tucson, AZ
Carr School, Santa Ana, CA
Carroll Center for the Blind , Newton, MA
Castaic Union School District, Castaic, CA
Catholic Charities Maine, Lewiston, ME
Chandler Unified School District, Chandler, AZ
Chapman University, Concord, CA
Clark County Special Education Cooperative, Jeffersonville, IN
Cleveland Elementary School, Hamilton, OH
Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, Colorado Springs, CO
Cooperative Educational Service Agency #1, Brookfield, WI
Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center, Austin, TX
Crowley Independent School District, Crowley, TX
Cy-Fair ISD, Houston, TX, Daviess County & Owensboro Public Schools, Owensboro, KY
Davis School District, Farmington, UT
Dawson Elementary, Corpus Christi, TX
Deer Park Elementary, Owensboro, KY
Denison ISD, Denison, TX
Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services, Dallas, TX
Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, IA
DeSoto County Schools, Hernando, MS
Discovery Middle School, Alexandria, MN
Dutchess County BOCES, Poughkeepsie, NY
Edison Elementary, Tonawanda, NY
Educational Service District 123, Dixie, WA
Educational Services Center for Cuyahoga County, Cuyahoga, OH
Estes Elementary, Owensboro, KY
Evansville Association for the Blind, Evansville, IN
Fairfax County Public Schools, Dunn Loring, VA
Fargo Public Schools, Fargo, ND
Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, St. Augustine, FL
Fox C-6 School District, Arnold, MO
Francis Howell School District, St. Charles, MO
Genessee Valley BOCES, LeRoy, NY
Georgia Academy for the Blind, Macon, GA
Giles County Schools-Richland, Lynnville, TN
Green County, Greensburg, KY
H/H Education Center, Winston Salem, NC
Hampstead Elementary School, Hampstead, MD
Hardin County Schools, Elizabethtown, KY
Harrison Co. Board of Education, Clarksburg, WV
Harrisonburg City Schools, Harrisonburg, VA
Hawthorne Elementary, Louisville, KY
Haywood Middle School, Haywood, WI
Hazelwood Elementary School, Edmonds, WA
Hermann Middle School, Hermann, MO
Holy Family School, Malone, NY
Hunter College, NY, NY
Idaho School f/t Deaf and the Blind, Gooding, ID
Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, Jacksonville, IL
Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Indianapolis, IN
Irving School, West Allis, WI
Japanese Tennis Association for the Visually Handicapped, Tokyo, Japan
Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, KY
Kansas State School for the Blind, Kansas City, KS
Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY
Keystone Area Education Agency, Dubuque, IA
Kokomo High School, Kokomo, IN
Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, Baton Rouge, LA,
Lovington Schools, Lovington, NM
Macomb Independent School District, Clinton Twp., MI
Marin County Office of Education, San Rafael, CA
Maryland School for the Blind, Baltimore, MD
Mississippi School for the Blind, Jackson, MS
Missouri School for the Blind, St. Louis, MO
Moniteau County, Tipton, MO
Montana School for the Deaf and Blind Great Falls, MT
Moses Lake School District, Moses Lake, WA
Munfordville Elementary School, Munfordville, KY
New Jersey Commission for the Blind/Visually Impaired, Camden, NJ
New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Las Cruces, NM
New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY
Norfolk Public Schools, Norfolk, VA
North Dakota School for the Blind, Bismarck, ND
North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, Grand Forks, ND
Northshore Education Consortium, Peabody, MA
NW Regional Educational School District, Hillsboro, OR
Ohio State School for the Blind, Columbus, KY
Oklahoma School for the Blind, Muskogee, OK
Omaha Public Schools, Omaha, NE
Orchard Drive Elementary, Jackson, MO
Otis Elementary, Chicago, IL
Parkview HS, Lilburn, GA
Peifer Elementary, Schererville, IN
Pershing Elementary and Middle School, Springfield, MO
Prince George's County Public Schools, Oxon Hill, MD
Randall Elementary School, Waukesha, WI
Red Oak ISD, Red Oak, TX
Reno County Educational Cooperative, Hutchinson, KS
Riverside County Office of Education, Riverside, CA
Robey Elementary, Indianapolis, IN
Rockwall Independent School District, Rockwall, TX
San Diego Center for the Blind, San Diego, CA
San Diego County Office of Education, North Coastal Consortium for Special Education, Oceanside, CA
Sanford-Fritch Elementary School, Fritch, TX
Silverton Independent School District, Silverton, TX
Special School District of St. Louis County, Town and Country, MO
Spokane Middle School, Spokane, MO
Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, MO
St. Louis Public Schools, St. Louis, MO
St. Louis School, Tyler, TX
State of Connecticut Board of Education Services for the Blind, Windor, CT
State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport, NY
Sunny Vale Middle School, Blue Springs, MO
Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Lancaster, PA
Tangipahoa Parish School System, Ponchatoula, LA
Tech High School, St. Cloud, MN
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX
Topeka Public Schools, Topeka, KS
Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Montpelier, VT
Virginia School for the Deaf & Blind, Staunton, VA
Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY
Washington County Public Schools, Abingdon, VA
Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA
Washoe County School District, Reno, NV
Watertown Unified School District, Watertown, WI
Weiser School District, Weiser, ID
West Virginia School for the Blind, Romney, WV
White Hall Elementary, Richmond, KY
Willamette ESD, Salem, OR

Consultants

In addition to the 92 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]

Adair, Cindy, M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, COMS, Hardin County, KY, Schools [Kaufman Tests of Educational Achievement, Second Edition (KTEA-II)]

Anthony, Tanni, Ph.D., State Consultant on Visual Impairment, Colorado Department of Education, Denver, CO [Emergent Literacy Focus Group B]

Assessment Team: California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA [Collaborative Assessment DVD Series]

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

Azzi, Iman, Ph.D., Journalist, Cairo, Egypt, [Address: Earth]

Bailey, Ian, O.D., Optometrist, University of California, Berkeley, 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]

Blaylock, Luanne, COMS, Educational Vision Specialist, Pulaski County Special School District, Little Rock, AR [Patterns Revision]

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 [Digital Light Box Artwork: Supporting 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, Ph.D., Itinerant Teacher, Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, TN, [ToAD] and [FVLMA]

Cantrell, Phillip, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Longwood University, Farmville, VA, [Address:Earth]

Carlsen, Tess, Doctoral student, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN [Emergent Literacy Focus Group B]

Cecil, Cindy, M.Ed. Teacher of the Visually Impaired, New Albany, IN [Switch Counter]

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

Coomes, Adam, Cartographer, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, [Address: Earth]

Crawford, James Scott, COMS, CLVT, Lafayette, LA [O&M for Wheelchair Users]

Croft, Jo Ellen, M.Ed., COMS, Educational Vision Specialist, Pulaski County Special School District, Little Rock, AR [Patterns Revision]

Curtin, Tim, Inventor, Lafayette, IN, [MaximEyes Video Magnifier]

D' Andrea, Frances Mary, American Foundation for the Blind, Doctoral student, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA [Emergent Literacy Focus Group A]

Denning, Andrew, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Southern California, Davis, CA, [Address: Earth]

Devine, Kevin, Cartographer, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, [Address: Earth]

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

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

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

Erwin, James, Historian, Iowa City, Iowa, [Address: Earth]

Ethridge, Edith, M.A. Ed., CLVT, Low Vision Specialist, Kentucky School for the Blind, retired, Louisville, KY [V-File]

Feldman, Pauletta, Special Projects Coordinator/Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY [Emergent Literacy Focus Group B]

Finley, Robin, M.Ed., Reading Specialist, Ohio State School for the Blind, Columbus, OH [Emergent Literacy Focus Group A]

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

Fox, Dana, Teacher, Governor Morehead Preschool, Raleigh, NC [Emergent Literacy Focus Group A]

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

Greeley, J.C., M.A., Program Coordinator, Anchor Preschool, Denver, CO [Emergent Literacy Focus Group B]

Greeley, J.C., M.A., Program Coordinator, Anchor Preschool, Denver, CO [SAM: Symbols and Meaning]

Greenlee, Bill, Ph.D., School Psychologist, Kentucky School for the Blind (ret.), [Kaufman Tests of Educational Achievement, Second Edition (KTEA-II)]

Hagood, Linda, M.A., CCC-SLP, 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 Impairment]

Hanchett, Carol, Ph.D., Professor, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, [Address Earth]

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

Hartmann, Elizabeth, M.Ed., 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, Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA [Early Braille Trade Books]

Holbrook, Cay, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA [Emergent Literacy Focus Group A]

Holbrook, Cay, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA [Patterns Revision]

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

Jaffe, Lynne, Ph.D., LD Specialist and Reading Specialist, Tucson, AZ [Woodcock-Johnson III: Tests of Achievement---Braille Adaptation]

Judge, Joann P., CAPE, Lancaster, PA [Tactile Food Pyramid]

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

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

Koniak, Lane, M.S., Retired TVI, Portland, OR, [Address: Earth]

Larsen Morgese, Zoe, M.A., CCC-SLP, Denver, CO [SAM: Symbols and Meaning]

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

Lucas, Jeffrey, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Pembroke, NC, [Address: Earth]

Matsui, Ayako, Tokyo, Japan

McCarthy, Mary L., M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA [Wilson Reading System]

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

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

McKenzie, Amy, Ed.D. Assistant Professor, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL [Emergent Literacy Focus Group A]

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

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

Nannen, LeAnn, M.Ed., COMS, Educational Vision Specialist, North Little Rock School District, North Little Rock, AR [Patterns Revision]

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]

Noftsker, Michelle, Teacher, Foundation for Blind Children [Emergent Literacy Focus Group B]

Novak, Andrew, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Boston University, Boston, MA, [Address: Earth]

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., Instructor/COMS, North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, Grand Forks, ND. [Treks]

Pepper, David, Ph.D., Professor, University of Southern California, Davis, CA, [Address: Earth]

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, CA [Patterns Revision]

Rines, Justine Carlone, M.S., CCC-SLP, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA [Wilson Reading System]

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

Rosenblum, Penny, Ph.D, Adjunct Professor, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [Emergent Literacy Focus Group B]

Roudik, Peter, Ph.D., Senior Legal Specialist, Law Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., [Address: Earth]

Rowley, Rosalind, M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA [Wilson Reading System]

Sabhlok, Anu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, [Address: Earth]

Sadler, Amy, Cartographer, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, [Address: Earth]

Sanford, LaRhea, Ph.D., Visiting Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, [ToAD]

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

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

Scoggins, 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., Ed.D. University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL [MathBuilders: Units 5, 6, 7, & 8]

Smith, Matthew, Cartographer, Louisville, KY, [Address: Earth]

Smith, Millie J., M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Consultant, Farmersville, TX, [SAM: Symbols and Meaning] and [TADPOLE]

Stocker, Jennifer, M.H.S., OTR/L, Louisville, KY [SAM: Symbols and Meaning]

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

Susan A. Osterhaus, M.Ed., Secondary Mathematics Teacher/Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Austin, TX [Braille/Print Yardstick]

Swenson, Anna, M. Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Fairfax Co. Public Schools, Dunn Loring, VA [Early Braille Trade Books]

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

Truan, Mila, Ed.D. Reading Specialist, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN [Patterns Revision]

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]

Zebahazy, Kim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL [Emergent Literacy Focus Group B]

Field Evaluators

ALL-IN-ONE Board and Magnetic Sorting Circles and Shapes

Eaton, Jennifer, Coordinator of Early Childhood Education/Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Lancaster, PA

Elzy, Judith, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Lamb, Morina, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Harrisonburg City Schools, Harrisonburg, VA

Mann, Nancy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, USD 501 Topeka Public Schools, Topeka, KS

Medley, Anita, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, COMS, DeSoto County Schools, Hernando, MS

Mirabel, Ana, Vision Teacher, O&M Instructor, and Independent Consultant. Haymarket, VA

Passarieu, Shawn, Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Instructor, San Diego County Office of Education, North Coastal Consortium for Special Education, Oceanside, CA

Thornton, Sheila, Diagnostician/Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Lovington Schools, Lovington, NM

Weaver, Erin, Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Genessee Valley BOCES, LeRoy, NY

Widoe, Betty J., Vision Consultant, Bellevue Public Schools, Bellevue, NE

Brigance ® Diagnostic Inventory of Early Development II (IED-II)

Bailey, Karel, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Southside Vision Consortium, PECES, Farmville, VA

Blackwell, Susan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Borger Independent School District, Borger, TX

Carr, Gina, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Macon-Piatt Special Education District, Decatur Public Schools, Decatur, IL

Crawford, Shavon, Educational Diagnostician, Governor Morehead Preschool, Greensboro, NC

George, Theresa, CTBVI, COMS, Marshall County School Board, Benton, KY

Schlesselman, Dolores, (Infant) Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Region IV, Baytown, TX

Snow, Brenda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Borger Independent School District, Borger, TX

Consumable Number Lines

Aranguren, Maria, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Western Suffolk BOCES, North Babylon, NY

Barnes, Ginger, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Hardin County Schools, Elizabethtown, KY

Bieri, Lisa, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Moniteau Co., California, MO

Brown, Stephanie, Primary Teacher, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Chlapek, Janet, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Temple Independent School District, Temple, TX

Demaris, Melinda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Wicomico County Schools, Salisbury, MD

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

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

Howarth, Daniel, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Vermont Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Montpelier, VT

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

Mitchell, Sarah, Mathematics Teacher, Missouri School for the Blind, St. Louis, MO

Shaw, Eric, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Rutland, VT

Stallings, Janice, Vision Specialists, Liberty Public Schools, Liberty, Mo

Underwood, Melinda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Vermont Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Brattleboro, VT

Widoe, Betty, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Bellevue Public Schools, Bellevue, NE

Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments

Brown, Jill, M.Ed., Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Crowley Independent School District, Crowley, TX

Chiasson, Kari, Ed.D. Professor, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND

Eades, Debby, M.Ed., Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Indiana School for the Blind, Indianapolis, IN

Jakel, Bernadette, Parent, Fairfield, CT

McComiskey, Anne, M. Ed., BEGIN Program Director, Atlanta, GA

McEnderfer, Julie, M.Ed., Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Pasco, WA

Vooys, Connie, M.Ed., Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Troy, NY

Digital Light Box Artwork: Supporting Language and Literacy

Berger, Linda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Town and Country, MO

Bruegger, Tammy, Special Education Assistive Technology Teacher, Kansas City, MO

Deimund, Mandy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cape Girardeau, MO

Drezek, Wendy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Winston Salem, NC

Durkel, Jim, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Gregori, Melissa, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Corpus Christi, TX

Kreyer, Kori, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Haywood, WI

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

Smith, Pamela, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Winston-Salem, NC

Wheeldon, Karen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Grain Valley, MO

Flip-Over Books: Line Paths and Parts of a Whole

Duby, Debra, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, Phoenix, AZ

Dyer, Lyla, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Prince George's County Public Schools, Oxon Hill, MD

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

Gonzales, April, Blind Children's Specialist, Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services, Dallas, TX

Gordon, Beth, Educational Consultant for the Visually Impaired, Clark County Special Education Cooperative, Jeffersonville, IN

Harsany, Kathy, Education Consultant, Board of Education and Services for the Blind, Windsor, CT

Heywood, Nancy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Washoe County School District, Reno, NV

Lakin, Gayle, Vision Teacher, Pershing Elementary and Middle School, Springfield, MO

Lee, Jennifer, Resource Teacher, Omaha Public Schools, Omaha, NE

Mitchell, Mary, Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, KY

Moeller, Susan B., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kansas State School for the Blind, Kansas City, KS

Moyer, Gloria, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Otis Elementary, Chicago, IL

Mumford, Judy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Academy School District Twenty, Colorado Springs, CO

Shular, Melissa, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Academy School District Twenty, Colorado Springs, CO

Life Science Tactile Graphics

Adelmann, Denise, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Lockport, IL

Bergman, Peggy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Parkview HS, Lilburn, GA

Britcher, Trina, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Harrison Co. Board of Education, Clarksburg, WV

Clark, Sharon, New Jersey Commission for the Blind/Visually Impaired, Camden, NJ

Culbertson, Katie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, COMS, Robey Elementary, Indianapolis, IN

French, Barbara, Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, Jacksonville, IL

Geohagan, Lis, Arkansas School for the Blind, Little Rock, AR

Hoisington, Meridith, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Eagan, MN

Miller, Cindy, Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, Jacksonville, IL

Rahni, Fay, The New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY

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

Shepard, Christy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cy-Fair ISD, Houston, TX

Stoltman, Wendy, Brighton School District, Brighton, CO

Ulwick-Sacca, Janet, Carroll Center for the Blind, Gloucester, MA

Van Dyke, Laurel, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kokomo HS, Kokomo, IN

Lighting Guide and Kit

Pitzer, Christine, M.A., Rehabilitation Teacher, Blind and Visually Impaired Services of Indiana, Clarksville, IN

MathBuilders Unit 8: Data

Barnes, Ginger, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Hardin County Schools, Elizabethtown, KY

Carter, Cynthia, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Duncanville Independent School District, Duncanville, TX

Chlapek, Janet, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Temple Independent School District, Temple, TX

Demaris, Melinda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Wicomico County Schools, Salisbury, MD

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

Lawrence, Roxanne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, North Colonie School District, Latham, NY

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

Toy, Renee, Teacher of the Visually Impaired VI, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Van Dyk, Kelly, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Rutland, VT

Widoe, Betty, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Bellevue Public Schools, Bellevue, NE

MiniBook

Brannan, Buddy, Adult Braille User, Erie, PA

Chavez, Olivia, Adult Braille user, El Paso, TX

Chuha, Louise, Adult Braille user, Braddock, PA

Cohen, Peter, Adult Braille User, Ellenville, NY

Courcelles, Martin, Adult Braille User, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Dixon, Judy, Adult Braille User, Arlington, VA

Eccles, Jim, Adult Braille User, Vancouver, WA

Emmons, Betty, Adult Braille User, Anthony, KS

Giesbrecht, Kerri, Adult Braille User, British Columbia, CANADA

Hoerber, Robin, Adult Braille User, Midlothian, VA

Jackson, Dezman, Adult Braille User, Mobile, AL

Larson, Ann, Adult Braille User, Muskogee, OK

Lieberg, Marlaina, Adult Braille User, Burien, WA

Lien, Candy, Adult Braille User, Fargo, ND

Mervis, Allison, Adult Braille User, Munhall, PA

Morrow, Kimberly, Adult Braille User, Overland Park, KS

Neal, Olga, Adult Braille User, Grand Forks, ND

O'Brien, Sherill, Adult Braille User, Tampa, FL

Piscitello, Charlie, Adult Braille User, Batavia, NY

Porter, Anna, Adult Braille User, Lancaster, PA

Sherman, Becky, Adult Braille User, Kent, WA

Sorter, Judi, Adult Braille User, Vancouver, WA

Thompson, Corietta, Adult Braille User, Silver Springs, MD

Turner, Richard, Adult Braille User, Portland, OR

Walsh, Kate, Adult Braille User, Springfield, PA

Ward, Jean, Adult Braille User, Smyrna, TN

Werner, Greg, Adult Braille User, Snyder, NY

Wiglesworth, Keith, Adult Braille User, Rockingham, NC

Witucki, Kristen, Adult Braille User, Princeton, NJ

Sense of Science: Astronomy

Cook, Delena, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA

Di Lullo, Cristina, Teacher of the Blind and Vision Impaired, Educational Services Center for Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH

Dunlop, Susan, Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Rockwall Independent School District, Rockwall, TX

Etter, Joan, Supplemental Services Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Clermont County

Educational Services Center, Batavia, OH

Huntoon, Linda, Science Teacher, Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, St. Augustine, FL

Ridgeway, Alice, Middle School Science Teacher, Georgia Academy for the Blind, Macon, GA

Robinson, Cindy Jo Ruiz, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, Baton Rouge, LA

Slocum, Michelle, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, West Virginia School for the Blind, Romney, WV

Summ, Catherine, Education Consultant, State of Connecticut Board of Education Services for the Blind, Windor, CT

Whitten, Twila, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Silverton Independent School District, Silverton, TX

Wykoff, Marsha, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Special Services, Weiser School District, Weiser, ID

Step by Step

Ambrose Zaken, Grace, Ed.D. Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Project Coordinator RT and O&M Programs, Hunter College CUNY, Department of Special Education, Wappinger's Falls, NY

Brostek, Donna, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Independent Contractor, Laurenceberg, KY

Griffin-Shirley, Nora, Associate Professor, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Visual Impairment, Texas Tech University, Lubbock TX

Hapeman, Julie, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Milwaukee WI

Long, Richard, Associate Professor, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo MI

Sudoku Partner 6 x 6

Congdon, Caroline, Milwaukee, WI

Hill, Bob, Lansing, MI

Uesato, Dani Lynn, Honolulu, HI

Wagreich, Barbara, Lexington, MA

30-Love: Tennis Guidelines for Players with Visual Impairments and Blindness

Bohm, Doreen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, St. Cloud, MN

Bowen, Christy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Adapted Physical Education Teacher, Kansas City, KS

Buchanan, Trish, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Spokane, MO

Cobb, Tim, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Adapted Physical Education Teacher, St. Louis, MO

Conners, Scott, Adapted Physical Education Teacher, Tucson, AZ

Deskin, Cindy, Adapted Physical Education Teacher, Springfield, MO

Errante, Steven, Adapted Physical Education Teacher, Norfolk, VA

Gerdes, Judy, Adapted Physical Education Teacher, St. Cloud, MN

Gunther, James, Adapted Physical Education Teacher, Norfolk, VA

Jacob, Jill, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Hermann, MO

Rice, Cathy, Adapted Physical Education Teacher, Blue Springs, MO

Ritter, Traci, Paraprofessional for the Visually Impaired, Jackson, MO

Vought, Susan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Malone, NY

Wells, Karen, Principal, Kansas City, MO

Treks

Amueller, Cheri, The New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY

Bundren, Erin, Virginia School for the Deaf & Blind, Staunton, VA

George, Terri, Benton Elementary School, Benton, KY

Killebrew, Becca, COMS, Nashville, TN

Klein, Lori, COMS, St. Paul, MN

Lansaw, Jane, Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center, Austin, TX

Montes de Oca, Patricia, COMS, Castaic Union School District, Castaic, CA

Norris, Daniel, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, COMS, Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Montpelier, VT

Phangia, Nana, COMS, West Valley City, UT

Schwartz, Jeff, ESE Itinerant, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Tudor, Joyce, San Diego Center for the Blind, San Diego, CA

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

Gurley, Donna, M.Ed., Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Iredell-Statesville Schools Statesville, NC

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

Accessible Test
Department
Activities

Deborah H. Willis
Director

Accessible Tests Department
(Formerly: Test Central)

(Continued)

Purpose

In response to recommendations by APH's Advisory Committees and members of the Second Test Central Council, the charge of the Accessible Tests Department was expanded in August 2003. The updated goal is to provide tests, practice tests, test administration manuals, and other test-related materials in high quality accessible media in a timely manner, to promote the inclusion of blind and visually impaired individuals during test development, and to enhance the test performance of blind and visually impaired individuals through research, education, and communication

Background

During a brainstorming session concerning important projects to pursue, an initiative to develop a central location dedicated to developing standardized guidelines, processes and procedures related to test adaptation and production of tests in alternative media was proposed. This initiative was presented to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). In February 2001, APH received confirmation from the U.S. DOE that Test Central was awarded some startup funding for FY 2001. At a meeting with APH's Advisory Committees, members of the two committees commended APH for conceptualizing Test Central, recognized the leadership role APH could play with regard to tests and assessments, and strongly encouraged continued efforts in this area.

An in-house Core Team was formed, and Test Central's five tracks were identified:

  1. Education and relationship building;
  2. Test adaptation;
  3. Adaptation and development of test-related tools and materials;
  4. Identification and development of new tests; and
  5. Research into test-related issues.

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

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

Carol Allman, Ph.D., Lead Consultant and Instructor, APH
Karen Barton, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Director of Research Programs for At Risk Students, Research Triangle Institute
Larry Brown, Manager, Oregon Textbook & Materials Resource Center
Nan Bulla, M.Ed., Independent Consultant, TSBVI (retired)
Betsy Case, Ph.D., Director of Research on Special Populations, Harcourt Educational Measurement
Steve Goodman, M.A., M.S., Director of Pupil Personnel Services, California School for the Blind
Barbara Henderson, Test & Assessment Project Leader, APH
Leslie Lightbourne, Program Coordinator, Division of Student Standards & Assessments, Louisiana Department of Education
Jean Martin, Director, Minnesota Resource Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Suzanne Swaffield, Education Associate, Office of Assessment, South Carolina Department of Education
Sandra Thompson, Ph.D., Research Associate, National Center on Educational Outcomes/University of Minnesota [deceased 2005]
Debbie Willis, Director of Accessible Tests Department, APH

Recommendations of the Council included the following:

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

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

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

At the beginning of FY 2003, a second Test Editor Training Workshop was held at APH. The trainees, made up of teachers and transcribers, came from Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Presentation of sample test items offered ample opportunity for the trainees to work in small and large groups to practice and discuss what they had learned.

In January 2003, the Research Department's Test and Assessment Project Leader Barbara Henderson joined Test Central in order to unify effort, maximize service to the field, and increase consistency in test editing and presentation. At that time, work to identify and address high priority test needs that result in catalog items, as well as reviewing and editing select tests to be produced on a contract basis, were redirected to flow through Test Central. Accessible Tests staff worked with APH's web site coordinator to develop Test Central's web page content and construct a direct link from APH's main page to Test Central's page.

The second meeting of the Test Central Council (TCC) was held at APH in early Feb. 2003. Three major test developers and publishers, Harcourt, CTB McGraw-Hill, and Data Recognition Corp. (DRC) were represented at this meeting. Several discussions focused on common problems involved in testing students with disabilities.

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

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

To promote valuable research efforts, Accessible Tests staff provided a letter of support for the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) proposed research project on An Examination of the Use of Multiple Modalities for the Achievement of Literacy Standards by Students with Disabilities. NCEO received funding for this project from OSERS Research and Innovation to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities.

The Director of Accessible Tests determined that an array of sample test items would be a useful training tool for future workshops and presentations, as well as helpful with clearly identifying, relaying and explaining issues to test editors and transcribers, test developers and publishers, other school and state assessment personnel, test takers, their families and caregivers. Department staff created a sample test to demonstrate the need to edit test items originally designed for regular print presentation and to help point out specific 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 multimedia presentation of the test items.

In September 2003, 24 staff members from 10 different test publishers participated in an Accessible Tests workshop. The purpose of this workshop was to provide information on test development and adaptation to help ensure accessibility so that No Child is Left Behind. The sample test that had been created in multiple accessible media was used for training purposes at this Test Publishers Workshop.

In the last quarter of FY 2003, APH Accessible Tests Department was awarded a contract to edit and produce 2004 statewide assessments in accessible media for an individual state. During FY 2003, over 100 tests were edited and Notes for Test Transcribers were written by Accessible Test Editors Kris Scott and Monica Coffey for presentation of tests in braille with tactile graphics. Most of these tests also required Test Administration Notes.

The Accessible Tests Department's charge was expanded as a result of recommendations received by Council members during their meeting in February 2003 and APH's two Advisory Committees that met in spring 2003. In order to begin addressing the expanded charge of the Accessible Tests Department to provide practice test and test prep materials in accessible media, a short online survey was posted on APH's Web site. The survey, "Let's Get Ready for Testing," asked trustees and vision teachers which practice materials and test prep materials they were using and what materials were needed. Results showed overwhelmingly that test prep materials for use by students who are blind or visually impaired was a very high priority need and that each state used different materials to help prepare their students for taking state assessments. Based on the results of this survey, generic test preparation materials were selected for adaptation into accessible media.

At APH's 2003 Annual Meeting, poster sessions were offered on the Accessible Testing Universe, and Accessible Test Department Services. In addition, Accessible Tests staff presented a conference session entitled Challenges in Assessing Students with Visual Impairments at the No Educator Left Behind: 39th Annual Programs for Exceptional Children Conference held in Louisville, Kentucky in November 2003.

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

Another Accessible Tests workshop was provided at APH in January 2004. Department of Education staff representing 12 states along with several test publishers attended. Evaluations indicated a high level of satisfaction with the material presented and the atmosphere of the workshop. As an invited guest speaker, Barbara Henderson presented a plenary session on Accessible Computerized Testing at Space Science the Special Way with a Twist from Assistive Technology Conference held in February 2004 at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond.

Test Coordinator Gage Brogan and Consultant/Transcriber Bev Pfister provided presentations on guidelines for test transcribers and APH test specifications during Beyond the Guidelines Phase II: Textbook and Test Transcription Training for APH Outsources, February 23-25, 2004, in Colorado Springs, CO. Accessible Test Editor Monica Coffey attended the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) Innovations in Testing Conference held in Palm Springs, California in February 2004.

In March 2004, Mary Nelle McLennan, Advisor to the President, and Debbie Willis, Director of Accessible Tests, planned and facilitated the Accessible Tests Department Strategic Directions Planning Session. Bob Brasher, Carol Allman, and Accessible Tests staff participated. New departmental goals and priorities were set as a result of the session.

Two new position papers on Use of Extended Time and Use of Testing Accommodations were drafted. TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible for Visually Impaired Students, Second Edition, the second publication in the Test Access series, was finalized and presented at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Conference, June 20-23, 2004, in Boston, Massachusetts. It was also used as a teaching tool with participants of the Accessible Tests Department's Accessible Tests Workshop, held at APH on September 15-16, 2004.

Contract work for various states continued at a steady pace, with Kristopher Scott and Monica Coffey editing and facilitating production of over 60 individual test titles in braille and recorded formats. Consultation work by Accessible Tests staff included advising Measured Progress, a test publisher, and the Michigan State Department of Education, on development of accessible versions of their alternate assessments. Additionally, staff reviewed large print tests for accessibility at the request of a major test publisher and acted as advisors on several state assessment projects. Members of Accessible Tests Department were consulted by the Arkansas State Department of Education on preparation of their request for proposal for their state assessments.

The department collaborated on research efforts by several university groups: Jane Erin of the University of Arizona on Effects of Test Medium, the ABC Braille Study by Anne Corn at Vanderbilt, et al., Gaylen Kapperman at Northern Illinois University on Results of Math Items for Visually Impaired Students, and the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) at the University of Minnesota, which sought and were awarded additional funding for their study to examine the Use of Multiple Modalities for the Achievement of Literacy Standards by Students with Disabilities.

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

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

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

In April 2004 the Accessible Tests Department was fortunate to gain Dena Garrett's valuable braille expertise on a part-time basis. Dena, an Accessible Media Editor in the Accessible Textbooks Department, is a 30-year veteran braille transcriber who has worked on state, local, and commercial tests for ten years. Dena also served on the Braille Authority of North America's (BANA) Braille Formats Technical Committee.

A third Accessible Tests Workshop was presented in the last quarter of FY2004. This "Workshop for State Assessment Personnel: Making Tests Accessible to Students with Visual Impairments" was held at APH on September 15-16, 2004. It was attended by representatives from 11 state departments of education, a braille transcribing group, one university professor, one research organization, and two test publishers. Workshop evaluations indicated a very high level of satisfaction.

Key endeavors in FY2005 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 state and alternate assessments.

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

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

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

A wide variety of state assessments and commercially available tests were edited and produced in accessible media on a contract basis during FY 2005. These included approximately 265 unique state assessments provided in some combination of braille, tactile graphics, enlarged print, and audio formats. Accompanying test administration notes were provided in accessible media when specified in the contract. Items such as braille paper, rulers, bold line writing paper, and protractors were included with tests as per specific contractual agreements. State assessments were for grades three through high school and covered some or all of the following areas: math, language arts, reading, science, and social studies. One state contacted the Accessible Tests Department for assistance in putting their released items into braille and audio formats. These items were used as practice tests prior to the spring and fall 2005 testing seasons. All of the requested copies were delivered on time to the states in need of them.

The collaborative research study between Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS), AFB, and APH got underway this fiscal year. CASAS is an organization devoted to assessment of the adult basic skills required for success in the workplace and in life. CASAS research-based testing instruments are widely used and have been approved and validated by the US Department of Education and the United States Department of Labor. As of August 2005, CASAS has provided assessments only in audio format. Accessible Tests staff worked with CASAS and AFB to develop a braille edition of a CASAS reading assessment. This first examination to be made available in braille format will be field tested in FY 2006. Virginia Posey "Ginny," Senior Research Associate with CASAS is directing this collaborative effort as well as conducting the study.

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

The second book in the Test Access series by Accessible Tests staff was printed just in time for unveiling at the Accessible Tests Workshop at APH in September 2004 and at APH Annual Meeting 2004. TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible for Visually Impaired Students, Second Edition was made available on the APH web site and was used for training purposes during workshops and conferences.

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 2005 edition of EnVision is available at: http://www.lighthouse.org

Several presentations were provided in FY 2005. Accessible Tests Department staff presented two poster sessions at the 2004 APH Annual Meeting: Accessible Tests Department Products and Services and a Case Study in Adapting Tests for Visually Impaired Individuals: The Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement in Braille and Large Print. A special meeting with Dean Stenehjem, Superintendent of the School for the Blind in Vancouver, Washington, and Gary Snyder, Washington State Vision Consultant, Washington Sensory Disabilities Services, was held with Debbie Willis and Barbara Henderson during Annual Meeting. Questions and issues relevant to testing visually impaired students in Washington State were discussed.

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

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

Barbara Henderson and Debbie Willis spoke to various university students including University of Louisville students in the visual impairment teacher certification program about the work and goals of APH's Accessible Tests Department, test-related services available, and resources for acquiring accessible tests, materials, and information. Monica Coffey provided a poster session during CEC 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 answered to help ensure future test items are accessible to students who are visually impaired.

Barbara Henderson worked with Consultant Lynne Jaffe, a learning disabilities specialist, to create a presentation on Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement in Braille. Jaffe provided this presentation at the Arizona Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Conference held in Prescott in October 2004. Carol Allman presented Accommodations to Help Maximize Test Performance of Students with Visual Impairments at the National Family Conference. The audience included parents, students, educators, and psychologists. While Carol was in Louisville for this conference, members of Accessible Tests took the opportunity to discuss some department plans for FY 2006.

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

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

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

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

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

Phil Hatlen and Debbie Willis joined forces as co-chairs of Goal 8 (Expanded Core Curriculum) to address this National Agenda goal. Debbie also continued to serve as chair of Goal 6 (Assessment). At APH's 2005 Annual Meeting, poster sessions, concurrent sessions, and a general session presentation were provided on test and assessment topics, and related issues such as the expanded core curriculum. Related meetings such as the AFB Solutions Forum and National Agenda Committee Meeting were attended. Immediately following Annual Meeting, Carol Allman provided an "On the Road" workshop at the New York AER and an in-service to the New York Department of Education and state assessment staff on testing students who are blind or visually impaired. Surveys and networking with the field and with our customers continued as a means to determine customer satisfaction and specific needs for products, services, and information. Test-related contract work to review and edit state assessment and alternate assessment items, and prepare test notes for administering the alternate media editions, was accomplished throughout the fiscal year.

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

In order to provide education, information, training, and resources on making test items accessible in various media for test-takers who are blind or visually impaired, Accessible Tests staff, along with Research Staff and a guest speaker from the National Alternate Assessment Center at the University of Kentucky, provided four major workshops during FY 2006; two at APH and two on-the-road in connection with other scheduled conferences. During these workshops, well over 100 professionals and students from across the country received training, information, and resources; some of these individuals returned to their school systems or companies and provided training to their colleagues. Numerous state departments 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.


Barbara 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 was made available at:
http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/OnlinePubs/Technical42.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.


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 were compiled and reported in FY 2007 by Dr. Phil Hatlen. Debbie was also appointed a member of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Task Force to improve access to standardized tests and test-related materials for graduate students, professionals, and parents who are blind or visually impaired. Accessible Tests also worked 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 served on the Association of Test Publishers Education Division 2007 Poster Committee.

More information and features were added to the Accessible Tests Department web page in the third quarter of FY 2006. Items added include How to Contact Test Publishers and Hot Links. Hot Links include a link to APH's Louis Database as well as the Accessible Media Producers (AMP) Database, and the National Agenda website. To add educational value, awareness of accommodations, and interest, a photo montage showing children taking tests using various accommodations and in various accessible media has been added to the main page. Finally, easier navigation and updated links are features of the new and improved page. Development of a Test and Assessment catalog was initiated; it was made available in the third quarter of FY 2007. Results of assessment survey 2007: New Directions were posted in the second quarter. Plans are to repeat this survey approximately every two years in order to stay in touch with test-related needs of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

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.

Test and assessment projects in the areas of 1) contract work and 2) project development that results in catalog products were undertaken. In FY 2006, approximately 345 unique tests and assessments, answer documents, and test-related reference sheets were reviewed, edited, and produced in accessible media. This represents a 30% increase over a one-year period in the number of unique test materials produced on a contract basis. These tests were requested by various test publishers and state department of education staff from states that included Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Though varying in content, these tests generally assessed mathematics, science, social science, reading, and writing. Accessible Tests staff also edited and produced the Ballard & 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, 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.

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.

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.

The project leader and Monica Turner visited two schools in Hardin County, Kentucky, to observe low vision students taking computer-based tests. The School District's Assessment staff showed APH staff their computer labs and discussed some of the accessibility problems they've encountered. The project leader and Field Services Rep Monica Turner presented a 1-hour presentation on "Test Preparation Issues for Visually Impaired Students" at the 2007 Council on Exceptional Children (CEC) Convention. The meeting was held in Louisville, April 17-20, 2007. Debbie Willis, Kristopher Scott and Barbara Henderson presented a 90-minute session at the CCSSO Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in June 2007. In addition, the staff and lead presenter/facilitator Dr. Carol Allman conducted a half-day workshop on making test items accessible when presented in various media.

The project leader participated in a May 2007 meeting of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Expert Workgroup, sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Education, at Strode Elementary School in Winchester, KY. Strode is one of ten model schools which lead the state in UDL activities and projects as well as having an excellent web sites. Participants were able to observe UDL principles being utilized in elementary and middle school classes.

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. Approximately 500 tests and test-related materials were produced in various accessible media during FY2007. An additional project to review and make recommendations to a test under development with regard to color blindness 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.

Work during FY 2008

For some years there has been discussion and debate as to the benefit of intelligence or cognitive tests administered to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. At the Spring 2007 Advisory Committee Meetings, members of the Educational Services Advisory Committee recommended that APH's Accessible Tests staff consider the following question: Are the results of an intelligence or cognitive test meaningful to individuals with visual impairments, and useful to their instructors, families, and decision makers? An Intelligence Testing Committee made up of APH staff and field experts had been formed in January 2007 so APH was prepared to examine and respond to this concern. Intelligence Testing Committee members include:

Stephen A. Goodman, M. A., M. S., California School for the Blind
Carol Anne Evans, Ph.D., Davis School District, Utah
Marnee Loftin, M. A., Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Will Evans, M. A., Products and Services Advisor, APH
Barbara Henderson, M. A., Test and Assessment Project Leader, Accessible Tests
Department, APH
Michael Sell, B. A., Test Editor, Accessible Tests Department, APH
Debbie Willis, M. A., Director of Accessible Tests Department, APH

As of July 2008, members met a total of 13 times via teleconference. During the initial meeting, committee members determined that the priority was to develop and disseminate "key points" in a position paper regarding intelligence testing of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. After careful consideration and discussion, the following position statement was drafted, "Cognitive or intelligence testing of individuals who are blind or VI will provide useful and valuable information to test-takers, their families, instructors, and other decision makers, if appropriate guidelines are followed." Nine key points and guidelines were formulated. These were presented as a panel session at the 2008 International AER held in Chicago. Additional presentations at the 2008 International AER Conference included "The Journey of a Test: how it Becomes Accessible to Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired" by Test Editor Kerry Isham, "Striped Lands and Dotted Seas: Editing Tactile Graphics" by Test Editor Michael Sell.

Feedback received from the audience who attended the panel presentation on intelligence testing of individuals with visual impairments was positive. In FY2009, the audience's input will be used to revise the next draft of the position paper. The final paper will be reviewed by about a dozen experts in the field. Their reviews will be used to finalize the full-length position paper. Both the full-length paper as well as a short version will be freely disseminated through various organizations and interested individuals. A version will be submitted for publication, as well as being made available on APH and other relevant web sites.

In January 2008, Barbara Henderson observed one of the pilot test sessions at Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) of the 2008 Commonwealth Accountability and Testing system (CATS) Online. Measured Progress staff and KDE staff also visited KSB recently to observe how students are able to take the online test independently, after entering the test site, using their assistive technology. Barbara teamed with KSB staff to discuss a few technical problems encountered during the pilot test. Subsequently, a letter was drafted by the accessibility "team" to Measured Progress and KDE so that they could trouble-shoot in time for the real online test.

Accessible Tests staff embarked upon a new collaborative effort with California School for the Blind (CSB) to provide training materials for several workshops on "standardized test preparation for VI students." APH's Test Ready multimedia test prep materials will be used by CSB teachers to provide practice in test-taking skills. CSB staff using select editions of APH's Test Ready materials during these workshops will provide feedback to APH's Accessible Tests staff. It is anticipated that information from the CSB workshops will form the basis for some training modules on specific test-taking skills needed by students who are blind or visually impaired.

In April 2008, Barbara Henderson completed the third round of surveys, as a panelist representing APH, in NCAM's 3-year project entitled "Effective Practices for Description of Science Content within Digital Talking Books." APH produced tactile graphics to accompany descriptions in this last round of the survey--- which is the end-user survey. The survey was sent to college students and professionals in the STEM fields. The purpose of including a tactile graphic was to enable researchers to determine whether or not auditory input is enhanced by accompanying tactile input on complex science material. Barbara, as a project panelist and describer, worked with APH staff to design the tactile graphics and facilitate the project internally. Project Director Bryan Gould presented preliminary findings of the study at the 2008 ATIA Conference. A full report on the study will be published in FY 2009, leading eventually to the publication of a guidelines document. Bryan Gould and Kay Ferrell presented a session on this project at the 2008 International AER Conference.

The collaborative effort continued with CASAS, an organization devoted to assessment of adult basic skills required for success in the workplace and in life, to develop and research the first braille edition of a CASAS assessment instrument. Barbara Henderson assisted CASAS staff in identifying additional field testing sites where braille readers ages 15 and up might participate. The goal for the CASAS study was to secure 50 field test participants by the end of calendar year 2006. In FY2007 and FY2008, CASAS carried out the second round of field testing, with contracted braille readers ages 15 and up. By the conclusion of the field test, 60 subjects had participated. The calibration items were based upon real-life scenarios. Dr. Ginny Posey, Senior Researcher at CASAS, visited APH in July 2008 to tour the facility, meet with some APH staff, and to work with Barbara on the research report. Results of the study will be prepared and submitted to a journal for possible publication in FY2009.

Accessible Tests staff met with Dena Garrett in order to develop a list of test rules or guidelines, along with examples, of items not covered by current BANA code. Department staff also met with Diane Spence at APH to discuss the list of test guidelines and the need for BANA transcription rules/guidelines. BANA formed a Test Committee to develop rules/guidelines for transcribing high stakes tests; members include APH Accessible Media Editor and certified braille transcriptionist Dena Garrett and Dr. Carol Allman. Their first meeting was held via teleconference in August 2008; a timeline of approximately two years to undertake and complete this work was discussed. Teleconferences will continue throughout FY2009 and a face-to-face meeting was tentatively planned for summer 2009.

At the request of the test publisher, Barbara reviewed KeyMath 3 pre-publication test items for low vision and color deficient vision issues. Barbara and Low Vision Project Leader Elaine Kitchel provided reviews on the pre-publication test items. These reviews were used by the test publisher's project staff to finalize test items in the new KeyMath 3. Accessible Tests staff is also pursuing permission from the test publisher to make a braille/tactile version of KeyMath 3 available. This and other catalog items under development by the department's Test and Assessment Project Leader are in various phases. See the "Test and Assessment" section of this document for status reports on individual test-related projects which were either completed in FY2008, underway, or under consideration as future projects.

In late winter 2008, Debbie Willis participated as a member of NCEO's National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects (NARAP) Principles and Guidelines Committee. The purpose of the meeting held in Washington, DC was to bring together a diverse panel of experts and stakeholders to provide project staff with feedback on the draft of the Principles and Guidelines, to provide advice on establishing levels of support for the Guidelines, and to help design a dissemination plan once the Principles and Guidelines are finalized. A group of APH staff was instrumental in prepping Debbie for this meeting, and for compiling significant edits, suggestions and questions for the NARAP project staff to consider.

Debbie was also invited to attend the third biennial CASMA-ACT (Center for Advanced Studies in Measurement and Assessment-American College Testing) Invitational Conference on Current Challenges in Educational Testing. Two hundred individuals involved in assessment, research, and education gathered at the ACT Conference Center in Iowa City. Performance testing simulations were discussed and demonstrated, media personnel and test users provided perspectives on challenges to testing, and a five-person panel presented their views on hot topics in the assessment arena. Dr. James Popham, voted as one of the top 20 educators of the 20th century at UCLA, gave the keynote address on "Instructional Sensitivity." According to Dr. Popham, "almost all of today's accountability tests are unable to ascertain instructional quality, that is, they are instructionally insensitive. Accountability tests, such as our nation's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) assessments, differ substantially in their ability to detect instructional quality."

Presentations in FY2008 included a poster session by Test Editor Kerry Isham on "Test Accommodations for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired" provided to Ex Officio Trustees and invited guests attending our October 2007 Annual Meeting. Test and Assessment Project Leader Barbara Henderson teamed with Linnie Lee of the KY Department of Education and Chloe Torres of Measured Progress to present a regular conference session at the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) Conference on Innovations in Testing. Their presentation on "Making Online Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments" included video clips of students who are blind and some with low vision taking the KY online pilot test during spring 2008. Challenges and positive outcomes of the online testing experience were presented from three different viewpoints.

Professional development opportunities for members of Accessible Tests continued throughout FY2008. Some Accessible Tests staff was involved in a conference call on alternate assessments with staff from the National Alternate Assessment Center (NAAC) housed at the University of KY in Lexington. NAAC staff spoke on alignment methods and models, dealing with how academic performance and grade level are significant points of alignment and what sort of criteria are used for measurement. New Test Editors Michael Sell and Kerry Isham were provided several opportunities during the school year to observe students in a variety of classes at the KY School for the Blind as well as observing students who are blind or visually impaired in classrooms in Jefferson County KY Public Schools. Michael Sell successfully completed his lessons on literary braille, submitted his transcribed manuscript and received his certification in literary braille transcription from the National Library Service.

Some additional activities this fiscal year included a review of Tests of Adult Basic Education for English Language Learners (TABE CLAS-E) for CTB/McGraw-Hill publishers. The object was to discover any biases toward English Language Learners who have visual impairments. Barbara Henderson and Debbie Willis worked with NCEO staff to review and provide feedback on "Case Studies of English Language Learners (ELLs) with Visual Impairments." Test Editor Kris Scott participated as a member of KY's Bias Review Committee. Test Editor Kerry Isham reviewed hundreds of potential test items in the areas of mathematics, science, and reading for bias and access by students with visual impairments. Numerous phone conferences and some in-person meetings were held by APH staff, test publishers, state and local assessment staff, and accessible media producers. Barbara Henderson and Kerry Isham edited and reviewed last year's West Virginia alternate assessment items and provided feedback to WV alternate assessment staff.

A survey about types of answer documents needed for marking answer choices on classroom tests and standardized tests was developed, finalized, and posted on the APH web site. Announcement of the survey for prospective participants was circulated on various listserves as well as included in two monthly editions of the APH News. Data were received from 230 respondents. These data are in the process of being reviewed, compiled, and categorized in order to make decisions regarding types of accessible answer documents that need to be designed and produced. A report on the survey results will be posted on the APH web site during the first quarter of FY2009. Design, development, and field testing of various tactile and large print answer documents will be underway in FY2009.

Accessible Tests staff sponsored its first webcast in FY2008. Fred Otto and Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Specialists in the Research Department, provided a webcast on "Tactile Graphics: Touching on the Basics." Eighty individuals/groups logged onto the webcast that was viewed by over 200 participants. Tactile graphics packets containing samples of released test items and a graphic produced in four different formats had been prepared and shipped to webcast registrants prior to the live, interactive presentation. Additional packets which were requested were made available to about 20 people who viewed the archived tactile graphics presentation via our APH web site.

Forty-six members of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) division on Assessment of Special Education Students (ASES) visited APH for an exciting and informative half-day workshop during their two-day CCSSO ASES Meeting in Louisville. It was this group's first time meeting in Louisville and first time visiting APH. Construction on APH's new front yard and building had just been completed and opened days before their visit so they were able to see, enjoy, and appreciate our newly remodeled site. Members of the CCSSO ASES Group toured the facilities and were offered presentations which included an overview of assessment issues, some braille basics, an explanation of the roles of the Test Editor, Transcriber and Proofreader, enhanced print as well as tactile graphics issues and guidelines. The workshop concluded with demonstrations of editing regular print test items for presentation in braille, tactile graphics, enhanced print, and audio formats. Some of the thoughtful questions and concerns expressed by ASES members included the readability of tactile graphics, what can be used when sighted students are using their graphing calculators, and use of color and grayscale for students with color blindness or low vision. Members left with numerous handouts and resources available to them, with some questions answered as well as some new ones.

In preparation for the August 2008 workshop, Dr. Carol Allman, and members of APH's Accessible Tests and Research staff reviewed, edited and updated the second edition of TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, and produced the third edition of this document. The new edition will be made available on the Accessible Tests Department web page either late in FY2008 or early in FY2009.

The original selection of released sample test items from the states of Illinois and Ohio which had been used for previous workshops was reviewed and edited, and prepared introductory information which had not been included in previous editions of the sample test items, was prepared. The Ohio and Illinois sample test items were reproduced with permission as 2008 APH Sample Test Items in braille with tactile graphics, large print, and on audio CD. In addition, a second set of released sample test items used with permission from the states of Florida, Maine, and Texas were selected and produced in the same media as the above mentioned original sample test items. The second set was produced as a Supplement: APH Sample Test Items ©2008. The supplement covers sample test items for math, science and writing for grades 4-11. These sample test items, along with the new third edition of TEST ACCESS: Making Tests Accessible, were used for training purposes during the August 2008 workshop on Making Test Items Accessible for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired; 30 individuals representing test publishers, state departments of education, and various assessment personnel from across the country participated and received training during this workshop. Both sets of sample test items will be used for similar purposes at future workshops and presentations. This was the first workshop at APH to be audio-video recorded by APH staff, Maria Delgado and Michael Sell; plans are to make the recorded presentations, PowerPoint presentations, handouts and additional resources available in late FY2008 or very early in FY2009 via the Accessible Tests Department web page on the APH web site (http://www.aph.org).

FY2008 was a very busy and productive year with regard to test-related contract work. Over 600 state and local assessments as well as some alternate assessments, commercially available assessments such as the WIAT II and TerraNova, and related materials such as parent/teach guides, manuals, reference sheets and charts were produced and shipped this fiscal year. Tests were reviewed and edited for presentation in braille, tactile graphics, large print, enlarged print, and/or audio formats; some of the tests were produced in both contracted and uncontracted braille. Test Administration Notes were prepared for about 75% of these tests, according to customer specifications. The majority of this work was undertaken by the Test Editors and various production staff throughout APH.

Accessible Tests staff continue to gratefully acknowledge the direction and support of Executive Committee members and Ex Officio Trustees, and all the wonderful partners within APH and with individuals, agencies, schools, and organizations outside of APH who worked together to help make instructional materials and tests available in accessible media for individuals with visual impairments, who promoted the inclusion of individuals with visual impairments during test development, and who were actively engaged in improving the test performance of blind and visually impaired individuals through research, education, and communication. As Helen Keller said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Together, we have accomplished much, and there is still much to be done. See the next section on plans for FY2009.

Work planned for FY 2009

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

A new, updated assessment catalog will be developed. This catalog will list age-spans, target audience, and application of each test. The Accessible Tests web page will also be updated with new links to resources and an annotated bibliography of publications on assessment. The need for a list serve or blog on assessment topics so that test administrators can network and get input from the field will be examined.

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

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

Tests
&
Assessments

Accessible Answer Documents

(Continued)

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
Kerry Isham, Accessible Tests Editor, Co-Project Leader
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader, Project Consultant
Eleanor Pester, Braille Project Leader, Project Consultant
Debbie Willis, Director of Accessible Tests, Project Advisor

Background

As states moved toward No Child Left Behind (NCLB) compliance, materials such as accessible answer documents must be supplied if students with visual impairments are to take the test independently and successfully. The original goal was to collaborate with a major test publisher on development of a machine scorable, accessible "scannable answer sheet" or "bubble sheet," for use by braille or large print readers. 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 into active status during FY 2006 due to prior commitments. No additional work was done on the project during that time frame.

In FY 2007, it was decided that finding a partner for research into necessary design considerations for accessible answer documents was more important than ever. Many states were moving to computerized scoring of their achievement tests and current scannable answer documents were still not useable by test takers with visual impairments. The project leader made several contacts with test publishers and research entities, but a committed partner could not be identified. Therefore, the project remained on the PARCing Lot throughout FY 2007.

Work during FY 2008

Although a partner to help develop an accessible scannable answer sheet could not be located, it was determined through customer inquiries that various formats of accessible large print and braille answer documents were needed for a variety of purposes. Therefore, the original goal of this project, i.e. to develop an accessible scannable answer sheet, was changed to the current goal of providing well-designed, accessible answer documents in braille and large print for use during instructional activities, for test preparation, and in actual test situations.

In the first quarter of FY 2008, the project leader pulled this project into active development. A survey about kinds of answer documents needed by teachers and other service providers was developed, and in March 2008, it was posted on the APH web site. The survey was also mailed and/or emailed to test publishers, education agencies, and individuals listed in the departmental database. Over one hundred and twenty three people from twenty-four states and numerous agencies submitted a survey. The project leaders analyzed survey results in the last quarter of FY 2008.

Work planned for FY 2009

Results of the survey will be reported and posted on the Accessible Tests Department web page early in FY 2009. The results will be used to inform decision-making on this product. Work with graphic designers to create prototypes for field-testing will get underway as soon as survey results are available. Field test sites will be identified and contacted, a review questionnaire will be developed, and field-testing will begin.

Brigance® Diagnostic Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills,
Revised
(CIBS-R): Student Large Print Edition
A.k.a. Brigance Green

(Completed)

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

Background

Based upon feedback from the field, it was 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. Numerous phone calls from teachers as well as personal requests from ex officio trustees informed the PL of this need. Access to the publisher's files and a new process at APH for production of full-color large print made this project much more feasible than had been originally thought; subsequently, the PL brought the idea forward to the appropriate committees in FY 2005.

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

Work with BISIG Impact Group staff on reformatting each of the eleven 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 during FY 2008

BISIG finalized the electronic files from January to April 2008, according to the project leader's reviews. A specifications meeting was held in April and a production target date established, leading to final production masters in July 2008 and product availability in the last quarter of FY 2008. This project is complete.

Brigance® Diagnostic Inventory of Early Development II
(IED-II): Large Print Edition and Tactile Edition
A.k.a. Brigance Yellow

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide accessible versions of this early educational skills inventory, to be utilized by early interventionists and diagnosticians who work with infants and preschoolers with visual impairments. Assessment of very young children is difficult without specific materials, protocols, and rationales.

Project Staff

Barbara Henderson, Co-Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Monica Turner, Accessible Test Editor/Co-Project Leader
BISIG, Graphic Art & Layout
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

In keeping with an APH tradition, a tactile supplement to the Brigance Yellow tests was planned before the new print edition was released. The PL and the Director proposed adding a large print edition of the updated assessment. The project idea was brought before the appropriate APH committees and approved.

In FY 2005, permissions were sought. The electronic files were also requested. The publisher, Curriculum Associates, was very cooperative in providing these materials quickly and free of charge. The project staff was assigned within a few months and preliminary designs for product structure were documented.

In the first quarter of FY 2006 a PDC meeting was called in order to brainstorm methods of presentation of manipulative items and a time line was developed. BISIG worked with the publisher's files to create a working document for editing the examiner's manual. A separate document was created for layout of the large print examinee's pages and for the braille transcription. The project co-leader began revising the examiner's manual.

Work on the large print reformatting and on the braille transcription continued toward a prototype. Field review and field testing at six sites was initiated in the last quarter of FY 2007.

Work during FY 2008

Field-testing continued through the first two quarters of FY 2008. Monica Turner left the department, so the PL assumed role of project leader. With a new assistant, the project leader worked to compile field test results and summarize findings. The PL categorized types of revisions needed. It was determined that an updated and annotated bibliography of resources was to be supplied along with the tactile and large print test materials.

Work planned for FY 2009

An annotated bibliography and updated resource list will be developed as soon as current project staff can allocate the time. Revisions on tactile and large print test items will continue.

Collaborative Assessment DVD Series

(Continued)

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, Co Project-Leader
California School for the Blind Assessment Team, Project Consultants

Background

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

In the second quarter of FY 2005, the project leader met with project consultants from California School for the Blind (CSB) and AFB Press staff in San Francisco, California, during the California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH) Conference. Product development schedules and other details were discussed for the introductory DVD.

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.

It was decided that the project leaders would travel to CSB in the fourth quarter of FY 2007 to meet with the assessment team, hold a planning meeting, and to meet the students who would be filmed for the DVDs. Outlines for scripting were developed and time lines documented. In this same period, RFPs went out to several videographers in Kentucky and California.

Work during FY 2008

A videographer was selected. Two teleconferences were held with CSB staff to discuss next steps.

Work planned for FY 2009

Monthly teleconferences will be held with CSB staff until scripting is at a usable stage. Thereafter, a contractual agreement will be reached with the videographer and filming will begin. Footage will be reviewed, edited and revised, and additional scripting added. The review/editing process will continue until content for the first DVD in the series is finalized.

(Continued)

Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (KTEA-II)
Large Print Edition and Braille Adaptation

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
Cindy Adair, Hardin Co., KY, Schools, Project Consultant
Bill Greenlee, Ph.D., Kentucky School for the Blind (ret.), Project Advisor
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media Editor, Project Advisor

Background

KTEA-II has a broad scope and is targeted towards students ages 5 through 25.

Students performing at lower than expected levels, such as students with multiple disabilities, can successfully demonstrate some of the straight-forward, skill-specific tasks presented in this test. Key academic skills in reading, math, written and oral language can be assessed and remediated based on age and grade equivalent standards.

Practitioners in the field have expressed need for a test which requires less time to administer than some of the other popular achievement tests, and enables them to get baselines and information for immediate intervention. In 2005 the project leader proposed KTEA-II as a product. It was approved and placed on the PARCing lot to await further development. At the suggestion of staff at Kentucky School for the Blind, who needed to use the test with several students, this project was moved onto the active timeline in the third quarter of FY 2007.

Work during FY 2008

Work began with discussions of formatting considerations for both braille and large print editions. The project consultants and project leader met in January and planned work for the remainder of the fiscal year. A working meeting with the project consultants was held in March in Elizabethtown, during which decisions were made on design of tactile graphics and print materials for braille readers on half of the subtests.

A second working meeting at APH in July was very productive. The remaining subtests were edited for braille and tactile presentation. The consultants supplied the project leader with extensive notes which will be used to produce markups for braille translation and large print formatting; these activities will begin in the last quarter of FY 2008 and will result in prototypes for field testing and expert review in early FY 2009.

Work planned for FY 2009

Field testing and expert review will be undertaken and completed. The PL and the consultant will review recommendations and facilitate revisions. Designs for artwork and packaging will be finalized.

KeyMath®-3: Braille/Tactile Adaptation

(Continued)

Purpose

In keeping with a long-time collaborative tradition between AGS/Pearson Assessment and APH, another braille/tactile adaptation of KeyMath will be developed.

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader
Debbie Willis, Project Advisor
Dena Garrett, 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 by Pearson was completed in 2007 and publication of the print battery occurred in the first quarter of FY 2008. Pre-publication copy and verbal copyright permissions were secured from the publisher in the last quarter of FY 2008. At the request of Pearson, by way of a special contract, the project leader and project advisors reviewed all test items for bias and for color vision deficit considerations.

Work during FY 2008

Several people were highly recommended by project leaders, ex officio trustees, and teachers for the position of project consultant. The recommendations were reviewed by the PL. Braille/tactile adaptations were considered by the PL in preparation for braille transcription. Follow-up requests for written copyright permissions were sent to the publisher.

Work planned for FY 2009

A project consultant will be selected by the PL and the director and written copyright permissions will be secured. Final editing for braille and tactile presentation of test items will occur as soon as these pieces are in place.

Test and Assessment Needs

(Continued)

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

Background

Meeting the needs of TVIs and others who are called upon to assess visually impaired students is the focus of this home project. For instance, the project to make Harcourt's Wechsler Individual Achievement Test II (WIAT-II) available in braille/tactile format was proposed and implemented as a result of being expressed as a high priority need by the field. This test can now be ordered from APH (who has the braille/tactile plates already made) as long as permission is requested by the individual or organization and is granted by Harcourt Assessment. The individual or organization in need of this test may then contact APH to order a copy of the WIAT-II in braille/tactile format. Custom Contract staff are willing and able to assist with this procedure.

In order to provide information about which tests are currently available in accessible formats, the project leader worked with the Directors of Accessible Tests and Communications in FY 2007 to develop the new Assessment Catalog and with Research Department staff to review current assessment products for obsolescence or modernization. The project leader also worked with Malcolm Turner to update the Accessible Tests web page. Comments received on how the field has come to view the Accessible Tests web page included "the best information source out there."

Work during FY 2008

The PL reviewed several well-known assessments for which new editions will be released soon, in consideration of possible APH products. Commercially available products for development of Daily Living Skills, Job Skills Assessment, and Career Interest Inventories were reviewed by project staff because of their particular importance to experts in transition for VI students. As a result, a product on how to use transition assessments and screens was planned.

A brief intelligence test was selected for consideration as a new product. See information on the Intelligence Testing Position Paper and the IQ Testing Workgroup in the Accessible Tests Department section of this report.

Over 200 customer service calls and emails this year were forwarded to the project leader by Customer Relations and other APH staff for more detailed information than they could supply on the topic of tests and assessments.

Kerry Isham, a new test editor, took over responsibility for web content and updates as of the first quarter of FY 2008, and worked with John Aicken to put some changes in place.

Work planned for FY 2009

A general assessment needs survey (which is usually conducted every two years), formation of a list serve on assessment of K-12 students who are blind or visually impaired, a web page update, and an updated bibliography of publications on assessment are all possibilities for FY 2009 depending upon time, staff availability, and priorities.

Test Ready® Test Preparation Series

(Continued)

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, Co- Project Leader
Michael Sell, Accessible Tests Editor, Co-Project Leader
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media Editor, Project Editor
Kristopher Scott, Accessible Tests Editor, Project Editor
Monica Vaught, Project Assistant
BISIG Impact Group, Graphic Art/Layout

Background

The PL did a review of commercially available test preparation and practice test materials prior to proposal of a new product. In response to a recommendation from the EPAC and ESAC committees, the PL selected and brought forward the Test Ready® Series from Curriculum Associates. The project was approved in FY 2004. The subject areas chosen were: Math, Reading, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.

Plus Mathematics and Plus Reading, each comprised of 7 levels and 7 teacher guides, were the first subjects produced because of their high priority for visually impaired students (refer also to NCLB regulations). Visually impaired students have traditionally done poorly on math compared to their sighted counterparts due to lack of accessible test materials. Math practice is therefore essential for braille readers especially. The project leaders reviewed the math series and determined that most items were adaptable for VI students. Literacy is another high priority skills area for students who are braille or large print readers.

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 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 those files. Several meetings were held to discuss how to present and package the materials for marketing and catalog listings.

A trial run on the project was delayed until an .HTML file and an audio version could be prepared. It was agreed that Alternative text (Alt-text) and a clean MsWord file were needed for generation of the .HTML file. The co-project leader was unable to devote time to the project due to a large volume of state tests in need of editing. Michael Sell, a new Accessible Tests editor, became the co-Project Leader in FY 2007 and Level 7 Plus Math (2 out of 128 total products) moved forward.

Audio scripts were developed by the project leaders during the first and second quarters. Alt-text descriptions were finalized in the third quarter and BISIG began their work on the .HTML components.

Work during FY 2008

Revised MsWord files for Level 7 Plus Math were completed by the PLs and sent to BISIG for use in formatting the .HTML files. BISIG developed a process and format for coding .HTML files for subsequent titles in the series. The PLs began working on scripting for the next titles according to this template. They also worked with braille transcription to develop a process in that department. Finally, in preparation for a Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting, the project leaders created a flowchart and a consistent workflow description so that subsequent titles in the series can travel through various processes smoothly and quickly.

At the spring 2008 meeting at APH, members of APH's two advisory committees, EPAC and ESAC, recommended that the Test Ready materials be made available as soon as possible. As a result of this recommendation, an analysis of the various steps, time, staff and equipment needed to complete each is underway in order to determine how to effectively and efficiently develop and produce these 128 high quality products in a timely manner.

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement Braille Adaptation

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader
Lynne E. Jaffe, Ph.D., Learning Disabilities and Reading Specialist, Project Consultant
Carol Anne Evans, Ph.D., School Psychologist, Farmington, UT Schools, Project Consultant
Lana McClurg, M.A., TVI, Arizona Schools for the Deaf & Blind, Project Consultant
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media Editor, Project Advisor
Nancy Etter, Braille Transcriber
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
BISIG Impact Group, Design and Layout

Background

The Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III) Tests of Achievement are widely known and trusted, and commonly used to assess academic strengths and weaknesses in children and adults. More than any other single title; practitioners in the field of visual impairment have expressed their desire to have APH provide an adaptation of the Woodcock-Johnson for braille readers. The WJ continued to be identified by recent focus groups, workgroups, and in assessment surveys as one of the top three needed tests 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. Copyright permissions were sought from the publisher and a search for qualified consultants was carried out.

Written permissions arrived in FY 2003. Consultants were hired, prototypes of three of the tests were developed, and field testing/expert review was carried out in nine locations across the country. Braille transcription was ongoing for the remaining tests and review of the braille was performed by the consultant(s) and project leader as each was completed.

When field test/review results came back, the PL analyzed reviews and initiated appropriate revisions. Review and revision occurred between FY 2004 and FY 2005. Revised braille tests were then reviewed by the consultants.

The PL and BISIG collaborated to design cover art and regular print product components. Work in this area continued through FY 2006.

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, Dr. 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. In this manner, no parts of the test would be inaccessible to persons who are visually impaired. Additionally, Dr. Woodcock offered to furnish a special Compuscore CD for the braille adaptation as his contribution to the project. A teleconference was held with Riverside Publishing staff and the staff of the Woodcock-Munoz Foundation in Olympia, WA, to discuss the compuscore programming. During this timeframe, the project leader and the project consultant began work on the new test items from Dr. Woodcock with the assistance of APH braille transcribers.

Work during FY 2008

The project leader and consultant facilitated creation of the Test Record for the Braille Adaptation. Programming on the special compuscore began and was completed by Woodcock-Munoz Foundation staff in the special Compuscore and Profiles Program, and Quality Assurance was carried out by outside contractors with the assistance of the Woodcock-Munoz Foundation. The PL worked closely with the programmers at the Woodcock-Munoz Foundation and the project consultant to supply information and content for the software program and packaging; a desktop icon was designed for the special software program; new cover artwork was designed by BISIG for the software splash screen and packaging. The PL and transcriber continued to work on development of the new braille tests from Dr. Woodcock and made revisions on existing tests.

It is only through the permission of Riverside Publishing, the dedication and contributions of test author Dr. Richard Woodcock, and the willing partnership and good work of staff at the Woodcock-Munoz Foundation that this historic equivalent version of the Woodcock-Johnson III: Tests of Achievement in braille is moving forward toward a reality. The Compuscore and Profiles Program will be usable by school psychologists and test administrators in order to more accurately assess the abilities of students who are blind or visually impaired.

Work planned for FY 2009

Revisions and new transcription of tests will be finalized in the first quarter. The PL will work with an assistant to complete templates for the print component of the braille tests and with the consultant and BISIG to finalize content on product manuals. Availability is targeted for early in calendar year 2009. The PL and staff will begin planning training workshops and informational web casts on the WJ III braille adaptation targeted at school psychologists and test administrators.

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 2008

APH Adult Life products and their applications to specific populations were presented by the Adult Life Project Leader at the following venues: Annual Conference of the MidAmerica Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers and the Association of Southeastern Rehabilitation Teachers, Los Vegas, Nevada, November, 2007; National Transition Network Forum, Austin, Texas, February-March, 2008; International Conference on Aging, Disability, and Independence, St. Petersburg, Florida, March, 2008; Envision the Future, Transition from School to Adult Life, the Perkins School for the Blind, March, 2008, Watertown, Massachusetts; National Convention of the American Council of the Blind, Louisville, Kentucky, July, 2008; Biennial Conference of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Chicago, Illinois, July, 2008.

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

Work planned for FY 2009

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.

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.

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 during FY 2008

Gissoni and Terlau discussed difficulties inherent in attempting to create a record book that would work for most people. They are considering the development of a guide book that would describe how individuals could create record books that are individualized for their particular types of financial records. Such a handbook might include sample pages and blank sheets for constructing customized record pages.

Work planned for FY 2009

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

Functional Assessment

(Continued)

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

Work during FY 2008

Because project leaders' time was required for other projects, essential work on the functional assessment prototype was postponed during FY 2007.

Work planned for FY 2009

Bender and the project leader will complete item revisions so that various levels of the instrument reflect relatively similar increments of skill change. Prototype development is expected to be completed and expert review will be initiated.

'K' Sonar Instruction Manual

(Completed)

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
Ann Travis, Research/Project Assistant
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 2008

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 2009

The project leader wrote a second draft of the manual, which included more thorough exercise content and a more effective activity sequence. William Penrod, Director of the Orientation and Mobility masters' degree program at the University of Louisville, examined and edited the manual. The manual was then made available for free download from the APH website:
www.aph.org/manuals/ksonar.pdf

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. During FY 2007, the consultant rewrote the final chapters of the book, and the project leader expanded and edited them.

Work during FY 2008

Because project leaders' time was required for other projects, essential work on the functional assessment prototype was postponed during FY 2007

Work planned for FY 2009

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

(Continued)

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

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. During FY 2007, the manufacturing specialist located a manufacturer capable of providing rolls of magnetic vinyl in the size and quantity that were needed. 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 during FY 2008

Internal expert review of materials and instructions was conducted and the product was made available for sale. However, the project leader noticed that braille labels on the finished product did not adhere well to the sides of metal cans. A search for vinyl incorporating a stronger magnetic material was undertaken.

Work planned for FY 2009

An engineering change will be instituted such that material incorporating a stronger magnet will be used for these labels.

MagneTachers for Large Print Labels: Jumbo Size

(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.

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 during FY 2008

Internal expert review of materials and instructions was conducted and the product was made available for sale. However, the project leader noticed that braille labels on the finished product did not adhere well to the sides of metal cans. A search for vinyl incorporating a stronger magnetic material was undertaken.

Work planned for FY 2009

An engineering change will be instituted such that material incorporating a stronger magnet will be used for these labels.

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.

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 during FY 2008

Internal expert review of materials and instructions was conducted and the product was made available for sale. However, the project leader noticed that large print labels on the finished product did not adhere well to the sides of metal cans. A search for vinyl incorporating a stronger magnetic material was undertaken.

Work planned for FY 2009

The manufacturing change will be complete--the product will be available for sale made of stronger magnetic material. Labels will adhere appropriately to the sides of canned foods.

MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels

(Completed)

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 determined the most effective types and thicknesses of magnetic vinyl for use with Sherlock labels. The Sherlock Label can be permanently attached to a rectangle of such material with the label's pressure sensitive adhesive. The magnetic vinyl with the Sherlock label attached adheres to food cans or any other metal surface and can be removed, like any other magnet, by exerting slight pressure with the fingers. When attached to its MagneTacher, a Sherlock label can be reused on cans and other metal surfaces indefinitely.

During FY 2007, the manufacturing specialist located a manufacturer capable of providing magnetic vinyl with the magnetic field direction required in order for Sherlock labels to be read on metal surfaces. 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.

Work during FY 2008

It was determined that APH would produce two products involving MagneTachers for Sherlock labels: 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. These two catalog items make it possible for persons who have MagneTacher labels to buy only the MagneTachers and for persons who have used all of their Sherlock labels to buy both the labels and the MagneTachers in the same kit. Specifications and tooling were completed and these two MagneTacher products became available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2009

Because MagneTachers for Sherlock labels are available for sale, no additional development is anticipated in 2009.

MagneTachers for Small Braillables
(Formerly: MagneTachers for Small Braillables)

(Completed)

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 2008

During FY 2007, the manufacturing specialist located a manufacturer capable of providing magnetic vinyl, kiss-cut label sheets with cuts slightly larger than Sherlock Labels. 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. After considering two packaging protocols, it was determined that MagneTachers for Small Braillables would be sold in a pack by themselves, with no Braillables in the pack. Two sheets of magnetic vinyl, kiss-cut so that a shape slightly larger than the small Braillable can be easily detached, yield MagneTachers for 24 Braillables. This product became available for sale during FY 2008.

Work planned for FY 2009

Because MagneTachers for Small Braillables be are available for sale, no development activity is anticipated for this product in the future. 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.

During FY 2007, prototype materials were developed as follows: small 2-ring notebooks; drilled paper packs; small spiral notebooks with perforated pages for easy page removal; a customized, 4-line, 15-cell slate; a brief guidebook for using the MiniBook materials; tall and short APH flat styli. 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 during FY 2008

Field test responses have been collected and analyzed; changes in the slate mold and substitution of a saddle stylus for the APH flat stylus are being considered based on field review responses.

Work planned for FY 2009

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 2008

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 2009

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. McCulloh has submitted assessment protocols and background for Session 1.

Work during FY 2008

McCulloh has submitted complete materials for conducting Session 1.

Work planned for FY 2009

Submission of materials for subsequent sessions is anticipated. Conference calls will be scheduled on an as-needed basis.

O&M for Families

(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
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Ann Travis, 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. Necessary program changes were outlined, the programmer revised the program, and additional changes were suggested by in-house staff.

Work during FY 2008

Color, contrast, the appearance of token characters on-screen, and the use of small scroll boxes for viewing and selecting from long lists of data have been addressed by in-house testers. Programmer is making changes that will meet these specifications.

Work planned for FY 2009

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.

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 during FY 2008

Project leader has completed final edits of all chapters; proof-reading and insertion of photos has begun.

Work planned for FY 2009

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. It is anticipated that the book will become available for sale in late FY 2009.

Permabraille Sheets for Braille DateBook

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide sheets drilled for the Braille DateBook binder that hold braille dots securely over time for material that the user wants to keep permanently

Project Staff

Mary T. (Terrie) Terlau, Project Leader

Background

Since the publication of Tactile Treasures in 1997, APH has used vinyl material as braille paper for products that must hold up under conditions of heavy use. In 2007, Karen Poppe obtained field test results from blind adults, transcribers, and others regarding the suitability of this material for durable braille in other settings. Feedback indicated that sheets provided clear, smooth braille and that dots held up well. As a result of this feedback, APH developed PermaBraille sheets in a variety of sizes.

Because some materials that users include in their Braille DateBooks is of a permanent nature, it seemed appropriate to drill packets of 4" X 6" sheets of this paper to fit into the Braille DateBook binder rings.

Work during FY 2008

Material was cut and packaged by the vendor, then hole-punched at APH.

Work planned for FY 2009

Because PermaBraille sheets were made available or sale in FY 2008, no further development is anticipated.

Printing Guide

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop teaching materials and printing templates to assist persons who are blind to learn to print legible capital letters according to positions of the braille dots in a cell

Project Staff

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 2008

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

Work planned for FY 2009

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.

Step By Step: An Interactive Guide to Mobility Techniques

(Continued)

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."

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.

Work during FY 2008

Materials were originally developed with Macintosh® hardware and were to operate on both the Mac and PC platforms. A persistent problem, involving the cut off of materials in scroll boxes on the DVD when run on a PC, has been solved by reprogramming by Rosen. Five field reviewers have been selected, complete materials and a questionnaire have been sent to them, and expert review results are anticipated from all reviewers before the end of the 2008 FY.

Work planned for FY 2009

Changes to materials based on field review results 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
Karen Wolffe, Project Consultant

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.

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.

Additional information about the Transition Tote System can be found at:
http://sun1.aph.org/products/2005.html#m2

Work during FY 2008

The primary consultant indicated that additional funding sources did not develop for this project. She proposed a series of revisions which were approved by the project leader. She has agreed to write the revision material at no cost to APH. To date, she has submitted one set of revisions and the project leader has returned these to her with suggested edits.

Work planned for FY 2009

Revisions and edits will be completed and the revised Transition Tote materials will be submitted for graphic design. Production of new materials will begin late in FY 2009 or early in FY 2010.

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 2008

Project Leaders' full schedules did not allow for work on Travel Tales during FY 2008.

Work planned for FY 2009

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

(Continued)

Purpose

To create 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, Project Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Research
Tom Poppe, Model Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Model 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 skills such as fine motor and sorting. 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 during FY 2008

A request for bids was sent out, and two companies responded. The cost of the movable mold is too expensive to produce short runs for field testing.

Work planned for FY 2009

APH will determine if rapid reproduction is possible for prototypes.

Braille

Alphabetic Braille and Contracted (ABC) Braille Study

(Continuing through 2009)

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 was a comparison of students who were initially taught contracted braille with those initially taught uncontracted braille. The study also collected 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 were enrolled. Due to assistance from the Canadian Braille Authority and the American Foundation for the Blind, the project expanded its budget to include 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

2006-2007 was the final year of the project. During this past year, 2007-2008, the Research Team has been conducting an analysis of data and preparing articles for dissemination of the research information.

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 explored the development of literacy skills and charted 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 resided in the U.S. and Canada and attended special schools and local education agencies, as well as pre-kindergarten programs, e.g., Head Start. They were enrolled in the study in either pre-kindergarten or kindergarten and were followed through the fourth grade.

Work during FY 2008

This past 2007-2008 academic year involved the consolidation of research data and analysis by the Research Team. Over the course of the study 45 students were enrolled. Four children were dropped from the study because they had been identified as having multiple disabilities. Three other children left the study for various reasons. Data from these children will be included where it is appropriate to do so. Enrolled children resided in 12 U.S. states and one Canadian province, with children coming from a range of educational environments.

In addition to specific writing group work, the Research Team presented general results of the research study at several conferences. At the APH Annual Meeting in October 2007, the preliminary findings of the research study were unveiled. Two sessions for Ex Officio Trustees were held: one was on Lessons Learned, and the other addressed the portion of the study related to hand movement in reading braille. Other conferences or venues where presentations were made include: The Canadian Vision Teachers Conference, Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference, California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped Conference, and the International AERBVI Conference. There was also an informal presentation at the International Council on English Braille meeting in Melbourne, Australia.

During the course of the past year, a number of small groups worked together on various aspects of analysis and determining results of the study data. A number of teleconference calls also moved the work of writing up results ahead. In addition, APH hosted two face to face meetings. One was held in January at the California School for the Blind which generously provided accommodations and some meals. The second was held at APH in June, and included a time when the ABC Braille Research Team could provide feedback to APH on products related to braille literacy, as well as have time to work in small writing groups.

Work planned for FY 2009

During the 2008-2009 school year, researchers will be continuing to work in their various writing groups. 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 approximately seven teams at work. Two articles are presently being finalized for submission to JVIB. It is anticipated that many articles will be submitted for possible inclusion in the special JVIB issue on literacy to come out in 2009, the 200th anniversary year of Louis Braille's birth.

Braille Code Recognition Program

(Completed)

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. In 2007 reformatting and writing were completed with the addition of two stories containing all of the Braille contractions for reading practice in context and with specific directions for pretesting, posttesting, and using the practice materials.

Work during FY 2008

The teacher's manual was transcribed into Braille and all print and Braille materials were printed and packaged. On July 9, 2008, this revised program went on sale under the new name, Braille Contraction Recognition Program. This product can be ordered as a Print or Braille Teacher Kit, each containing one complete set of Braille student materials and a teacher's manual and materials in the teacher's preferred reading medium. Additional student materials are also available separately.

Revision of Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program

(Continued 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.

The kindergarten level of Building on Patterns became available for purchase in November of 2006. In 2007, 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 cut and pasted the lessons that were done to conform to the new plan, filled in new activities when they were needed, and edited the reading selections and the spelling activities accordingly. The project leader continued on with work on additional reading selections, comprehension questions, oral reading and fluency activities, and vocabulary and concept development activities. 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 2004 Summer Group, one from California and one from Oregon. The expert proposed reordering each lesson into a 5-day schedule and supplementing it with additional tactile graphics and other supplementary activities. Following the meeting, each of the three participants from OH, CA, and OR formed teams of teachers of visually impaired students to work on this.

Work during FY 2008

Work continued on the lessons in much the same way as it had during 2007 with the project leader and the local consultant developing lessons but with the addition now of preparing the lessons to go out to the teacher teams, working with the teams to try to keep some consistency in the lessons and new lessons coming to them when they were ready for them, doing additional editing of the lessons coming back from the teams, checking print layout copy for the units being prepared for field testing, and answering questions from the Braille transcriber. In May a new team of three teachers of visually impaired students in Arkansas were trained in reordering and supplementing lessons by a team leader from CA and the expert whose idea it was to reorder and supplement the lessons. In June members of the teacher teams and other consultants met at APH and discussed questions the groups had about the development of the remainder of the lessons for Building on Patterns Grade 1 and began planning for the development of BOP Grade 2 as soon as Grade 1 is completed. In September the first two units of BOP-1 with all accompanying materials were sent out for field testing. The other 5 units are expected to follow in quick succession. Evaluation forms and a follow-up posttest for Grade 1 will also be sent.

Work planned for FY 2009

Development of Grade 2 materials will begin using the teams of writers and the lesson formats that are in place. As soon as possible, data from Grade 1 field testing will be reviewed and analyzed and any necessary revisions will be made. If revisions are not too extensive, production of BOP-1 is planned for the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.

Core Curriculum

Early Braille Trade Books

(Continued)

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
Dotta Hassman, Consultant
Cay Holbrook, Consultant
Anna Swenson, Consultant
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Anita Rutledge, Design Specialist/Process Engineer
Rodger Smith, Programmer

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.

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 during FY 2008

The prototype of a kit of commercially available leveled books adapted for braille readers was completed. The initial design of the prototype included 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.

In the development of the prototype for field evaluation the format for the teacher's guide changed from a print document to a web site hosted by APH. The web site allows the teacher to continually update the student record and access records of books. Anna Swenson became a consultant for the project and wrote the follow-up activities for each book.

Work planned for FY 2009

The prototype, including the web site, will be field tested in the fall of 2008. Changes and modifications will be made to the materials and the web site based on reviewer's feedback. Additional books will be selected to add to the collection of Early Braille Trade Books.

Wilson Reading System

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a remedial reading program for students with visual impairments

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
Mary McCarthy, Consultant
Justine Carlone Rines, Consultant
Rosalind Rowley, Consultant
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

The Wilson Reading Program, with its well developed multi-sensory approach, is one of the most respected programs used to teach reading in the United States. This program has been used to teach reading to students with visual impairments who experience reading difficulties but is not available for sale in Large Print or Braille. Teachers working with students at Perkins, Arizona, and North Carolina Schools for the Blind have reported good results.

The project was approved by PET and PARC committees in July 2006. Three teachers from Perkins School for the Blind, Justine Rines, Mary McCarty, and Roz Rowley, were contracted as consultants for the project. A contractual agreement was reached with the Wilson Reading Systems to produce the materials in Braille and Large Print.

As there are many components to the system, it was decided to produce the Readers, Levels 1, 2, & 3 in Braille as quickly as possible since the readers required no modification.

Work during FY 2008

Student Readers 1, 2, and 3 became available for sale in Braille in February 2008. The consultant from Perkins developed supplemental worksheets that reinforce Braille skills and knowledge of Braille contractions.

Work planned for FY 2009

Develop prototypes of the remaining components of the Wilson Reading System for field evaluation.

Word PlayHouse

(Completed)

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
Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Tom Poppe, Model Maker
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 two 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.

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. In FY 2006 the submission was approved by the PET and PARC 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 during for FY 2008

Revisions based on field reviewers' comments were completed for Word Playhouse. Tooling and production were completed. The product became available for sale in July 2008.

Cortical
Visual
Impairment

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Projects and Needs

(Continued)

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 2008

The project leader and staff will continue to 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. CVI Sequences and CVI Challenges will be adjusted according to the input provided by the field reviewers. Finally, updates have been made to the APH CVI Web site and CVI appropriate adaptations of existing APH products. This year a CVI Advisory Group was formed to consult with the CVI Project Leader and as a result, a Statement of Purpose/Position Paper is being developed. The major goal of this paper is to define the needs of students with CVI as being distinct from the broader category of visual processing disorders.

Work planned for FY 2009

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: A Guide to Assessment and Intervention published by the American Foundation for the Blind. Video samples will be gathered to help guide users through the assessment process. 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 2008

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 2009

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 10 additional months of work.

CVI Complexity Challenges

(Continued)

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 2008

This product was developed in conjunction with Candace Jaworski from BISIG Impact Group. Candace 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 is currently in field review. An APH product review will be completed and changes will be made according to reviewer comments and recommendations.

Work planned for FY 2009

This product will be available for sale during 2009.

CVI Sequences

(Continued)

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 2008

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

Work planned for FY 2009

This product will be available for sale in 2009.

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 hook/loop material used to attach the numerous elements contained in the kit.

Project Staff

Christine Roman, Project Leader

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader, Multiple Disabilities
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 2008

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 2009

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

(Continued)

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 2008

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 2009

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

Classroom Calendar Kit

(Modernization)

Purpose

The purpose is to modernize the Classroom Calendar Kit and the Individual Calendar Kit to have them work interchangeably with each other, and have them meet the early childhood standards used by virtually every preschool and early elementary classrooms.

Project Staff

Burt Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader
Donna Brostek, Consultant

Background

Classroom discussions relating to the calendar has become more than just learning months of the year, dates, and events. Several teachers of the visually impaired has suggested that APH should review the Classroom Calendar Kit and the Individual Calendar Kit and make revisions that bring them in line with early childhood standards. Teachers of the visually impaired are presently having to make their own individual calendars because of the following:

  1. Patterning is being emphasized during calendar time.
  2. Shapes, and colors, are being used for calendar activities. For example:
    Yellow circles, blue squares, orange triangles, red rectangles, pink stars, purple ovals, etc...
  3. Teachers mix and match the sets to create patterns on the calendar.

The current size of the calendar is fine. It is recommended that a reusable board that is either plastic, with either hook/loop material or magnetic, so it can be reused over with number sets instead of current paper version. Patterning with shapes and colors at calendar time relates to the integrated curriculum approach (date, reading, numbers, lettering, patterning, shapes, colors, etc.), and this revision will address this issue more appropriately and consistently. This modernization will be very beneficial to teachers of the visually impaired and other service providers, as they are having to make these calendars as described, and this is very time-consuming.

Work during FY 2008

Work has just begun on this modernization of the Classroom Calendar Kit and the Individual Calendar Kit. The early childhood project leader and the consultant have met several times to discuss the modernization, and have identified some suggestions for consideration as the product idea moves forward. Some of the suggestions include:

Work planned for FY 2009

Will continue to modernize the Classroom Calendar Kit and the Individual Calendar Kit in FY 2009. The project leader and consultant will work with tech research to finalize the size of the calendars, and identify the items to be placed on each of the calendars. The goal is to have the calendars ready for field testing by September of FY 2009.

The Early O&M Guide Book

(New)

Purpose

This product is designed to be a practical, easy to use guide that encourages early Orientation & Mobility (O&M).

Project Staff

Burt Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader
Donna Brostek, Consultant

Background

A comprehensive search of the literature revealed that there is not a lot of information relating to Orientation & Mobility, the early years. More importantly, there did not seem to be an easy to use guide for teaching O&M skills to very young children. Donna Brostek, consultant, and the early childhood project leader concluded that there was a need for such a guide book. A product submittal form was prepared and submitted to APH for review. The Product Evaluation Team (PET) reviewed the product and sent it to two project leaders for evaluation. Both reviewers recommended APH move forward with this product idea. The product idea was first assigned to the Adult Project Leader, but later assigned to the Early Childhood Project Leader.

The idea was then submitted to PARC for review and for approval. PARC approved the product idea, placed it on the parking lot, and then immediately moved it from the parking lot allowing the project leader to move forward with the idea. The product idea addresses 7 components to early O&M training: Sensory Development, Concept Development, Motor Development, Environmental Awareness, Community Awareness, Formal Orientation Skills, and Formal Mobility Skills.

It is important to note that the early childhood project leader and the consultant believes this product addresses the need for a product that gives practical ideas for O&M activities with young children. It is NOT intended to act as a textbook or require lengthy reading. It is aimed at O&M specialists working in early intervention and preschool, but can be easily used by many other service providers, and even caregivers due to its simplicity.

Lessons and products will be collected from those who actually use them on a daily basis, thus O&M specialists who are working in early intervention. Lessons/products will emphasize skills needed for proper O&M techniques as identified by the field through research. The market for this product will be anyone working in early intervention with children who are blind and visually impaired, specifically O&M specialists.

Work during FY 2008

The consultant completed extensive research trying to identify work that had been completed in O&M in the early years. The research identified a few articles, books, and guide books addressing O&M for the early years, but none addressed the topic in the same way this product will do when completed. A work plan was developed by the early childhood project leader and the consultant establishing timelines for various steps in the process. In addition, a completion date of 2010 was set for this product to be available on federal quota.

The work on this product is moving very slowly, but the plan calls for much work to be completed during FY 2009.

Work planned for FY 2009

The early childhood project leader and the consultant plan to develop activities for each of the components (concepts) of this product: Sensory Development, Concept Development, Motor Development, Environmental Awareness, Community Awareness, Formal Orientation Skills, and Formal Mobility Skills. In addition, resources supporting the product will be identified: Pre-Mobility Devices, Adapted Mobility Devices Resources, Adapted Canes and Tips, Tips for Constructing an AMD or Adapting a Cane, and Professional Books.

Emergent Literacy Needs and Planning

(Continued)

Purpose

To gather input from the field regarding emergent literacy materials, including early books, needed by students birth to 5 years; to prioritize those needs and initiate planning for projects to address them

Project Staff

Suzette Wright, Project Leader

Background

Children take their first steps toward learning to read and write early in life. Adults play a critical role, building upon the child's interests as he learns language, concepts, and explores print or braille. Through sharing books and providing other occasions to use written language, adults help a child develop a desire to read and introduce basic rules of written language. The development of oral language skills and phonemic awareness is also been linked by researchers to later reading achievement. Reading aloud, in particular, has been cited as a critical contributor to future success in learning to read. However, young children who will read braille face a limited selection of books in braille, particularly print/braille books that typically sighted parent can read aloud. Young potential braille readers also lack access to pictures provided in books for typically sighted children. Appealing illustrations add interest and meaning for a child who is not yet a reader. For the emergent braille reader, tactile pictures can provide a similar, though more limited service.

With so many books needed by children with visual impairments in both home and school settings, APH has made strong and continuing efforts to poll the field to determine needs and to seek help in prioritizing these needs. A survey was posted at the APH website in April 2004; the survey collected information from 156 respondents regarding a wide variety of types of books and formats suitable for the target audience aged 0-8 years. For a very young child, books with few words and simple illustrations were identified as a top need. A 2-day focus group was held in June 2004 to assist APH in further exploring and prioritizing needs. The need for transcriptions of leveled books (such as those produced by the Wright Group) was a top priority for beginning readers. That project is underway and is being field tested. Inexpensive books with simple texts for children birth to three were rated a high priority by the group; additional storybooks in the Moving Ahead series were fourth in priority.

Work during FY 2008

In December of 2007, two brief focus groups were convened at the Getting in Touch with Literacy conference. The need for very simple, early books for birth to three was again expressed. Among new ideas mentioned were recipe and cooking-related activities as a means to involve preschoolers in using written language. A number of the needs the groups identified could be addressed through offering information and suggestions at an emergent literacy website. This idea also was favored by the groups.

Project submission forms are being completed for these potential new projects; consultants have been contacted and consulting arrangements discussed.

Work planned for FY 2009

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

Experiential Learning Kit

(Continued)

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 2008

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

  1. Researched product name (Experiential Learning Kit) to insure this name did not meet copyright and patent standards. The research validated Experiential Learning Kit could be used for this product.
  2. Completed research on activities to be included in the guidebook.
  3. Activities were written for the concept areas to be included in the guidebook:
    1. Motor Development
    2. Spatial Awareness
    3. Eye-Hand Coordination
    4. Exploration of Environment
    5. Depth Perception
  4. Researched materials to be used for the bar for items that hang from apparatus placed over the baby crib or playpen. After in-depth research, decision was made to have five to seven items made specific for the Experiential Learning Kit. Commercial items may be purchased to complement the made items.
  5. Explored materials to be used to develop an apparatus to place over the baby crib or playpen. Additional exploration led to a decision to purchase a commercial mobile that would fit inside a baby crib or playpen and allow for the hang down items to be placed strategically for the infant/toddler to locate and manipulate.

Work planned for FY 2009

  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 or playpen to hold the hang-down items
  3. Select the items to include in the kit to be used as hang-down items.
  4. Purchase commercial mobile(s) to be used for the hang-down items.
  5. Adapt the mobile to allow for movement of some of the hang-down items.
  6. Have product developed to the point where field testing can occur.

Strive to have the product completed and ready for sale by end of 2009.

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

(Continued)

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 2008

The project leader and consultants met twice to review the curriculum, and to make revisions to the original document. In addition, a great deal of time was spent discussing what items to include in the kit to accompany the curriculum guidebook. The project leader developed a plan to make some of the items to include in the kit. Some discussion took place as to whether or not a training video should be considered. The final decision was that this was not needed at this time.

The project leader worked with BISIG to begin the process of having the curriculum guidebook prepared for printing. BISIG is in the process of preparing the guidebook, and several illustrations have been identified to be included in the guidebook. The project leader BISIG are planning to have some pictures of students taken as illustrations depicting a variety of the activities identified in the guidebook.

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 illustrations to be included in the guidebook
  4. Identified items to be included in the kit

Work planned for FY 2009

The project leader will work, with involvement of the consultants, will develop the kit. Some items will need to be purchased (blindfolds, simulators, books). Goals to meet for 2009 include:

  1. Project leader will develop the kit to accompany the curriculum guidebook.
  2. Project leader will continue work with BISIG to take pictures of students to include in the guidebook as illustrations of a variety of activities.
  3. Project Leader will continue to work with BISIG to prepare curriculum guidebook for printing.
  4. Project leader will work with APH staff to have product ready for field testing by end of 2009.

Growing Up

(Completed)

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 2008

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. This project has been completed.

Moving Ahead: Tactile Graphic Storybooks

(Continued)

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 test-taking. Observers have suggested difficulty interpreting tactile displays may be due, in part, to lack of early exposure. Storybooks developed in this project are designed to give young students early 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 the user's choice of either 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. Project leader Fred Otto suggested the subject and objectives for another of the stories drafted. Based on input from expert reviewers, four stories were chosen from a large pool of drafts. A variety of tactile media were considered. Paper embossed graphics were selected for the first book. A combination of embossed braille and Tactile Visions graphics was selected for three books.

Multiple prototypes of each of the four books were hand-produced. Accompanying storyboards (featuring symbols from the story mounted to hook/loop material-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 each of 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, spanning an eight to ten week period. Without dissension, teachers indicated texts and tactile graphics for all four books were interesting and appropriate for kindergarten and first grade students; 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. 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.

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. Goin' On a Bear Hunt was produced and is available.

In order to produce the second storybook (Splish the Fish), 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. It was necessary to design and add a special switch and tray to the Tactile Visions machine to accommodate the book's page size. An initial pilot run of 100 books revealed some inconsistency in registration. A debriefing addressed possible sources. Subsequent runs of the book have been problem-free.

Work during FY 2008

After resolving design and production challenges of Splish the Fish, the graphic designer began final tooling for the third book in this series (The Boy and the Wolf). This book is similar in format to Splish; both utilize a unique combination of full-color visual graphics, Tactile Visions graphics, and paper-embossed braille. The storybook's text has been translated into braille and proofed. The designer has also completed final tooling for the print Reader's Guide; it, too, has been translated into braille. Technical Research is conducting a limited test of a one page "spread" on the Tactile Visions machine. Lois Harrell is the author of the third storybook in the series.

Cover art for The Boy and the Wolf, a Moving Ahead Tactile Graphic storybook
[Cover art for The Boy and the Wolf a Moving Ahead Tactile Graphic storybook.]

Final text for the fourth storybook in the series (Turtle and Rabbit) has been given to the graphic designer so that creation of final tooling can begin.

Work planned for FY 2009

Technical Research will write final specifications for The Boy and the Wolf; it is anticipated thatThe Boy and the Wolf will be produced and available in early spring 2009. Completion of final tooling, specification, and production of Turtle and Rabbit will continue.

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 2008

The project leader and consultant completed the following tasks in 2008:

  1. Thoroughly reviewed all components of PATTER for the purpose ofdetermining 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. Videos were reviewed by BISIG to determine their quality. This process is Ongoing
  5. PATTER manuscript was reviewed and revised by project leader and consultant. Appropriate changes made.
  6. Project leader met with BISIG to begin identifying layout of product, and any graphics to be included.
  7. BISIG finalized guidebook for printing, and prepared DVD for duplication.
  8. Appropriate documents and materials have been sent to production to prepare this product for sale.

The project leader worked with research assistant to complete editing of product. The project leader will continued work with consultant to finalize written document once editing is completed. Project leader worked with BISIG to determining what graphics will be included in the guidebook. A final review was 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.

Work planned for FY 2009

PATTER will be available to purchase on quota during FY 2009. PATTER does not need to be field tested.

Reach for the Stars

(Modernization)

Purpose

To review and modernize the product Reach for the Stars.

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader
Jennifer Grisham-Brown, Consultant
Diane Haynes, Consultant

Background

The need for this product has not changed since it became a federal quota item in 1999. The educational principles identified when this product was developed has not changed, but new interventions may result in a revision of this product.

The authors of Reach for the Stars, Dr. Jennifer Grisham-Brown and Diane Haynes, stated, "It is a person-centered planning process designed to facilitate the development of educational plans that will lead to inclusive education programs for young children with disabilities. The process was developed to be used with several audiences. First, families of children with disabilities can use the material to articulate their hopes and dreams for their child's future. The materials are designed so that a family may complete the maps and supporting materials prior to attending a transition meeting for their child. Service providers may use the material to interview a family regarding their desires for their child's future."

Research will be conducted to determine if there are national standards pertaining to transition, especially in early childhood years. Particular attention will be paid to transitioning from two to three years old because three is the time when public schools get involved with the education of children, including those with disabilities. Also, transition from the programs serving children with disabilities who are 3 to 5 years of age. Transitioning from kindergarten to primary (first grade to 2nd grade) will be addressed.

Reach for the Stars has been an effective transition tool, but the authors and the early childhood project leader believes the product can be substantially improved and made more user friendly for families and service providers.

Work done in FY 2008

The early childhood project leader and the authors, Dr. Jennifer Grisham-Brown and Diane Haynes, met to discuss what would be involved in reviewing and modernizing the Reach for the Stars. The conclusion was that Reach for the Stars does need modernizing, and the following steps occurred:

  1. The Assistant Director of Research worked with Dr. Jennifer Grisham-Brown and Diane Haynes to secure a consultant contract with each of them. The contracts were developed and the authors signed them.
  2. Another meeting was held involving the early childhood project leader and the authors, and the result was to form a focus group to review Reach for the Stars and make recommendations to modernize the product.
  3. A focus group was convened on March 26, 2008, at General Butler State Park and Resort to carry out the plan. Many recommendations came from the focus group and everyone felt the activity was very beneficial.
  4. The consultants and early childhood project leader developed a plan of action that included a timeline for completion of the product in 2010.

Work planned for FY 2009

The following activities are planned for FY 2009:

  1. The authors will have a specific work plan completed by November 1, 2008. The plan Includes:
    1. Research as to whether or not there are national standards for transition, especially the early years.
    2. Consultants and early childhood project leader will identify components of Reach for the Stars that need revising.
    3. Consultants and early childhood project leader will identify new components to be included in the modernization of the product.
    4. Work will begin on revisions of the product.
    5. During the 2008 Annual Meeting of APH Ex-Officio Trustees October 2-5, 2008, the consultants and early childhood project leader will do a product review presentation.
    6. A specific work plan will be developed in May, 2009, outlining work to be done so the modernization can be completed in 2010 and the product made available on federal quota.

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

(Completed)

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, Project Consultant, Co-author
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

Background

Children who have not formed a foundation of skills before entering kindergarten are at risk for later reading difficulties. During a child's earliest years, adults play a critical role, helping a child develop positive attitudes about literacy and build early literacy skills. Josephine Stratton and Suzette Wright co-authored the first edition 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, and a product submission by Dr. Stratton indicated the need to co-author a new edition of the handbook. [

Photo of the new On the Way to Literacy print handbook and accompanying CD of accessible files.
Photo of the new On the Way to Literacy print handbook and accompanying CD of accessible files.]

The project authors reviewed the literature regarding emergent literacy for typically sighted and visually impaired children. 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 result is a largely new document, with new formatting and over 250 illustrations.

The new edition of the handbook is organized by topic to provide a better overview of the development of skills within each of the following areas:

It brings together material from a variety of sources: the field of teaching children with visual impairments, research regarding early literacy for typically sighted children, including recent findings of the National Early Literacy Panel.

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.) A majority of reviewers said the draft was organized appropriately both parents and teachers. Favorable comments about the draft included: "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." Three reviewers recommended the draft's reading level 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. Following the field evaluation, the draft was revised in accordance with reviewers' recommendations, including provision of a glossary and expansion of the book's appendices. The main text was streamlined by separating and placing supporting information and research in adjoining text boxes. A more comprehensive Introduction/Overview and a Preface, orienting readers to the book, were written.

Photo of a print copy of the Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books.
[Photo of a print copy of the Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books.]

After final editing, the document was passed to the graphic designer for formatting. A format was designed based on the sample format preferred by reviewers. Creation of the document in several accessible file formats followed. These were placed on a CD that accompanies both the print and braille versions of the handbook. Files leading to production of the braille version of the book were completed and the braille edition was proofed.

Work during FY 2008

The print and braille editions of the handbook became available in December of 2007. Advertising copy was prepared to announce the new handbook's availability.

Although work on the handbook is complete, work continued on a former appendix of the 2nd edition of the On the Way to Literacy handbook. The new stand-alone document, titled Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books, was completed. The project leader revised and developed the 36-page document as a separate piece upon the recommendation of the handbook's field reviewers, who were concerned the material would be overlooked if published as an appendix. The project leader completed revisions to the document, selected photos, and added lists of resources. The document was formatted before placement at the APH website. In the fall of 2008, it will be available at the APH website as a free digital download (PDF, HTML, and BRF formats are provided). It is positioned under the Research tab.

Work planned for FY 2009

The 2nd edition of the handbook, On the Way to Literacy: Early Experiences for Visually Impaired Children is available in print and in braille. The Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books, a free digital download, is also complete.

Teaching Puzzles for the Light Box

(Continued)

Purpose

The purpose is to have learning be fun, and to have puzzles which children can manipulate as well as use on the light box.

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader

Background

Several users on the Early Intervention List Serve have suggested more products need to be made available from APH for use on the Light Box. In addition, early childhood project leader heard those suggestions from attendees at various conferences who visited the APH booth in exhibit halls. The Face Puzzle and Ball Puzzle are very popular APH products to be used on the light box. The early childhood project leader will develop more puzzles for the light box that will be manipulatives, and, at the same time, benefit children with usable vision. The puzzles will be used to teach a variety of concepts, and several categories will be included: Farm animals, body parts, foods, fruits, shapes, etc.. The puzzles will have color discrimination and activities will be written for each puzzle to teach about the theme (farm animals, fruits, shapes, body parts, etc.).

An example of how this will work: Take the category of fruits to include apple, banana, orange, grapes, etc. Each fruit will be a puzzle, and activities will describe each fruit allowing the child/student to learn about that particular fruit. The puzzles can be assembled on a flat surface or on the light box. This type of learning will be fun.

Work during FY 2008

Research was completed on APH products available for use on the light box. Research was also completed on APH products available for use on the light box than can be used as stand-alone manipulatives. A review of the literature was conducted to determine what products are available that are not presently available from APH.

Categories were identified and the early childhood project leader is in the process of writing activities to accompany the puzzles. The categories include:

  1. Fruits--orange, apple, banana, grapes, strawberry
  2. Body Parts--arm, hand, foot, leg, head (ears, eyes, mouth, nose)
  3. Farm Animals--children, horse, pig, cow, dog, cat
  4. Shapes--irregular shapes
  5. Tree--branch, limb, trunk, bark, leaves

More categories are under consideration for this product.

Work planned for FY 2009

The following goals will be met:

Product will be ready for Federal quota in FY 2010.

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 2008

The project leaded worked with APH staff, Lois Harrell, consultant for product, and BISIG, the project leader completed the following tasks:

  1. Reviewed and revised the written document, and made changes determined to be appropriate.
  2. Project leader collaborated with APH staff, Lois Harrel , and BISIGl to identify layout of product:
    (a) Size of print
    (b) Size of book (paper size)
    (c) Where braille is to be located on storybook pages
    (d) How graphics are to be done (print and tactile)
    (e) How Story Book will be used as part of the product.
    (f) Size of Story Book
    (g) Identified manipulatives to be used on the Story Board, and materials used to make the manipulatives.

The project leader worked 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 hook/loop material 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.

Work planned for FY 2009

BISIG has completed their work to have Best for a Nest ready to be sent to Technical Research Division of APH. The Technical Research Division will work with the project leader to prepare the product to be printed and Brailed. This part of the product should be completed in early 2009.

The project leader will work with Technical Research Division to develop the manipulatives to be used on the Story Board for tactile illustrations of the story. This part of the project is going to take considerable time to complete. It is anticipated that the manipulatives will be completed in FY 2009, and the product can be sent out to the field for field testing. It is anticipated this product will be ready for sale in early FY 2010.

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 done in FY 2008

The project coordinator continued to encourage more states and agencies to participate in the project. Project coordinator participated in several conferences and seminars to promote the project. An Advisory Committee was established to review the present status of the Babies Count Project, and to recommend strategies to improve the project in the future. Advisory Committee members included: Dr. Deborah Hatton, Tom Miller, Dr. Lee Robinson, Gail Cavello, Chris Tompkins, Mindy Ely, and Janie Blome. Some of the recommendations included:

  1. To have data entered analyzed on a annual basis.
  2. To identify 12 to 17 items from the survey to be analyzed annually for each participating agency.
  3. To upgrade/revise the present database.
  4. To have a place on the APH web site just for Babies Count.

The project leader for Babies Count did not complete the above-recommendations from the Advisory Committee. Several new states joined Babies Count during FY 2008: Kansas, Texas, Montana, Nevada. Interest in the project continues to be fairly high. Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan have shown a desire to get involved.

Work planned for FY 2009

The following goals will be met in FY 2009:

  1. Analysis of data entered between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008.
  2. Twelve to seventeen items will be identified from the survey to be analyzed on an annual basis for each participating agency.
  3. There will be a link on the APH web site just for Babies Count.
  4. Five new states will be added to the Babies Count Project.
  5. Surveys sent to the project leader by participating agencies will be entered into the database within one week of receipt.
  6. Project leader will communicate more effectively with participating agencies using the message link on the database.
  7. Project leader will continue to promote the Babies Count Project by presenting/attending at conferences and seminars.

This is an important project and provides invaluable information to the field about the characteristics of children we will be serving in the future.

What Is It?

(Continued)

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 2008

The project leader collaborated with Harrell to review and revise the product. Once the review and revisions were completed, the project leader worked with a research assistant to have the written product edited, and appropriate changes were made to the product. The words and descriptors were selected to be included in the product. The project leader worked with APH staff and BISIG to determine.

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

BISIG, with the assistance of APH staff, prepared the product to be sent to the Technical Research Division for review and recommendations prior to sending on to production. Ten prototypes of the product are presently being developed so the product can be field tested. The product for field testing includes: Instructional Guidebook, Words and Descriptors (101), and a recipe-type box to store the cards.

Work planned for FY 2009

The project leader will send the ten prototypes to ten professionals in the field of blindness to have them field test the product. Upon receipt of the feedback from the field testing, the project leader will work with APH staff to make the revisions that are appropriate and have Technical Research Division send the product to production for final development. It is anticipated the product will be available for sale by mid-FY 2009.

Educational Games

Sudoku Partner

(Continued)

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
Anita Rutledge, Model Maker/Assistant

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. Investigation online 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 a similar kind of note-taking. This feature would set the product apart from other braille-adapted sudoku boards being sold by various companies.

Work done in FY 2008

The project leader continued to experiment with different designs and evaluated samples produced by the assistant to find the best results.

A small number of prototypes of a 6 x 6 game board were made in order to test the workability of the concept. These boards were given a pilot feasibility test by five blind sudoku solvers recruited from an online sudoku discussion group. These adults were located in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin.

All of the respondents had success in using the 6 x 6 prototype and indicated their wish that APH produce it for sale. Their responses suggest that, after an initial period of familiarization, they gained speed and accuracy in solving the puzzles using the board. Some improvements were also suggested, and these will be incorporated in the product design. The evaluators also urged the development of a full-size 9 x 9 board using the same system.

Work planned for FY 2009

The 6 x 6 version of the solving board will be designed and produced for sale. Development, prototyping and field evaluation of the 9 x 9 board will take place.

Treks

(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 and Pattern Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Model and Pattern Maker
Frank Hayden, Prototype Specifications
Paul Olson, Original Design

Background

A game called Compass Attack was submitted by Paul H. Olson, who 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 compass direction of every move they make as they send pieces across the board.

The project leader, in consultation with Mr. 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.

Work during FY 2008

The newly designed game board and pieces, along with the instructions and suggested game variations, were field evaluated in the winter of 2007/2008. A total of 52 students, elementary age through adult, used the prototypes at sites in these states: Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.

In addition to qualitative evaluation of various facets of the game's design and presentation, the field test included a set of five tasks designed to show the impact of the game on students' speed and accuracy in naming compass directions. The results were very positive and held across age groups: In all five tasks, when students were not already proficient at indicating directions before playing the game, approximately two out of three students improved their speed and accuracy after playing just a few times.

Some design revisions were made to the board after the field evaluation, specifically related to the hole spacing and the coloring of the board. Production specifications were written up.

Work planned for FY 2009

The game will move into the production schedule and will become available for sale.

Low Vision

Address: Earth
Large Format Atlas, Section 2

(Continued)

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, enhanced 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. Section 1 was made available in 2007 and Section 2 is on track to be produced next.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Dr. Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Robert Forbes, Project Consultant/University Liaison
Matt Smith, Cartographer
Adam Coomes, Cartographer
Kevin Devine, Cartographer
Amy Sadler, Cartographer
Dr. Jeffrey Lucas, Expert/Writer
Dr. David Pepper, Expert/Writer
Dr. Phillip Cantrell, Expert/Writer
Dr. Anu Sabhlok, Expert/Writer
Iman Azzi, Expert/Writer
James Erwin, Expert/Writer
Dr. Carol Hanchette, Expert/Writer
Dr. Andrew Novak, Expert/Writer
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Frank Hayden, Technical Researcher
David McGee, Technical Researcher

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 section and it was completed and made available in September of 2007.

Work during FY 2008

In 2007 the project leader and department director decided to contact geography and history experts, to write the units. Most were professors at universities. Contracts were drawn up and eight experts joined the project. They wrote the units and some sidebars for Russia, Continental Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Central America and Meso-America.

Section 2 is now being edited. In the next few months, the edited text will be laid out as photographs and sidebars are added. Maps will be sent to National Geographic for review and revisions will be made based upon the suggested changes. Content will be reviewed by experts, teachers, students and bias reviewers. Technical Research personnel will draw up specifications and production schedules. Production processes will begin.

Work planned for FY 2009

Text editing on Section 3 will continue as will photo acquisition. Layout and review by experts, teachers, students and bias reviewers will take place. Schedules will be drawn up.

Appropriate Intervention Techniques
(Formerly: Best Intervention Techniques)

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide educators and interventionists with a video that displays and discusses appropriate practices for interventions with young children who have visual impairments.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Dr. Amanda Hall-Lueck, Lead Consultant
Dr. Toni Heinze, Consultant
Carol Roderick, Research Assistant
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

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 appropriate practices, and to provide guidance to the practitioner who is dealing with children from uncomplicated, to very involved and medically-complicated.

Dr. Amanda Hall-Lueck, an educator and researcher in the fields of low vision and early childhood, proposed and worked on this project. The resulting video/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 and to students who are planning to become teachers of students with visual impairments.

Drs. Hall-Lueck and Dr. Heinze video taped interventions they performed with young children who had a wide range of abilities. Once the raw footage was obtained, Dr. 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. Dr. Hall-Lueck also developed a short sample video to use at professional conferences.

Work during FY 2008

The taped material was put into DVD Format to make it more accessible during the editing process. The footage was reviewed by two staff members of Educational Research and found to have some problematic areas both in audio and content. In talks with the consultants it was suggested that APH do voice overs in places where the audio was not usable. Editing of the script has been completed, but other edits may be necessary when film editing takes place. A narrator has been selected.

Work planned for FY 2009

Video clips will now be merged 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 and fitted with video description. It will then be duplicated and made available for sale.

CCTV Ruler

(Completed)

Purpose

The purpose for development of the CCTV Ruler was to provide a ruler that could be used with a CCTV. When regular rulers are used with a CCTV, often contrast between the ruler material and the measurement marks is low. APH consumers requested a high-contrast, transparent ruler which could provide the best-possible contrast and the best method to line up the ruler with the object being measured. Thus the CCTV Ruler was developed.

Project Staff

Erica Rucker, Project Leader
Elaine Kitchel, Project Assistant
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Frank Hayden, Technical Researcher

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 2008

The project leader and the Technical Research Department developed several prototypes including some with metric measurements. A set of prototypes was finalized and sent out for field testing. Revisions to the product were made based upon data gathered during the field test. Design and materials were finalized. Specifications and documentation were finalized and the ruler was produced in two colors and an array of measurements.

Determining Appropriate Visual Reading Media for Students with Low Vision
(Formerly: Optimizing the Reading of Text)

(Continued)

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

J. Elaine Kitchel, APH Project Leader
Dr. Amanda Hall Lueck, Project 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. A decision tree to help teachers and interventionist's select appropriately-sized learning media for students with low vision is now being developed.

Work during FY 2008

A working model of the decision tree was developed and was reviewed by APH. The developers requested more time to make revisions and enhancement to the tool. The writing of the accompanying manual is underway.

Work planned for FY 2009

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, Revision

(Continued)

Purpose

The authors of "Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments" asked for an opportunity to review the latest research and use it to update the product. The APH PARC Committee agreed that it was important to bring the product up to date, so the revision was approved. The book itself provides consumers with a comparison between infants with visual impairments and infants with typical vision, their learning styles, learning needs, and appropriate interventions.

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Researcher
Dr. 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 2008

The revisions, formatting, photo search, and edits were completed and copies were sent out for expert review. Currently the data collected from expert review is undergoing analysis.

Work planned for FY 2009

Revisions will be made based upon expert review. After that, documentation and specifications will be drawn up. The book will be transcribed into braille and HTML. The product will be produced and made available.

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

(Completed)

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

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Dr. LaRhea Sanford, Consultant
Dr. Rebecca Burnett, Consultant
Frank Hayden, Technical Researcher
David McGee, Technical Researcher
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Candace Jaworski, Graphic Designer

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 Drs. 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 2008

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 Drs. Sanford and Burnett. Specific changes and additions were identified and made according to expert feedback.

The product specifications and documentation were drawn up and the product entered the production phase. The product was completed and made available in July 2008.

Lighting Guide Kit
(Formerly: Vivid Vision Lamp)

(Continued)

Purpose

Many students with visual impairments are expected to work under lighting conditions that are not appropriate for their visual needs. Often this problem persists because parents and professionals, who work with students with visual impairments, do not really understand what is needed. APH decided to develop the Lighting Guide Kit to provide individuals with recent, research-based information about what kind of lighting is needed by students with visual impairments. In addition, APH decided to work with an engineer/inventor to provide the kind of lamp most often needed by our consumers to accompany the Lighting Guide Book, "What Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments need to Know about Lighting."

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Researcher
Darlene Donhoff, Technical Researcher
Robin Mumford, Engineer/Developer

Background

Since 2000, the Project Leader has written chapters she planned to combine into a book called "What Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments Need to Know about Lighting."

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.

In 2007 it was decided that a combination of the book and the lamp as a product would be the best way to proceed because.

Work during FY 2008

The project leader completed writing the book "What Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments Need to Know about Lighting." This book gives information about light and lighting in general, but it also provides specific user information about the Vivid Vision Lamp. The project leader contacted Mr. Mumford about modifications that APH wanted to make to the lamp, such as the addition of a parabolic lens, and the elimination of all blue light from the emissions. The developer developed a tube that emitted virtually no blue or ultraviolet light and he included a parabolic lens.

The book and the lamp together will make up the Lighting Guide Kit.

Work on serialization, contractual agreements, are in the final stages. Packaging and shipping specifications have been developed.

Work planned for FY 2009

The book will be printed and transcribed into braille and braille files will be available for free on the internet site. Braille hard copy will be available on demand. Contract negotiations with the developer of the lamp will be finalized and the Lighting Guide Kit will be made available.

Maximize Multi-Camera Video Magnifier

(Completed)

Purpose

For many years, individuals who help provide materials and technology have asked APH for a video magnifier for students with visual impairments. Until recently, the technology has not existed to provide all the features required by APH consumers. When EITAC Solutions, LLC, presented APH with the appropriate technology, it was decided to pursue the development of the MaximEyes Video Magnifier because its new technology provides solutions to consumer needs.

Project Staff

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

Background

In the late 1960s and early 70s CCTVs began to be used regularly as aids for people with visual impairments. Today CCTVs 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 so a prototype was developed by EITAC Solutions Group and tested by persons with low vision. Feedback was shared with EITAC. Eitac then made modifications based upon suggestions by the test group. A second prototype was developed.

Work during FY 2008

Several employees of APH with low vision tested the MaximEyes Video Magnifier for long periods of time and provided feedback to EITAC. Product documentation was completed as was research and development of an extended warranty.

The product became available in April of 2008.

Tadpole

(Continued)

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 with children 0-2 yrs old. Guidelines for the uses of the tools and materials are to be included.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Mildred Smith, Consultant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
David McGee, Technical Research
Frank Hayden, Technical Research
Candace Jaworski, Graphic Designer

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 with young children. 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 PARC, and with advice from the project consultant, developed a sequence of activities and visual materials for use by this special population. 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 during FY 2008

Work was also completed on the development of appropriate foundation activities for multi-handicapped students, to accompany the ToAD array of tools. Work on the text for Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book was also completed. Early specifications were drawn up as well.

Work planned for FY 2009

Documentation will be completed 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 probably during the 3rd quarter of the 2009 fiscal year.

ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Vision
(Formerly: Toy Chest)

(Completed)

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

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Dr. LaRhea Sanford, Consultant
Dr. Rebecca Burnett, Consultant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
David McGee, Technical Research
Frank Hayden, Technical Research
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Candace Jaworski, Graphic Designer
James Robinson, Technical Research
Tom Poppe, Model 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. All editing and formatting, field test data compiling took place and designs were revised based upon field data. Specifications and dates were drawn up for production.

Work during FY 2008

Production took place with excellent results. The product is completed and now available.

Turbo Phonics

(Completed)

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

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader

Ann Travis, Project Assistant
Jenny Dortch, Content Consultant
Robert Armstrong, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer
Larry Skutchan, Programming Consultant
David McGee, Technical Researcher
Darlene Donhoff, Technical Researcher
Bridgett Johnson, Graphic Designer
Jacque Phelps, Reading Consultant
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 TVI, 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 2008

The guidebook and student activity book were edited, revised and then transcribed into HTML and braille. Braille and HTML files were checked and finalized and placed onto CD and hard copy for braille. Production runs took place in early August and some printing difficulties were noted.

Mathematics

Braille/Print Yardstick

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

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

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.

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 during FY 2008

Final tooling and specifications were finalized in February 2008. In March 2008, a production run of 450 yardsticks was completed, and the Braille/Print Yardstick (Cat. No. 1-03002-00) was made available for sale. It was officially announced in the April 2008 APH News. The cost per yardstick is $16.00.

Work planned for FY 2009

This product is now available for sale. No additional work is planned for FY 2009; product development is complete.

Consumable Number Lines Large - Print and Braille/Tactile
(Formerly: Toss-Away Number Lines)

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Barbara Henderson, Project Advisor
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Anita Rutledge, Design Specialist/Process Engineer
Monica Vaught, Research/Project Assistant

Background

The idea for a disposable number line was submitted by a teacher of the visually impaired who liked the APH disposable rulers. She wanted to make it easier for teachers to create number lines quickly. She felt that a number line of this kind would be very popular and fill a real need. The teacher's idea was sent through the Product Evaluation Team (PET) and deemed worthy of further development. The project was assigned to a project leader and project staff.

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.

In FY 2007, prototypes of a Toss-Away Large Print Number Line and a Toss-Away Tactile Number Line were developed. A desktop 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 during for FY 2008

Field testing of the Toss-Away Large Print Number Line and the Toss-Away Braille/Tactile Number Line were completed. Changes were made to the prototypes and production was scheduled for August 2008. The name of the product was changed for "Toss-Away" to "Consumable" based on the feedback from field evaluators who felt that the name Toss-Away was not environmentally friendly.

Work planned for FY 2009

Develop and field test a prototype for the desk top stick-on number line for use in elementary classrooms.

Embossed XY Axis 20 x 20 Graph Sheets

(Completed)

Purpose

To produce a low-relief embossed graph paper with a standard X-Y axis as a consumable product for teachers and transcribers.

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader
Erica Rucker, Project Assistant

Background

APH has received several product submission forms, as well as mailed-in requests, indicating a need for embossed graph sheets with the Cartesian X-Y axis. Some of the requests also specified a grid size that would be most useful.

Work during FY 2008

The project leader reviewed the requests and made a design to satisfy their requirements. The design features a raised pair of axes along with incised ("debossed") grid lines for the most contrast and least tactual clutter, and it contains a 10 x 10 one-half inch grid in each quadrant.

Project staff worked with the Braille Department to produce sample tooling. Because of its simplicity and similarity to established products, this received only an informal evaluation by math teachers at the Ky. School for the Blind. No changes were required after the evaluation, so specifications were written and the product was made available for purchase.

Work planned for FY 2009

No further work is planned for this project.

FOCUS in Mathematics, Second Edition

(New)

Purpose

To update an existing product, FOCUS in Mathematics

Project Staff

Burt Boyer, Project Leader
Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
BISIG Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

In June 2007 PET and PARC committees approved a submission for the revision of FOCUS in Mathematics. The kit was first produced in 1984. Since that time the National Council for Mathematics has revised the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Additionally, some of the manipulatives were no longer available from the manufacturer and/or had become very dated in appearance and usefulness.

Work during FY 2008

Lessons were reviewed to determine alignment with the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics and the Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics adopted by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Lessons were added and rewritten to meet the new standards. Lessons were organized by theme and grade level. Manipulatives were reviewed, modified, changed and/or added to the kit.

Work planned for FY 2009

Complete the prototype of the FOCUS in Mathematics, Second Edition. Select Expert Reviewers and send prototype to reviewers for evaluation.

Graphic Aid for Mathematics. Revision

(Continued)

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 2008

The project leader and Technical Research staff purchased a variety of wires and pins to substitute for existing components of the kit, and investigated changing the surface material and/or backing board for the grid. A cork composite material proved to be impractical because of the difficulty of cutting it effectively.

The possibility of changing the grid to incised lines, rather than raised lines, led to a delay in progress, because making a prototype to try out involves materials and staff time that are not readily available. In the meantime, a plan was made to solicit input from Annual Meeting attendees at the Information Fair session.

Work planned for FY 2009

A field evaluation will be conducted, taking advantage of the existing customer base, as well as trustees and consultants who are known to be users of the current product, once the design and materials are decided on.

MathBuilders
(Formerly: Primary Math Units)

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
Derrick Smith, Math Consultant
Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker
Darlene Donhoff, Technical/Clerical Assistant
Jenny Dortch, Consultant/Project Assistant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Anita Rutledge, Design Specialist/Process Engineer
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
BISIG Impact Group, Graphic Design

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 year 1997. 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. Eleanor Pester served as Project Leader during this phase of development.

In FY 2006, the project was assigned to Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Project Leader (a newly created position). 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 Principles and Standards for School Mathematics from the National Council of Teachers of Math for Units 6 and 8.

In FY 2007, Unit 1 and the General Guidelines became available for sale. 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 during FY 2008

Revisions based on field reviewers' comments were completed for Unit 6, Geometry. Production was completed and the Unit became available for sale in May 2008. Field testing of Unit 8, Data Collection, Graphing, and Probability/Statistics was completed and revisions were made based on field reviewer's comments. A prototype of Unit 7, Fractions, Mixed Numbers, and Decimals was completed.

Work planned for FY 2009

Unit 8, Data Collection, Graphing, and Probability/Statistics will be scheduled for production in FY 2009. Unit 7, Fractions, Mixed Numbers, and Decimals will be field tested in FY 2009. The development of Unit 5, Measurement will begin in FY 2009.

Microcomputer
Applications
&
Products

APH Digital Audio Component

(Continued)

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 Accessible 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 recognized 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.

Through the years, staff continues to enhance the component. In 2007, they added the ability to encode and decode the AMR Wideband Plus format which is what the National Library Service uses for its new Digital Talking Books.

Work during FY 2008

Finalized the AMR Wideband Plus support.

Work planned for FY 2009

Staff will continue to enhance the component as needed. Many software users requested the ability to slow down the speed of the audio playback. This would make learning language or music much easier.

Windows Direct X filters should be supported. This would allow users of APH audio editing software to use third party plug-ins, commonly referred to as DirectX Plug-ins, 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

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop a reusable foundation for current talking software from APH

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Keith Creasy, 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 ran under DOS and converted it to Windows and added functionality. While this braille subsystem is a separate component, ASE communicates directly with that component as a convenience to software authors.

Work during FY 2008

Corrected some minor bugs.

Work planned for FY 2009

Expand the support for more complex controls that are not covered by MSAA.

Enhance the keystroke announcement feature to include digitized human speech.

Support accessibility of Web 2.0 application user interfaces.

Correct other known minor issues.

Book Port

(Discontinued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Steve Gomas, Project Consultant
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Mario Eiland, Programmer
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 inch, 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.

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.

Photo of the Book Port CD
[Photo of the Book Port CD]

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 2008

Continued design on new model.

Found critical flaw in processor, so redesign began.

Stopped work on new model due to numerous problems and the lessened need for such a device with the release of the Victor Reader Stream and the new Plextor portable DTB player.

Work planned for FY 2009

This project has been canceled. APH is still very interested in the concept of a portable book device, and future investigation and product development will continue.

Book Wizard

(Continued)

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 2008

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

Work planned for FY 2009

Future long-term enhancements include the following:

  1. Features to produce hard-copy books in braille and large print.
  2. Direct support for braille displays.
  3. Speech recognition capabilities that will allow a narrator's recording to be automatically synchronized with a provided full-text of the content.
  4. Interactive validation and error correcting features.
  5. Enhanced library and project management features.
  6. The programmers will continue to write code that performs the functions and capabilities outlined in the specifications.
  7. Hardware drivers, reproduction capabilities, and library management functions are among the more time consuming components remaining.
  8. Programmers will write a new Windows printer driver to address the deficiencies in the generic text driver provided with Windows that will permit embossing to a variety of devices.
  9. Programmers will develop refreshable braille drivers for several popular commercial displays. These drivers also make it possible for trained and qualified proofreaders to make corrections directly to the original file.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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+
(Formerly: Linkit)

(Continued)

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
Mike McDonald, Programmer
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Keith Creasy, 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, emailing, 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.

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 were well on their 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.

Photo of Braille+
[Photo of Braille+]

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 2008

Version 1.10, March 2008

General

Address Book

Music Player

Book Shelf

Email

File Explorer

RSS

Settings

Corrections

Version 1.06.21, October 2007

Work planned for FY 2009

Monitoring Technological Developments and Educational Applications

(Continued)

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
Mike McDonald, Programmer
Rodger Smith, 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 continues at the forefront of 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 2008

Staff wrote a web based application to help manage and track the contractions a student knows and manage a list of books that she is capable of reading with that knowledge. They also wrote and debugged editor facilities to create the data for a given book.

Staff programmed and debugged an application to help orientation and mobility specialists communicate better with their clients and families. See the write up on O & M for Families.

Programmers finalized a low vision friendly phonics training program. See the write up for Turbo Fonics.

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.

Staff prepared several Digital Talking Books from NIMAS files and conducted training on using them for a pilot project with the ATIC department.

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 are used to protect digital content in books distributed by National Library Service and other producers.

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

Work planned for FY 2009

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

The Technology Group will increase its involvement in the following:

The Technology Group will continue to pursue ways of applying technology to the production of tactile graphics, help educate other project leaders in the Department of Educational Research, and look for ways to use technological solutions to further APH's mission. The group will pursue funding for special projects and experiment with emerging technologies. The group also plans to continue expanding the APH network site license and pursue additional text-to-speech engines for possible distribution. Licensing APH technology to other manufacturers to help discriminate some of APH's pioneering work is also under investigation. There have already been a number of requests from other vendors into the possibility of using the APH Speech Environment, the Digital Audio Component, and Book Wizard as parts of their own products.

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

The technology group designed, implemented, and hosts a new project for the Core Curriculum Project Leader called Early Braille Tradebooks. This system runs on the Drupal content management system and represents the kind of project that will become more common--one that is accessible via the web and works with a variety of computer types and operating systems.

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, global positioning system engines that may run under more than one operating system, and the general movement toward the "cloud computing" environment and its accessibility implications.

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

Refreshable Braille Display

(New)

Purpose

To produce a high quality, portable, inexpensive refreshable braille display that may be used with the Braille+ or with other portable or stationary devices.

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Thomas Friehoff, Project Consultant

Background

As APH advances its braille interests to all parts of the company, technology considerations proved especially interesting. Programmers are finalizing a complete integrated software solution so the Braille+ may communicate with USB or Bluetooth refreshable braille displays. The field has also long recognized the need for an inexpensive portable display so that students may read in a variety of environments. While other companies have traditionally provided refreshable braille displays of even the most small number of cells for prices over $2000, APH in partnership with BAUM can produce an 18 cell display with dimensions to match the Braille+ using BAUM's traditional high quality components and workmanship combined with APH software and specifications to make a small display with a reasonable number of cells for a reasonable price.

Work during FY 2008

Work planned for FY 2009

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:

  1. Speed up playback with no pitch distortion.
  2. Three levels of phrase detection.
  3. Index tone generation and removal.
  4. Instant open on large files.
  5. Instant cut, copy, paste, and delete.
  6. Intercom functionality.
  7. Simple user interface.
  8. Accessibility for blind and visually impaired users.
  9. Multiple user marks and notes.
  10. External controller support.

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 2008

The following enhancements were made to Studio Recorder:

Work planned for FY 2009

Various requests have been made by users of Studio Recorder. Some of these include:

See the write-up for the digital audio component for other possible future enhancements.

Talking Learn Keys

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide a Windows-based basic keyboard exploration program for visually impaired or blind users so they may become familiar with any computer keyboard or to hear keystrokes announced in applications.

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
John Hedges, Programmer
Rob Meredith, Programmer

Background

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

The idea for Talking Learn Keys was discussed and presented to the Product Review Committee, who approved development of the program. The Technology Group in the Department of Educational Research developed initial design specifications and a functionality features list. The programmers wrote, tested, and finalized the code in 1999, and Talking Learn Keys became available.

As the group continued the development of the APH Speech Environment with its new abilities to manage user registration, it decided to update Talking Learn Keys to take advantage of this capability. This also allows the program to be placed on the Web in a demo version.

The program was modernized for new versions of Windows, including Windows XP. In a second area, new keyboards also may have additional multimedia buttons. These are controlled by vendor customized software. Support was added to handle the Microsoft multimedia keyboard. In addition, the other APH products now use the audio from Talking Learn Keys. It was helpful to create multiple audio components that allow other programs to use the audio files when installed on the same computer. The setup program has also been updated to use the Inno Setup for integration with current software distribution tools.

Work during FY 2008

This program is complete.

Work planned for FY 2009

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:

  1. The program is self-voicing, so no screen access program or speech synthesizer is required
  2. New students automatically receive a default list of lessons
  3. Support for special computer keys is included
  4. The program includes the ability to record and playback dictations
  5. Software is completely network ready
  6. Teacher management and lesson activities are combined into one program with password restricted access to teacher privileged functions like record manipulation and default settings.

The program entered its field testing phase in September 1999.

The programming group field tested Talking Typer over a six-month period in a variety of sites, and the field test participants played a very active role in shaping the development of this product. Field testing began in September 1999 with an early prototype of the system and the programmers quickly replaced features that were difficult to understand with methods suggested by participants. The field testers and customers suggested adding some lessons that used common phrases, so Research Assistant Kris Scott created two new lessons with about 40 phrases in each lesson. Customer feedback indicates these were a great idea and several users requested the two-phrase lessons be renamed Sentences and to create additional lessons that come before the sentence lessons that contain shorter, more common phrases. Recent customer feedback indicates that even more sentences should be included.

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 2008

This product is complete.

Work planned for FY 2009

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

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

Talking Word Puzzles

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

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

Background

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 2008

This program is complete.

Work planned for FY 2009

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 2008

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 2009

The project in version 1.x is complete. A new version is expected to be complete this year.

Verbal View of the Net and the Web

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist
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 2 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 2 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 2008

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2009

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

Verbal View of Office 2007

(New)

Purpose

To teach blind students and adults how to use the new interface in Office 2007 and to rewrite the tutorials for the individual Office components.

Project Staff

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

Background

Microsoft completely redesigned the user interface for the series of programs in the Office suite. While each application is more consistent, the whole pyridine is new, and most blind computer users are not yet familiar with the new procedures and actions.

APH already offers a tutorial for Microsoft Word, but the user interface is totally revamped for the 2007 edition. Rather than rewriting the existing Word tutorial (See Verbal View of Word and Verbal View of Word Advanced) project staff recognized that the better approach might be to write a tutorial that focuses on the new interface for the Office suite and cover the common components in that book. Such common components include the spell checker and grammar checker. Then, as sub components, offer separate and new tutorials that focus on the unique aspects of Word, Excel, and Outlook. Taking this approach should lessen confusion by not including such varied material in one tutorial and lets the staff combine the Word and Advanced Word tutorials for the new Word tutorial.

Work during FY 2008

Work planned for FY 2009

Verbal View of Online Mail

(Completed)

Purpose

To teach blind and visually impaired computer users effective use of email.

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist
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 2 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. (You can purchase Outlook 2003 as a separate program from Microsoft Corporation -- $109.00 on November 4, 2005.)

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 completed in FY 2008

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2009

This project is complete. Updates will occur as needed.

Verbal View of Vista

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
Robert Conaghan, Studio Monitor

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 2008

Researched, wrote, proofread, and tested the text of the tutorial.

Work planned for FY 2009

Verbal View of Web Documents

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author
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 3 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 2008

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2009

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

Verbal View of Web Searches

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist
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 2008

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2009

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, Project Consultant and Author
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 2008

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 2009

This project is complete.

Verbal View of Word

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
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 Braille+ 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 2008

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2009

This project is complete. Future modifications will be made to the material as new versions of Word are released. A tutorial for Word 2007 is in the works.

Verbal View of Word Advanced

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Duran, Project Consultant and Author
Keith Creasy, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Kathy Lewis, Technical Support Specialist
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 completed in FY 2008

No work was performed on this project during FY 2008.

Work planned for FY 2009

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

Multiple Disabilities

Digital Light Box Artwork: Supporting Language and Literacy

(Continued)

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, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader
Wendy Buckley, Consultant and Author

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 for the computer 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. An online survey was conducted to help APH determine which of the existing Light Box Materials artwork needed modernization.

Work during FY 2008

The guidebook was written and the artwork completed. Prototypes were field tested.

Work planned for FY 2009

Field test results will be compiled and reviewed. Changes will be made to guidebook and artwork as needed. Product will become available.

Jumbo Work & Play Tray

(Completed)

Purpose

APH will provide a large (2'x2') 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 will have toys within arm's reach.

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Sue Douglass, Consultant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
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. The prototypes were tested by five professionals (occupational therapists and teachers of the visually impaired).

Work during FY 2008

The tray was manufactured in house and is available for sale.

Lots of Dots Series

(Completed)

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, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Author
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

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. Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden is the last of the series.

Work during FY 2008

Field test revisions were incorporated into the product. Final tooling and specifications were completed. Product is now available for sale. This completes the series.

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

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Catherine Nelson, Consultant and Author
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Sandi Baker, Consultant
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. This training manual will be packaged with the CD to provide a comprehensive tool to professionals working with learners (birth-21) who have congenital deafblindness or multisensory impairments. The focus of the assessment tool is to gather information for program planning and educational intervention for learners in educational settings.

Work during FY 2008

The manuscript was completed.

Work planned for FY 2009

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

Multiple Disabilities Projects and Needs

(Continued)

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 2008

The Select Switch, Jumbo Work & Play Tray, and Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden became available for sale; the latter completes the three book series. APH continued to work 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. Work continued with Millie Smith on SAM: Symbols and Meaning. Work began on an O&M manual for wheelchair users and on converting the original Light Box artwork into a digital format for computer screen touch and switch users. A poster was presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting that provided attendees with the opportunity to voice opinions on older APH products in regards to obsolescence and modernization.

Work planned for FY 2009

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 Manual for Child-Guided Strategies for the Assessment of Children who are Deafblind and Have Multiple Disabilities: The van Dijk Approach to Assessment, SAM: Symbols and Meaning, the Digital Light Box Artwork, and the O&M manual for wheelchair users.

O&M for Wheelchair Users

(New)

Purpose

To provide an electronic book with videos for COMS who work with individuals who have visual impairment in addition to being wheelchair users

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Scott Crawford, Consultant and Author

Background

This product was identified by the Multiple Disabilities Focus Group. It was rated the ninth greatest need of 48 recommended products with a score of 4.15 (on a scale of 1-5) on the Multiple Disabilities Survey (2001). On a follow-up survey conducted at the 2006 Annual Meeting, it was rated the second greatest need receiving 12 points. The product rated of greatest need received 15 points. The target group is COMS working with children of all age levels and adults.

Work during FY 2008

Contract and timeline were established with the consultant.

Work planned for FY 2009

The manual will be written and video will be filmed.

SAM: Symbols and Meaning

(Continued)

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, Consultant and Author
J.C. Greeley, Contributing Writer
Linda Hagood, Contributing Writer
Zoe Morgese, Contributing Writing
Jennifer Stocker, 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 2008

The guidebook and assessments were completed. Field test sites were identified. Field test videos were filmed. An online training was conducted for the field test sites.

Work planned for FY 2009

Field testing will take place August 2008 through May 2009. Upon completion, revisions will be made as recommended by field testing.

Select Switch

(Completed)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

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

Background

During APH presentations on the Sensory Learning Kit, customers requested a device that could operate battery-powered toys. Conceptual drawings were presented to Technical Research. CAD drawings and electrical drawings were created, and a bid package was written.

Work during FY 2008

Prototypes were created in Taiwan and were tested at Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY. The product was manufactured and is now available for sale.

Physical
Fitness

Jump Rope to Fitness
(Formerly: Jump Rope Kit)

(Continued)

Purpose

To create a product that is fun and easy-to-learn for an individual who is blind to exercise 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 light weight so it travels well on business trips; and by using an anti shock mat, a defined area is established to prevent migration and possible accidents from happening.

Work during FY 2008

Test results from the camps were incorporated into the manual. Results determined which anti shock mat and which ropes were chosen for kit inclusion. The manual was completed and the specifications meeting held.

Work planned for FY 2009

The product will become available for sale.

PE Web Site

(Continued)

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 2008

The project leader continued to monitor the site, solicited and reviewed submissions, and requested article permissions. Two feature presentations were added to the site.

Work planned for FY 2009

The project leader will continue to monitor the site, solicit and review submissions, and request article permissions.

Physical Health and Education Projects and Needs

(Continued)

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 2008

Work on the sport edition of the Portable Sound Source and the Sound Localization Guidebook was completed. Work continued on Jump Rope to Fitness. Work began on 30-Love: Tennis Guidelines for Players with Visual Impairments and Blindness.

Work planned for FY 2009

APH will make available for sale Jump Rope to Fitness and 30-Love. The project leader presented research and field test results at the Council for Exceptional Children Convention along with showing APH's new products that support active lifestyles.

Portable Sound Source, Sport Edition

(Continued)

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 Division 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 2008

The guidebook (print and braille) was approved. The device was manufactured and is in stock awaiting the printing of the guidebook.

Work planned for FY 2009

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

30 Love: Guidelines for Tennis Players with Visual Impairment or Blindness

(New)

Purpose

To make available in the United States an adapted tennis game that is currently played in Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant

Background

Continuing work on the PE Web site led to the discovery of a website demonstrating tennis being played indoors by Japanese who are blind. APH staff began working with the Japan Tennis Association for the Visually Handicapped to introduce the sport to the United States. A tennis clinic was held at the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville, KY.

Work during FY 2008

The guidelines were completed and field testing was held at eight public schools, three residential schools for the blind, and one private school. The field test results were reviewed, recommended changes made, and the guidelines were completed.

Work planned for FY 2009

Product will be available for sale.

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

Self-Determination

V-file
(Formerly: Personal Vision Portfolio)

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide students, teachers, counselors, and parents of visually impaired students a tool to collect, organize, and document pertinent information and materials that will aid in transition from Kindergarten through adult life.

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
Edith Ethridge, Consultant
Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Tom Poppe, Model Maker

Background

Edith Ethridge developed the Personal Vision Portfolio during her tenure as low vision specialist at Kentucky School for the Blind. She used this portfolio with students across Kentucky through the Outreach Program at the school. This portfolio becomes a working file of activities, documents, and resources used by the student and teacher. It is an aid to an array of students through a variety of transitions; from teacher to teacher, middle to high school, from high school to college and work and adult life. Edith retired from her position on July 1, 2006. The popularity and continued demand for the sharing of her work by groups and organizations around the U. S. led to a product submission.

In January 2006, the product idea was approved by the PET and PARC Committees. Edith Ethridge agreed to serve as a consultant. The initial work of writing and revising the portfolio began.

Work during FY 2008

The consultant continued to write, revise, and update the text for the teacher's manual as well as the various forms to be used in the portfolio.

Work planned for FY 2009

Complete a prototype of the V-file.

Tactile Graphics

3-D O&M Kit

(Continued)

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
Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker

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:

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

Work during FY 2008

The project leader focused attention on the development of the prototype throughout the third and fourth quarters of the fiscal year. Notable activities encompassed the following: designing 3-D models of cars, people, and buildings; determining amount and structure of grassy areas, railroad tracks, roads and other manipulatives; tailoring components around a newly designed tri-fold hook/loop material board; acquiring commercially-available labeling materials; and authoring accompanying lesson plans.

Work planned for FY 2009

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.

ALL-IN-ONE Board

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a multi-platform, adjustable board for use with either hook VELCRO® brand 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.

The prototype of the All-In-One Board is shown. The DryErase/magnetic side is positioned at an upright angle.
[The prototype of the All-In-One Board is shown. The DryErase/magnetic side is positioned at an upright angle.]

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® brand 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® brand 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 Sorting Circles and Shapes].

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 2007, 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 during FY 2008

The field test stage was completed on schedule in December 2008. Field evaluations were completed by 10 teachers representing the states of California, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Virginia(2). The student sample of 44 ranged in age from 3- to 17- years old with 32% between 3 and 5, 23% between 6 and 8, 20% between 9 and 11, 14% between 12 and 14, and 11% between 15 and 17. The sample was nearly equally divided between males and females (57% and 43%, respectively). The majority (68%) was white; 18% Hispanic; 9% African American; 2% Asian, and 2% "two or more races." Nearly three-fourths of the student sample (72%) were in grades Pre-K and third grade. The students' primary reading medium was reported as 34% large print, 20% braille, 16% undetermined/nonreader, 9% regular print, 9% combined braille/print, 7% pre-braille, 2% pre-reader, and 2% pictures. Students with cortical visual impairment represented close to one-fifth of the sample. A large percentage (64%) was reported as having additional disabilities.

A total of 85 teacher-determined tasks/activities were performed using the ALL-IN-ONE Board with the students. The majority of the tasks (73%) were assessed as "Highly Successful," 25% were rated as "Somewhat Successful;" and only 2% were reported as either "Not Successful" or between "Somewhat" and "Not" Successful." The types of learning activities facilitated by the ALL-IN-ONE Board included the following:

The teachers gave very high ratings of the board's design features, indicating a 4.0 (the highest possible rating) for both its color/attractiveness and its various slant positions. Other ratings included overall size (3.85); weight (3.75); multi-purpose format (3.9); portability (3.5); and durability (3.55). One-hundred percent of the teachers reported that the ALL-IN-ONE Board offered specific advantages over dry-erase, magnetic, and/or other Velcro boards they had previously used, most notably the adjustable slant positions and the dual-platform presentation.

Product enhancements were based upon the reviewers' feedback. Given that the current design of the board itself was very well received, no structural changes--functional or aesthetic--were made to it. The only noticeable change from the prototype model to the final version will be the inclusion of a carrying bag to protect and transport the board.

In February 2008, the project leaders and Product Development Committee members reconvened to re-evaluate the current timeline and to determine final production quantities. The third and fourth quarters of the year were dedicated to the following tasks:

Work planned for FY 2009

The project leaders will monitor the final production of the ALL-IN-ONE Board and ensure its quality. Post-production activities will include preparing marketing materials, demonstrating the product at conferences and workshops, and developing educational accessories, especially magnetic ones, to extend the usability and versatility of the ALL-IN-ONE Board.

Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set

(Completed)

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/Author
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.

The field test stage was initiated October 2007. 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 5 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 board 15--Rating of 3
10--Rating of 2
1--Rating of 1
1--Rating of AM
Distinguishing between metal and nonmetal elements 15--Rating of 3
9--Rating of 2
2--Rating of 1
1--Rating of AM
Identifying the location of subatomic particles in an atom 17--Rating of 3
4--Rating of 2
5--Rating of 1
1--Rating of AM
Arranging electrons in energy levels to determine electron configurations 13--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 electrons 12--Rating of 3
9--Rating of 2
6--Rating of 1
Building electron dot diagrams 15--Rating of 2
6--Rating of 1
6--Rating of N/A
Demonstrating how elements combine via ionic bonds 12--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 equations 10--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 was set as 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. Quota approval from the Educational Product Advisory Committee was received in October 2007.

Work during FY 2008

Tooling efforts continued for Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set throughout the first and second quarters of FY 2008. These activities encompassed preparing thermoform patterns, silkscreens, cutting dies, final guidebook layout and design, braille translation, HTML preparation, and specifications for outside vendors. All of the tooling was completed to produce the following components:

The project leader monitored the quality of the pilot and first production runs of the product throughout the third and fourth quarters. A product brochure was readied.

Work planned for FY 2009

Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set is now available; no further product-related work is anticipated. The project leader will present the product at local and national conferences.

Flip-Over Concept Books

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide young children with an interactive tactile book series that encourages the development and understanding of basic concepts and tactile skills related to shape, texture, spatial concepts, etc.

Project Staff

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

Shown is the prototype design of the logo for Flip-Over Concept Books: Parts of a Whole.
[Shown is the prototype design of the logo for Flip-Over Concept Books: Parts of a Whole.]

Background

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 (PARC)

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.

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. The project leader readied an evaluation packet (reviewed by Research staff for objectivity and thoroughness) and began to identify possible field test sites.

Work during FY 2008

The field test of the Flip-Over Concept Books was completed in January 2008. Field evaluations were completed by 13 teachers representing the states of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Texas(2). The student sample of 41 students ranged in age from 3 to 16 years old with 24% between 3 and 5, 46% between 6 and 8, 24% between 9 and 11, and 5% between 12 and 16. The sample was nearly equally divided between females and males (56% and 44%, respectively). The student population reflected cultural diversity: 34% were White; 32% were Hispanic; 20% were African American; 7% were Asian; and 7% were reported as "two or more races." A full 73% were in grades Pre-K through third grade; 20% were in grades 4-6; one student was in 12th grade; and remaining percentage (5%) were reported as non-graded. The largest percentage of the students (41%) were braille readers; 37% read print or large print; 7% were reported as prereaders; and remaining percentage were classified as dual readers, auditory readers, or nonreaders. Over half (51%) of the students had other disabilities.

Both Flip-Over Concept Books (Line Paths and Parts of a Whole) were reported as helpful by the teachers in supporting the development and reinforcement of various skills and concepts, with student improvements reported in various areas: more careful tactile exploration, matching, line tracking, page turning, spatial understanding/concept development, overcoming tactile defensiveness, on-task behavior, self-esteem, peer interaction, and interest in tactile games/activities. The Line Paths book was reported as being the most ideal for tactile readers in grades K-3; however, a full 85% of the teachers reported that the book was also useful for tactile readers and low vision readers in preschool. Similarly, 92% of the teachers reported that the Parts of the Whole book was appropriate for tactile readers in both preschool and K-3; 85% said the book was useful with low vision readers in preschool. Additional Flip-Over Concept Books were requested including books addressing basic shapes, textures, counting, sequencing, and recreational themes. The most significant change to the books, based upon field test results, will be the conversion from a twin-loop binding to one that allows removal, minimization, and randomization of the separate panels.

Quota approval for the two Flip-Over Concept Books (as well as for other future books developed in the series) was received from the Educational Product Advisory Committee in May 2008.

The Flip-Over Concept Books continued to serve as the testing ground for wide-format printing in combination with the thermoforming process. This investigation occupied the project staff's time throughout the third quarter of the fiscal year. Concurrently, a new binding system, to allow convenient opening and closing of the rings to minimize or randomize the panels, was explored and located.

In August 2008, the PDC regrouped to establish the remainder of the timeline--from "Final Documentation" to "Availability." Extensive efforts to prepare actual production tooling (other than that prepared during the prototype stage) extended until the end of September.

Work planned for FY 2009

The project staff will continue necessary tooling tasks to ready the books for final availability. The project leader will oversee the pilot and production runs of the books. Future development of similar books, as encouraged by field evaluators' and EPAC's recommendations, will be pursued.

Life Science Tactile Graphics

(Continued)

Purpose

To create a collection of durable, high-relief tactile graphics depicting structures, concepts, and organisms commonly studied in life science and biology courses.

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Project Assistant
Katherine Corcoran, Model and Pattern Maker

Background

Since the publication of Basic Science Tactile Graphics several years ago, APH has been aware of the need for similar reference materials for students of higher level science. Like the earlier product, this one will feature tactile drawings produced on vacuumformed vinyl sheets and a teacher's guidebook. Unlike the Basic Science volume, Life Science will have both printed and raised images registered together on the same page, along with labels in print and braille.

Initial work to define the scope of the product and list drawings was done by the project assistant, who has an extensive background in science instruction.

Work during FY 2008

A field evaluation was conducted in the winter of 2007/2008, involving 35 middle and high school science students. Fifteen teachers participated at 14 sites, of which five were schools or agencies specifically for blind students. Sites were located in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Texas and West Virginia.

Evaluators generally approved of the tactile graphics and the selection of topics covered. Because of evaluator comments, several graphics were re-designed or expanded to make them clearer.

Patterns for all of the remaining graphics (those not included in the field test) were also completed and made into molds. A great deal of investigation has been underway into the best methods of printing the vinyl used in vacuumforming for other products, and the tooling progress of Life Science Tactile Graphics has been delayed pending the results of those trials. Still, preliminary work on assigning colors to the graphics has been done.

The guidebook content was finished and artwork was approved for the cover and for the outer binder.

Work planned for FY 2009

Colors and labels will be laid out for each diagram. Project staff will continue to consult with vendors on a printing process that ensures the printed and tactile images match up accurately. Specifications for the graphics and guidebook will be written by project staff and Technical Research, and the project will move forward to production.

PermaBraille Sheets

(New/Completed)

Purpose

To offer a variety sizes of PermaBraille Sheets for the purpose of creating durable braille materials: address labels, math flashcards, maps, personal files, recipe cards, charts/graphs, bulletin board displays, menus, etc. The material can be used with a braillewriter, slate and stylus, and serrated tracing wheels. Target populations include the following: teachers preparing materials for braille readers; transcribers; braille-reading students; and adult blind consumers.

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader

Background

Since the initial production of Tactile Treasures in 1997, APH has used PermaBraille material to generate many tactile and braille products. The material has been successful in capturing fine detail in a durable format and has proven ideal for products that need to withstand repeated use. Anticipating that this specific material might have extended braille uses beyond APH manufacturing of tactile materials, the project leader decided to request feedback from teachers, transcribers, and blind adults about its potential uses. Field testing of the material was initiated in May 2007.

Four sizes of PermaBraille sheets are shown along with product instructions.
[Four sizes of PermaBraille sheets are shown along with product instructions.]

Nineteen evaluators participated in the field test of PermaBraille Sheets and represented the states of Pennsylvania(2), Alaska, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas(2), Michigan, New York, Nebraska, Arkansas, Utah(2), Louisiana, North Dakota; it was also tested at the South Australian School for the Vision Impaired. Field evaluators included certified braille transcribers, adult braille readers, an LRC director, a VI Media Coordinator, and a Coordinator of Rehab Teaching, and a Chaplain at a firehouse. A complete list of the participating evaluators appears in APH's 2007 Annual Research Report under "Braillable/Thermoformable Vinyl." Visit http://www.aph.org/edresearch/ar2007/index.html

Field evaluators indicated that PermaBraille Sheets offer special features that regular braille paper and other plastic materials (e.g., Brailon) don't. Special advantages reported by evaluators included the following:

"Created very smooth braille"
"Was very nice to use to create two copies" at the same time which "were equally easy to read."
"The fatigue factor with the slate and stylus is reduced due to the fact that you don't have to press hard."
"Flexibility of the paper."
"Tactile surface is user-friendly."
"Liked the dots...sharp enough, easy to read, very pleasant to touch."
"Braille was clearer and less likely to get pressed down when it was put in a folder."
"The material was easy to manipulate and handle. Brailling is easy with both slate and brailler, and produces clear, smooth, easy-to-read braille; easy on fingers; great for documents that are designed for long lasting and heavy use."
"Easier to insert into the braillewriter than Brailon. Symbols and markings made with the tools from the Tactile Graphics Kit were clear and readable even when done through two layers. Dymo tape labels applied more easily than on Braille paper."
"Good instructional purposes, especially for teaching braille reading to novices who tend to scrub the dots to examine them. Good to wipe water marks. Durable and long-lasting."
"Nice feel, nice weight, good braille from brailler, and with some exceptions, good reproduction."
"This paper appears to be slightly more flexible than most Thermoform paper."
"Is so durable--braille is excellent, very clear. It would be washable for things used over and over again."
"It would hold up better, especially for new Braille users who have a tendency to press too hard when reading."
"It makes very distinct dots; it is very easy to read tactually; the fingers do not stick like with regular thermoform paper and other types of plastic."

The only repeated disadvantage noted by some of the evaluators was the difficulty in erasing dots, but as one noted, "no worse than plastic or thermoform paper."

Of the four different sheet sizes tested, nearly 60% of the evaluators indicated that 8.5 x 11 and 11.5 x 11 were the sizes most needed. However, 5 of the evaluators rated the 5 x 3 size as either the first or second "most needed" and 6 rated the 6 x 4 as either the first or second "most needed." With regard to which they would likely purchase, 74% indicated 8.5 x 11, 68% indicated 11.5 x 11, and an equal percentage (53%) indicated the two smaller sizes.

Given the encouraging assessment of the material by field evaluators, the project leader formally prepared a Product Submission Form in July 2007. The product was approved by the PET and PARC committees. In September 2007, the project leader and the Product Development Committee developed a timeline for the various sizes of PermaBraille Sheets.

Work during FY 2008

The first quarter of the fiscal year was dedicated to preparing final tooling of the product including print and braille product instructions and appropriate housing boxes. By January 2009, all in-house tooling was complete.

Although originally slated for availability by March 2008, production of PermaBraille Sheets was delayed due to the outside vendor's construction of the storage box. The 2-piece "stationery box" design, preferred by the project leader, posed unexpected difficulties for the vendor and was eventually changed to a "playing card" style box with a Velcoin closure.

The project leader monitored the first production run of PermaBraille Sheets which became available on June 25, 2008 in the following packaging styles:

All of the packages can be purchased with Quota funds.

Work planned for FY 2009

The product is available; no further work is anticipated. However, the project leader will continue to monitor customer-identified uses of PermaBraille Sheets.

Picture Maker Accessories: Geometric Textured Shapes

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Terri Gilmore, 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® brand 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® brand 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® brand 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.

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 during FY 2008

During the months of January and February 2007, the project leader focused attention on designing and selecting planned components for this third accessory package for Picture Maker. The Product Development Committee met to establish a complete time and initial production quantities.

By end of March 2007, the project leader had compiled a final list of the accessory pieces which include the following:

1--Geometric Shapes Pack

4--Stars [same size as Web Chase pieces], azure polyblend (.023") backed by black hook Velcro

4--Stars [same size as Web Chase pieces], silver mylar affixed to white polyethylene (.023") and backed with black hook Velcro.

6--1" diameter donut, white polyethylene (.023") backed with black hook Velcro

6--.5" circles, white polyethylene (.023") [salvage pieces from donut shapes]

6--X-shapes, red flocked styrene (.020") backed with black hook Velcro. 1" crossbars

5--1" squares, green Tactile Colour pebbly/rough texture adhered to .023 white polyethylene and backed with black hook Velcro

4--2.25" x 1.5" rectangles, pink felt adhered to .023 polyethylene and back with black hook Velcro.

5--1-3/16" x 1-1/16" isosceles triangles, yellow polyethylene (.023) and backed with black hook Velcro.

6--5/8" x 9/16" isosceles triangles, orange felt adhered to polyethylene (.023) and backed with black hook Velcro.

4--1 5/8 x 1 ovals, purple craft foam affixed to white polyethylene and backed with black hook Velcro

4--Round Craft "Wiggly" Eyes with Lids and Lashes--Multicolor, 2 sizes, non adhesive backed

4--22mm Rhinestone round jewel, pink

4--25mm Rhinestone round jewel, peridot

4--15 x 15mm Rhinestone square jewel, jonquil

1--Yellow, Bumpy Shapes Frame

Note: All parts have .032" radius corners

(1) 5-pointed star inscribed in 2-1/16" diameter circle, yellow bumpy

(1) oval (2-7/16" x 1.5"), yellow bumpy

(1) square (1 9/16" sides), yellow bumpy

(1) triangle (base 1-9/16", 1-3/4 high) yellow bumpy

(1) circle (diameter 1.5"), yellow bumpy

(1) regular hexagon with 1-1/2" across flats, yellow bumpy

(1) rectangle (2.5" x 1-9/16"), yellow bumpy

(1) trapezoid (2" base, 1-3/8" height, sides angled 20 degrees), yellow bumpy

(1) regular pentagon (inscribed in 1-3/4" circle), yellow bumpy

(1) heart (1-13/16" wide and 1-5/8" high), yellow bumpy

(1) octagon (1-7/8" across flats), yellow bumpy

(1) diamond (1-3/8 across flats with 70-degree points), yellow bumpy

1--Red, Smooth Shapes Frame

Note: All parts have .032" radius corners

(1) 5-pointed star inscribed in 2-1/16" diameter circle, red smooth

(1) oval (2-7/16" x 1.5"), red smooth

(1) square (1 9/16" sides), red smooth

(1) triangle (base 1-9/16", 1-3/4 high) red smooth

(1) circle (diameter 1.5"), red smooth

(1) regular hexagon with 1-1/2" across flats, red smooth

(1) rectangle (2.5" x 1-9/16"), red smooth

(1) trapezoid (2" base, 1-3/8" height, sides angled 20 degrees), red smooth

(1) regular pentagon (inscribed in 1-3/4" circle), red smooth

(1) heart (1-13/16" wide and 1-5/8" high), red smooth

(1) octagon (1-7/8" across flats), red smooth

(1) diamond (1-3/8 across flats with 70-degree points), red smooth

1--Strip of (20) 1/2" black hook Velcoins

The project leader provided preliminary specifications and vendor contact information to Technical Research and Purchasing staff. The project leader also authored a brief Product Instruction sheet that was professionally laid out by the graphic designer; it was also transcribed into braille.

The Pattern/Model Maker was instrumental in designing the cutting die layout to build the puzzle frames and related pieces, as well as building the necessary thermoformed patterns to produce the textured components.

Although the contents of the kit were fully defined by the end of March, the product lagged somewhat due to available time in Technical Research area for finalizing the Specifications document. The goal date for this milestone was updated from August 2008 to October 2008.

Quota approval for this third package was received from the Educational Product Advisory Committee at the same time as the two earlier packages--in October 2007.

Work planned for FY 2009

The project leader will monitor the first production run of Picture Maker Accessories: Geometric Textured 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

(Completed)

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, Pattern/Model Maker
Terri Gilmore, Documentation Layout

Picture Maker Storage Panel is shown covered with original Picture Maker strips and inserted inside the existing Picture Maker Velcro Board.
[Picture Maker Storage Panel is shown covered with original Picture Maker strips and inserted inside the existing Picture Maker Velcro® Board.]

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", 2-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 3-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.

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 during FY 2008

By early October 2007, the product's "Specifications" meeting was conducted and the timeline was abbreviated. The Picture Maker Storage Panel became available, ahead of schedule, on November 6, 2007; 250 kits were stocked. Its introductory price was $15.00 (available with Quota funds).

Work planned for FY 2009

The product is available; no further work is anticipated.

Picture Maker Accessories: Textured Strips

(Completed)

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, Pattern/Model Maker
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Specialist
Terri Gilmore, 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.

New Picture Maker Accessories --Textured Strips- mounted on a Velcro Board.
[New Picture Maker Accessories --Textured Strips- mounted on a Velcro® Board.]

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.

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 unnecessary 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 during FY 2008

The project leader monitored the first production run of Picture Maker Accessories: Textured Strips. The majority of the parts were produced by an outside vendor, but the railroad strips and dashed road strips required in-house silkscreen and vacuum-form processes.

The Picture Maker Accessories: Textured Strips became available January 8, 2008; 499 kits were stocked. Its introductory price was $72.00 (available with Quota funds).

Work planned for FY 2009

The product is available; no further work is anticipated.

Sense of Science: Astronomy

(Continued)

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, Pattern and Model Maker

Background

Sense of Science: Astronomy is the third module of a planned series intended to make the "world of science" accessible to young students with visual impairments. This new set of science materials will resemble in both content and design the introductory life science modules, Sense of Science: Plants and Sense of Science: Animals, by incorporating both fun-filled, hands-on activities and tactile/visual overlays for use with APH light boxes.

Initial development tasks included investigating and purchasing existing, commercially-available educational materials related to astronomy. Concurrently, lists of helpful, student-targeted web sites and children's literature related to planets, galaxies, space exploration, etc., were compiled by the project staff.

In September 2002 the product idea was presented to the Product Evaluation Team (PET) and the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) and received approval from both.

Extensive product development throughout both FY 2005 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.

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.


[Ursa Major constellation is shown superimposed on bear image/outline.]

Work during FY 2008

During the first quarter of FY 2008, extensive prototype continued on the development of Sense of Science: Astronomy. In February 2008, prototypes were mailed to evaluators located through a Field Evaluator Survey posted in an issue of the APH Newsletter. The evaluators were given until mid-May to use the prototype with as many students as possible.

The prototype was reviewed by 10 teachers representing the states of Texas (2), Ohio, Connecticut, Georgia, West Virginia, Idaho, Kentucky, Florida, and Louisiana. A total of 85 students were involved in the field testing.

One hundred percent of the teachers indicated that Sense of Science: Astronomy offered specific advantages over other available materials that they have used in the past with their students to teach astronomy. Specific comments included the following:

"No other commercial product has ever given them such great overlays and tactile overlays."
"These are time-consuming and the ones I make are not as accurate or as durable. There is just enough time in the year to get overlays this beautiful and they are not all in the text braille books."
"What an advantage having ready-made tactile graphics. They save time."
"I haven't seen anything that even comes close."
"Benefit to both sighted, low vision, and blind students."

The kit's overall strengths as noted by the evaluators included the following:

"Tactile overlays;"

"Graphics are very stimulating;"

"Materials are arranged and contained well;"

"The provision of basic, yet standard, information on the Quick Fact Sheets;"

"Portability and ease of set up;"

"Durable, accurate, and accessible;"

"Easy to understand for teachers of all grade levels;"

"Bridges the concepts to a tactile picture;"

"Depicts items that have always been just explained;"

"Opened my eyes to what the student actually knew about astronomy;"

"Labeling is clear, concise, and print and braille;"

"Great lesson plans;"

"Brailled worksheets that were laminated."

In June 2008, the project leader reconvened the Product Development Committee and furnished them with an outline of the expected components of the kit. A complete timeline was established.

Work planned for FY 2009

"Documentation" and "Tooling" efforts will characterize the majority of the new fiscal year, all done in preparation for final product availability in July 2009.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 5]

(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 and Visual Designer
Monica Vaught, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker
David McGee, Technical Assistant
Bisig Impact Group, Layout of Print Activities Booklet

Front cover of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine, Issue 5.
[Front cover of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine, Issue 5.]

Background

The premier issue SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine debuted in FY 2005. This magazine series is intended to encourage young children's development of important tactile skills within a recreational context. Each issue's activities reflect a variety of tactile methods such as thermoform, embossed paper, and thermography for the purpose of familiarizing young children with a variety of raised-line images. Visual counterparts of all the tactile activities are included as well with the expectation that they could be used by peers with low vision and sighted parents, teachers, and siblings. The momentum to continue the development and production of the SQUID series was quickened by the positive reception of the first issue; nearly 1000 issues were sold in less than a year's time. 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.

A timeline for SQUID: Issue 5 was established by the Product Development Committee in March 2007. Between April and June, the project leader originated new activities and finished documentation 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 during FY 2008

Tooling preparation for SQUID: Issue 5 continued into the FY 2008 and was completed on schedule by the end of October. The activities included in this new issue 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 issue also contains a sheet of tactile star stickers that can be used to complete one of the activities.

Although the original "Availability" date was set for December 2007, delays occurred on the Production floor due to other on-going products. The project leader monitored the pilot/production runs of SQUID: Issue 5 during the second quarter of 2008. On April 3, 2008, this latest issue became available.

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

Work planned for FY 2009

Issue 5 of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine is now available. For the official announcement of this newest issue, visit the following: http://www.aph.org/advisory/2008adv05.html

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

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 6]

(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, Pattern/Model Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker
David McGee, Technical Assistant
Bisig Impact Group, Layout of Print Activities Booklet

Background

The premier issue SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine debuted in FY 2005. This magazine series is intended to encourage young children's development of important tactile skills within a recreational context. Each issue's activities reflect a variety of tactile methods such as thermoform, embossed paper, and thermography for the purpose of familiarizing young children with a variety of raised-line images. Visual counterparts of all the tactile activities are included as well with the expectation that they could be used by peers with low vision and sighted parents, teachers, and siblings. The momentum to continue the development and production of the SQUID series was quickened by the positive reception of the first issue; nearly 1000 issues were sold in less than a year's time. 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.

A timeline for SQUID: Issue 6 was established by the Product Development Committee in October 2007. The original goal of producing two issues of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine per year was modified to one issue per year due to the popularity of previous issues demanding production floor time.

Work during FY 2008

During the second and third quarters of the fiscal year, the project leader originated new activities for SQUID: Issue 6 and finished documentation 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 2009

Tooling of the activities booklet, thermoform masters, and braille plates for SQUID: Issue 6 will continue into the FY 2008 and be completed by the end of October. The activities included in this new issue are the following:

Across the Pond
Best Seat in the House
BIRDS Word Search
Caught in the Web
Give Me A Vowel
HOT AIR BALLOON Coloring Page
It's Okay to be Square
Lucky Lady Bugs
Making Tracks
Mind Your Ps and Qs
Name Calling
On the Fence
On the Straight and Narrow
On Top of Spaghetti
Piñata Party
Purr-fect Trap
Rainforest Residents
Sea Life Sequence
Snow Buddies
Star Maze
Tricky Triangles
Two Faced
Watermelon Wager
What's the Hang Up
Word Play

Issue 6 of SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine is slated to be available in January 2009. The project leader will monitor the pilot and production runs. Post-production activities will include preparing marketing information, showcasing the product at workshops/conferences, and initiating work on SQUID: Issue 7.

State Map Collections

(Completed)

Purpose

To produce sets of embossed state outlines for transcribers, teachers, and students to use as a starting point in making tactile maps. Users will add labels, symbols, and other information as needed to make complete tactile graphics.

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Co-Leader
Monica Vaught, Project Co-Leader
Matt Smith, Mapping Assistant

Background

The need for this set 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 during FY 2008

Production of the four sets of maps was completed, and they are now available for purchase.

Work planned for FY 2009

Project staff will monitor any production issues or customer comments regarding the four map sets, apart from which no further work is planned.

Tactile Graphics Research

(Continued)

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, Pattern/Model 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 2008

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

The Pattern/Model Maker constructed a tactile map of Frankfort Avenue which was presented to the Kentucky School for the Blind in August to commemorate APH's 150th Anniversary [see separate Model Shop report].

Work planned for FY 2009

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 Sorting Circles and Shapes
(Formerly: Textured Magnetic Sorting Circles)

(Continued)

Purpose

To tactually adapt commercially-available sorting circles, offered by Learning Resources, Inc., which can be used for creating Venn diagrams on a magnetic surface

Project Staff

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

Venn diagram showing two overlapping circles with contrasting textures.
[Venn diagram showing two overlapping circles with contrasting textures.]

Background

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 (PARC). 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® brand Board [see separate report].

Work during FY 2008

Concurrent with the development of the ALL-IN-ONE Board [see separate report], the project leader ordered and adapted 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.

In October 2007, a tactually-adapted set of the sorting circles and shapes were sent to the same evaluators of the ALL-IN-ONE Board. Field test results revealed the popularity of the manipulatives with 100% of the field reviewers having used the sorting circles and shapes in combination with the ALL-IN-ONE Board with both low vision and blind students. All but one of the evaluators indicated that it was helpful to have the circles tactually adapted with the graphic art tape.

In February 2008, the project leader reported a re-direction of the project to the PARC. Given the extensive in-house labor that would be involved in applying the graphic art tape to the Learning Resources' Venn diagramming circles, paired with the less-than-satisfactory textures of the commercially-available pieces, it was decided that APH would pursue the development and production of originally-designed sorting circles and textured shapes (for use with the All-In-One Board and other VELCRO® brand boards). In April, a Product Development Meeting was held to set a complete timeline and initial pilot/production run quantities.

The third and fourth quarters of the fiscal year were dedicated to tooling preparation and vendor identification. Specifically the following were accomplished:

Work planned for FY 2009

The project leader will monitor the quality of the initial pilot and production runs in December 2008. Once available, the product will be showcased at training workshops and conferences.

Model/Pattern Maker

Model Shop

Product Involvement during FY 2008

Model Shop Staff

Tom Poppe, Supervisor/Pattern-Model Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker
Anita Rutledge Pattern/Model Maker (part-time)

Purpose and Background

The Model Shop is part of the APH Research Department and provides a unique service to the APH product development process. 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 Shop 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. The Model Shop frequently furnishes Technical Research staff with final specifications/drawings for the construction of various product components; these are inserted into the final specifications documentation.

Typical efforts engaged in by the Model Shop in the pursuit of new product designs include:

Work during FY 2008

The following are specific examples of the Model Shop's contributions to projects developed during FY 2008:

APH 150th Anniversary Tactile Map

The Model Shop staff participated in the APH 150th Anniversary Tactile Presentation Map Committee. The committee met regularly to plan the commemorative map to be given to Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in August. The final map was produced in its entirety by Tom Poppe. It is a tactile representation of a mile-long section of Frankfort Avenue, including APH's and KSB's locations. KSB intends to use the map with its students for O&M training purposes. The map is made of a rigid thermo-set material, is painted in multiple colors, and has a brailled key. The map was then permanently attached to an adjustable-height table.

All-In-One Magnetic-VELCRO® brand Board

Tom Poppe originated the entire design of an adjustable, two-sided magnetic/VELCRO® brand board. This involved:

The Model Maker was active not only in aiding the project leader in finding suitable dry-erase/wet erase magnetic boards, but also active in dealing with the outside vendor who will supply the specially-molded handles and mounting brackets. The Model Maker furnished design specifications of the entire board to Technical Research for duplication purposes in the final Specifications document. The Model Maker will assist in overseeing the received parts from vendors and the in-house construction of the board itself.

Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set

Tom Poppe completed hard tooling of the entire project. This involved the completion of three large thermoform patterns which form material later cut into nearly 400 separate parts. The Model Maker also supplied Technical Research with the dimensions and specifications used to generate the silkscreen artwork for all the separate pieces. Additional work included thermoform patterns to generate the textures of the subatomic pieces, as well as the overall design and construction style of the atomic models, including die drawings.

Flip-Over Concept Books

Tom Poppe was involved in the preparation of prototype copies of two Flip-Over Concept Books--Parts of a Whole and Line Paths. Tooling tasks included:

Multiple prototypes of two books were built for field test purposes. This project was selected, as encouraged by the project leader, to be a production "guinea pig" to determine if the pages can be full-color printed using alternative processes. If successful, this will lead to significant cost savings and alleviate APH in-house production staff of time-intensive and expensive silk-screening methods. The Model Maker was involved in arranging vendors to do the printing on the project. Numerous meetings have been attended. Color and printing tests have all been made, tested, and/or rejected. When printing plans are determined, the Model Maker will prepare production thermoform patterns, as well as related artwork to ensure accurate registration.

Food Pyramid

Model Shop was consulted to determine the best approach for this project. Several concept models were made and later refined into the finished prototype. There are two levels of the project: one for elementary-aged students and one for students in secondary grades. Both convey basically the same information.

Jumbo Work/Play Tray

Model Shop staff generated the original design of the Jumbo Work/Play Tray via electronic file. Staff then located an outside vendor who had the ability to use rapid-prototyping to generate the frame of the tray. The rapid-prototyped parts were then mounted to a vacuum-box and used to make multiple field test copies of the tray. During the time it took to make the dozen or so parts for field testing, the rapid-prototyped pattern began to come apart. Repairs were made, and, after field testing was completed, a pilot run of a limited number of units was begun. Before completion of the pilot run, the rapid-prototyped parts had to be repaired. Later, before the actual production run was initiated, the rapid-prototyped pattern was used to make an aluminum-filled thermo-set plastic pattern. This pattern was then used to make the remaining 450 parts for the first production run. The pattern is not expected to require replacement.

Life Science Tactile Graphics

This project consists of 61, 8.5 x 11 printed and thermoformed science graphics. The project leader did basic drawings of the all the graphics. Katherine Corcoran then made temporary field-test thermoform patterns (about 15) used to create the field test prototypes. After field testing, some modifications, and in some instances, complete redesign of the original tactile model had to be done. The construction of the thermoform patterns is still underway. The project has been side-lined temporarily as the project leader awaits the outcome of wide-format printing options being investigated for the Flip-Over Concept Books.

MathBuilders Unit 8

The Model Shop staff completed the thermoform patterns required to make multiple field test prototypes. After field testing was completed, work was begun to prepare final production patterns. Work on this project is underway.

Picture Maker Accessories: Geometric Textured Shapes

Tom Poppe and the project leader designed tactile sorting puzzles that will be included with the kit. They also provided Technical Research with a full listing of the dimensions, type of material, and quantity of all the shapes included in the kit--essentially all of the specifications needed for the production of the kit. Thermoform patterns were readied for the production of the textured puzzles.

Sense of Science: Astronomy

Tom Poppe continued to work with the project leader to design and conceptualize the tactile graphic representations of all the basic concepts presented in current science textbooks. All tactile representations were built and multiple prototypes were produced in the model shop for field test purposes. Following the field test stage, revisions were made and hard tooling was initiated; this tooling is necessary to mass produce the final product. Hard tooling encompasses six thermoform patterns to produce the tactile overlays, as well as original screen art for all the print counterparts. Other parts designed by the Model/Patten Maker include two compartment trays, a large Northern Circumpolar Dome, and a fold-out "Relative Distances of the Planets." Die drawings will be originated in the Model Shop. The Model/Pattern Maker will oversee the production of this kit during its initial production.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 5]

Katherine Corcoran prepared thermoform patterns according to the project leader's original art designs. The product is complete and now available.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 6]

Katherine Corcoran prepared thermoform patterns according to the project leader's original art designs. The tooling is complete; production is expected in December 2008.

Textured Sorting Circles and Shapes

Tom Poppe and the project leader designed the die layout duplicated by Technical Research for the production of the various parts. The Model Maker consulted with an outside die maker to determine the best radius for the star pieces.

Treks

The Model Shop staff worked with the project leader to design the game board. A mock-up of the board was made to test peg shapes and determine the best peg-hole diameter, spacing, depth, and so forth. Many prototype test pegs were made and tested. The tactile board overlays were made and tested as well. In all, 15 complete sets of pegs were made along with multiple boards and overlays. The project is on-going.

Sudoku Puzzles

The Model Shop staff worked closely with the project leader to develop a tactile representation of popular Sudoku puzzles. Several test samples were conceived, produced, and tested for effectiveness. Numbers of the Sudoku puzzle are represented by large multiple pop-up bubbles (based upon the existing Pop-A-Cell and Score Card designs). Development work on this project is ongoing.

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit

Tom Poppe met frequently with the project leader to determine needed tangibles for the kit. Multiple preliminary sketches were made and preliminary concept models were built. Master models of the tangible items were duplicated and sent to three possible vendors for price quotes. Using vendors for prototypes is not common, but was necessitated in this case due to the large number of separate items needed for the kit.

Tactile/Print Yardstick

When asked by the PL if APH could produce a 36-inch rule, Tom Poppe suggested that it might be possible to mount production tooling into existing APH machinery in an innovative way to produce parts of a greater size than previously thought possible. Tom Poppe built the thermoform pattern, prepared the layout of the original graphic artwork for printing and die cutting, and built a special diagonal clamp frame.

Wings of Freedom Award

Tom Poppe made the base for the Wings of Freedom Award--an award presented during APH's Annual Meeting to a person who does outstanding work in the field of blindness. The base is made from walnut and has an oil finish. Braille plates with the honoree's name are affixed to the base.

Word Playhouse

The Model Shop worked closely with the project leader and used design features borrowed from another recently created product (i.e., Azer's Periodic Table). Constructed thermoform patterns were used to produce the hundreds of pieces in Word Playhouse.

V-File

The Model Shop staff consulted with the project leader on several occasions regarding the production of a tactile, three-dimensional human eye. Several conceptual patterns were made and explored. Discussion about the basic type of presentation to be made is ongoing.

Technical Research Division

Technical Research Division Activities

(Continued)

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, help to assure the greatest probability of success for a new product.

Technical Research Staff

Frank Hayden, Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
James Robinson, Manufacturing Specialist
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Technical Research Involvement during FY 2008

ALL-IN-ONE Board

(Continued)

The All-in-One Board is a two sided, multi-platform board for use with either hook VELCRO® brand accessories or magnetic pieces and has an adjustable / locking handle assembly to allow the board to stand upright at incremental angles established by the locking handle mechanism. At a December 2007 PDC, meeting the project leader presented the results of field-testing and added the stipulation that for the dry erase surface to be compatible with both dry and wet erase markers. The project leader also expressed a desire to include a carry bag to protect the All-in-One Board during transport. Also addressed at this meeting was the need to contact vendors to manufacture the handle assembly, the two color laminated board to which the dry erase and Veltex is applied, and for an appropriately sized shipping carton. The current plan for manufacture of the All-in-One Board is to purchase the yellow and blue laminated PVC foam board with the black Veltex applied to one side. APH would attach the purchased dry erase panel and handle components to the board. The completed board will be packed inside a carry bag along with a "low Odor" dry erase marker set. Locating a vendor that can supply a metal or "magnetic" dry erase panel with the surface characteristics that allow for the use of both dry and wet erase markers has proven difficult. The field-tested units that seemingly displayed receptiveness to both types of markers were made from a scrap material that had been used in a long since discontinued APH product. The vendor of this material and its exact surface makeup is unknown leaving only currently available commercial dry erase products to try to meet product specifications. Numerous samples of dry erase materials have been obtained and tested. Nearly all samples tested had a problem with either "ghosting" or incomplete erasing of what has been applied to the surface or lack of compatibility with wet erase markers. The wet erase marker ink beads up, leaving the lettering unreadable and smear able. Several companies that apply coatings to metal substrates were also contacted. None of these companies was willing to produce materials for APH because our order would not begin to meet their minimum production quantities and/or did not want to supply a panel that finished to our exact dimensions. Ultimately, a material was located the met the project leaders specifications. Unfortunately, the selection of this material from this vendor created additional dimensional changes to the All-in-One Board. There is unanimous agreement on important specifications for the dry erase panel, these are 1) the dimensional tolerances must be exact, 2) the radius of the corners, and 3) the panel must have edges free of fractured or rough edges. The vendor express concern about the radius specified, stating that this would significantly raise the price. It was agreed that a change to a standard 2" radius would be acceptable. The change in the dry-erase panel also affects the dimensions of the laminated baseboard because all components had matching radius on all corners. Technical Research made changes to CAD drawings reflecting the changed corner radius and had them approved by the Model shop before turning over to Purchasing in order that the updated drawings could be sent to the vendors. In January 2007, a meeting was held with a representative of a plastics molding company to discuss the specific requirements for handle components used for the All-in-One Board. The handle assembly is based on the one used on the Mini-light box, which this same vendor manufactures. With the exception of one new component (a hub, that attaches the handle to the board), and the project leader specifying a different color than the one used for the Mini-light box, the parts can be made from existing molds. Since the parts are a different color (Red instead of the existing blue/green of the light box), all parts needed to have new part numbers. Technical Research had the required parts numbers setup and also took photos of the individual parts and tagged them with the newly established part numbers. These were sent to the vendor so that all the items can be properly identified at the overseas manufacturing facility. The initial pre-production handle parts displayed an improper alignment within the locking mechanism that when attached to the All-in-One Board caused the handle arm to be slightly non-parallel to the board. This sample and the second sample following were rejected by the Model shop. The third sample, which was also molded in what was to be the actual red color arrived in late July. While the alignment issue was not 100% correct and the new Hub piece had a smooth finish vs. the matte finish of the existing handle components, parts were approved for production pending a better color match. The vendor immediately sent a molded part that the project leader approved for color in early August. In mid February, a vendor that makes carry bags for APH brought in three sample bags of different designs at no charge to APH. The Project leader selected a bag that wraps around the entire board assembly with a cutout in the section that goes around the handle. This bag ultimately provides the highest percentage of coverage of the board and handle but is also the most costly of the three prototypes. A final bag sample was obtained in June and approved for production. Part numbers required to purchase materials, manufacture, and ship the product have been requested and obtained as of March. Plans for obtaining a new shipping box following the December PDC meeting was initially dismissed because of a plan in place to reduce the number of individually sized boxes from inventory. While determining the dimensional requirements for a carton, Technical Research recognized that making slight modifications to the dimensions would allow this carton to be used for both the All-in-One Board and the Azer's kit under development. The carton design was finalized in February. This dual use will allow APH to obtain better pricing by ordering it for both kits and fits the plan of eliminating one-use boxes. The long developing issues with final tooling have delayed completion of product specifications. Specifications are currently being finalized. Most of the major components with long lead times, the handle components, carry bag and dry erase panel have been pre-ordered to help gain back some of the time lost in development.

APH Insights Calendar 2009

(Completed)

Technical Research met with all parties in late November. In that meeting a game plan for in-house production of the calendars was agreed upon. Final print files are to be given to large type by late Jan. Large type to furnish the tactile graphics department proof copies to use in tooling the plates for the calendar. Plates would be completed and production to begin by mid- to late February. Technical Research met with all parties February 21st to discuss where the product was in terms of finished art, Braille tooling, and production plans. It was learned that, although the art was 2 weeks behind, it was complete. Proof copies were to be run the next day with Braille tooling to proceed after final sign off on the proofs by the project leaders. Technical Research continued monitoring this project through its production and into stock in August.

Azer's Interactive Tactile Periodic Table

(Completed)

The Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set is a collection of interactive components used to teach concepts / understanding of Periodic Table of the Elements. The kit consists of nine catalogs or replacement part components, most all of which require multiple manufacturing steps. Technical Research worked with the project leader, model shop, purchasing, and various vendors to determine best production methods for a number of components for this kit. The three bags of Interactive Periodic Table Pieces are a main component of the kit. Each bag contains 100 or more pieces made from printed / vacuum formed vinyl. There has been ongoing research in to manufacturing processes to replace screen-printing. With the large amount of screen-printing required for this kit, it was quickly placed on a list as possible candidates for one of these alternate methods. The two methods being investigated involve printing directly on vinyl using either Large Format Printing or Offset Printing. These methods used both vinyl and inks that can withstand the heat from the vacuum forming process. 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 were contacted to get pricing on vinyl on rolls vs. sheets. A sample file was sent to a vendor for producing a small run (on paper only) to insure that registration could be held, which is critical for production methods. Worked with the project leader to make changes in the original template and to layout and finalize the remaining parts that makes up the kit. After reviewing some preliminary samples of large format printing, the project leader preferred using a screen-printing process to make the parts for this kit because of the need for solid colors. The Large Format printing method creates colors with the combination of individual color dots, making the background color somewhat broken, not smooth. It was necessary to resolve questions on how and where to make or have parts made, how to structure the parts within the kit, and how they are to be made available for sale, before specifications could be finalized. Solving these and other issues caused dates on the product timeline to be moved back several times. Technical Research worked closely with several key departments and an outside vendor in order to gain some of this time back. This helped minimize delays in actual production. A great deal of effort has been placed into using as many existing stock materials as possible for manufacturing this kit. However, the design of the product and the specific requirements of materials resulted in twelve new materials or purchased parts along with approximately thirty existing materials needed to produce this kit. Several of these new parts are assembled items that receive little or no additional processing before being placed into the kit. Following the initial addition of pieces from field-testing, there was need to revise the layouts several more times because of potential gains / cost savings resulting from these changes. After the first round of changes were made, the Model shop inquired / suggested paring down previous screen / vacuum-form layouts from five to only three. This would change the original five sheets of three-part groupings to three sheets of five-part groupings. These changes, though extensive, would reduce; 1) the number of vacuum form molds needed to be made by the Model shop, and 2) the number of vacuum form setups needed in production to manufacture the parts. In the early stages of revisions, Technical Research realized that additional repositioning of part groups by color would further reduce setups in screen-printing. Print copies of the revised layouts were provided to the project leader and the Model shop to check for any print errors and layout concerns. Several minor print errors were found and subsequently corrected. Another round of revisions was needed to spread part groupings further apart from what had been originally specified. At this point, no hard tooling had been created so the changes were corrected in the software program only. After these changes were made, revised layouts were plotted on clear film to serve as templates to assist the Model shop in laying out the vacuum form patterns. Tooling created by Technical Research was used to generate film needed for making the ten silk screens required for the three production sheets. While working up costs based on the finalized tooling and production processes, it was determined that the manner in how the project leader planned on making components available for sale vs. how they were laid out for production would create significant increases in production time and cost. Technical Research offered a suggestion on an alternative packaging of some small parts in the kit to the project leader that reduced the cost of that particular piece from an estimated $102.66 to $76.76, a savings of $25.90 or 25%. Another area that had to have major reworking of tooling and production processes involved Accessory Pieces for the Atomic Model. Preliminary work had some of these pieces being made with existing tactile tooling. Further analysis found that these plans would again be costly due to excessive scrap in the production process. Technical Research laid out a plan to maximize the formed material using vacuum-form molds that would still need to be produced. The project leader and model shop agreed and the new forms were created. All print tooling was re-proofed and Technical Research created the ten separate screens needed to produce three production sheets. The unique cutting dies needed to separate the finished parts from the screen-printed, vacuum formed groupings were also generated from the layered CAD drawings that make up the tooling. Part of the Interactive Periodic Element sheet redesign allows for one die to be used for twelve of the fifteen groupings that are split out of the three sheets, the other dies will be unique to a particular group and will not be interchangeable. Color samples of existing silk-screen inks were provided to the project leader for in order to evaluate for use in manufacturing of the element pieces. These were turned over in early December. The project leader has since selected those to be used. Technical Research did extensive work in developing the Tri-fold Board. After a vendor was selected from the bidding process, pre-production samples from the vendor seemed to lack an understanding of exactly what was desired. A CAD drawing showing exact dimensional information and further communication with the vendor eventually resolved conceptual problems as an acceptable sample was produced. A late February meeting with the vendor selected to manufacture the Tri-fold Veltex Board resulted in reworking a portion of the product specifications and the board changed from a buy to a sub-contract part. APH agreed to supply the black adhesive-backed Veltex to the vendor, who then would apply it to the vinyl-covered board 36" x 24" folding board assembly. This required setting up a new part number for the Veltex, requesting quotes from the vendor who supplies the Veltex, and changing the specifications, bills, and routings. A CAD drawing, listing dimensional and materials information was created and supplied to purchasing for a final quote, which was also included in with the product specifications. The project leader also made a decision to change the color of vinyl for the board from a blue / green color to red. The project leader asked about options for having the name printed on the outside surface of the tri-fold board. Technical Research located a clear adhesive-backed label, which is a standard 6-up label on an 8.5" x 11" sheet and can be run on the Production floor copier. The black print on a clear label will provide sufficient contrast on the red vinyl covering the tri-fold board, satisfies the need for labeling, and provides flexibility to change or rename the board for future kits. The introduction of Tri-fold Veltex Board led to needing a new size-shipping carton. Due to the Tri-fold Boards dimensions in conjunction with other components, no existing APH shipping carton was suitable. Technical Research realized that a carton being created for another kit, the "All-in-One Board" was close to the same requirements for this kit. Slight changes to the dimensions would allow the carton to serve both kits. Technical Research evaluated possible carton styles and determined that an end-loading design would offer the best strength and protection from possible product damage when cutting carton open along taped seams. A sample of the final design arrived April 18, was reviewed by the project leader and Production to determine if there were any potential problems with its design. Additional changes to product specifications resulted from a February meeting with the vendor selected to manufacture the Atomic Model. This component changed from a buy to a sub-contracted part with APH agreeing to supply the black adhesive-backed Veltex and 2 mm white expanded PVC foam board in the sizes needed by the vendor. The vendor would laminate the two together, die-cut to the finished size, kiss-cut, remove the appropriate material, and send the finished Atomic Models to APH. This required new part numbers set up for the Veltex and PVC board, quotes from the Veltex vendor, changes to specifications, bills, and routings. To insure that there would be no problems with any of the 14 cutting dies required for this kit, Technical Research scheduled a visit to the local cutting-die vendor to discuss any possible problems. This meeting resulted in a few minor revisions to several of the CAD drawings, which were resent, including with revisions to the vendor before work began. The project leader approved the final layouts created by Technical Research for the three Interactive Periodic Table Element sheets in late April. The process of making color separations for each of the three sheets was completed, with the separations being plotted and subsequently made into film to be used to make the ten production screens. While verifying the inks selected for specifications, Technical Research found that the purple ink selected was not compatible for this application. It is a transparent type of ink and when printed over another color, becomes extremely dark, almost black. Technical Research made the project leader aware that a new ink would need to be acquired to satisfy requirements for this kit. An ink sample, based on the color selected by the project leader was acquired, tested, and subsequently approved. The binder used to store the Interactive Periodic Table Element pieces also created its share of difficulties. The purchasing department located an off-the-shelf binder for possible use in the kit. This binder had several differences from the binder used in field testing, 1) 3" versus 2.5", 2) It has inside pockets on front, spine and back covers and 3) It has rivets in the clear view pocket of the back cover that would interfere with insertion of printed inserts. Ultimately, the project leader opted for a custom made binder that met exact specifications. Product specifications, bills of materials and production routings were completed in April 2008 with production scheduled to begin as a Pilot Run in July. Production of a number of the in-house components and several items manufactured by outside vendors was moving along well when APH received a call from the vendor producing the Atomic Model. The vendor was having great difficulty in producing the models as developed. A group was called together to discuss possible quick fixes with the vendor. The vendor made one more attempt to make the parts but this attempt also proved unsuccessful. The problem seemed to center around changes in materials from those used in the field-testing models. Though several options were discussed on how to fix the problem, Technical Research proposed a method that would use the existing material, thus saving over $5000 worth of scrap. The plan called for a reverse model of the Veltex layout to be routed into a board for use as a fixture. The Veltex would then be die-cut, placed into the fixture and held in place by hook VELCRO® brand nested in the routed slots. Once in place the release paper is removed from the die-cut Veltex and then the mounting board is aligned and pressed onto the exposed adhesive. A trial setup was developed to prove out the method. Results were satisfactory and at the amount of in-house time required would be less than the vendor cost. The decision was made to go with this method for at least the first production run. Additional research is currently underway to find material that has the same characteristics, but may work better in manufacturing. Production of the Atomic Models was well underway, with enough pieces completed by the end of July for 100 full kits to be produced and made available for sale on August 8, 2008.

Azer's Interactive Periodic Table, Braille Guidebook

(Completed)

This guidebook is part of the kit and available separately as a catalog item. Technical Research completed and turned over specifications in April 2008. Guidebook completed and stock on July. Guidebooks will be made available at the completion of the full kit.

Azer's Interactive Periodic Table, LP Guidebook

(Completed)

This item is not part of the kit and will be made available separately as a catalog item. Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over in April 2008. Guidebook completed and stock on June. Guidebooks will be made available at the completion of the full kit.

BookPort II

(Abandoned)

This product was progressing on schedule until a flaw was discovered in a computer chip vital to the operation of the unit. The manufacturer of the chip was contacted and asked about the defect. The manufacturer acknowledged the flaw but considered the defect unimportant and had no plans to correct the flaw. This resulted in the need to completely re-structure the operating systems for the unit in order to use another company's chip. This resulted in a delay in the development in the product. During this delay the working agreements between APH and the partnering company in development were reevaluated. Ultimately, APH and the partnering company decided to terminate the agreement. APH is working to develop a product to replace the BookPort in the future.

Braille Contractions Recognition Braille Teacher's Kit
Braille Contractions Recognition Print Teacher's Kit
Braille Contractions Recognition Braille Student's Kit

(Completed)

The product's name was changed from "Braille Code Recognition Program" to "Braille Contractions Recognition". There are three products; the "Braille Code Recognition Braille Teacher's Edition, Braille Code Recognition Print Teacher's Edition, and Braille Code Recognition Braille Student's Edition. Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over to production in February. The product made it through the first production run with a few problems. These were discussed at the debriefing meeting held in August.

Braille DateBook Calendar 2009

(Completed)

Technical Research requested catalog numbers and associated part numbers for the 2009 kit in January 2008. Created bills of materials in SYSPRO and worked with Cost / Inventory Control to determine production forecast for the coming year. Technical Research worked with the tactile graphics department and the braille production department to have new tooling produced and then 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 2008.

Braille DateBook 2009 Calendar Tabs

(Completed)

The catalog and associated part number obtained in January. Copies of the 2009 calendar turned over for plate tooling in mid February. After the plates for making the embossed Calendar Tabs were produced, Technical Research checked and found the margins to be incorrect. Plates were returned with the specific correction noted. The plates were remade and all tooling was in place by early March. Production was scheduled for June, but due to the workload in braille production area, production was delayed until 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 2008.

Braille Docking Station

(New)

This item is used with the Braille+ and will be a pass through item. A meeting was held in May to map out and organize a product development plan. Negotiations regarding purchase price and quantities for this item were initiated. Technical Research will continue to monitor this item through its first production run.

Braille Print Yardstick

(Completed)

Technical Research met with the project leader, who also was in contact with an outside consultant (Susan Osterhaus) to discuss the basic features required for the product and discussed the tooling challenges. Technical Research provided a concept drawing to which minor revisions were made. Technical Research met with the Model Shop to obtain the shrinkage factors needed in order to make a mold for the yardstick. The Catalog and raw material numbers for purchasing and/or making components were requested and entered into the SYSPRO system. Technical Research cut a female or negative pattern for the mold and delivered it to the model shop to pour a male or positive mold for the yardstick. After the mold was complete several sample parts were run off the mold. Technical Research used the formed parts from the vacuum form pattern to create the remaining tooling (print and dies). Art ultimately used to create the silk-screen was plotted on clear film and laid over the formed part. Once verified, this plot was used to produce film needed for making the screens. Due to the size of the 3-up Yardstick pattern, extra large screens were ordered. The art was transferred to film mid February and the screens were received on February 18. The silk screen was completed and in place for production by February 20. Technical Research completed a CAD drawing for the cutting die and sent it to the die vendor mid January. The die was received and verified mid February. Specifications were completed; bills and routings were setup in the system. A specification meeting was held February 20th. Technical Research worked with production to work in an early Pilot Run of 100 pieces in late February. Since the tube used to package the yardstick is the same tube used to package the Meterstick, the production supervisor agreed to package 100 kits prior to the arrival of the mailing tubes. The remaining production was completed upon the arrival of mailing tubes for the yardstick and the 100 tubes used from stock to package the Meterstick were replaced by the tubes received for the yardstick. The kits were able to be packaged over 1 month ahead of schedule by doing this. Technical Research worked closely with production, setting up silk-screen art and following through vacuum forming and die cutting. The Airplane announcing availability for sale came out on March 6th. Following the production run, Technical Research was requested to add 6' wide double-sided tape to bills due to the high cost of material and significant amount used to create parts. The production-debriefing meeting was held on April 16th. No problems in production were reported.

Brigance Green: Large Print Edition

(Continued)

Technical Research met with the project leader in a series of brain storming meetings on this series of products. Technical Research provided the project leader with samples of various papers and other materials to be considered for printing, options for materials storage, a concept drawing for a single-sided polyblend folder for packaging, and options on binding. The project leader initially rejected the idea of the single-sided folder to be bound in the book for storage of pullout pages. However, after Technical Research provided handmade sample folders and passed them around in December 2007 meeting, it was decided to pursue a 1-off prototype sample fabricated by a vendor using polyblend material. A sample of the folder option was ordered in early February 2008 and obtained in March. Ten sheets of 100# matrix (the material specified by the project leader for the "pullouts") were obtained for test fitting into the sample folder. It is likely we would need two folders to hold all sheets due to the thickness of the paper and the fact that the sheets are folded double (from 11x17 to 8.5x11). This effectively makes twenty sheets to store. The project leader requested cost comparisons for this type folder and associated binding costs vs. a labeled, clear gusseted carry folder. Costs of materials and estimated labor costs were obtained and presented to the project leader. The project leader ultimately decided against the proposed bound in folder in favor of the labeled gusseted folder. Sample of existing stock legal size gusseted carry folder taken to project leader to review in March. Project leader expressed concern with size of existing stock folder. Technical Research researched and found an 8.5" x 11" clear gusseted folder that would be a better fit for the contents of this test. A sample of a carry folder correctly sized for the product was taken to project leader and was subsequently approved. A new size of protective clear cover material is also needed for this product. The existing material is 8.5" x 11", the project leader requested a 9" x 11" size that when bound into the test book would offer protection for divider tabs that extend out from the 8.5" width of the pages. Part numbers for the carry folder and cover material were requested by late March. With the knowledge that this project leader typically made glare reducing materials part of large print "test" products, an inquiry was made to determine if these would be included with this product. The project leader confirm adding the existing catalog item "GlaReducers" and also added catalog item "LP Consumable Rulers" to product. Project leader was provided with an advance copy of specifications for review by mid April. Project leader sent back copy with notes for several recommended changes / corrections. Technical Research met with Ops Engineering in April to review specifications in order to establish bills and routings in SYSPRO. Specifications, bills of materials and production routings completed and turned over to production in June with production scheduled for August. Technical Research will continue to follow this product through production.

Brigance Yellow

(Continued)

Technical Research met with the project leader in a series of brain storming meetings on this series of products. Technical Research furnished the project leader with samples and examples of various paper and other materials to be considered for printing, various storage devices from other kits to be considered, a new concept drawing for a single-sided polyblend folder for packaging, and options on binding in October. The project leader is currently examining/evaluating these samples. The project leader initially rejected the idea of a single-sided folder to be bound with the book. However, after hand making sample folders and passing them around in December, it was decided to pursue a 1-off prototype sample fabricated by a vendor in the polyblend material. Technical Research has not received any updates on this product. No additional information to report.

Building on Patterns Grade 1

(Continued)

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 and field-testing. Content is now final for units 1, 2, 3, and 4. Print file layout for these units is nearly complete. Braille translation is complete for units 1 and 2. Technical Research developed a method for embossing the Arabic page numbers on the page in a dot pattern for the worksheets. This is currently being tested to be sure it will work. Once this method is proven the units' worksheets will be able to be made on an embosser rather than a clamshell press. Tactile graphic worksheets will still need to be made on the clamshells but over 80 percent of the work can be moved off the clamshell presses. This will help speed up the work on the field test copies. In August Technical Research called a meeting with the project leader, all production departments, and all production support departments to discuss the schedule for completing the prototypes and moving ahead with field testing. Technical research is now actively working with all production and production support areas to coordinate tooling deliveries, production work, labeling, and packaging procedures. The plan is to release the grade 1 level materials for field testing by unit. Units 1 and 2 are planned to be released for field testing by mid-September. Units 3 and 4 are planned for release by mid-October. Technical Research continues to monitor the development on these products.

Building on Patterns Grade 2

(Continued)

A meeting was held in June to coordinate the composition of content for the grade 2 materials. Grade 2 materials are being composed as work for grade 1 materials are nearing completion. Technical Research continues to monitor the development on these products.

Consumable Number Lines, Braille/Tactile

(Completed)

Technical Research met with the project leader a number of times since May 2007 to discuss/modify what is needed for this project. Working prototypes of the braille number lines were created 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 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 worked with production to obtain the required materials for the Project leader to use for field-testing. A Beta version of graphics software for the Interpoint 55 Braille Embosser was used to lay out and produce the required Braille Embossed Number Lines. The Beta version did not allow for saving of files so the layout will need to be recreated for actual production. A print layout to assist tooling of the plates needed to make the Raised Line Number Lines was generated and provided to braille tooling. Paper needed to produce field-testing materials was obtained and cut to size. Cardboard mailers were retrieved from stock and modified to meet the packing requirements of the Number Lines. Mailers and the embossed Number Lines were turned over to the project leader with additional assistance provided in the packaging. Technical Research met with project leader late December to review results of field-testing. The name of the product changed because of negative comments about the connotation of "Consumable" name. The project leader made a decision on this and officially had the name changed at the following New Products Meeting. Changes discussed were to increase numbers of all strips by two to three pieces each, add a 21-point blank embossed number line. Only an 11-point blank number line was sent out for field-testing. Updated software for the Interpoint 55 arrived in February. New tooling was created using this software and it was then turned over to production. With content finalized, specifications could be finalized. In a follow up meeting with the project leader in late January, additional updates on tooling were discussed. Discussions with production have led to changes in manufacturing methods from those used to produce the field-test materials. These changes will make items easier to produce on the floor and should reduce production costs slightly. Technical Research scheduled a meeting with the braille supervisor and engineering to discuss the unique layout requirements for the braille insert / parts list needed for both kits. Tooled plates, along with embossed samples were provided in late April and samples of the raised line sheets were taken to the project leader for review. The only pieces of tooling remaining to be finalized were the inserts / parts list and the 3 braille embossed number lines that will be produced on the Interpoint 55 and only minor corrections were needed to the file for the braille embossed number lines. Revisions to product specifications were completed; bills of materials and production routings established and the product specifications were turned over in June with production scheduled for August. Work is in process on a number of the components and the kit still has a projected completion date of August.

Consumable Number Lines, Large Print

(Completed)

Technical Research and the project leader met to discuss product requirements. Preliminary print tooling was designed and presented to the project leader for approval. Final print tooling was determined by dimensional requirements of the Consumable Number Lines, Braille/Tactile that was under development at the same time. 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. The size requirements of print documentation were later discussed with project leader and graphics designer. 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 design guidelines for that would be a multi-up printing job. In order for materials to fit into the mailing folder, it was necessary to work with the braille translation department to find a workable solution for manufacturing braille documentation. Technical research obtained enough material needed to produce the required number of large print number lines needed for field-testing. Cardboard mailers were retrieved from stock and modified to meet the packing requirements of the number lines. The mailers and printed number lines were turned over to the project leader and Technical Research assisted with the packaging. In December, there was a meeting with project leader to review results of field-testing. Changes discussed were 1) change in name, 2) increase numbers of each type of strip, 3) increase boldness of number line, 4) increase boldness and font size of numbered lines, and 5) possibly add a two color 21 point blank number line that can be used for skip counting, etc. After revisions / additions of new tooling were put into place, specifications were begun. Additional changes / updates to tooling were discussed with the project leader in late January 2008. Preliminary changes made with samples of several suggested changes presented to the project leader for approval. There has also been discussion with production concerning improved methods for manufacturing some of these items. Layout samples of all print number line tooling were provided to the project leader in April. Technical Research met with the braille supervisor and engineering to discuss, unique layout requirements for braille insert / parts list needed for both kits. Layout samples of all print number line tooling were provided to the project leader on April 12. Revisions to product specifications were completed; bills of materials and production routings established and the specification were turned over in June with production scheduled for August. Work is in process on a number of the components and the kit still has a projected completion date of August.

CVI COMPLEXITY MAIN KIT

(New)

This will be a kit containing a combination of the Sequencing and Challenges kits listed below.

CVI Complexity Challenges

(Continued)

A meeting was held in December 2007 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 not of 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 2-ring binder). Tests on various printing methods were reviewed. Offset printing directly on plastic had an acceptable quality of printing and was chosen for its economy of production in the quantities expected. Prototype pieces were obtained in January to use for field-testing. Technical Research met with the project leader to learn more about the structure of this product. The kit will consist of the printed plastic pieces, a custom 2-ring binder, and custom vinyl pouches for storage and presentation. This kit and the Sequencing kit will be put together with a Print Guide, a Braille Guide, and the Innovations Tote Bag to form a kit. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

CVI Complexity Sequencing

(Continued)

Technical Research worked with the graphics designer, Purchasing, and an outside vendor to obtain tests to demonstrate the output of various printing processes on various materials being considered for use in this project. These items will be kept on file both at APH and at the vendor to use as reference materials for future products that may want to explore various process/materials combinations. Tests on various printing methods were reviewed in November/December. Offset printing directly on plastic had an acceptable quality of printing and was chosen for its economy of production in the quantities expected. Prototype pieces were obtained in January to use for field-testing. Technical Research met with the project leader to learn more about the structure of this product in February. The kit will consist of printed plastic pieces, a custom 2-ring binder, and custom vinyl pouches for storage and presentation. This kit and the Challenges kit will be put together with a Print Guide, a Braille Guide, and the Innovations Tote Bag to form a kit.

CVI Swirly Mats

(New)

Technical Research has not received any further information for these mats. It is possible this product will be dropped. APH already sells two other versions of the Swirly mats, one of, which is specific for use with CVI.

Desktop Stick-On Number Line -- Large Print

(New)

Technical Research has had preliminary discussions with the project leader over the concept and projected application of this product. The product will likely contain a set of large print / tactile number lines with a removable / re-position able adhesive backing similar to that found on Post-it-notes. Samples of double-sided tape for this application have been obtained. One side of the double-sided tape is more aggressive to hold firmly to the number line. The opposite side has a release paper, that when removed will allow it to be applied to a desktop. The type of adhesive on the user side should allow it stay in place once placed, but can be easily removed. A December 2007 meeting to review field-testing results for Consumable Number Lines was also used to redefine needs for this product. At a follow up meeting that included the model shop, it appeared that the proposed method of manufacturing this product could not begin until early 2009 because of the existing backlog of work in the model shop. In July 2008, Technical Research became aware of a new manufacturing process that may lend itself to producing this product. A representative of this vendor met with Technical Research and the project leader in order to review the specific needs and determine if this method might be viable process for the product.

Developmental Guidelines

(Continued)

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 met with the project leader regarding the various parts to this product in February. Part numbers were requested and received and Technical Research will begin working on preliminary product specifications when the departmental workload permits. This will be three individual products. The print kit and the Braille kit will have the guidelines and the Summary Consumables. The Summary Consumables will be made available separately. Technical Research will complete product specifications and then schedule a meeting to turn over specifications and establish a production schedule.

Embossed XY Axis 20x20 Grid Graph Paper

(Completed)

This product was added to the schedule in April 2007. Technical Research worked with the PL 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 the PL sent the samples out for expert review. Once the reviews were completed, Technical Research developed specifications and conducted a meeting on this product. The production run was completed and stock in December.

Experiential Learning Kit

(New)

Technical Research has been working with the project leader and the purchasing department to find a source for a combination crib and freestanding activity center for low vision and blind infants. A company was located in California that has agreed to supply the activity center. APH will custom design the toys that will be suspended from the activity center. Work on this project is ongoing.

EZ Track Calendar 2009

(Completed)

Technical Research selected a new butterfly photo for the front cover and gave it to our Graphics Designer in February. The Graphics Designer designed a cover, which was approved and forwarded to Bisig to include in the new APH catalog of products. Technical Research then turned over files to Production. The calendars are scheduled to be finished and in stock in August 2008.

Flip-Over Concept Books - Line Paths
Flip-Over Concept Books - Parts of a Whole

(Continued)

Technical Research attended a PDC meeting in January 2007. 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. In the initial stages of development, there was extensive research with the project leader and model shop to develop a method of production using a large format printer printing directly onto vinyl versus a traditional silk screening method. Hand drawn 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 Purchasing to have prototypes made for field-testing. Preliminary testing on the Large Format Printer at APH provided un-satisfactory results. The print was somewhat blurry and there were visible striations in the solid colors. There was a detectable problem with compression of the print image, which 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. This vendor has three types of wide format printing systems, flat bed, Eco-solvent, and solvent. Concurrent investigation into obtaining vinyl material on rolls proved unfeasible due to the delays in obtaining the material in the format and the cost (minimum purchase quantities). The vendor has quoted a minimum of 1000 rolls, which is how many can be pulled off a full factory roll. Rather than going away from the large format printing process that allows unlimited colors, the project leader decided the flat bed printing would be acceptable for field testing purposes. At the same time the other two printing systems that the vendor had available would also be investigated. The project leader found that the initial samples appeared to have a good enough appearance to convey the concept of the books for field-testing. This sample was vacuum-formed which verified the registration was correct. Additional vinyl was obtained and sent vendor so that enough sheets could be produced to satisfy the number of books needed for field-testing. The model shop vacuum formed the sheets, die-cut and ultimately finished the flipbooks. Tooling developed by Technical Research was used to order a cutting die to separate the fifteen-flipbook pages per sheet. These were sent out mid-October. There was continued investigation into the best options for obtaining the vinyl on rolls or for how to insure registration once the images were printed on the roll. While the books were being field tested, Technical Research was informed that production would be eliminating the existing twin looping and switching to spiral binding. The books were designed with twin-loop binding and this would likely create a major redesign in tooling. After the Model shop worked with production to test spiral binding with the format that these flipbooks, it was, determined that spiral binding would not work. Production has initially said that the [sic] "Twin-looping process may have to stay around for special products like this". Based on field testing results, it was decided to change the binding from twin looping to a method that allows flip pages to be removable. One proposed method of removable binding was a modified "Tuffy Ring" system. There were several meetings with purchasing and various vendors to discuss the Tuffy Ring proposal and solicit ideas for other options. A vendor that currently uses Tuffy Rings returned quotes for this type of binding and presented an option to use small metal rings. The "Tuffy" options were somewhat expensive, due to a great deal of scrap with modifying existing rings and the labor in attaching them to the backer board. A mockup was put together using the vendor's proposal for using "Tuffy Rings". This sample was given to project leader in early March. Project leader continued research into Tuffy Rings and eventually contacted the manufacturer of these rings. The vendor offered to manufacture rings to the exact specification required for the flipbooks, but APH would have to pay for the injection mold and buy in minimums that somewhat exceed what would be required to bind the projected sales of books. Technical Research found an alternative binding method (GBC editable plastic rings) and created a mockup that was presented at the next product development meeting. After a good deal of testing and evaluation, it was decided to use this method of binding mechanism. This material comes in strips and can be quickly cut to the size (number of rings) required for the three panel flipbook. The rings were tested by Technical Research in the following manner; rings were opened and closed over 200 times after being placed in both a freezing and heated environment. There was minimal degradation of the holding capability after this many cycles. With continued concerns with Large Format Printing, the decision was made to investigate further into offset printing on vinyl. Several vendors had said that they had successfully produced materials, but one concern was whether or not they could print on the specific vinyl APH uses in its process. This vinyl has a controlled shrinkage rate in the vacuum-forming process. Three vendors were contacted; one vendor's high prices immediately removed them from consideration. A second vendor was only willing to print on material that they currently use, a sample was provided, and it did perform quite well in the vacuum-forming test. The third vendor agreed to both use the specified vinyl and obtain inks formulated specifically to withstand vacuum forming. The third vendor also had the best price quotes. The material was obtained and sent to the vendor for a sample run. This test run is to confirm several key points. The primary concern and point of this test is to determine if the registration of the print image to the sheet and how consistently registration holds between all sheets within the run. Color matching and print quality will also be evaluated in this test. The vendor should have the samples run by mid August. Once the issues with printing and binding are resolved, writing specifications can be placed back in queue and will likely take a minimum of a month to complete.

Focus in Mathematics

(Revision)

Technical Research met with the co-project leaders several times to discuss the changes and additions to this product. In August Technical Research met with the project leader and an outside vendor that uses a process called "flow molding". This process may be suitable to this kit for use in making both the counting cards needed and textured shapes needed. The vendor was given basic specifications for the product and basic files as examples of product content. The vendor will provide estimates of both per piece pricing and tooling costs. This will be compared with other processes available to determine the process with the best quality of parts and the best pricing of the parts. Technical Research will continue to work with the PL's to develop new manipulatives for the product. Work on this project is ongoing.

FV/LMA Kit

(Completed)

This product's full name is "Functional Vision Assessment/Learning Media Assessment Kit" It is available for sale as six individual products. The full FV/LMA Kit, FVLMA Protocols, Practitioner's Guidebook Print w/CD, Practitioner's Guidebook Braille w/CD, and then later the FVLMA Protocols Large Print, and the FVLMA Practitioner's Guidebook Large Print w/CD. Technical Research completed product specifications for the full kit, the protocols, and the print guidebook and turned them over to production in mid-April. Technical Research designed specs for the Braille Guidebook and turned them over to Production the end of April. Technical Research will develop product specifications for the remaining two products as finalized information becomes available from the PL. Technical Research monitored the first production run of this product in July and scheduled a debriefing meeting.

Functional Skills Assessment

(Continued)

The name was changed from Functional Assessment/Curriculum. Work is continuing on product specifications and documentation as the specifics of this product becomes more clearly defined.

Graphic Aid for Math

(Revisions)

Technical Research worked with project leader to find possible alternative materials to use to 1) make the board from, and 2) to use with current or revised board. Suggested materials included rubberized cork material for the board and vinyl coated, thin gauge solid wire that might be used a graphing material. Vendors have been contacted to obtain samples of board material and wire was ordered for the project leader to evaluate. Samples of cork material and wire were delivered to the project leader December 28, 2007 for evaluation.

Home Grown Video DVD: Loving Me

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications in January and turned them over to production. The first production run was completed and the product went into stock in June 2008.

Home Grown Video VHS: Loving Me

(Completed)

Technical Research completed product specifications in January and turned them over to production. The first production run was completed and the product went into stock in June 2008.

Home Grown Video: Sensory Learning Kit

(New)

Technical Research will be beginning product specifications for this latest of the homegrown video series.

Jumbo Work and Play Tray with Yellow Insert

(Completed)

This product is unique in some sense because part of the vacuum-form tooling was produced using the rapid prototyping process. APH has begun explore this process to determine how viable it might be in the development of vacuum-form molds and field-testing materials. Trays made for field-testing were made from the mold. The project leader reported at the October 2007 New Products meeting that field-testing was complete. At a follow up meeting with the project leader and model shop, several issues were discussed. Before work could progress, a number of questions needed to be answered. Would the trays be made available as two catalog items, one for a black tray and the second for a yellow tray? This would require a second catalog number. How many of each type of tray to produce? The project leader initially decided on 400 each. Would there be the need for second vacuum form mold based on number of trays of each color to be manufactured? There was some concern about the vacuum-form mold holding up because of the rapid prototyping components that were integrated into it. It was decided that a Pilot Run of 100 would be used to evaluate how the vacuum form mold held up. What were possible methods of making the tray non-skid? It was recommended using pieces of 1/16" thick self-adhesive sponge rubber. The project leader decided on placing four 1" x 5" x 1/16" strips of the self-adhesive sponge rubber in the kit for customer application. In addition, how to package and ship the completed tray was discussed. In November, a group consisting primarily of the project leader, purchasing, model shop and Technical Research got together to discuss several issues that affect purchasing of material / production / packaging. The purchasing department reported that the yellow ABS had very high minimum order. Based on the quantity of trays scheduled for production at the October PDC meeting, it would be necessary to order several years worth of material. Purchasing submitted an idea of making only black trays with a removable yellow insert. The project leader liked the concept because it would in effect provide two trays in one kit. This would be a cost-effective solution and allow APH to furnish the trays in two colors at a minimal expense. The only reservations that the project leader expressed was how the yellow insert might fit within the molded black tray and how it might affect the sound qualities when making contact with the tray. This second point was deemed a critical component; the sound generated between the tray and flooring at times is an important part of auditory feedback. Sample pieces of a couple types of materials were fabricated for the project leader to test with a prototype tray. Of these, 1/8" ABS provided the results the project leader desired. Purchasing obtained quotes to have this material to come to APH cut to size and shape. Production methods were reviewed and status of existing tooling was confirmed. The method for packaging this kit was the remaining topic at this meeting. No stock shipping cartons were available that could be used for the packaging of this product. This left the option of having an additional carton for use with only this product. With APH attempting to pare down the number of cartons now stocked, this did not seem to be a viable solution. Purchasing suggested wrapping the tray with nested items in cold seal material. It was discussed that the tray is rugged enough that it might not actually need the protection of a box, just something to allow it to be delivered to the customer. Purchasing contacted the vendor that we were currently getting cold seal material from in a width that could be wrapped and sealed around the edges of the tray. The sample of cold seal material arrived from the vendor in mid February. A mockup of packing the tray using this packing method was completed and evaluated by Technical Research. Because of the design of the tray nested inside, the cold seal material was vulnerable to being punctured. Results were shown to the project leader, who agreed with Technical Research that it would not be an acceptable method of packaging. A box vendor that APH was working with brought in a sample of a stock box that proved suitable for this product. The overall dimensions (26" square) were correct but the thickness of the preformed box was twice the required dimension. Technical Research investigated possible filler materials to use with this box to make it the most cost-effective solution. Being an off the shelf stock box, it can be ordered at lower quantities and lower cost than a custom-made box. All tooling was completed as of April and, once the packaging method was finalized, specifications, bills of materials and production routings were completed and presented to production in March 2008. A pilot run of 100 was completed in May. Prior to the pilot run, several pre-production parts were formed and used by Technical Research to setup and refine the router program that cut and finished the formed trays outer dimensions. There were minor repairs necessary to the vacuum-form mold following the May pilot run. The failure was not with the rapid prototyping components, but was a separation of filler materials. The mold was repaired and the remaining production was completed and stocked in July. There were no additional points of concern expressed at the product-debriefing meeting.

Jump Rope for Fitness Kit

(Continued)

This product contains a electronic Ropeless Jump Rope, three plastic beaded ropes that come in different length / color combinations, a competition style jump rope, anti-fatigue mat and both print and braille guidebooks. Following field-testing, Technical Research met with project leader and Accounting/Inventory Control in early December 2007 to discuss product structure/replacement part requirements. Following this meeting, catalog and part numbers were requested. The project leader also turned over the items used in field-testing, along with a list containing the sources that items were obtained from. Technical Research contacted these vendors and verified / documented specifications / ordering information. Technical Research initiated the inclusion of cautionary warning information addressing both strangulation hazards associated with ropes / playground equipment and advisory notice concerning obtaining a health checkup before beginning any physical fitness regimen to the kit. Specifications and bills of materials and production routings were established in June 2008. Product specifications were turned over to production in July 2008 with production scheduled for November due to long lead times on one of the items placed into the kit. Technical Research will continue to monitor this project through its first production run.

Life Science Tactile Graphics Kit

(Continued)

This product will be similar to the Basic Science Tactile Graphics Kit. Technical Research met with the project leader and model shop to discuss the possibility of scanning the already produced thermoformed patterns. Technical Research proposed a method of scanning and electronically generating screen art vs. 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. There has been some discussion about the possibility of using large format printing as possible production method because of the large amount of tactile graphic sheets being created for this kit. There are approximately 56 sheets, in a four up pattern with 3 to 4 colors on each grouping would still require 42 to 56 separate setups to print the sheets. Investigation into this manufacturing process is ongoing for several current products under development.

Listening Post III

(Completed)

Technical Research approved parts for production in September. Production of the new Listening Post III was timed so that the new materials arrived shortly before stock of the current product (Listening Post II) was depleted. Technical Research worked with the Production supervisor to build the last of the Listening Post II circuit boards and put them into stock. Technical Research then worked with the model shop to modify the current drill fixture in January. Circuit boards were received from Taiwan in early April. Technical Research electronically tested the circuit boards. They passed and were put in stock. 140 units were produced and put into stock in April.

Lots of Dots, Coloring the Garden

(Completed)

A PDC meeting was held on this product and a timeline was set. Technical Research worked to get prototypes made and delivered to the project leader. Prototypes were sent out for field-testing on schedule. The Production Division Manager came in on a Sunday to personally run the field test copies. The PL completed field-testing and sent Braille a list of minor changes to be made to several of the pages. It was decided to have the enrichment guide translated in to Spanish and added to the kit. Technical Research completed specifications and conducted a meeting with production in December. Technical Research monitored the first production run for this kit into stock in August.

MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels

(Completed)

The MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels are designed for providing greater flexibility / ease of use when used with APH Cat. No.1-07411-00 Sherlock adhesive-backed labels. The 1-15/16" x 1-15/16" MagneTacher label is slightly larger than that of the current Sherlock adhesive-backed RFID label to make it easier to place the Sherlock label on the MagneTacher. MagneTacher labels are die-cut 12-up in to 8.5" x 11" sheets of laminated 15mil plain flexible magnetic material and 15mil plain flexible rubber steel. Specifications were turned over in October 2007. Materials arrived from vendor in early November. Braille inserts were completed, allowing kit to be packaged and stocked by December 2007. Technical Research conducted a Production Debriefing Meeting to review any problems with production.

MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels w / Sherlock Labels

(Completed)

This kit contains the same MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels but is packed with twenty-five Cat. No. 1-07411-00 Sherlock adhesive-backed labels. Specifications were turned over in October 2007. Materials arrived from vendor in early November. Braille inserts were completed, allowing kit to be packaged and stocked by December 2007. Technical Research conducted a Production Debriefing Meeting to review any problems with production.

MagneTachers for Small Braillable Labels:

(Completed)

This product contains two sheets containing eighteen 4-1/8" x 1- 3/16" die-cut/pre-scored MagneTachers in an 8.5" x 11" sheets of 25mil plain flexible magnetic material thick flexible magnetic material for use with small braillable labels. Specifications were turned over in October 2007. Materials arrived from vendor in early November. Braille inserts were completed, allowing kit to be packaged and stocked by December 2007. Technical Research conducted a Production Debriefing Meeting to review any problems with production.

MagneTachers for Making Braille Labels

(Completed)

This product contains two 10" x 1/2" wide x 0.012" thick flexible magnetic materials for use in making braille labels. The material has a white vinyl coating on one side that assist in proper orientation and helps hold the embossed braille. Specifications were turned over in October 2007. Materials arrived from vendor in early November. Braille inserts were completed, allowing kit to be packaged and stocked by December 2007. Technical Research conducted a Production Debriefing Meeting to review any problems with production.

MagneTachers for Making Large Print Labels

(Completed)

This product contains two 10" x 1/2" wide x 0.015" thick flexible magnetic materials for use in making large print (36PT) labels. The material has a white paper / smear resistant coating on one side that assist in proper orientation. Specifications were turned over in October 2007. Materials arrived from vendor in early November. Braille inserts were completed, allowing kit to be packaged and stocked by December 2007. Technical Research conducted a Production Debriefing Meeting to review any problems with production.

MagneTachers for Making Larger Labels

(Completed)

This product contains two 10" x 1 wide x 0.015" thick flexible magnetic materials for use in making large print (84PT) labels. The material has a white paper / smear resistant coating on one side that assist in proper orientation. Specifications were turned over in October 2007. Materials arrived from vendor in early November. Braille inserts were completed, allowing kit to be packaged and stocked by December 2007. Technical Research conducted a Production Debriefing Meeting to review any problems with production.

MathBuilders Unit 6 (Geometry)

(Completed)

Technical Research assisted the project leader in helping to obtain and fabricate materials that were sent out for field-testing. Technical Research completed product specifications and bills of material on the products. Technical research then met with operations engineering to have system routings set up. A specification meeting was conducted January 24th with production. Technical Research monitored the first production run which was placed into stock and available for sale in May 2008.

MathBuilders Unit 7 (Fractions)

(New)

Technical Research met with the project leader and an outside consultant October 17th to work out the basic components required for this product. This kit required creating two types of fractional teaching aids. One is a set of circles made of parts segmented into 1/8, 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, and whole units. A vacuum-formed tray to facilitate assembling the circles will also be included. The second tray will be made with rows of removable rectangular pieces that are broken into 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 units. The whole unit (1.0) is to be formed into the tray. Both types of teaching aids will have both large print and Braille numbering. Preliminary drawings for the major manufactured items were created and approved by the project leader. Technical Research worked with the project leader to lay out the Braille label sheets needed to label all of the fractional pieces. Technical research created silk screens and had Braille plates made for the label sheets. Technical Research worked with the production floor to have the sheets silk screened and Braille embossed. Technical Research contacted a die cutting vendor to make production dies and die cut the materials. A vendor was selected and made sample urethane fractional circles. These were cut from the backer boards they were shipped on using a band saw and placed in plastic zip lock bags for field-testing. The rectangular pieces for field-testing were made by Technical Research using the CNC router. These were completed in April. It was decided to make the trays for the prototypes only out of machined Ex-Cel using the CNC router. This avoids the need to have a vacuum form pattern made by the model shop and will help speed up the process for field-testing. The actual production trays will be vacuum formed out of white styrene. Work was started on final drawings and sizing of the two trays (1 for the circles and 1 for the bars). Cutting drawings were completed on both the bar tray and the circle tray in April. Ex-Cel for making the trays was ordered and received in April. Tray fabrication on the CNC router in Technical Research was completed in June. Material that will be used for the 2-sided coins (yellow slick and blue fuzzy) was ordered and received in April. The coins were die cut and packaged in zip lock bags. The die cut labels are the last item needed for field test samples. These are scheduled to be completed in early September. Technical Research will continue to monitor this project and assist in the fabrication of field test samples as needed.

MathBuilders Unit 8 (Data Collection, Graphing, and Probability/Statistics)

(Continued)

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. Drawings of the trays were turned over to the model shop in July. The molds were made and parts were generated for field-testing. Technical Research assisted the project leader in the collation and packaging of the prototypes. The prototypes were sent out for field testing. Field test results on this product are in and there have been minimal changes on this project. There will be an extra spinner overlay added to the kit. Technical Research cut a female pattern of the tactile spinners and turned it over to the model shop to pour the vacuum form pattern. Two other patterns were made from scratch in the model shop. The model shop completed the 3 vacuum form patterns needed for this kit in July. Work is progressing on product specifications.

MaximEyes Video Magnifier

(Completed and Continued)

Final approval and certification by regulatory agencies (UL and FCC) was received on this product in April. Work on sub-assemblies had already begun and final unit assembly was started in April. The main kit and the corded pen tracker were completed and made available for sale in April. The last item, the wireless pen tracker is still in development. The vendor is working on a permanent, rechargeable battery for the pen. On April 29 Technical research accompanied the APH production, purchasing, and marketing departments on a trip to visit Eitac (vendor for this project) to examine their production facilities. Technical Research noted the vendor had 32 units completed and in stock. Production facilities were examined and discussed. Quality assurance procedures were demonstrated by the vendor. Technical Research asked about the wireless pen tracker and the vendor indicated there had been no progress to date on this item but still felt it would be available in the near future. Technical Research will continue to monitor the wireless pen tracker portion of this project. The other portions of this product were completed and placed into stock in April 2008.

MiniBook

(Continued)

Field test results were received in early 2008. Review of the data noted interest in both types of binding (a mini-binder as well as spiral binding). This project has the potential of splitting in to 2 products. The plastic mini-slate included in the kit is also being reviewed as several field test sites had made recommendations for changes to the slate. Technical Research and the purchasing department have begun discussions with the vendor to see what changes can be made in the part and what those changes will cost. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this product.

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

(Completed)

This product has evolved into a complete new design of the existing product. Field-testing was completed. Layout of the print manual was completed. Files were turned over to Purchasing in October. This item was printed outside as a pass through item. Technical Research monitored the progress of this project, which was completed and placed into stock in November 2007.

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

(Completed)

The files were delivered to Braille translation in July 2007. Technical Research worked with the project leader to develop specifications and a conducted a meeting with production on October 25th. Both the print and the Braille versions were produced ahead of schedule which allowed the project leader to display actual copies of the manuals at a Literacy conference in late November 2007.

PermaBraille Sheets, 5" x 3"

(Completed)

Formally listed as PermaBraille Paper, this product contains fifty 5" x 3" x 0.056" PVC material for use a long lasting braillable paper. It comes to APH packed in a white wrap around cardboard box and is placed in a padded mailer with a print and braille insert. Specifications were turned over in January 2008 with production scheduled for March. Production was delayed due to box design issues. The PermaBraille Sheets, 5" x 3" were completed and placed into stock June 2008. Production debriefing was held in July, No production problems were reported.

PermaBraille Sheets, 6" x 4"

(Completed)

Formally listed as PermaBraille Paper, this product contains fifty 6" x 4" x 0.056" PVC material for use a long lasting braillable paper. It comes to APH packed in a white wrap around cardboard box and is placed in a padded mailer with a print and braille insert. Specifications were turned over in January 2008 with production scheduled for March. Production was delayed due to box design issues. The PermaBraille Sheets, 6" x 4" were completed and placed into stock June 2008. Production debriefing was held on July, No production problems were reported.

PermaBraille Sheets, 8.5" x 11"

(Completed)

Formally listed as PermaBraille Paper, this product contains fifty 8.5" x 11" x 0.056" PVC material for use a long lasting braillable paper. It comes to APH packed in a white wrap around cardboard box and is placed in a padded mailer with a print and braille insert. Specifications were turned over in January 2008 with production scheduled for March. Production was delayed due to box design issues. The PermaBraille Sheets, 8.5" x 11" were completed and placed into stock June 2008. Production debriefing was held on July. No production problems were reported.

PermaBraille Sheets, 11.5" x 11"

(Completed)

Formally listed as PermaBraille Paper, this product contains fifty 11.5 x 11" x 0.056" PVC materials for use a long lasting braillable paper. It comes to APH packed in a white wrap around cardboard box and is placed in a padded mailer with a print and braille insert. Specifications were turned over in January 2008 with production scheduled for March. Production was delayed due to box design issues. The PermaBraille Sheets, 11.5" x 11" were completed and placed into stock June 2008. Production debriefing was held on July. No production problems were reported.

PermaBraille Sheets, 6" x 4" 2-Hole Drilled

(Completed)

This product is a pack of fifty 6" x 4" sheets of 0.056" PVC material, 2-hole drilled along the 6" margin for use with Braille DateBook product. It comes in a simple white cardboard wrap around box with print and braille labeling. Specifications were turned over January 2008 with production scheduled for March. Production was delayed due to box design issues. The PermaBraille Sheets, 6" x 4" 2-Hole Drilled were completed and placed into stock June 2008. Production debriefing was held on July. No production problems were reported.

Picture Maker Accessories: Geometric Shapes

(Continued)

Catalog numbers for each were set up following a brainstorming PDC meeting in January 2008. The project leader held a PDC meeting in May to provide the final product makeup.

New dates were established at a PDC meeting with specifications scheduled for completion in August 2008, no pilot run and full production scheduled for February 2009. Technical Research is working on specifications as time allows.

Picture Maker Accessories: Textured Strips

(Completed)

Technical Research completed drawings with material specifications of all parts for the textured strips. These drawings were sent out for vendor quotes and later used as vendor specifications for the contracted parts. The vendor fabricated all parts with the exception of four parts that are silk-screened and vacuum formed by APH. These components are then sent to the vendor to laminate, die cut, and place in the bag with the rest of the parts. The model shop worked on the tooling needed for vacuum forming the pieces and coordinated with the outside vendor's efforts and needs. Technical Research completed specifications, set up bills and routings and turned over specifications to production September 2007. Technical Research made two screens, one for each of the two sub-contracted parts. After in-house processes on the two parts were completed, the printed and formed sheets, two dies supplied by APH were sent to the vendor. First piece production samples for the project leader's review were received and approved in December 2007. The vendor began production of the materials and the completed packs of the parts arrived January 2008. Kits were packaged in January following a slight delay in having the Braille inserts produced. The product was stocked in January. A debriefing meeting was held in February along with the companion product Picture Maker Accessories Storage Panel. There were no production problems were reported.

Picture Maker Accessories: Storage Panel

(Completed)

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. Technical Research completed specifications; bills and routings were established and turned the information over to production. The panels were received prior to the turnover of specifications. Following slight delay in production of braille inserts, kits were completed in October 2007. Product released with the completion of its companion product the Textured Strips in January 2008. A debriefing meeting was held in February along with the Textured Strips. No production problems were reported.

Portable Sound Source -- Sport Edition

(Completed)

The Portable Sound Source: Sport Edition (PSS) comes in as two pieces, a PSS Receiver and a PSS Remote. The combination of Receiver and Remote creates a remote controlled, self-contained "sound source" unit that can perform the same functions as the existing APH Portable Sound Source. Technical Research designed and developed 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. The kit contains 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 in June 2007. Work on the injection molds for the plastic parts 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 arrived in September. The new samples included cases for the remote control unit as well. First piece plastic case samples were received and tested. Minor revisions to the parts are required. The second round of samples was tested in November and December. One sample operated flawlessly. All samples passed the drop test designed to test the ruggedness of the product and all testing on the receiver units control operation. However, two samples showed erratic control functions beyond 60 feet of distance in the remote operations of the controls. This was explained to the vendor and the questionable samples returned. The vendor worked on the problems detected in testing and re-submitted production samples. The fact that samples were hand-fabricated (hand soldered) was believed to have created the problem. The vendor believed that the next samples, made using production based soldering equipment the soldered connections would be more reliable and will alleviate the anomalies noted in the testing of previous samples. Samples are required to function with a remote key fob at a distance of no less than 100 feet. Up to this point, most units tested operated up to 250 feet with no problems. Work began on test fixtures and testing procedures for the APH QA department to use on incoming inspection in December. A third round of samples was received mid January 2008. These samples also exhibited erratic reception. Technical Research isolated the problem on the receiver board in the unit. Technical Research requested 25 samples of the receiver boards only for further bench testing. The second set of 25 receiver boards exhibited the same instability of operation. Intensive testing on the electronics bench in an attempt to prove this was the problem. Waveforms were examined on an oscilloscope and were found to have irregular leading edges. Through testing, four modifications were made to the receiver unit. Three modifications were made to the main board and one modification was made to the receiver board. The waveform was then examined on the oscilloscope and was markedly improved. Next, the unit was tested in practical distance reception. The standard was 100 feet minimum. The third sets of samples were only able to receive signals to around 80 feet. Many units would not receive that far. With the modifications, the unit consistently received signals from 225 feet. The six remaining sample units were modified in the same fashion. All six units now had good waveforms on the oscilloscope and had reception distances from 200 to 250 feet. All modifications were communicated to the vendor. The vendor produced five more pre-production sample boards per specified modifications. When the samples arrived, they were tested using the same procedures. Production samples of the receiver units had been received and approved in early March. However, several of the transmitters failed testing for transmission distance (100' minimum range). After numerous phone calls with the vendor and several exchanges of sample transmitters, the design flaw was finally located. Two components were of the correct value as specified by the APH Technical Research division's design. However, the tolerance levels of those components were too wide. While this saved a few cents in component costs, it allowed component values to vary outside the range of value that allowed the transmitters to work. This was the reason for transmitter performance was varying from unit to unit. Once a tighter tolerance of component was purchased by the vendor all transmitter samples passed with a transmission distance of between 200' to 250'. The vendor is absorbing the higher cost of the correct tolerance components and the cost of the discarded wider tolerance components. Testing of latest batch of transmitters was completed in March. All samples passed testing criteria, allowing APH to notify the vendor that production samples were approved for full shipment to APH. Specifications were already in process and were quickly finalized in order to be in place before the projected delivery on the units in May. The project leader realized during the review of specifications, that an adjustable strap wasn't included with the kit. This item, initially part of the kit, was to have been dropped. However, a review of the product guidebooks mentioned its use and indicated that it was part of the kit. The project leader decided upon a type of strap used in other kits, with the caveat that it be wider than the 1" wide currently used. One purpose of the strap is to attach the PSS: Sport Edition to an individual. It was determined that a wider strap would provide greater comfort to the wearer. A quick investigation into existing APH parts turned up a 1.5" D-ring that is used as the buckle / cinching mechanism for these straps. Technical Research requested a sample of 1.5" wide cloth strapping material in the color specified by the project leader. After approval by the project leader, a new part number was setup and quickly incorporated into the specifications. During the review of specifications for the separately available braille guidebook, it was determined that the seven plate embossed graphic pages used in the field-tested copies needed to have corrections made to them. In March, the plates with errors were located and taken to braille tooling to be corrected. Technical Research met with operations engineering in early April to review specifications in order to move bills and routings to Level 0. Due to scheduling conflicts with key personnel, the specification meeting could not be scheduled until April. Specifications turned over to production in May 2008 with production scheduled for August.

Printing Guide

(Continued)

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

SAM; Symbols and Meaning

(Continued)

The project leader held a BS-PDC meeting May 2008, presented the concepts of the product, and opened the floor brainstorming for ideas on how to make some of the items in the kit. Some items originally discussed as needed for the kit turned out to be impractical to manufacture and have been dropped from the original list, such as weighted cup(s) with removable handles (or weight wrap for use on cups), weight wraps (for use on utensils, toothbrushes, hairbrushes. Technical Research met with project leader, purchasing, and vendor to discuss the specific of several purchased items needed for this kit. These are a portable recording device (likely a mini cassette or personal digital recorder), a custom-made bag made in three sizes and a collapsible mesh box (cloth). Remaining items are either stock APH items (such as Calendar Boxes or Small Work and Play Tray) or easily purchasable items like cloth and binders. These materials were obtained for a projected field-testing start time of August. Technical Research provided assistance in producing, obtaining, and packaging these items.

Select Switch

(Completed)

Technical Research worked extensively with purchasing and the vendor to develop tooling (the injection mold and all circuit board tooling). Minor problems were encountered on some of the initial sample pieces and corrected. Production samples were received and tested in December. All samples passed all testing. Technical Research contacted the project leader and asked she review the samples as well. The project leader approved the samples. Production was started overseas on this item. Technical Research worked to create a test fixture and incoming inspection procedures for the unit. The Select Switches arrived from the vendor and were inspected and subsequently approved. The accompanying product documentation was already in place, allowing final packaging to begin in early March. Production was completed and stocked with the product airplane being sent out on March 5th. The production debriefing was held on March 17th. No reported problems with production.

Sense of Science -- Astronomy

(Continued)

Technical Research is in 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. The testing conducted by Technical Research on with scanning and converting to electronic files may prove beneficial for this item and the Life Science Tactile Graphic project in order to create print tooling using computer graphics versus having to create the print tooling by hand. Product is currently out for field-testing.

Sudoku Partner

(New)

Technical Research has worked with the project leader and the model shop to create drawings for use in the CNC router in technical research to make patterns for molds to use in making field test prototypes. The project leader is currently reviewing a second revision of the part drawing before cutting proceeds.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 5]

(Completed)

Technical Research completed specifications and turned them over to production in October 2007. Production was completed in April 2008. Technical Research conducted a debriefing meeting in May.

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 6]

(New)

At the SQUID 5 specification turnover meeting it was decided to extend this issue out one year instead of the previous 6-month production cycle. This was primarily due to the heavy workload in all departments. Technical Research has worked with the project leader several times to work out details with production tooling over the last several months. Technical Research has also worked with the plate-tooling department to clarify tooling requirements. Specifications scheduled for October, 2008 are only in preliminary stages.

Tactile Food Pyramid

(New)

Technical Research started working with the Model shop mid-March 2008 to create art for the print, tactile, and thermoformed Food Pyramid. The product has expanded to four separate catalog items; Tactile Food Pyramid, Primary Kit, Desktop Food Pyramid, Primary pack of 10, Tactile Food Pyramid, Secondary Kit, and Desktop Food Pyramid, Secondary pack of 5. The two kits will contain a purchased 36"x24" folded size food pyramid poster, a print / tactile food pyramid, and a copy of print and braille documentation. The Desktop Food Pyramid, Primary consists of a pack of 10 of the 17"x11" printed/embossed paper food pyramid. The Desktop Food Pyramid, Secondary consists of a pack five of the 17"x11" screen-printed / vacuum formed tactile food pyramid. Technical Research preliminary screen art made from the scanned image provided by the Model shop. In March, catalog and part numbers were setup. Technical Research made revisions and added a scanned logo in April. The art was plotted on film, checked for alignment with a template, and delivered to model shop. Model shop contacted Technical Research in April about making changes / corrections to the current art layout. Most of the requested changes were with positioning and font sizing. Technical Research furnished a plotted copy of the art on film with the colors printed, as they would be on an actual finished item to determine if further adjustments to the layout would be necessary. While reviewing the number of colors be placed on the sheet (6 colors + black), Technical Research suggested that this item may be a candidate for large format printing along with several other products currently being developed. Each color requires a separate set up in screen-printing. This may make the large format printing the lower cost option. Large Format printing could print all colors in one pass. A member of the APH Engineering Dept. went to a vendor to evaluate the large format printer for in-house production use in April. This equipment is a sheet fed model that might eliminate existing concerns with roll fed equipment. In addition to concerns about how to slit and sheet material and maintain registration run on roll fed systems are the logistics of obtaining the specific 0.010" white vinyl used for vacuum-formed parts. The vendor APH obtains this material from in sheet form has quoted a minimum of 1000 rolls, which is how many can be pulled off a full factory roll. Since APH uses this material in a variety of sheet sizes currently, Technical Research has requested Purchasing to investigate the possibility of producing only 2 to 3 rolls while processing orders for some of our existing sheet stock. If the equipment being evaluated proves a viable method of production, the problems with obtaining material and concerns with cutting to sheets that can be properly registered are no longer a consideration. Technical Research provided a copy of the art file to engineering to use when running samples at the vendor's facility. The samples were brought back to APH for evaluation. After lengthy research, obtaining the vinyl in a roll format does not appear to be a viable option. Several local vendors that can sheet feed in the large format printing process have been contacted and samples have been obtained. Technical Research had been working to refine the tooling for both the secondary (printed on vinyl) materials as well as the primary (printed on paper) materials. Samples of the in-house printed-paper version have been printed are waiting testing to determine how the paper stock selected handles embossing. Technical Research has also been involved in selecting vendors to print the primary and secondary posters. Price quotes have been obtained and a number of posters will be obtained for field-testing. Once the embossing testing on the primary Tactile Food Pyramid materials are complete. Work will begin to produce enough for field-testing. The file for the vinyl printed secondary Tactile Food Pyramid has been turned over. The vinyl materials needed to produce materials for field-testing have been ordered.

Test Ready

(New)

Technical Research met several times with the project leader in early 2008 to try to establish the basic structure of this series of products. It is important this structure be finalized prior to the request of part numbers. There will be over 100 catalogue and/or part numbers needed for this project. It is important the product structure be reasonably finalized before the numbers are requested so the numbers do not need to be re-done. The project has shifted on several occasions. However, it appears Technical Research and the project leader are near agreement on the product structure. When this is finalized, numbers will be requested and Braille Detail Order Forms will be submitted on the first unit's (Math 7) components. This unit 7 will serve as a test of the product form and layout for the rest of the levels and subtests covered by this series of products.

Textured Magnetic Sorting Circles

(New)

Project leader called a PDC meeting in March 2008 to provide the final product content and establish dates for the production timeline. Project leader reported that most tooling was already completed. After Technical Research began, working to document tooling and production methods it was determined that there were several methods in which materials could be produced. Determining which method(s) would be most cost effective will likely move this product out in the production timeline. Locating materials and a workable production processes had resulted in substantial redesign of all tooling. As of August 2008, there are several issues to yet to resolve, including selection of potential vendors. Even with the assistance of purchasing, vendors that can perform all of the specific requirements of the product have been difficult to find. The investigation of how components are made and what materials they will be made from is still not complete as of August 2008. Specifications are scheduled for September with a pilot run set for December 2008 and production January 2009. Catalog numbers were setup and provided to the project leader in March.

The Best for a Nest

(New)

Technical Research met with the PL and the Model Shop several times to discuss how best to design prototypes. Technical Research worked with the PL and outside vendors to order the materials needed to build the prototypes. These materials were received on April 21st. One material needed was obtained by technical research at no cost. While working on another project with the Educational aids supervisor, technical research noticed scrap pieces of a material needed for fabrication of the storyboard for this project. Technical Research asked for and was given the scrap to use in this project's prototypes. Options for fabricating the storyboard pieces are currently being explored. Translation of the storybook was started in August. This book was designed to fit the production capacity of the in-house iGen color printer. Samples of paper will need to be obtained to make field test copies on this machine. Technical Research continues to work on this project and monitor this project's progress.

The Boy and the Wolf Storybook, Moving Ahead Series

(New)

Technical Research working with the PL took files down for Braille translation in July for the storybook. Technical Research is also working with the PL in making sure this book will run correctly on the Green Machine.

The Boy and the Wolf, Braille Reader's Guide

(New)

Technical Research working with the PL took files down for Braille translation in July for the reader's guide. Technical Research will develop product specs as time allows.

30-Love Sound Adapted Tennis

(New)

Technical Research met with the project leader and Purchasing in April to discuss what was to be included in the kit, the companies that will provide the parts, the structure of the kit (replacement parts), and set production dates for the kit. Product specifications are nearly completed and it is anticipated they will be turned over to production in the near future. Production dates will be established at the specifications meeting. Technical Research will monitor the first production run of this product into stock.

3-D O and M Accessory Kit

(New)

A PDC meeting was held on March 2008. The project leader presented an overview of product and established tentative timeline. Specifications are scheduled for September with a pilot run set for January 2009 and production March 2009. Technical Research will begin on specifications as time allows.

ToAD (Tools for Assessment and Development)

(Completed)

Due to purchasing restrictions, a number of items required the selection of new vendors and/or the selection of alternative items for those already selected for inclusion in the kit. Technical Research worked closely with purchasing in specifying, testing, and obtaining approval from the Project leader to get material 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 were completed in June 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. Technical Research created drawings for seven cutting dies and other miscellaneous engineering drawings for components made for APH by outside vendors. All cutting-dies were ordered and in place before production. Technical Research inspected all new parts for the kit as they arrived. Pre-production samples of a couple items that were initially rejected, with follow samples still needing to be re-inspected to insure they match the approved samples upon arrival. Production of the components, which are also part of the full kit, was scheduled to begin in October, with the full kit scheduled for November 2007. The assembly of all sub-components was 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. Most of the items included in this kit are packaged together as groups of items. These bagged items are available as catalog or replacement parts. By early September, most materials required to manufacture this product had arrived at APH, been inspected, and received into stock. As items came in, Technical Research made production aware that assemblies of parts that make up bagged replacements or catalog items could be assembled. Nearly all sub-packs were completed prior to early October. The plan was that producing the stock able level components would help expedite the final packing of the kit and had the added bonus of helping keep production areas busy that were experiencing a lull in workload. The only components not packaged prior to the scheduled production date were the Light Source Items and Swirly Mats. The Swirly Mats arrived in early November, slightly behind schedule. With the mats packaged in a separate carton from the main kit, their late arrive did not stop packaging of the full kit. Technical Research, with assistance from several departments was able to put together a kit for Annual Meeting using the objects packaged as they would be in actual production. Technical Research actively began tracking status of production as the scheduled date neared. This investigation turned up that the print guidebook was the last remaining component to be made. The start of guidebook production was being held up because of a purchased pack of tab dividers that were included with the guidebook. Technical Research contacted purchasing to determine why the tab dividers were past due on delivery. It was determined that errors in the shipping department of the vendor had left the order unfilled. With information that the tab dividers would be shipped as soon as possible, Large Type was contacted with a request to begin production of the guidebooks. This is a break in normal policy that all components that make up an item are in stock before work begins. Large Type did agree to start on a partial production run, which 1) avoided large amounts of incomplete work setting on the floor, and 2) allowed a couple days for the tab dividers to arrive. Two hundred guidebooks were completed and sent to Educational Aids to begin final packing of the full kit in December. To expedite the launching of the Airplane, a notice was sent to the cost department to be looking for final labor numbers in order to complete final cost rollups. The Airplane was released in December. Just prior to the release of the kit, Technical Research sent a pre-emptive notice to APH Customer Service to be aware that they might receive calls about the LED flashlight used in the kit being inoperative. This new flashlight technology requires that the batteries be placed in the flashlight in a specific manner concerning polarity. It was advised that Customer Service have the customer reverse the batteries to determine if the flashlight was indeed defective in the event of a complaint. This product and associated catalog items were produced and an airplane came out in December 2007. Two partial production runs were completed by the end of February 2008. Due to scheduling conflicts, a debriefing meeting could not be scheduled until February. There were no reported production problems.

ToAD Object Cards

(Completed)

This is a set of 108 print cards along with 16 clear vinyl pocket sheets. Technical Research turned over specifications June 28, 2007 with production scheduled for October 2007. Production tooling files were turned over at the specification meeting and sent to vendor. Print samples of the Object Cards were provided and approved by the Project leader. The Vendor 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 then custom manufactured vinyl pockets sheets; samples were approved. The pocket sheets used to hold the individual Object Cards are packaged with Object Card Sheets and come to APH shrink-wrapped together as a finished goods item. In August, the finished Object Cards arrived from the vendor, approved, and stocked. The vendor adjusted the files to correct color and image clarity that were concerns of the project leader. The changes that the vendor made to files to correct color and image clarity were approved by the project leader in November. The vendor also said that on future jobs that required lamination, proofs will be finished (laminated) in order that submitted proofs not have the appearance be changed by such lamination. The Airplane for the completed catalog item was released along with the full kit on December 2007. Due to scheduling conflicts, a debriefing meeting could not be scheduled until February 2008. There were no reported production problems. The question of whether corrected Object Cards files had been provided to APH for archival purposes at the production-debriefing meeting. The Graphics Department followed up and confirmed that APH did have copies of the corrected files from the vendor. The adjustments to the print files addressed greater intensity of colors and increased contrast / definition accomplished by increased depth of black.

ToAD Light Source Items

(Completed)

This group of items; consisting of three types of Light Tips (Wand, Cube, and Sphere) with LED Flashlight, a String Light, and two Key Fob Lights is part of the kit and will be available separately as a catalog item. Finalizing the tooling of parts that make up the Light Source Tips 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 of the light tips to be used for general reference. Samples of the Light Source tips were received 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. The three types of Light Tips (Wand, Cube, and Sphere) arrived from the vendor in batches, with approximately half of the order in stock by the end of October 2007. The last remaining item to be received was the String Light, which arrived in October. The String Light assemblies were inspected and approved for receipt into stock. Notice was sent out that enough of all components had been packaged to produce a pilot run. The Light Source items were stocked allowing the assembly and packaging to begin. Sub-components of the full kit were packed and stocked by early November 2007. These pre-packed sub-components could then be pulled from stock to reduce the packaging time required for the full kit. Twenty-five of these packs were sent to inventory as finished catalog items. The Airplane for the completed catalog item was released along with the full kit in December 2007.

ToAD Guidebook, Braille

(Completed)

Technical Research turned over specifications and production was scheduled for October 2007. The CD used in both the print and braille guidebook was found to have the incorrect product name information. The project leader allowed this CD to be used for the first product run of the product. It will be corrected for the next run. Books were completed and stocked in September. The book is only sold separately and is not part of the kit. The Airplane for the completed catalog item was released along with the full kit in December 2007.

ToAD Guidebook, Print

(Completed)

Technical Research turned over specifications and production was scheduled for October 2007. All tooling, with the exception of a master CD was turned over and in place for production. Upon receiving a pre-production sample of the guidebook, the project leader sent out a notice stating that the tooling originally turned over to production for the guidebook cover and CD art had incorrect information. The cover did not have the final approved product name listed. A quick check by Technical Research found that the print guidebooks had not been produced, but the included CD's had been duplicated. The project leader allowed the CD's to be used for the first production run, but corrected tooling needed to be in place for future runs. After corrected files were provided, Technical Research delivered the corrected files and retrieved the old files to prevent an accidental reuse of them. The production run was completed in December. The guidebooks were completed and stocked in December and made available at the same time as the full kit in December 2007.

ToAD - Squire Toad's Puzzle Book

(Completed)

Production tooling files were turned over at the specification meeting and were sent to the vendor. The books will come in to APH shrink-wrapped and labeled as a finished goods item. The books called for a non-glare laminate to be applied to all pages in this book; due to mix up at the vendor facility, the vendor applied standard laminate. This laminate has a shiny appearance that is objectionable for low vision purposes. The vendor recommended a possible fix of applying a non-glare aqueous coating on the first production run only, with future production having the correct lamination applied. A sample was presented to the project leader and approval was given. The puzzle books with a non-glare treatment applied over the laminated pages arrived September and were approved to be received into stock. These were made available for sale at the time of the full kits release in December 2007.

ToAD - Squire Toad's Puzzle Book - Braille

(Completed)

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. Tooling was completed and was in place to meet the same production schedule (October) as the other components of ToAD. This item was completed and stocked in September. This book is not part of the kit, but only available separately as a catalog item. The Airplane for the completed catalog item was released along with the full kit on December 2007.

Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book

(Continued)

After field-testing of ToAD, it was decided to design another puzzle book that would follow the ToAD kit format. Technical Research has not begun any work on these products. This is due to the decision of Project leader that these items are not part of the ToAD kit but will be a separate product. The project leader has re-established time lines for this item. Work on product specifications is anticipated in late spring to early summer 2008. This was moved to a lower priority to allow more efforts to be concentrated on projects nearer their deadlines for completion of specifications.

Tasha Tadpole Manual, Braille

(Continued)

After field-testing, it was decided to add another manual for multiple handicapped children in both print and braille. The project leader has re-established time lines for this item. Work on product specifications is anticipated in late spring to early summer 2008. This was moved to a lower priority to allow more efforts to be concentrated on projects nearer their deadlines for completion of specifications.

Transparent CCTV Ruler - Clear

(Continued)

Following an April 2008 meeting to discuss possible revisions to tooling from field-testing, the co-project leaders provided notice that a decision was made that no change in layout was needed but a second set of CCTV Rulers in clear vinyl would be made. Catalog and associated part numbers were requested along with changes in description to reflect two products were initiated on the same day. The Kit will have six rulers; one marked in 1/8 inches, one in 1/4 inches, one in 1/2 inches, one in 1 inch, one in 10 mm and one in .5 cm increments. Rulers will be screen-printed eight-up on existing 0.020" clear rigid vinyl with both standard and metric rulers die cut into the finished size with the same cutting die. This is the same die used for producing field-testing materials. Specifications were completed and turned over in June 2008 with production scheduled for August. In August, the recently arrived shipment of 0.020" clear vinyl used to manufacture the rulers was rejected due to the vinyl being frosted instead of clear. Obtaining a new shipment of material will likely delay production.

Transparent CCTV Ruler - Yellow

(Continued)

This project was originally started in August 2007; work began on designing a set of rulers in four different increments for field review. Technical Research submitted sample pieces for review by the project leader that same month. Art generated by Technical Research used to generate film needed to make the two silk screens for production of the CCTV rulers in the recently completed darkroom. This item was the first production item made in the new darkroom. Technical Research obtained sheets of transparent yellow vinyl from stock then setup, silk-screened, die-cut and bagged in sets the CCTV rulers. Twelve sets were delivered to the project leaders in early December for use in field-testing. Additional sets of rulers were requested and Technical Research was able to provide two sets held as samples and was able to track down additional material that was used to produce four additional sets for the project leader in December. Following an April 2008 meeting to discuss possible revisions to tooling following field-testing, the co-project leader provided notice that a decision was made that no change in layout was needed, but that a second set of CCTV Rulers in clear vinyl would be made (see above). Catalog and associated part numbers were requested along with changes in description to reflect two products were initiated on the same day. The kit will have six rulers; one marked in 1/8 inches, one in 1/4 inches, one in 1/2 inches, one in 1 inch, one in 10 mm and one in .5 cm increments. Rulers will be screen-printed eight-up on existing 0.020" transparent yellow rigid vinyl with both standard and metric rulers die cut to the finished size with the same cutting die. This is the same die used for producing field-testing materials. Specifications were completed and turned over in June 2008 with production scheduled for August. In August, the shipment of 0.020" yellow vinyl was rejected due to visual blemishes in surface. Obtaining a new shipment of material will likely delay the production of this item.

Trek

(Continued)

Technical Research worked with the purchasing department to create a purchase order for the tooling and 25 pre-production sample pieces. These pieces were evaluated at APH and used in field testing the product. The test pieces arrived in September. Technical Research created a drawing for the CNC router to use to drill the Trek Boards. Drilling was completed in October. The trays were sent out for field-testing in November. Drilling the holes on the CNC router saved the time it would have taken the Model Shop to hand drill 3,000 holes needed for field test samples. Field test results were reviewed in the late spring of 2008. Technical Research has generated 2 new drawings of the board offering options based on field test comments. The project leader is currently in process of reviewing the third version of the board. Since tooling had to be made to produce copies for field testing, any changes to the board will result in new tooling (a urethane mold) being made. Technical Research will continue to monitor this project through development.

Turbo Phonics

(Continued)

The product contains the Turbo Phonics software CD, a print copy of the Teachers Guidebook in 2 volumes and a Student Activity Book, pack of 5. Technical Research worked with the project leader to resolve issues with packaging and availability of components that make up the product. The project leader wanted the Turbo Phonics program to be part of the Teachers Guidebook but did not want the software to be available in the separate purchase of just the Teacher's Guidebook. Technical Research recommended placing the software CD in a self-adhesive sleeve and then placing the sleeve in a standard cardboard mailer to be placed into the kit. The mailer will have instructions to install the sleeve inside the Teachers Guidebook. This unusual method of packaging software allows it to be included with only the full kit. Final revisions and edits to the content of the guidebook were made in early September. Preliminary specifications were provided to the project leader just prior to APH Annual Meeting. With no further changes required, Technical Research was to work with Operations Engineering to get bills of materials and production routings put into place and then schedule a specification turn over meeting. A last review found the need for additional changes; after these changes were incorporated specifications were completed and turned over to production in December 2007. This kit is largely designed for visual users. Just prior to the specification meeting; the project leader made the decision to make a braille version of the guidebook available separately from the kit. This created significant challenges in getting the product to the point it could be manufactured. It was learned in the December specification meeting that the print tooling was incomplete. Translation could not begin until the text was completed. Added to this was an unusually heavy backlog of work in braille translation. This back up had the potential to last up into March. Dates for production and subsequently availability for sale could not be set at that time. The project leader and head of the braille translation department were to meet with the contact person for the prison braille program to determine if routing the transcription through KCI may better option. Even after transcription, there might be necessary corrections to the print content before all tooling can be considered complete. It was agreed that when initial print tooling was complete (completion was anticipated within a week after the spec meeting) a decision would be made on where transcription would take place. When the transcription was completed and prior to proofing Technical Research would be notified in order to set up a meeting to bring everyone back together to finalize the remaining dates on the schedule. Ultimately, the Braille translation of the print documentation was out-sourced in mid January 2008. The translation was completed March. Once the transcribed text arrived back, it was proofed against the print tooling to correct any errors. Technical Research had scheduled a meeting in April to establish new dates for production. With the early completion of the translation, Technical Research rescheduled the April meeting and moved it up to March 24th. Following this meeting, it was determined that Student Activity Book had not been turned over with the Guidebook for translation. The braille copy of the Student Activity Book was to be attached to the end of the hard braille copy and as a separate .brf file on the CD included with both the braille and print versions of the Guidebook. Technical Research contacted APH Braille Transcription to see if this item could be scheduled in their workflow in order to prevent delays on production dates that had just been scheduled. It was reported that the backlog of transcription work that led to the plans for having the transcription of the Guidebook and Student Activity Book being outsourced was essentially caught up. Technical Research worked with the project leader to obtain the required copy of the Student Activity Book and got it turned over to Braille translation in order to transcription to begin. Shortly after being turned over, the braille department contacted Technical Research with questions on how to handle what appeared to be errors in the print document. Technical Research picked up materials and met with the project leader to review and decided upon solutions, and immediately returned to braille to finalize the file. In this interim period from when the specifications for the product was turned over to production (December 2007), a new method of binding books had been instituted. This is a change from twin looping to spiral binding. Production initially was only providing black spiral binding. It was pointed out that this product had originally specified white twin looping and that the project leader had specific reasons for maintaining white as the default low vision criteria for using white binding. Technical Research investigated the cost and logistics of obtaining white spiral binding to use on specified products and then worked with production, operations engineering, purchasing and inventory control to set up part numbers, cost, routings, and warehouses for white spiral binding material for this product (both print and braille). This issue created the need to update specifications and bills and routings for the both the print and braille Guidebooks and, by default, the specifications for the complete kit. Just as the specifications for the braille guidebook were being finalized, the project leader made the decision to make the Student Activity Book available separately but also include it with the Turbo Phonics Teachers Guidebook. Technical Research worked with various departments working out the details of how this would be accomplished, made the necessary changes, revised specifications, and turned them over to production. The braille files for the seven Teachers Guidebook volumes and separate file for the Student Activity Book were placed on the server in April. Technical Research notified Technology Research Department that the required files for the product CD were available to create the master CD. It was requested that, if possible, the master file be completed by the end of April in order that CD duplication could begin immediately after yearly inventory conducted on April 24 and 25th. This kit will be able to be stocked once the print guidebook is produced.

Turbo Phonics, Teachers Guidebook, Print

(Continued)

This guidebook will be available as a separate catalog item. The guidebook consists of two volumes, along with a CD containing html and brf copies of the Teachers Guidebook. The Student Activity Book and will be installed inside the back cover of volume 1. Specifications are complete barring any changes and will be turned over to production at same time as the full kit. Specifications were turned over in December 2007. A number of issues detailed under to full kit above document the delays in production of this item. The guidebook is currently in production queue as of August 2008.

Turbo Phonics, Teachers Guidebook, Braille

(Completed)

A decision to produce braille version of the Turbo Phonics Guidebook was made at the December 2007 Turbo Phonics specification meeting. Catalog and associated part numbers quickly obtained along with the drafting of preliminary specifications. This guidebook will be available as a separate catalog item. It will consist of seven volumes with the same CD that come with the print version. The braille version of the Student Activity Book is at the end of Volume 7. The braille guidebooks were completed and stocked in June 2008 and will be made available at the same time as the full kit is released.

Turbo Phonics, Student Activity Book (Pack of 5)

(Completed)

The Student Activity Books is part of the kit and available separately as a pack of five. Specifications were completed and turned over to production at the same time as the full kit in December 2007. Production was completed and the books were stocked in May 2008. Product will be made available when the remaining components are manufactured and made available for sale.

Turbo 6 Talking Battery Charger, English Version

(New)

Work has just started on this project. Technical Research will develop product specifications and monitor the first production run of this product into stock.

Turbo 6 Talking Battery Charger, Spanish Version

(New)

Work has just started on this project. Technical Research will develop product specifications and monitor the first production run of this product into stock.

Verbal View of Web Searches

(Continued)

Product specifications were completed 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. Although resolving these issues while the recording was in process did delay the release of the product, it also provided resolution for some ongoing software problems. The recording and final proofing were completed July. There have been a number of setbacks on this product that has prevented its manufacture. Most had to do with the software used to record the product in the studios to make it a fully synchronized text/audio Daisy Digital Talking Book. The CD Production Department reported that the files were corrupt and they could not be produced as of the end of August. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this item.

Verbal View of Email Lists

(Abandoned)

Verbal View of Windows Vista

(New)

Technical Research requested catalog and associated part numbers for the product in April 2008. The Specifications are nearly complete. In August, the project leader provided notice that the project is nearly ready to be turned over. Technical Research will review the specifications and then schedule a meeting to turn over the specs. This will likely take place in September.

V-File Vision Portfolio

(Continued)

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. The name for this product has been changed from "Personal Vision Portfolio" to "v-File Vision Portfolio.

Lighting Guide Kit
(Formerly: Vivid Vision Lamp)

(Continued)

This project's name was changed in August to Lighting Guide Kit. Content for the Lighting Guidebook needed some minor changes. The print files were updated to reflect the changes and then files were turned over to Braille translation in August. Specifications were updated to make these changes. Technical Research will conduct a specification meeting in the near future to turn over specifications and establish a production schedule. Technical Research will monitor this project through production and placement into stock.

What Is It?

(New)

This project is a series of cards with clues printed on 1 side and the answer in print and in Braille on the other. The clues will be given in Braille in a separate booklet. Technical research worked with the project leader to design a layout template. This template was sent to the graphics designer to use for layout of the print. This same layout was used for Braille translation to position the Braille answers for the cards. Proof copies of the Braille and of the print files were checked using a registration guide created by Technical Research. All items were in register. The plates and print files were taken to large type for prototype production. Prototypes are scheduled for completion in August. Technical research will work with the large type supervisor and area workers to complete the prototypes.

Wilson Reading Program

(New)

Technical Research worked with the project leader, Braille translation, and the Braille production departments to get 5 copies each of the 3 Student Readers produced in time for a Literacy Conference to be held in late November 2007. By October 24th the PL had five copies each of all 3 Readers. It was very important that this deadline be met as the conference is only held every other year. If the materials were not ready for this conference, it would be 2 years before they could be shown at the conference. Technical Research kept in very close contact with production in order to assure that these would be ready in time. With a great deal of extra effort, production was able to beat the deadline the materials were needed by over 3 weeks. Technical Research was notified by the project leader in December that Wilson was requesting the copyright information on the materials be updated. Technical Research worked with the project leader, the Braille translation department, and the graphics design department to coordinate the file changes needed. In addition, Technical Research contacted the production floor to halt work on any production using the current files. Work resumed on the current production run of 50 copies of each of the 3 readers when the new Braille and print files were received. In January Technical Research worked with the Braille and large type production supervisors to expedite the 3 Wilson Readers and to try to make up for the time lost due to copyright changes. By working with the area supervisors this item was produced and available for sale January 31st. This was in time for publication in the February APH newsletter. Technical Research requested and received catalog numbers for the next 6 items (workbooks for the readers, 2 workbooks per reader) in mid-February. These numbers will be used to track the Braille translation of these items. The project leader presented overview of product in a March 11th PDC meeting. Technical Research has contacted vendors to discuss printing / screen printing directly onto flexible magnetic material for the tiles included in this kit. These conversations have resulted in several manufacturing possibilities, 1) obtaining the material and screen-printing and die cutting at APH. 2) having the vendor print and die-cut materials and send back to APH as a finished part. Possible layouts are being developed to send out for vendor quotes.

Woodcock-Johnson III, Student Braille Edition

(Continued)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to develop a page template to assist in layout of test book pages. The project leader turned over files to braille translation in June 2007. One of the items that has taken the longest time to resolve is the scoring CD for the kit. This component will have the longest pre-production time line for this kit, but is essential for using this kit. The scoring CD has been resolved and the kit should now be able to move forward in development of specifications, bills, and routings. There have been several PDC meetings throughout the year, with further decisions on how to produce various components of the product. Technical Research continues to gather information to develop specifications as information becomes available.

Word Playhouse

(Complete)

Results from field-testing required extensive revisions in tooling. Technical Research worked with the project leader to create new tooling based on these new requirements. The primary change was the addition of a number of new pieces in each of the four groups: vowels, consonants, contracted and uncontracted. The project leader decided to make the groups available separate as replacement parts. The four reconfigured groups were laid out to keep all parts of the group to be manufactured and packaged at the same time. Groupings have been laid out in 25 to 36 piece arrangements that will each use the approximate dimensional footprint, which allows for the purchase of the same materials for all four components. Each of the four groups will be screen-printed and vacuum formed in a 3-up or 4-up pattern, with different multiples of the groupings needed to meet the requirements for the kit. The revised layouts for silk screens, router files, braille placement templates, and cutting dies were completed in September. To expedite tooling, Technical Research routed base sheets for preliminary vacuum form tooling. Two of the base sheets have point symbols (open circles and vertical bars) unique to each group, along with trim lines and a backer sheet grid engraved into them. The two remaining base sheets have only the trim lines and grids lines engraved. The engraved pattern and four transparent overlays were turned over to the model shop in October. These were used to create vacuum form patterns and to provide precise braille pin location within the pattern. The print art was used to make film positives, from which the screens were made. Each setup required two screens, one for the "field" or color background and one for the individual letter groupings. Swatches of existing silkscreen colors were presented to the project leader to determine if any of these may be acceptable for production in early November 2007. The project leader approved these colors, thus eliminating the need to obtain and stock new colors. The CAD drawings for the "vowels, consonants, contracted and un-contracted cards" cutting dies were sent to the vendor. Quotes were received and dies were ordered. The dies were received in January 2008. Mockups of the 11.5" x 11" Veltex covered polyethylene panels to be used for card storage were created to determine whether it would cost would be less to buy the item from an outside vendor or to manufacture it in-house. After receiving quotes it was determined that the most cost-effective route would be for APH to buy the raw materials in a size large enough to make 4 items at a time and then die-cut them to the finished size. A CAD drawing for the storage panel die was sent out. The die was ordered and arrived at APH in January 2008. The product specifications were turned over in January 2008. Shortly after the specifications were turned over, testing of recently completed vacuum form molds with unprinted vinyl turned up random in-correct braille content errors and of a greater concern, poor forming or lack of definition of the braille. The braille errors were identified and corrected, but additional formed sheets still displayed improper or unacceptable definition in braille forming. Two patterns were acceptable but of moderate quality and two patterns had unacceptable quality of formed braille. Additional samples were requested by the project leader. To assist with resolving problems with molds, Technical Research setup and printed multiple samples of each of the four production sheets. Once printed and formed, slight scaling errors were detected between the screen art and vacuum-forms. Technical Research made corrections to the art and new film and screens were generated to correct these issues. Production was scheduled for April but with delays in tooling and delivery of purchased materials, the Pilot Run of 50 did not take place until June. The remaining production of 350 was completed by the end of July. The production-debriefing meeting was held shortly after the June pilot run. No significant problems were reported.

Wright Group: Sunshine Kit, Upper Emergent Early Braille Trade Books

(Continued)

This product is a collection of simple trade books (K to 1st grade level) that are already published in print. APH will add Braille and lesson plans for the TBVI teacher. The PL held a brainstorming PDC meeting in April and a second meeting in July to discuss this project further. Technical Research worked with the project leader and Braille Translation to have tooling created for the Braille labels that will be added onto the book pages. The PL conducted testing of the two materials at Annual meeting and follow-up meetings to discuss the findings and make decisions on how to proceed were held in November and December to review the comments on the prototypes displayed at annual meeting. All feedback was positive. Technical Research worked with the project leader, Purchasing, and the Braille translation manager to establish a size for a new custom die-cut label material to be used on the books. The size was established and Purchasing worked with our vendor on tooling costs, per label pricing, and minimum order quantities. This new size of label will work not only for this series of books but is anticipated to be used in a variety of applications as a standard part. The label has been ordered and received. A test run of one file for a book was run using the new label and works exactly as anticipated. Technical Research is working with the PL and Braille Production to get prototype samples of the labels run to send out for field testing.

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. Some of the work was necessary due to problems/quality issues with existing products as well as new products. 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 has worked with the production supervisor and the UL inspector on several occasions this past year to maintain product compliance with UL safety standards for portable luminaries. UL has obtained ISO9000 certification for their company. One of the requirements for this certification is that all processes within UL are traceable with accurate records. This has resulted in the new UL requirement for all measuring devices used in the inspection and testing of the light box. Technical Research is currently working to update UL standards on file and work towards the conversion of the UL approval stickers from the current printed versions to a new holographic version. This will entail destroying current label stock and purchasing the new version of labels. This change will impact production beginning in July 2009.

Alphabet Scramble

(Product Maintenance/Redesign)

Technical Research met with the project leader to discuss customer complaints received concerning breakage of the plastic rings in the vinyl binder for the book. APH had received a complaint in October about the breakage and replaced the binder. However, several more complaints surfaced in November and it was decided to change binding methods from a 3-ring vinyl binder to 2 spiral bound book. Technical Research worked with purchasing, engineering, the vendor, and various APH production departments to make the changes to the bills and routings and obtain the parts needed to switch the binding of the book. The breakage is most likely due to the heavy weight of the pages in the binder. Alphabet has the most pages of any of the on the way series. Technical Research had raised this concern in the initial design phase of this product but it was decided to go with the standard binder. Given the customer complaints on breakage it was decided to change binding methods to a spiral binding. This resulted in the need to redesign the reader's booklet to accommodate the smaller Alphabet Scramble book with the new binding. Technical Research worked with the graphics design department to change the layout of the reader's guide. When the first run of the new binding for the book went through the production floor, Technical Research was notified by the Production Manager that they did not have a correct file for the reader's notes for the Alphabet Scramble book. Technical Research obtained a copy of the newly designed reader's guide (this booklet was re-designed by the Graphics Designer from an 8.5"x11" booklet to a 5.5"x8.5" booklet in order to fit in a new, smaller pouch needed due to changes in binding methods on this item) and delivered the file to the Large Type Production Supervisor. The production run was completed without any further complications.

Special Testing of Older Patterns and BOP K Materials

In late November, Technical Research learned that a Dr. Bickford at Portland State University was working on a study that would attempt to compare the effectiveness of the new series of Building on Patterns with the established versions of Patterns. Dr. Bickford had purchased items from both the existing patterns products and the Building on Patterns Kindergarten Level. Dr. Bickford was also looking for any electronic files on the 2 patterns items. Technical Research worked to quantify which files Dr. Bickford needed and then met with the Braille translation supervisor to discuss what files would, or would not, be available. The files for the BOP series were current and readily available. These were immediately sent to Dr. Bickford. However, the established version of Patterns was done on plates many years earlier and there were no existing files. Technical Research worked out a plan with the Translation supervisor to OBR scan hard copies of the Braille materials of the existing Patterns series. During discussions it was learned that the scanning could be done relatively quickly but proofing the files, as is traditionally done, would take at least 2 months beyond what scanning would require. Further discussion revealed the scans were found to be 98+% accurate when proofed. Technical Research proposed the idea of scanning the files but not proofing them here at APH. The translation department supervisor, the director of APH research, and Dr. Bickford were all in favor of the idea. Scanning was completed and on Dec 11th all scanned files and 1-off hard copies for proofing at Portland St. U. were mailed. Dr. Bickford received these on Dec 14th. This not only avoided a 2 month delay in Dr. Bickford's project but also saved Dr. Bickford and his staff most of the work to create the electronic files for the project.

Mini-Lite Box

(Product Maintenance/Redesign)

Component availability has forced the overseas factory to source new components for this product. Production approval samples were received for parts approval. All parts with 1 exception (a positive temperature coefficient thermistor) were approved. Technical Research faxed operational curves for the PTC thermistor to the vendor. The vendor located an acceptable part and production on the units was begun. The units arrived at APH's dock in November 2007. The units passed incoming inspection and were received to stock without incident. The current production run has been delayed due to lack of availability of the PTC in quantities that are suited to the size of our production runs. A minimum of a 5 year supply of parts is required using the current thermistor. Technical Research located a vendor that would sell a smaller quantity of parts for this production run. Technical Research is currently working on redesigning the circuitry of the unit to enable the use of a more common PTC. This would enable APH to purchase much lower quantities for production runs. This change will not be in place for the current run but should be in place for the 2009 production run.

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 served on the tactile map committee. This was one of several sub-committees formed to help organize events for the celebration in 2008. This committee was charged to design, develop, and produce a printed tactile map that will be presented to the Kentucky School for the Blind in honor of the close working relationship the 2 organizations have had over the years. Technical research provided downloaded satellite maps of the area to other committee members as a starting point for information gathering for the project. Technical Research assembled a hydraulic table and investigated methods for installing a key lockout switch into the pre-made control assembly. Technical research then installed the key lockout switch. In addition, a Technical Research staff member attended the kick off event in the APH museum introducing the planned 150th festivities to local metro council members and state representatives on December 12th and the Founders Day celebration at the Olmstead on January 25th. Technical Research has had at least 1 department member present at every event to represent the department and to support the company's 150th anniversary.

Lightbox Level III Materials

(Product Maintenance)

Technical Research met with the project leader and a vendor 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 made draw down samples of the inks for project leader's approval. Technical Research suggested that 3 sets be made: 1 to be kept by APH, 1 kept by the local sales rep, and 1 kept at the factory. All color samples for this kit except 3: red, yellow, and skin tones were approved by the project leader on the first sample submission. A second submission of ink samples for the 3 colors noted above was approved. The new inks are now in place for future production runs.

Swirly Mats

(Product Maintenance)

This product was originally produced in England. Following the first production run in England, another vendor in the USA was selected for production. This was done due to rough shipping conditions from overseas. US production had an added benefit of saving time, customs duties, and shipping costs. The company selected was Compton in Chicago. A shipment from Compton also had damages. The damaged mats were sorted and removed by the vendor. APH was given a credit for the value of the damaged mats. Prior to having a second production run produced at Compton the company was bought out by Trendex of Minnesota. Technical Research worked with the new company in communicating product specifications, standards, and testing procedures. On October 10th Technical Research visited the plant in Minneapolis to observe and offer advice regarding the production of the mats. The vendor was performing all tests required. They had even incorporated a more severe test using 2 plates of aluminum weighing 35 pounds each. A freshly produced mat is placed between the 2 plates. The top plate is held perpendicular to the bottom plate with 1 edge resting on the bottom plate. The top plate is then allowed to swing forward and fall on top of the mat, sandwiching it between the 2 plates. This places a good deal of abrupt stress on the mat. Two pieces of newsprint are also placed on either side of the mat to detect any seepage of the oils due to impact. The one item not yet in place was a log or check-off sheet to document the testing of the materials produced. The head of Trendex production sent a form via email October 19th. This form was approved and is being used to document testing results. Technical Research inspected the first shipment of materials that came in from the vendor in early November. No defectives were found on incoming inspection (statistical sampling). Technical Research then worked with the area supervisor to assure a 100% test and inspection of all mats as the kits were being packaged. Technical Research had worked with the vendor to individually pack the mats in zip lock bags with a paper that darkens if oil leaks out of the mat. This made inspection much quicker and easier. Only 2 leaking mats were detected in over 4,200 mats (99.952% good or less than one half of one tenth of one- percent defective). The mats were on backorder and were immediately packaged in late November/early December. To date, no complaints have been received on mats produced by this vendor.

Dark Room

Technical research set up a dark rook for film development. This will primarily be used to create film positives for making silk screens and printed circuit board prototypes. It costs approximately $80.00 per piece of silk screen artwork to have a film positive made by an outside vendor. Material costs for a silk screen piece of art made in-house is in the $15.00 range. Cabinets, a countertop, a light exposure table, and a sink were installed. The light exposure table and cabinets were made by Technical Research from materials retrieved from salvage. The film vacuum pumps were re-wired and an external light exposure source with timer was installed. Research was conducted on the potential hazards of the developing and fixing chemicals. The chemical manufacturers, MSD sheets, the metropolitan sewer district, and the in-house APH safety and quality liaison were consulted. The chemicals used in developing the film are shipped in powdered form and reconstituted using water. The PH of the fixer and the developer neutralize each other when mixed. The chemicals can then be flushed down the drain with copious amounts of water. PPE (personal protection equipment): goggles, gloves, and an apron are in place and an eye wash attachment for the wash sink was ordered and put in place. It was learned that the room must be ventilated when using these chemicals. Technical Research met with the Maintenance to plan the installation of a small exhaust fan and make-up air inlet for the room. Following this installation, the first batch of chemicals was mixed as a test of the PH neutralizing properties of mixing the 2 chemicals for safe disposal. Safe lights for film exposure (also scavenged from salvage) were installed. Following the installation of the safe lights and chemical tests the exposure table needed to be calibrated in exposure time for the specific film used. The room was then ready for operation. Technical research built a small drying unit to help dry the film after developing. The first piece of film was developed for actual production tooling use (CCTV rulers) in November. A minor problem was found with the draw down vacuum of the exposure table but this has been corrected. Technical Research continues to make films for silk screens, possible PCB prototypes, and other areas as needed. All developing procedures were documented in a procedural handbook or "How To" book. To date films for 30 silk screens have been produced for both new products and as repair/replacement tooling for existing products. Film for each silk screen was costing $80 from an outside vendor. The materials used for the film production here at APH cost $15. This is a total cost savings of $1,950 in 10 months. Technical Research will continue to track this savings and turn it in near the end of FY 2008 as a continuous improvement. Also, Technical Research recently learned the vendor that shot the film went out of business. Shops that develop film are becoming increasingly harder to locate. Setting the dark room up at APH has allowed those projects that needed silk screen films to continue their product development without delays and with better control of the quality of the film negatives (scaling factors, negative density, etc).

Digital Clock Model

(Product Maintenance)

This item has had an inordinate number of problems in FY 2008. Shipments of this item have been rejected 4 times for problems ranging from faulty ink, improper/poor assembly, incorrect Braille, and not functioning to specifications. Technical research has worked with purchasing, the warehouse, inventory, and the vendor to try to straighten out several bad shipments of product. On the initial shipment of 1,000 clocks it was noted the detent mechanisms were not a solid, clear detent. Also, the numbers did not align across the face of the clock in the detent position. The vendor was contacted and the shipment was returned for re-work. An advance sample of the re-worked clocks was received and it was found to have ink that flaked off and smeared. This shipment was discarded. A third advance shipment was received and inspected. The print number and Braille numbers did not align properly. The vendor had mis-registered the print numbers to the molded Braille numbers. Finally, a fourth shipment was received. This shipment was also inspected and rejected due to improper assembly of the wheels in the clock. The poor assembly caused the clocks to bind as the wheels were rotated. Technical Research is currently working with purchasing and the vendor to perform a 100% inspection to sort out the defective units and obtain good units to fill back orders. Technical Research continues to work with purchasing and the vendor to find a solution to the current shipment's quality problem and to work towards an understanding with the vendor to facilitate shipments of acceptable product quality in the future.

Lead Content in Products/Child Safety

Technical research spent a good part of February and March researching a notice received by an ex-officio trustee who had had an outside firm testing their facility and equipment for lead content. The trustee noted that the APH "grandstand" had come back testing positive for lead content. Despite repeated efforts to contact the trustee to gain more information on the particulars of their test and results the trustee could not be reached. Technical Research then took the various components of a grandstand and submitted them for testing at an independent local laboratory. While the testing was being conducted, technical research began investigating current standards for child product safety regarding lead levels. It was discovered that standards are sketchy at best and are currently in a state of flux. Most of the standards applied to lead based paint and actual lead metal parts used in toys and children's jewelry. There were currently no definitive standards for lead content in plastics used in toys. It was also discovered there are 2 main standards: total lead content and total "bioavailable" or "leachable" lead. The initial tests run were for bioavailable lead. The laboratory's allowable standard for the testing was shown as 5ppm. European standards, which have been adopted by US toy makers on a voluntary basis, are currently 90ppm. All pieces to the grandstand tested negative for lead except the plastic used to make the stand. It tested at 0.9ppm---well under either standard. Technical Research found a statement by a CSPC (consumer product safety commission) official that stated the lead in plastics was not readily bioavailable and not a major concern for their division. The most common total lead content standards were at a 600ppm allowable level. Technical Research had more samples of the Sintra brand foamed PVC plastic tested for total lead content in addition to the tests run for bioavailable lead. Tests showed 568ppm. This was within limits but only 32ppm below allowable standards. Even with all the evidence supporting the use of lead in plastics so long as it was contained within the plastic, technical research recommended the company move away from Sintra brand materials to other brands that do not contain lead. Technical Research worked with purchasing and production to identify all areas this material was being used. Technical research obtained test swab kits to detect the presence of lead. These swabs would turn pink or red when they came in contact with materials containing lead. At least 1 sample from every single sized piece of foamed PVC material was tested to show which pieces were Sintra brand, having lead content, and which ones were another brand that did not use lead in the materials. Technical Research worked with purchasing and the vendor and located a similar material (brand name Ex-Cel) that will be used in all future production. In addition, all shipments in-process of Sintra brand materials were able to be stopped at the vendor and replaced with Ex-Cel material. Technical research gave a full report to the director of research, the vice-president of research and advisory services, and the company president. In addition, technical research helped compose a statement the vice-president used in his March monthly electronic newsletter to ex-officio trustees. It was decided not to recall materials already out in the field containing Sintra based on the facts noted above. However, all future production will be run using Ex-Cell or other brands of foamed PVC materials to avoid the slightest appearance of lead in a product. Technical Research continues to attempt to monitor the development of regulations.

Box Consolidation and Packaging Options

Technical Research worked with the Purchasing department to consolidate similarly sized boxes to a common size, thus reducing the total number boxes stocked by streamlining to a smaller family of standardized boxes. In the initial stage of this process, we combined 18 variously sized boxes into 5 boxes. Part of this process was to also look at alternative methods of packaging with materials other than boxes. One material evaluated was corrugated cold seal packaging material. This material comes on a roll and has a special glue applied to the inside corrugated surface. This glued surface sticks only to itself. When a sheet is wrapped around an object, the edges are aligned and, with a slight pressure, become a sealed package. Another packing material investigated was a high tensile strength shrink-wrap material that has a light blue-gray coloration. The vendor states this material is US Postal Service approved. The primary focus of this investigation has been to down size the number of boxes / cartons in inventory. The total number of boxes had been paired down a number of years ago but has grown back to approximately 80 unique sizes. A number of these are custom boxes, sized for a particular product, but there was a good number that were only 1/4" to 1" different in one or more dimension. As a starting point, we looked at the dimensions of boxes being considered for use in several products under development. The dimensions of all stocked boxes were then put into an Excel table so they could be sorted by the three dimensions. From this list we were able to evaluate the possibility of switching from smaller boxes to ones slightly larger when packaging a particular product. Investigation into this showed that most products were receiving some type of filler material to prevent the packaged object from shifting within the box. Production areas agreed that using a slightly larger box would only necessitate inserting slightly more filler, which is generally re-cycled cardboard or braille paper. In the initial stage of this process, we have combined 18 variously sized boxes into 5 boxes. The criteria for dimensions of the new boxes wasn't only using the largest individual dimension of a box within the combined group, but also looking at how it would work with typical APH products, i.e. could it accept print or braille books along with miscellaneous components. Work will continue with the evaluation of the combination on remaining boxes. This process is accomplishing the following, 1) reducing the number of boxes used to package items that were initially developed a number of years ago and are being purchased in ever lower quantities at ever increasing costs. 2) Obtaining better overall pricing on boxes by buying higher quantities of fewer individual sizes. 3) Better utilization of warehouse space from the elimination of little used boxes that will now be used to store materials for new products. 4) Improving packaging options for new products without having to add to corrugated box inventory. When this is completed Technical Research will work with purchasing to quantify cost savings and submit it jointly to continuous improvement.

Picture Maker Bag A Materials

(Product Maintenance)

Technical research was notified of adhesive "creep" on the foam items in the bag a parts of the PM Wheatley tactile diagramming kit. The foam materials were shifting after the parts were manufactured resulting in a misalignment between the foam layer of the parts and the polyethylene substrate. Technical research worked with the project leader, production, and purchasing to sort all materials that were currently in stock. All defective sets of materials were removed. In checking the history of the parts with the vendor it was learned that these parts had originally been made using a liquid adhesive. This had been switched at some point to a PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive). This was done for ease of assembly and for esthetics. Future runs of the parts will be made using the liquid adhesive.

Small and Large Work Play Trays

(Product Maintenance)

Technical Research was informed by the project leader that the field preferred a different color of tray than the traditional "battleship gray". Technical Research worked with the purchasing department and the vendor to drop the gray trays and make new production for both the small and large trays in black. This was also a better color for contrast and for CVI vision training. The small and large yellow trays will still be produced.

Sound balls (Techno beat and Boing Boing)

(Product Maintenance)

Following a successful production run of 1,000 balls a second production run of 1,000 was initiated. The vendor sent advance samples of the balls. These balls were tested and failed the return bounce test (A drop on to a concrete floor should result in a 50% return travel by the ball from the bounce). The sales representative that works with the factories in Taiwan worked extensively with the vendor at the factory attempting to produce a sample that met standards and would allow production to begin. Samples tested repeatedly by Technical Research could not meet the 50% return bounce standard. The sales rep then pursued other factories in China for ball production. One factory agreed to make trial samples. The samples were made using an existing mold at the China factory to avoid shipping the molds from Taiwan unnecessarily. The samples were made and had the APH electronics installed in them to simulate the full weight of the ball. The samples arrived in August and were immediately tested by technical research. The balls did pass the return bounce test. The project leader also examined the samples and liked the feel and bounce of the balls. The sales rep was contacted and told the samples did pass what testing could be performed. It was also noted these samples were not fully functional and were not from the production molds. The production molds are in process of being shipped from Taiwan to the potential new vendor in China. APH is requiring another round of samples to test for full functionality (electronics, balance, bounce return, color, cosmetics, etc). Production will not be approved until fully functional samples are furnished that are exactly as the customer will see them. Technical Research continues to work on this item with the purchasing department and the sales representative.

Stackups

(Product Maintenance)

Technical Research received notice of a customer complaint regarding separation of the hook/loop material from the cubes in the Stackups kit. The customer's returned parts were examined and found to have the white hook hook/loop material separating from the cubes. The blue loop hook/loop material was not separating. The project leader and Technical Research examined materials that were in stock and found no separation but it was noted the white hook hook/loop material was easier to remove from the cube than the blue loop. Samples were placed in a high heat environment to try to speed the process of adhesive failure but samples survived this test. Technical Research is working with the purchasing department and the vendor to find adhesive for the hook material that will hold as well as the loop material. The vendor is in-process of making samples for review by the project leader and technical research. To date only 1 customer complaint has been received. Technical research will continue to monitor customer complaints and to work with the vendor to improve the hook/loop material adhesion.

Stokes Braille Placeholder Board

(Product Maintenance)

During the investigation of box combinations, the Purchasing Dept. requested assistance in an immediate solution to a box that needed to be ordered for the Stoke's placeholder. The box originally specified for this product was in need of being ordered. This item is currently selling less than 50 or so a year and the minimum order for the box originally specified would be a 10-year supply. Technical Research analyzed current inventory and found a box, though slightly larger provided an adequate substitution. There was plenty of inventory of the substitute box, thus eliminating the expense of the order.

Variable Beam Flashlight Kit

Technical Research was requested in investigate a customer concern about a perceived lesser amount of visible light or lumens from the MagLite Flashlight used in this kit versus the flashlights in the original kit. Technical research set up a controlled test using a light meter and a tunnel that was fabricated by the department. Both units were placed in the tunnel, 1 unit at a time, and the light readings were noted. The tunnel allowed the units to be tested at a uniform distance from the meter without the results being skewed by ambient light. The tests showed a slight difference with the red filter in place and a more noticeable difference with no filter in place. Neither difference was substantial and was believed to be due to the fact the old unit operated using "D" cells while the new unit operated using "AA" cells. The results of these tests were furnished to the director of research.

APH Plastic Frame Signature Guide

(Product Maintenance/Redesign)

The costs on this project were beginning to increase to the point that the selling price on this item was going to be substantially increased. Technical Research worked with purchasing to have a mold created to mold these units in black plastic. This helped to avoid most of the cost anticipated on this item this year. There has been limited customer feedback concerning breakage of this item. Technical Research is working with the vendor to both redesign the mold to avoid "short shots" (when the plastic does not flow through the mold properly) and to evaluate different, more durable plastics in order to prevent problems with this product. Work on this is ongoing.

Presentations and Workshops

Finley, R. & Pester, E. (2007, December). Full Speed Ahead with Primary Braille Literacy. Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL.

Henderson, B. W., Lee, L., & Torres, C. (2008, March). Conference Session: Making Test Items Accessible for Students Who Are Visually Impaired. Association of Test Publishers (ATP) Conference on Innovations in Testing, Dallas, TX.

Henderson, B.W. (2008, July). Conference Session: Taking a Position: IQ Testing of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. AER International Conference, Chicago, IL.

Henderson, B.W. (2008, July). Workshop for ACB Teacher Division. Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. (2008, August). Workshop Session: APH Custom Contract Services and Web Casts. Making Test Items Accessible for Students Who Are Visually Impaired, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W., Torres, C. & Skutchan, L. (2008, August). APH Workshop Session: Accessible Computer-Based Testing. Making Test Items Accessible for Students Who Are Visually Impaired, Louisville, KY.

Henderson, B.W. (2008, August). Workshop Session: APH Custom Contract Services and Web Casts. Making Test Items Accessible for Students Who Are Visually Impaired, Louisville, KY.

Holbrook, C. & Pester, E. (2007, October). Beginning the Journey to Literacy with Building on Patterns. APH Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY.

Holbrook, C. & Pester, E. (2007, October). Building on Patterns: Patterns Expands Its Core. APH Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2007, October). Address: Earth -- A Workshop for Users. APH Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2007, October). ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Visual Skills. APH Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E., LeJeune, B., & Thompson, J. (2007, November). Research Autopsy: Forensic Examination of Research Methods for the Rehabilitation Teacher. Annual Conference of the Mid America Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers, Las Vegas, NV.

Kitchel, E. (2008, January). Improving Lighting Conditions for Students with Low Vision. Jefferson County teachers of visually impaired students, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2008, January). Understanding the Text, Graphic & Visual Needs of Test Takers who are Partially-Sighted. National Test Publishers and Editors, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2008, July). Understanding Light and Its Effects on Persons with Low Vision. American Council of the Blind Conference, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2008, August). Color and Text Guidelines for the Development of Power Point Presentations and Web Pages for Audiences that May Include Persons with Low Vision. National Test Publishers and Editors, Louisville, KY.

Olson, P. & Otto, F. (2008, July). A Tactile Strategy Game to Enhance Functional Use of Compass Directions in Students with Visual Impairment--A Field Study. AER 2008 International Conference, Chicago, IL.

Otto, F. (2008, January). Tactile Learning Considerations. Jefferson County teachers of visually impaired students, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2008, March). Basic Science Tactile Graphics and Teaching Touch. Vanderbilt University teachers of visually impaired in-service, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. & Poppe, K. J. (2008, May). Making Test Items Accessible for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired: Issues, Guidelines, and Resources: Tactile Graphic Considerations. Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Division on Assessment of Special Education Students (ASES), Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. & Poppe, K. (2008, May). Test Adaptation for Tactile Readers. CCSSO-ASES meeting, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E. (2008, July). Building on Patterns Kindergarten and Fun with Braille. American Council of the Blind Conference, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E. (2008, March). Building on Patterns: Patterns Expands Its Core. Poster Session, Kentucky Chapter, Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Carrollton, KY.

Pester, E. & Scoggins, D. (2008, February). Braille Sessions of Dits, Dahs, & Dots: Using Morse and Braille Codes. Saturday Museum Program for the Girl Scouts, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E. & Wicker, J. (2007, November) Reading, Math, and Other New Products from APH. Fayette County Teachers of Visually Impaired Students, Lexington, KY.

Pierce, T. (2007, October). Spring Cleaning APH Products Survey. 139th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2008, January). Product training: Walk/Run for Fitness. Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2008, January). Product showcase: Walk/Run for Fitness, Sound Ball. Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2008, March). Product showcase: Sound Ball, Walk/Run for Fitness, Tangle Toy, Lots of Dots Series. Vanderbilt University, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2008, April). Effects of a Sound Localization Curriculum. Council for Exceptional Children Convention, Boston, MA.

Pierce, T. (2008, July). Product showcase: Select Switch, Digital Light Box Artwork, Portable Sound Source & Sound Localization Guidebook, Jumbo Work & Play Tray. Teachers Group for American Council of the Blind Convention, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. & Smith, M. (2007, October). SAM: Symbols and Meaning. The 139th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2007, October). Periodic Table of the Elements: A Hands-On Experience. The 139th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2007, October). Do We Need More SQUIDs in the World? The 139th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2007, October). New Sense-ational Products: StackUps and Scattered Crowns. The 139th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2007, November). Setting the Stage for Tactile Literacy. Getting In Touch with Literacy Conference, St. Petersburg, FL.

Poppe, K. J. (2008, January). Tactile Graphics Products In-House Training Workshop. Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2008, March). Tactile Graphics Products. Vanderbilt In-Service Training, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2008, April). Draftsman: Tactile Drawing Board. Product Demonstration Workshop, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2008, June). Tactile Graphics Product Demonstrations. Ex Officio Trustee Training Event, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K.J. (2008, July). Tactile Graphics Product Demonstrations. American Council of the Blind Conference, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2008, August). Tactile Graphics: Making Tests Accessible to Students with Visual Impairments. Training Workshop, Accessible Tests Department, Louisville, KY.

Rosenblum, L. & Terlau, M. (2008, July). Reclaiming Independence, A Video and Resource Guide to Help Elders Stay in the Driver's Seat When They No Longer Drive. Biennial Conference of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Chicago, IL.

Skutchan, L. (2008, July). Developing Software for School and Work. National Federation of the Blind Annual Convention, Dallas TX.

Skutchan, L. (2008, July). Accessible Software Development, Blind Information Technology Specialists Luncheon. American Council of the Blind National Convention, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. (2007, November). An Overview of the Braille Plus. The Mid America Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers and Southeastern Association of Rehabilitation Teachers, Las Vegas, NV.

Terlau, M. (2007, November). Reclaiming Independence: Staying in the Driver's Seat When You Can No Longer Drive. The Mid America Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers and Southeastern Association of Rehabilitation Teachers, Las Vegas, NV.

Terlau, M. (2008, March). Reclaiming Independence: A Tool To Help Elders Stay In The Driver's Seat When They No Longer Drive. International Conference on Aging, Disability, and Independence, St. Petersburg, FL.

Terlau, M. (2008, March). Labeling and Marking: Sherlock, MagneTachers, and More. International Conference on Aging, Disability, and Independence, St. Petersburg, FL.

Terlau, M. (2008, July). Excel and a Screen Reader: Teaching Tips for Quick and Easy Record Keeping by Persons With Recent Vision Loss and Old Timers Too. Biennial Conference of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Chicago, IL.

Terlau, M. & Boules, Bill. (2007, November). Excel for "Quick-and-Dirty" Record-Keeping for Persons Who Have Recently Lost Vision. The Mid America Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers and Southeastern Association of Rehabilitation Teachers, Las Vegas, NV.

Terlau, M. & McCarty, M. (2008, July). Braille Plus Mini-Workshops. National Convention of the American Council of the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. & Smith, R. (2008, March). Poster Presentation: Elders with Low Vision Can! International Conference on Aging, Disability, and Independence, St. Petersburg, FL.

Wicker, J. (2007, November). Teacher Training: MathBuilders, and General Guidelines for Teaching Math to Young Braille Users. VI Teachers In-Service, Lexington, KY.

Wicker, J. (2008, January). Teacher Training: Core Curriculum Products. Jefferson County VI Teachers, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. (2008, March). Product Showcase: MathBuilders and Wilson Reading System. Vanderbilt Students, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. (2008, March). MathBuilders. KAER, Carrollton, KY.

Wicker, J. (2008, July). Product Showcase: MathBuilders, Wilson Reading System, and Word PlayHouse, Teacher Group, American Council for the Blind Conference, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J., Gissoni, F. & Skutchan, L. (2007, January). Panel Discussion: How Technologies for the Blind Have Evolved Over the Past 150 Years, State of Affairs. National Public Radio, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. & Holbrook, C. (2007, October). Early Braille Trade Books. The 139th Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J., Rines, J. & Rowley, R. (November, 2007). Wilson Reading System ®. Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, St. Pete Beach, FL.

Wicker, J. & Smith, D. (2007, October). MathBuilders. The 139th Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2007, December). Implications of the National Early Literacy Panel for Children with Visual Impairments. Getting In Touch with Literacy, St. Petersburg, FL.

Wright, S. (July, 2007). New APH Products: On the Way to Literacy 2nd edition. American Council for the Blind Workshop, Louisville, KY.

Product Materials

Henderson, B. W. (2008). Test Ready: Introduction to the Teacher's Guide for the Audio Version. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Henderson, B.W. (2008). Examiner's Manual for Brigance® Diagnostic Inventory Of Early Development (IED II), Tactile and Large Print Edition (Revision). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2007). ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Visual Skills. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Squire Toad's Puzzle Book. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Address: Earth -- A Large Format Atlas, Ed. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Otto, F. & Rucker, E. (2008). Embossed XY Axis 20 x 20 Graph Sheets. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pierce, T. (2008). Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden Enrichment Guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pierce, T. (2008). Select Switch. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2008). Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set: Teacher's Guidebook [Large Print and Braille Editions]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2008). PermaBraille Sheets. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2008). Picture Maker Accessories: Storage Panel. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2008). Picture Maker Accessories: Textured Strips. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Umsted, R.G., Pester, E.J. & Travis, M.A. (2008). Braille Contraction Recognition Program (BCR) Teacher's Manual. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Umsted, R.G., Pester, E.J. & Travis, M.A. (2008). Braille Contraction Recognition Program (BCR) Lists 1 through 19, Exercise Sets 1 through 4, and Oral Reading Forms A & B. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Wicker, J., Smith, D., & Leibfritz, B. (2008). MathBuilders, Unit 6, Geometry, Teacher's Guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Wicker, J. (2008). Word PlayHouse, Letter and Word Family Cards, Teacher's Guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Publications

Kitchel, E. (2007). ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Visual Skills. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Squire Toad's Puzzle Book. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2007). Address: Earth -- A Large Format Atlas, Ed. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). Revised Guidelines for Formatting Graphics in Test Documents in Large Print, 2nd Rev. [Multimedia]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). Reading, Typography and Low Vision: A Few Guidelines for Making Large Print Tests More Accessible, 2nd Rev. [Multimedia]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). Color and Text Guidelines for the Development of Power Point Presentations and Webpages for Audiences that May Include Persons with Low Vision, 2nd Rev. [Multimedia]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). Properties of Light. [Multimedia]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). How to Observe Light. [Multimedia]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). Natural and Artificial Light. [Multimedia]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). Lighting for Low Vision, 2nd Rev. [Multimedia]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). How to Conduct a Lighting Assessment. [Multimedia]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). How to Improve Lighting. [Multimedia]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). Graphics &Testing: Concerns of Test Publishers. [Multimedia]. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2008). The Effects of Blue Light on People with Pre-existing Eye Conditions. Westerville, OH: National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs.

Kitchel, E. (2008). Guidelines for the Presentation of Power Point Presentations for Audiences that may Include Persons with Low Vision. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Dept. of Education. Web site: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/speced/pdfs/ppt_develop_guidelines_low_vision.pdf

Kitchel, E. (2008). Low Vision and Power Point Guidelines. East Lansing, MI: Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council.

Kitchel, E. (2008). Guidelines for the Development of PowerPoint Presentations for Audiences that may Include Persons with Low Vision. Boise, ID: Idaho Special Education, Idaho Training Clearing House. Web site: http://itcnew.idahotc.com/qrm.htm

Kitchel, E. (2008). FVLMA: Functional Vision, Learning Media Assessment, Ed. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Terlau, M. & Penrod, W. (2008). 'K' Sonar Curriculum Handbook. 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.

Wright, S. (2008). Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children with Visual Impairments. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind. Web site: http//: www.aph.org/edresearch

2008 NEW PRODUCTS

APH InSights 2009 Calendar 5-18971-09
APH Plastic Frame Signature Guide 1-03530-01
Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set 1-08856-00
    Azer's Interactive Periodic Table, Br Guidebook 5-08856-00
    Azer's Interactive Periodic Table, LP Guidebook 7-08856-00
BCR Teacher's Kit, Print 1-03251-00
    BCR Teacher's Kit, Braille 1-03252-00
    BCR Student's Kit, Braille 1-03253-00
Braille Datebook Calendar 2009 1-07899-09
    Braille Datebook Calendar Tabs 2009 1-07898-09
Braille/Print Yardstick 1-03002-00
Braille+ Mobile Manager 1-07450-01
Brigance Green Large Type 2 4-00000-00
Compact + (Portable Video Magnifier) Blue 1-07570-00
Embossed XY Axis 20x20 Grid Graph Sheets 1-04045-00
EZ Track 2009 Calendar 1-07900-09
    EZ Track 2009 Calendar Inserts 1-07901-09
FVLMA Kit 7-96151-00
FVLMA Practitioner's Gdebk Br. w/CD 5-96153-00
    FVLMA Protocols 7-96152-00
    FVLMA Practitioner's Gdebk Pt w/CD 7-96153-00
Home Grown Video: Loving Me VHS 1-30021-00
    Home Grown Video: Loving Me DVD 1-30021-DVD
Jumbo Work & Play Tray w/Yellow Insert 1-03764-00
Large Work-Play Tray Black 1-03761-00
Listening Post III 1-00942-00
Lithium Ion Battery 1-07453-00
    Power Sync Cable w/USB-A 1-07454-00
    AC/DC Adaptor-Charger 1-07455-00
    Earbud for Braille+ 1-07458-00
Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden 1-10002-00
MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels 1-07413-00
MagneTachers for Sherlock Labels w/Sherlock Labels 1-07414-00
    MagneTachers for Small Braillable Labels 1-07415-00
    MagneTachers for Making Braille Labels 1-07416-00
    MagneTachers for Making Large Print Labels (1/2") 1-07417-00
    MagneTachers for Making Larger Print Labels (1") 1-07418-00
MathBuilders Unit 6 Braille Kit 5-03563-00
    MathBuilders Unit 6 Braille Teacher's Guide 5-03563-01
    MathBuilders Unit 6 Consumables Pack 5-03563-02
    MathBuilders Unit 6 Print Kit 7-03563-00
    MathBuilders Unit 6 Print Teacher's Guide 7-03563-01
MaximEyes, Video Magnifier 1-03915-00
    MaximEyes, PenTracker Corded 1-03917-00
    MaximEyes 1 yr Extended Warranty 1-03918-00
On the Way to Literacy Handbook, Br. 2nd Edition 6-77520-00
    On the Way to Literacy Handbook Print 2nd Edition 8-77520-00
PermaBraille Paper, 5"x3" (50 pk) 1-08881-00
    PermaBraille Paper, 6"x4" 2-Hole Drilled (50 pk) 1-08882-00
    Permabraille Paper, 6"x4" (50 pk) 1-08883-00
    PermaBraille Paper, 8.5"x11" (50 pk) 1-08884-00
    PermaBraille Paper, 11.5x11 (50 pk) 1-08885-00
Pic. Mkr. Acc.: Textured Strips 1-08838-02
    Pic. Mkr. Acc.: Storage Panel 1-08838-03
Portable Sound Source: Sport Edition 1-03045-00
    PSS Replacement Remote Kit 1-03045-01
    Sound Localization Manual, Braille 5-03045-00
    Sound Localization Manual, Print 7-03045-00
Select Switch 1-08617-00
Small Work-Play Tray, Black 1-03751-00
SQUID: Tactile Act. Mag., Issue 5 1-08862-05
ToAD Kit 1-08152-00
    ToAD Object Cards 1-08152-01
    ToAD Light Source Items 1-08152-02
    Squire Toad's Puzzle Book, Print Version 1-08152-05
    ToAD Guidebook, Braille 5-08152-00
    Squire Toad's Puzzle Book, Br. Version 5-08152-05
    ToAD Guidebook, Print 7-08152-00
Turbo Phonics Kit D-00100-00
    Turbo Phonics Student Activity Book, Prt 7-00100-01
    Turbo Phonics Teacher's Gdebk, Br. 5-00100-00
    Turbo Phonics Teacher's Gdebk, Prt. 7-00100-00
VIPs Seeing Things in a New Way 1-30024-DVD
    VIPs Learning About the World 1-30025-DVD
    VIPs Becoming a "Can Do" Kid 1-30026-DVD
    VIPs Making Friends: Social Skills 1-30027-DVD
    VIPs Going Places: Orientation 1-30028-DVD
    VIPs Through Their Eyes 1-30029-DVD
    VIPs Moving Through the World 1-30030-DVD
    VIPs Hands-On Experience 1-30031-DVD
    VIPs Successfully Adapting PreSchool Environment 1-30032-DVD
    VIPs Power at Your Fingertips 1-30033-DVD
    VIPs Full of Hope 1-30034-DVD
    VIPs Growing My Way -- Part 1 1-30035-DVD
Word Playhouse 1-03562-00
WRS Student Reader 1, Braille 6-79502-00
    WRS Student Reader 2, Braille 6-79503-00
    WRS Student Reader 3, Braille 6-79504-00

Completed Projects
(CHART I)

This is a summary of 88 Completed Projects. See Summary Page for details.
[This is a summary of 88 Completed Projects. See "Summary Page" for details.]

Active Projects
(CHART II)

This is a summary of 174 Active Projects. See Summary Page for details.
[This is a summary of 174 Active Projects. See "Summary Page" for details.]

Parking Lot Projects
)(CHART III)

This is a summary of 24 Parking Lot Projects. See ummary Page for details.
[This is a summary of 24 Parking Lot Projects. See "Summary Page" for details.]

Pipeline Projects
(CHART IV)

This is a summary of 27 Pipeline Projects. See Summary Page for details.
[This is a summary of 27 Pipeline Projects. See "Summary Page" for details.]

Project Status
(CHART V)

Project Status: Summary
As of 9/30/08

ActiveParking LotCompletedPipeline
Assessment270120
Assistive Technology & Electronics71109
Career Education & Transition0100
Communication Modes & Literature Education402196
Daily Living & Social Interaction105134
Early Childhood164143
Insights/Special Touch0010
Math30172
Orientation & Mobility7420
Physical Education1040
Recreation & Leisure4120
Social Studies & Geography11201
Science & Health12332
Visual Efficiency & Low Vision9010
Total174248827

[Summary page of 88 Completed, 174 Active, 24 Parking Lot and 27 Pipeline Projects.]