American Printing House
For The Blind


Research
&
Development Activities


Fiscal 2010


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 14, 2010

Dear Colleagues:

We are honored to present you with the 2010 Annual Research Report. Although the report is expansive, more than 350 pages, it can best be utilized as a reference work. If you have an interest in a particular curriculum topic, core or expanded, you can find that topic in the table of contents. The report will tell you what we have done on that topic, the name of the APH contact person, and the consultants who are working with us. Of course, these consultants are great resources for your in-depth questions.

This has been a record-breaking year. Our old record, set in 2008, was 88 new catalog items. In 2010, we set a new record with 108 new catalog items. These successes result from the work of many people. Many of you have responded to our request for product submission ideas. Over 75% of our new products are the result of your suggestions. And the remaining 25% of new products, submitted by APH staff, are the direct result of listening to your needs, and then submitting product ideas based on those needs.

This year our APH President, Dr. Tuck Tinsley III, received the prestigious Migel Medal. There are many reasons for this award, but one is his leadership over the past 20+ years to pull all of us together into a team, and focus our efforts on the APH mission to provide products to meet your needs. Dr. Tinsley understands that it takes a team to achieve record-breaking successes, and he has assembled that team. APH staff and those of you in the field of blindness are critical members of that product development team.

APH is grateful to the many individuals who contributed to this year's record-breaking success. We would like to take this opportunity to mention one key person, our Assistant Director of Research, John Aicken. John became part of the APH product development team in February 2002. His business and project management skills were major factors in the Research Department's ability to juggle a multitude of projects. When he started at APH, we were juggling approximately 100 items. In 2010, we are juggling approximately 400 items. Unfortunately, we lost John to cancer in August of this year. He leaves behind a legacy of diligence and great contribution to the APH product development team. Students for years to come will benefit from the 100s of products that were developed during his tenure.

In conclusion, please accept our sincere thanks and appreciation for all that you do in the service of students who are blind and visually impaired.

Sincerely,

Ralph 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 Committee and the Educational Services Advisory Committee.

Educational Products Advisory Committee - FY 2010

Chair -- Nancy Niebrugge (CA)

Yvonne Ali (MO)
Suzanne Dalton (FL)
Stacy Grandt (WI)
Linda M. Lyle (NM)
Marty R. McKenzie (SC)
Todd S. Reeves (PA)

Alternate -- Steven M. Rothstein (MA)

Educational Services Advisory Committee -- FY 2010

Chair -- William "Frank" Simpson (NY)

Sally Giittinger (NE)
Marjorie A. Kaiser (SD)
Barbara N. McCarthy (VA)
Jonn Paris-Salb (CA)

Alternate -- Angyln Young (AR)

Department of Research Staff

Educational Research

Baker, Sandi, M.S.Ed.......................................................Project Leader (Core Curriculum)

Bartley, Ralph, Ph.D.................................................................................................Director

Borsak, Mike, B.S.........................................................................................Programmer III

Boyer, Charles "Burt", M.A................................................Project Leader (Early Childhood)

Creasy, Keith, M.S.......................................................................................Programmer III

Gilmore, Terri, A.S.....................................................................................Graphic Designer

Hedges, John, B.S..........................................................................................Programmer

Henderson, Barbara, M.A........................................Project Leader (Tests & Assessments)

Hoffmann, Rosanne, Ph.D......................................................................Research Assistant

Kitchel, Elaine, M.Ed.................................................................Project Leader (Low Vision)

Mason, Loana, M.A., COMS.................................................Project Leader (Braille Literacy)

McDonald, Michael, B.S..............................................................................Programmer III

Meredith, Rob..............................................................................................Programmer III

Otto, Fred, B.A.................................................Project Leader (Tactile Graphics) part-time

Perry, Ken, B.S.............................................................................................Programmer III

Pester, Eleanor, M.S.......................................................................Project Leader (Braille)

Pierce, Tristan, M.I.A...................Project Leader (Multiple Disabilities/Physical Education)

Poppe, Karen, B.A............................................................Project Leader (Tactile Graphics)

Roderick, Carol, B.A............................................................Research Assistant (part-time)

Roman, Christine, Ph.D.......................................................Project Leader (CVI) part-time

Rucker, Erica, M.A..................................................................................Research Assistant

Senft-Graves, Cathy, M.Eng...................................................................Research Assistant

Skutchan, Larry, B.A...............................................................Project Leader (Technology)

Smith, Rodger, A.A.S........................................................................................Programmer

Terlau, Terrie (Mary T.), Ph.D....................................................Project Leader (Adult Life)

Travis, Ann, B.A.....................................................................................Research Assistant

Wicker, Jeanette, M.A.....................................Project Leader (Core Curriculum) part-time

Wright, Suzette, B.A....................................Project Leader (Emergent Literacy) part-time

Technical Research and Model Shop

Corcoran, Katherine, B.S., B.F.A.........................................................Model/Pattern Maker

Dakin, Andrew, B.S., ME.....................................................................Model/Pattern Maker

Donhoff, Darlene...........................................................................Manufacturing Specialist

Etter, Nancy...................................................................................Administrative Assistant

Hayden, Frank, A.A.S., C.E.T.................................................................................Manager

McGee, David, A.A.S, C.E.T...........................................................Manufacturing Specialist

Moulton, Andrew, B.S., ME............................................................Manufacturing Specialist

Poppe, Tom......................................................................Model/Pattern Maker (part-time)

Robinson, James, M.S., EE.............................................................Manufacturing Specialist

Rogers, Bryan, A.A.S., Software Applications & Programming.........................Manufacturing Specialist

Rutledge, Anita............................................................Manufacturing Specialist (part-time)

Agencies Participating in Research

Alabama School for the Blind, Talladega, AL

Alabama State Services for the Visually Impaired, Birmingham, AL

Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Bethel Park, PA

Amelia High School, Batavia, OH

Arkansas School for the Blind, Little Rock, AR

Azusa Unified School District, Valleydale School, CA

Badger Association, Milwaukee, WI

Baltimore County Public Schools, SE Area Pupil Services Offices, Battle Grove Elementary School, Dundalk, MD

Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Bridgeport Elementary School, Hamilton, OH

Caldwell School District, Caldwell, ID

California Department of Rehabilitation/Orientation Center for the Blind, Albany, CA

California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA

Calusa Park Elementary School, Naples, FL

Camp Abilities, Brockport, NY

Camp Inter-Actions, Georges Mills, NH

Carter County Public Schools, Elizabethton, TN

Celeste Henkel Elementary, Statesville, NC

Clara Barton Elementary, Anaheim, CA

Clermont County Educational Service Center, Batavia, OH

Columbia Public Schools, Derby Ridge Elementary, Columbia, MO

Connecticut Board of Education and Services for the Blind, Windsor, CT

Cooperative Educational Service Agency 10, Chippewa Falls, WI

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Houston, TX

Dell Rapid Public School, Dell Rapids, SD

DeSoto County, Mississippi Schools, Olive Branch, MS

Eastview Elementary, Algonquin, IL

Engleburg Elementary School, Milwaukee, WI

Escambia County Public School, Texar Pensacola, FL

Federal Way Public Schools, Federal Way, WA

Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, St. Augustine, FL

Governor Morehead Preschool, Raleigh, NC

Groton Public Schools, Mystic, CT

Holly Hills Elementary School, Denver, CO

Hunter College of The City University of New York, New York, NY

Iowa Braille School, Adel, IA

Jernigan Institute, National Federation of the Blind, Baltimore, MD

Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Lane Regional Program for the Visually Impaired, Eugene, OR

Lanier High School, San Antonio, TX

Lavelle Fund for the Blind, New York, NY

Leon County Schools, Tallahassee, FL

Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, Baton Rouge, LA

Mackay School District 182, Mackay, ID

Mansfield Independent School District, Mansfield, TX

Marr Cook Elementary, Goshen, OH

Maryland School for the Blind, Baltimore, MD

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, Miami, FL

Missoula County Public Schools, Missoula, MT

Missouri School for the Blind, St. Louis, MO

Missouri State University, St. Louis, MO

Moses Lake SD North Elementary, Moses Lake, WA

National Geographic, Washington, DC

New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY

Newport News Public Schools, Newport, VA

North Little Rock School District, North Little Rock, AR

Northwest Regional ESD, Hillsboro, OR

Northwood Elementary School, San Antonio, TX

Ohio State School for the Blind, Columbus, OH

Owen County/Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, Owenton, KY

Ozark R-6 School District, Ozark, MO

Parkview State School, Cape Girardeau, MO

Perandoe Special Educational District, Red Bud, IL

Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

Pickerington Local Schools, Pickerington, OH

Prince George's County Public Schools, Oxon Hill, MD

Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Pulaski County Special School District, Roland, AR

Rocky Mountain Associates, Colorado Springs, CO

Roswell Independent School District, Roswell, NM

San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA

San Juan Unified School District, Carmichael, CA

Santa Barbara County Education Office, Santa Maria, CA

Scott County Central Schools, Sikeston, MO

Shepherd Independent School District, Shepherd, TX

South Coast Education Service District, Coos Bay, OR

South Dakota School for the Blind, Aberdeen, SD

Special School District St. Louis County, St. Louis, MO

St. Lucy Day School, Philadelphia, PA

STARS and Volunteer Services Center for the Visually Impaired, Atlanta, GA

Sweetwater Intermediate School, Sweetwater, TX

Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, Chicago, IL

The College at Brockport, Brockport, NY

The Hatlen Center for the Blind, San Pablo, CA

Timpanogos Intermediate School, Heber City, UT

University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Brattleboro, VT

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

Waukesha North High School, Waukesha, WI

West Orange County Consortium for Special Education, Huntington Beach, CA

Westchester County Public Schools, NY

Consultants

Aillaud, Cindy Lou, BA Elementary Education, Teacher/Author/Photographer, Delta Junction, AK [Everybody Plays!]

Anthony, Tanni, Ph.D., State Consultant on Visual Impairment, Colorado Department of Education, Denver, CO [Developmental Guidelines]

Amerson, Marie, M.A., Program Coordinator, Consultant, Macon, GA [Spangle Tangle]

Bailey, Ian, O.D., Optometrist, University of California, Berkeley, CA, [Optimizing Reading of Text]

Barabash, Jane, COMS, Governor Morehead Preschool, Raleigh, NC [Tactile Book Builder]

Barraga, Natalie, Ph.D., retired [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning]

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]

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]

Chen, Deborah, Ph.D., Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA [Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments, 2nd ed.]

Clarke, Kay, Ph.D., TVI & Special Education, Director of Outreach, Ohio School for the Blind, Worthington, Ohio [Getting in Step with Little Feet and Focus on Fingers]

Connolly, Terri, M.A., Early Childhood, retired from Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, Kentucky [VIPS@Home Parent University Series]

Cowart, James, M.A., retired [Games for People With Sensory Impairments]

Crawford, James Scott, COMS, CLVT, Affiliated Blind of Louisiana, 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]

Curley, Tracy Lynn, BA, KYTA, Princeville, HI [VIYM: Visually Impaired Yoga Mat]

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

Daugherty, William, Ph.D., Superintendent, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning]

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]

Ernst, Carie, B.S., Cartographer, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY [Address: Earth]

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

Feldman, Pauletta, B.A., Elementary Education, retired from Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, Kentucky [VIPS@Home Parent University Series]

Ferrell, Kay Alicyn, Ph.D., Professor, Northern Colorado University, School of Special Education, Greeley, CO [Boehm 3 Braille/Tactile and Large Print Adaptation] and [Meta-analysis, Low Vision]

Forbes, Robert, M.S., Associate Director of Center for GIS, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, [Address: Earth]

Fox, Dana, Teacher, Governor Morehead Preschool, Raleigh, NC [Tactile Book Builder]

Friesen, Joanne C., Educational Associate, Prairie Spirit School Division 206, Osler, Saskatchewan, Canada [Match-It Up Board]

Greeley, J.C., M.A., Program Coordinator, Anchor Center for Blind Children, Denver, CO [SAM: Symbols and Meaning] and [Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments, 2nd ed.]

Hagood, Linda, M.A., CCC-SLP, Seabeck, WA [SAM: Symbols and Meaning]

Hannan, Cheryl Kamei, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Special Education and Counseling, California State University, Los Angeles, CA [Wilson Reading System]

Heinze, Toni, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University, DePauw, IL [Teach Me to See]

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

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

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

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

Lieberman, Lauren, Ph.D., Professor, The College at Brockport, Brockport, NY [Games for People With Sensory Impairments and Everybody Plays!]

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

Lueck, Amanda Hall, Ph.D., Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning], [Teach Me to See], and [Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments, 2nd ed.]

Maffei, Patricia, M.A., Program Director, Hatlen Center for the Blind, San Pablo, CA, [Adventure ECC: The Hatlen Center Guide]

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

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

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

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

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

Nelson, Catherine, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT [Child-Guided Strategies: The Van Dijk Approach to Assessment]

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

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

Orel-Bixler, Deborah, O.D., Ph.D., FAAO, Berkley, CA [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning]

Page, Brett, Ed. S., NCSP, School Psychologist, Neil Avenue Special Education Center, Columbus, OH [Social Thinking Curriculum]

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

Pogrund, Rona, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Visual Impairment, Austin, TX [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning]

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]

Robinson, Cecelia, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Region 4 Educational Service Center in Houston, Houston, TX [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning]

Roman-Lantzy, Christine, Ph.D., APH CVI Project Leader [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning]

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

Rosenblum, L. Penny, Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning]

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]

Sanford, LaRhea, Ph.D., Visiting Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning] and [NewT]

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]

Smerz, Christina J., Graduate Student, Orientation and Mobility Program, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY [Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit]

Smith, Derrick W., Ed.D., Assistant Professor, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL [Nemeth Across Time] and [MathBuilders: Units 2, 3, 4 & 5]

Smith, Matthew, B.S., Cartographer, Louisville, KY

Smith, Millie J., M.Ed., Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Consultant, Farmersville, TX [SAM: Symbols and Meaning], [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning], and [TADPOLE]

Stocker, Jennifer, M.H.S., OTR/L, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY [SAM: Symbols and Meaning] and [V-File]

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

Toper, Irene, Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning]

Trief, Ellen, Ed.D., Professor, Hunter College of the City of New York, New York, NY [Tangible Symbol Cues]

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

Van Dijk, Jan, Ph.D., Haaren, The Netherlands [Child-Guided Strategies: The Van Dijk Approach to Assessment]

Vaught-Compton, Monica, M.S.S.W., Freelance Consultant (Research Assistant), Beachwood, OH [Early Childhood Projects], [Everybody Plays!], [O&M for Wheelchair Users], [Building on Patterns], and [Address: Earth]

Williams, Patricia, M.A., Executive Director, Hatlen Center for the Blind, San Pablo, CA, [Adventure ECC: The Hatlen Center Guide]

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

Field Evaluators / Expert Reviewers

Addition and Subtraction Tables

Clemmons, Sherri, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Hurst Euless Bedford ISD, Bedford, TX

Danner, Jacinda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Mat-Su School District, Palmer, AK

Gill, Trudy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Grand Prairie ISD, Grand Prairie, TX

Kennedy, Joanne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Stephenville ISD, Stephenville, TX

Leader, Patricia, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Alum Rock School District, San Jose, CA

Lee, Jeanne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Gibson-Pike-Warrick Special Education Cooperative, Oakland City, IN

Limmer, Darlene, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Toledo Public Schools, Toledo, OH

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

Muller, Jennifer, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Bucks County IU #22, Doylestown, PA

Phillips, Lois, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Okaloosa County School District, Fort Walton Beach, FL

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

Thomas, Susie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Trussville School District, Munford, AL

Address: Earth

Carlisle, Susan, Alabama School for the Blind, Talladega, AL

Kay, Julie Lee, Hadley School for the Blind, Winnetka, IL

Prince, Phyllis, Arcadia Support Center, Greenville, SC

Scott, Shari, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Building on Patterns: First Grade Level

Barclay, Liz, Vision Teacher, California School for the Blind, Fremont, CA

Croft, Jo Ellen, Vision Teacher, Pulaski County Special School District, Roland, AR

Harmon, Marilyn, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Engleburg Elementary School, Milwaukee, WI

Krusinski, Darcy, Vision Specialist, Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

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

Morgan, Lynn, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Collier County Public Schools, Naples, FL

Sitar, Debbie, Vision Outreach Coordinator, Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired, Vancouver, BC, CANADA

Trief, Ellen, Professor of Blind & Visually Impaired and Severe & Multiple Disabilities, Hunter College/City University of New York, New York, NY

Truan, Mila, Reading Specialist, Tennessee School for the Blind, Nashville, TN

Wiepert, Judy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cherry Creek School District, Denver, CO

Feel 'n Peel Sheets: Carousel of Textures

Arnold, Nancy, Science Teacher/Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Missouri School for the Blind, St. Louis, MO

Christian, Keith, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Clara Barton Elementary, Anaheim, CA

Daniel, Sandra, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Escambia County Public School, Texar Pensacola, FL

Dohogne, Shelly, Early Childhood Special Education Coordinator/Teacher, Scott County Central Schools, Sikeston, MO

Foersterling, Sandra, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Bridgeport Elementary School, Hamilton, OH

Fox, Dana, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Governor Morehead Preschool, Raleigh, NC

Hegstrom, Ann, Orientation and Mobility Specialist/Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Iowa Braille School, Adel, IA

Kavanagh, Micaela, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Cooperative Educational Service Agency 10, Chippewa Falls, WI

Kleiman, Kimberly, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Hedgesville, WV

Lambert, Kimberly, Braille Transcriber, Mansfield ISD, Mansfield, TX

McCollum, Anna, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Alabama School for the Blind, Talladega, AL

McElyea, Barbara, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Carter County Public Schools, Elizabethton, TN

Villa, Julie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Azusa Unified School District, Valleydale School, CA

Guitar Instruction -- Audio

Anonymous, Austin, TX

Blackwell, Stacy, Rehabilitation Instructor 2, Addie McBride, Jackson, MS

Frank, Todd, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Iowa Braille School, Vinton, IA

Novak, Julie, Music Educator/Music Therapist, Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, Colorado Springs, CO

Walton, Lindy, Braille Transcriber and Educator, Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison, WI

MathBuilders Unit 5 -- Measurement and Estimation

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

Briggs, Diane, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Denton ISD, Denton, TX

Cessna, Susie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, South Central Area Special Education Cooperative, Paoli, IN

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

Garrett, Michelle, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Crowley ISD, Crowley, TX

Hardwick-Goldblatt, Stephanie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Shelby County Schools, Pelham, AL

Leader, Patricia, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Alum Rock School District, San Jose, CA

Lee, Jeanne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Gibson-Pike-Warrick Special Education Cooperative, Oakland City, IN

Limmer, Darlene, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Toledo Public Schools, Toledo, OH

Moeller, Susan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Kansas State School for the Blind, Kansas City, MO

Sample, Denise, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Shelby County Schools, Pelham, AL

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

West, Karla, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Suffolk Public Schools, Suffolk, VA

Whitworth, Louise, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Jefferson City Public Schools, Jefferson City, MO

Pattern Matching Cards (for Giant Textured Beads)

Drezek, Wendy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Northwood Elementary School, San Antonio, TX

Gaynor, Julie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Baltimore County Public Schools, SE Area Pupil Services Offices, Battle Grove Elementary School, Dundalk, MD

Gurley, Donna, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Celeste Henkel Elementary, Statesville, NC

Hoyle, Barbara, Certified Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Columbia Public Schools, Derby Ridge Elementary, Columbia, MO

Lewis, Cecelia, Special Education Teacher, Mackay School District 182, Mackay, ID

Medley, Anita, Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, DeSoto County, Mississippi Schools, Olive Branch, MS

Newsome, Teri, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Leon County Schools, Tallahassee, FL

Peterson, Kirsten, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Perandoe Special Educational District, Red Bud, IL

Sehorn, Kathy, Braille Specialist, Missoula County Public Schools, Missoula, MT

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

West, Karla, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Suffolk Public Schools, Suffolk, VA

Quick Check: Index of Literary Braille Signs

Ajuwon, Paul, Assistant Professor, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO

Blome, Janie, Director of Field Services, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Boyer, Burt, Early Childhood Project Leader, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Buford, Darrell, Administrative Coordinator, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Carroll, Jan, Braille Transcription Services Coordinator, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Cole, Mike, Retired, California Department of Rehabilitation/Orientation Center for the Blind, Albany, CA

D'Andrea, Frances Mary, Instructor and BANA Representative, University of Pittsburgh and American Foundation for the Blind, Pittsburgh, PA

Evans, Will, Product Development Advisor, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Feldman, Pauletta, Retired, Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Gissoni, Fred, Product Support Specialist, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Hasty, Lucia, Private Braille/Tactile Graphics Consultant, Rocky Mountain Associates, Colorado Springs, CO

Kitchel, Elaine, Low Vision Project Leader, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Proctor, Suzanne, Teacher for the Visually Impaired and Deaf-Blind, Newport News Public Schools, Newport News, VA

Rader, Pamela, Product Support Specialist, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Reynolds, Mary Ann, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Owen County/Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, Owenton, KY

Smerz, Christina J., Youth Employment Specialist, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, Chicago, IL

Smith, Mary Ellen, Administrative Assistant, American Printing House for the Blind, KY

Tactile Food Pyramid

Battelle, Alicia, Intervention Specialist, Amelia High School, Batavia, OH

Boyd, Ann, Teacher HS CBI, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Carlsgaard, Jodi, Teacher, South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Aberdeen, SD

Etter, Joan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Clermont County Educational Service Center, Batavia, OH

Feil, Randi, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Waukesha North High School, Waukesha, WI

Horky, Joyce, Teacher, Parkview State School, Cape Girardeau, MO

Jones, Kathy, Primary 1 Teacher, Parkview State School, Cape Girardeau, MO

Limke, Mary Jo, Special Education Teacher, Marr Cook Elementary, Goshen, OH

Lyon, Sharrie, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, West Central Texas Shared Services, Sweetwater, TX

Miller, Leah, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Prince George's County Public Schools, Oxon Hill, MD

Minkler, Barbara, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Lane Regional Program for the Visually Impaired, Eugene, OR

Morris, Desiree, FACS Teacher, Missouri School for the Blind, St. Louis, MO

Purchis, Laura, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Lanier High School, San Antonio, TX

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

Sherwood, Sheila, Intervention Specialist, Clermont County Educational Service Center, Williamsburg, OH

Tactile Tangrams

Abbasi, Suzanne, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, West Orange County Consortium for Special Education, Huntington Beach, CA

Cohen, Meredith, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Bethel Park, PA

Corwin, Nancy, Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Roswell Independent School District, Roswell, NM

Crofton, Elizabeth, Director, STARS and Volunteer Services Center for the Visually Impaired, Atlanta, GA

Etter, Joan, Supplemental Services Teacher/Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Clermont County ESC, Batavia, OH

Faircloth, Michelle, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Shepherd ISD, Shepherd, TX

Gayle, Anna, Instructor, Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, Baton Rouge, LA

Haggerty, Adella, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Groton Public Schools, Mystic, CT

Horter, Faith, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Connecticut Board of Education and Services for the Blind, Windsor, CT

Govender, Jennifer, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Pickerington Local Schools, Pickerington, OH

Grover, Cindy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Caldwell School District, Caldwell, ID

Miller, Virginia, Braille Instructor, Dell Rapid Public School, Dell Rapids, SD

Rippee, Reeda, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Ozark R-6 School District, Ozark, MO

Savko, Ellen, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Timpanogos Intermediate School, Heber City, UT

Short, Christine, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Iowa Braille School, Adel, IA

Slezak, Melissa T., Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Aldine Independent School District, Houston, TX

Tecktiel, Elyce, Vision Resource Teacher, Eastview Elementary, Algonquin, IL

Tuckman, Tanya, Occupational Therapist, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, St. Augustine, FL

Touch 'em All Baseball

Brewer, Alison, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Ohio State School for the Blind, Columbus, OH

Callan, Kimberly, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Inter-Actions, Concord, NH

Calvert, Emily, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Cy-Fair ISD, Houston, TX

Geoghegan, Lis, Middle School Teacher, Arkansas School for the Blind, Little Rock, AR

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

Koch-Smith, Judy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA

Mather, Emily, Adapted Physical Educator, New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY

McLaughlin, Frances, Recreation Specialist, New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY

Muller, Diane, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, St. Lucy Day School, Philadelphia, PA

Penny, Donna, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, COMS, South Coast Education Service District, Coos Bay, OR

Satter, Elizabeth Eagan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Federal Way Public Schools, Federal Way, WA

Shaheen, Natalie, Education Program Specialist, National Federation of the Blind, Baltimore, MD

U.S. & Canada Basic Atlas

Carlisle, Susan, Social Studies Teacher, Alabama School for the Blind, Talladega, AL

Homsy, Shelley, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, NY

Johnson, Todd, Teacher, Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

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

Strauss-Schwartz, Judy, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, COMS, Westchester County Public Schools, NY

Accessible Tests Department

Deborah H. Willis

Director

Accessible Tests Department Staff

Alexander, Mark, B.A. ..........................................................Accessible Test Editor Trainee

Garrett, Dena................................................................Accessible Media Editor (part-time)

Isham, Kerry, M.A. ............................................................................Accessible Test Editor

Scott, Kristopher, M.A. .....................................................................Accessible Test Editor

Willis, Deborah, M.A. ..............................................Director, Accessible Tests Department

Zierer, Carolyn, M.A. ........................................................................Accessible Test Editor

Accessible Tests Department

(Formerly: Test Central)

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 visual impairment professionals as well as individuals with visual impairments 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:

A Test Central Council was formed; council members met in 2002 and again in 2003 at APH. Three major test developers and publishers, Harcourt, CTB McGraw-Hill, and Data Recognition Corporation were represented at this meeting. Several discussions focused on common problems involved in testing students with disabilities.

Recommendations of the Council included:

In spring 2003, the initiative called "Test Central," which started in the Research Department, became APH's new Accessible Tests Department. 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. (See the project report on "Test Ready" in the Tests and Assessments section of this document.)

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 first two training workshops on "Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments."

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.

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.

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 FY 2004. 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 FY 2005 included promoting education of issues regarding making test items truly accessible, contributing to universal design elements, networking and building important relationships, reviewing and editing tests, promoting research, participating in collaborative efforts, serving on relevant committees, and continuing professional development of Accessible Tests staff in order to be more informed and knowledgeable when working on 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 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

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 continued to be reviewed and edited by the Accessible Test Editors, and/or produced at APH in accessible media, as requested and as resources were available to provide high quality tests in accessible media and timely delivery of test materials.

For two or three decades, 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

During the initial meeting of the IQ Test Group, 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, "If appropriate guidelines are followed, 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." Nine key points and guidelines were initially formulated. These were presented as a panel session at the 2008 International AER held in Chicago. Feedback received from the audience who attended the panel presentation on intelligence testing of individuals with visual impairments was positive. 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.

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 FY 2009 and a face-to-face meeting was tentatively planned at that time 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 FY 2009, underway, on hold awaiting test publisher's permission to make accessible versions available, 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.

Presentations in FY 2008 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 FY 2008. 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.

Accessible Tests staff sponsored its first webcast in FY 2008. 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 was freely disseminated to interested parties and made available on the Accessible Tests Department's Web page.

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 FY 2008 or very early in FY 2009 via the Accessible Tests Department Web page on the APH Web site (http://www.aph.org).

FY 2008 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.

For a more detailed history and report of activities of Test Central and the Accessible Tests Department from FY 2001 through FY 2008, please see the specific Annual Report of Research and Development Activities for each of these fiscal years.

Activities and accomplishments in FY 2009 included the following: The large print edition of the Brigance Diagnostic Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills, Revised was completed and made available. The test publisher/copyright holder, upon receiving a copy, wrote: "(Copy) received today. And it looks GREAT. Congratulations on a superb job."

At our request, Dr. Carol Allman drafted a set of guidelines for developing or adapting test items for students who are blind or visually impaired, and who are also severely cognitively impaired; part of these guidelines will address a growing segment of this population who are nonreaders. The 4th edition of "Test Access: Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments..." was drafted and the new section on alternate assessments developed by Dr. Carol Allman was incorporated into the recent edition of this document; copies were produced and the document was made available on the APH Web site.

Test and Assessment Project Leader, Barbara Henderson, continued to work with Dr. Virginia Posey, Sr. Research Scientist, CASAS, toward publication of an article about their research collaboration which involved a test in the "Life and Work" series that was transcribed into braille and field-tested with 65 adults and teenagers who met the criteria.

Barb and Test Editor Kerry Isham consulted with Jared Wright and West VA on their alternate assessments; Jared visited APH for two days to work with Accessible Tests staff. Barb consulted on South Carolina's Alternate Assessments; she also consulted on Michigan's and Utah's computer-based testing development projects. In addition, Barb served as a member of a KY Bias Review Committee. This is the first time a member of Accessible Tests has served on a Bias Review Committee for the development of alternate assessment items.

Students in the visual impairment program at Middle Tennessee University visited APH in June 2009. Among other departments, Accessible Tests was asked to present an overview of test-related products and services available from APH. Students were given information about the Accessible Tests Department Web page, other online resources, products available and upcoming product releases.

In response to Advisory Committee members' and IQ Group members' recommendations to help educate and become more involved with the National Association of School Psychologists, Barbara Henderson and consultant Dr. Lynne Jaffe presented a session entitled, "Issues in Translating Tests into Braille: Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement-Braille Adaptation," at the 2009 NASP Conference held in Boston. While there, Barbara and Lynne attended a meeting and banquet of the Board of Directors of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation. At the dinner, Barbara had the honor of meeting Dr. Richard Woodcock and Kevin McGrew, two of the WJ III authors, as well as Dr. Fred Schrank who is the Director of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation (WMF).

A letter of appreciation for the extensive and historic work accomplished by Dr. Richard Woodcock, Dr. Fred Schrank, and a number of WMF staff to develop/adapt various components of the WJ III ACH: Braille Adaptation was sent to the WMF Board of Trustees c/o Dr. Fred Schrank. (See the project report on Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement: Braille Adaptation in the Tests and Assessments segment of this document.)

Consultant Dr. Lynne Jaffe and Debbie Willis provided presentations at the 2009 Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Seattle, Washington. Lynne presented a conference session on issues in brailling standardized tests; and Debbie presented a conference session on guidelines for assessing the intellectual/cognitive abilities of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

For professional development, Debbie was able to participate in a workshop on "Training School Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists to Work with Children with Visual Impairments" provided by Perkins Training Center and the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Debbie also had the opportunity to participate in the 2009 Council of Chief State School Officers Conference held in Los Angeles. Major topics presented included common state standards to be developed and voluntarily adopted, a potential move toward increased computer-based testing, alternate assessments, English language learners, and a variety of research results that impact instruction, assessment, and accessibility.

Barbara met with Frank Ferguson, retired President of Curriculum Associates, at the NASP convention. Their discussion involved updates on the Brigance products planned for fall 2009. In addition, Curriculum Associates is the publisher of the Test Ready® Test Prep Series. (See the project reports on Brigance ® Diagnostic Inventory of Early Development II: Large Print Edition and Tactile Edition and the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement: Braille Adaptation in the Tests and Assessments section of this document.)

While in Boston, Barbara hosted a luncheon meeting that had been planned by Debbie Willis, with Massachusetts Ex Officio Trustees. Topics of discussion were the Federal Quota Program, Assessment Needs, and the NIMAC and APH file repository, and how to utilize the NIMAS files for students with visual impairments. Barbara was invited to visit the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, MA, which she did the day following the luncheon meeting.

Barbara's participation as a panelist for the 3-year study on "Best Practices in Narration of Digital Talking Books" helped lead to publication of guidelines in FY 2009. Effective Practices for Description of Science Content within Digital Talking Books can be found at http://ncam.wgbh.org/publications/stemdx/index.html APH, NFB, RFB & D, and NCAM partnered to do the background research funded by a National Science Foundation grant. In FY 2010, APH will be the site of a training workshop on use of these guidelines.

In FY 2008, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) developed a Test Committee that has been meeting via teleconference. Dena Garrett continues to serve as APH's representative on this committee. The committee charge from Judy Dixon is to review existing guidelines and develop new guidelines that can be used by BANA. Existing guidelines reviewed and considered include APH's Guidelines for Making Tests Accessible. BANA members have begun to draft their document titled, Guidelines for Braille Test Production.

Accessible Tests staff reviewed parts of BANA's drafted guidelines for designing and producing tactile graphics and provided feedback as requested. These documents will be an invaluable tool in setting up guidelines and standards and providing samples for tactile graphics designers across the country. The guidelines, standards, and samples will also assist with training new tactile graphics designers and can be used as a training tool to help other groups such as test developers/publishers understand design and readability concerns with regard to tactile graphics.

The workshop conducted at APH in August 2008 was recorded and edited by Maria Delgado and Michael Sell. Thanks to the efforts and expertise of Web master Malcolm Turner, the presentations, Power Points, resources, and guidelines were made available in FY 2009 as an archive Webcast on the APH Web site.

Consultant Carol Allman provided a 2-day workshop on "Test Access for Students with Visual Impairments" which was planned and coordinated by Debbie Willis for 24 Questar staff in Brewster, NY. Debbie and Kerry Isham prepared 25 sets of training materials which included the new 4th edition of Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments, sets of sample test items in regular print, large print, braille with tactile graphics, and audio formats, the Power Point presentation, lists of resources, and more. Questar staff expressed appreciation and a strong degree of satisfaction with the instruction and materials they received.

As a member of our IQ Test Group, Dr. Carol Evans presented a paper (in FY 2009) at the 2008 Utah AER on the guidelines developed by the group. In FY 2009, the 2008 International AER audience input as well as the 2008 Utah AER audience input was used to revise the next draft of the position paper which includes ten guidelines at this time. As of July 2009, members of the IQ Test Group met a total of 22 times via teleconference at which point a final draft in need of expert field review was prepared. In FY 2010, the final paper will be reviewed by about a half-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.

During the 2008 APH Annual Meeting (in FY 2009), Test Editor Kerry Isham provided a poster session on "150 Fun Facts." Test Editor Michael Sell participated in the National Braille Association Conference held in Lexington, KY in late October to early November 2008 (FY 2009) to reinforce his braille skills and knowledge, and to learn more about format issues and the Nemeth Code.

Debbie Willis assisted with an electronic blackboard course offered to National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairment (NCLVI) fellows on alternate assessments. Debbie also worked with Educational Testing Service staff to develop a guidebook on making test items accessible for students who are blind or visually impaired; this guidebook is for internal use by ETS staff. Debbie continues to participate as a member of CTB McGraw-Hill's team to develop their guidelines for making test items accessible to students with visual impairments. The results of an exercise in which team members ranked the impact of various factors on the accessibility of test items for students with visual impairments, the APH document on Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments: A Guide for Test Publishers, Test Developers, and State Assessment Personnel was ranked number one.

In FY 2009, Test Editors Kris Scott and Kerry Isham reviewed and edited 800+ state assessments, alternate assessments, commercially available tests, local or district assessments, reference sheets, study guides and manuals. Production, Contract Administration, and Accessible Tests staff are working together to develop a test-tracking database to ensure all tests and related components are completed in a timely manner.

Activities in FY 2009 included requesting permissions and holding teleconference discussions on making components of KeyMath 3, KTEA-II, and Boehm 3 available in accessible media. If permission is received on one or more of these, Accessible Tests staff plans to work on these projects in FY 2010.

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 FY 2009. Design, development, and field testing of various tactile and large print answer documents were considered and discussed in FY 2009. It was anticipated that samples would be designed and developed, and field tested in FY 2010. In FY 2010, Barbara Henderson was transferred to APH's Research Department. For an up-to-date report on this project, go to the Research Department's Tests and Assessments section of this document to find out the status of the project on "Accessible Answer Documents."

Work during FY 2010

There were a few major staff changes in the Accessible Tests Department during early to mid-FY 2010. Barbara Henderson was transferred to the Research Department where she continues to serve as APH's Test and Assessment Project Leader and is now supervised by Ralph Bartley, Director of Research. This change was implemented so that the primary focus of Accessible Tests would be on contract work rather than development of test-related products to be included in the APH products catalog.

Additional changes included filling open positions in the department. A new Test Editor, Carolyn Zierer, joined Accessible Tests staff in late November 2009. Carolyn has an M.A. in Elementary Education from Bellarmine College and also attended Spalding University's School Administration program. Her background and experience includes 27 years of experience and expertise in regular education as a teacher of students in grades 1-6 as well as having been a principal and assistant principal in the Archdiocese of Louisville (Kentucky). Carolyn is advancing her professional development by learning braille and is working toward her NLS literary braille certification. Mark Alexander joined Accessible Tests in June 2010 as our new Test Editor Trainee. Mark has a B.A. in Foreign Languages and International Economics. Prior to joining Accessible Tests, Mark was a transcriber in APH's braille transcription area since 2007; he received his certification in literary braille from the National Library Service (NLS) in March of 2008. Mark is advancing his professional development by studying braille formats and is working towards certification in Braille Formats.

The Woodcock-Johnson (WJ) III Tests of Achievement: Braille Adaptation was made available early in FY 2010. Barbara Henderson was the project leader who worked closely with consultant Lynne Jaffe, Ph.D., and members of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation to adapt the original WJ III Tests of Achievement for the assessment of individuals who read braille. For this project report, go to the Research Department's Tests and Assessments portion of this document and see write up on "Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement: Braille Adaptation."

The first "Workshop on Administering and Scoring the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement for Braille Readers" was held in Phoenix, Arizona on December 4-5, 2009. This event was offered via APH's National Instructional Partnership (NIP) program in collaboration with Desert Valleys Regional Cooperative Education Center. The 22 attendees were from several states and included teachers of visually impaired students, school psychologists, rehabilitation counselors, and college professors. Debbie Willis planned the workshop with input from Janie Blome and Barbara Henderson and valuable assistance from various APH staff. Janie and Barbara attended and facilitated the workshop; Dr. Lynne Jaffe was the instructor. Several additional NIP events on this product were conducted in FY 2010 via Janie Blome, Director of Advisory Services Department, with instruction provided by Dr. Lynne Jaffe.

Activities in FY 2010 continued to include requesting permission and holding teleconferences to make components of KeyMath 3, KTEA II, and Boehm 3 available in accessible media. For a current status report on these projects, go to the Research Department's Tests and Assessments portion of this document.

In April 2010, Bryan Gould from the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) provided an interactive workshop for 20 APH staff and Cindy Greer who attended as our guest from the Kentucky Department of Assessments and Accountability. The 20 APH staff in attendance represented our Accessible Textbooks, Advisory Services, Research and Accessible Tests Departments, our Recording Studio and NIMAC staff. Bryan provided instruction on "Effective Practices for Description of Science Content within Digital Talking Books" and gave various examples of diagrams and illustrations to review and describe the graphics-based displays. Afterwards, Bryan was given an exciting tour of APH by Becky Snider. He then met with Research Department programmers for a demonstration and discussion of some of our new technology products that make printed text accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired. It was an excellent day or partnering with NCAM in order to learn and to share some of our expertise and experiences. For access to NCAM's 90-minute webinar on these new guidelines, visit: ncam.wgbh.org/experience_learn/educational_media/stemdx

During the day, Bryan expressed interest in creating accessible DVDs; he was given a copy of APH's DVD on "Reclaiming Independence: Staying in the Driver's Seat When You No Longer Drive" that is totally accessible to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. NCAM was recently awarded a 5-year $5 million grant to transform production of accessible images.

In July 2010, 28 people from within and outside of APH participated in a 2-day workshop on making test items accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired. Consultant Carol Allman provided background information on day 1. On day 2, a variety of APH experts presented test-related issues and concerns in the areas of large print, tactile graphics, and computer-based/online testing. Various APH products were displayed, new electronic devices were demonstrated, and rich resources were provided to participants.

Debbie Willis served as a member of the National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects (NARAP) Principles Committee; this committee was made up of a group of experts with broad knowledge about psychometrics, state testing, reading research, and disabilities. The principles and guidelines that resulted were published in October 2009 in a document titled Accessibility Principles for Reading Assessments. The document is available on the World Wide Web at www.narap.info. These reading assessment projects were supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Center for Special Education Research.

Some guidelines to indicate to braille readers the amount of space available for responses to open-ended questions were drafted. Dena Garrett shared these with Diane Spence who chairs the Braille Authority of North America's (BANA) Test Committee. These guidelines or an edited version of them will be included in the next (5th ed.) of Making Tests Accessible: Guidelines for Test Publishers and State Assessment Personnel and will be considered for inclusion in BANA's Test Guidelines under development.

Kerry Isham and Debbie Willis designed and developed a new brochure on "APH Production Processes: Tests in Braille and Tactile Graphics." The brochure outlines the steps involved in producing a test in braille with tactile graphics, an approximate timeline for completion of such work, and lists some of the factors that affect the braille production timeline and lists ways to help the accessible media production schedule run smoothly.

In June 2010, Carolyn Zierer and Debbie Willis attended the 2010 Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Conference on student assessment that was held in Detroit, Michigan. The focus of the conference was on promising directions in the area of assessment in addition to examining policy, best practices, and introducing some of the research taking place in the area of assessment. Many of the presentations and much of the discussion focused on the Common Core Standards, the move toward computer-based and online testing in order to provide immediate results to teachers, administrators, parents and students, full inclusion of students with disabilities as well as English language learners, alternate assessments, and the use of standardized formative assessments along with summative assessments in order to determine overall student progress.

Debbie Willis met with APH's Vice President of Public Affairs and Director of Public Affairs, Gary Mudd and Nancy Lacewell, respectively, to discuss some of the issues and concerns regarding access to test items for students who are blind and visually impaired. Nancy and Gary expressed great interest in this area, and Nancy scheduled a follow up meeting in order to continue these discussions with Bob Brasher, Ralph Bartley, and Barbara Henderson. Nancy captured the essence of this meeting and assigned various follow up tasks to members of this Test Access group. From Debbie Willis's perspective, goals of the group include discussion of the following:

The Test Access Group developed a very brief survey with accompanying cover letter, and e-mailed these to all Ex Officio Trustees (EoTs). The cover letter requests that EoTs complete the survey and/or share the survey/cover letter with others in each of their states who are involved in assessment of students who are blind and visually impaired. The key question on the survey asks, "If you could tell decision makers five of the most important issues related to tests/assessments for students who are blind and visually impaired, what would they be? As of September 3, 2010, a total of 45 completed responses have been received; results are being compiled and categorized for a follow up meeting that is scheduled September 9.

On August 23, APH was invited and accepted invitation to participate in the first Pearson Accessibility and Innovation Conference to be held during the last week of September 2010 at Pearson's Corporate Headquarters in New Jersey. The focus of this conference is on access to instruction and assessment materials by students with disabilities. Debbie Willis and Michael McCarty (APH Communications Group Social Media Coordinator) plan to present and discuss accessibility issues, network with the 200 conference participants, and provide a wide variety of handouts and product information and demonstrations at the APH exhibit.

A group of expert reviewers was identified and contacted regarding their interest and availability to review the near final draft of a position paper on intelligence testing of individuals who are blind and visually impaired. The expert review process will be completed by the end of this fiscal year. In FY 2011, this position paper will be made available via the Accessible Tests Department webpage on the APH website, as a handout at presentations, and will be provided to interested parties upon request.

In FY 2010, Accessible Tests staff reviewed and edited approximately 935 unique tests for grades 2- 12 and adults. These tests were then transcribed/proofread as needed and produced in accessible media, primarily braille with tactile graphics, and shipped to customers. Some of the major test publishers also contracted with APH/Accessible Tests to conduct pre-reviews of select future tests as well as thousands of discrete test items.

Articles and announcements in the APH News included important "recruitment" notices in order to assist with some valuable research studies and workshop endeavors. Such notices were provided regarding research into the perspectives of 10-14 year old students with visual impairments on play and social participation as components of occupational therapy; a classroom collaboration survey for blind and visually impaired students who attended college courses in the past 5 years; and an upcoming training opportunity in March 2011 by Dr. Joan Chase for licensed or certified psychologists on specialized materials for assessing students who are blind.

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.

Work planned for FY 2011

Accessible Tests staff will continue to work closely with test publishers and state assessment personnel, APH's Contract Administration, Production, Research, Accessible Textbooks, Field Services, Resource 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 local/district 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.

Members of Accessible Tests will continue to participate on Bias Review Committees and as members of other panels and committees as requested and as time allows. A fifth edition of Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments will be drafted, which will include a new section of guidelines on English Language Learners who are visually impaired. The position paper and guidelines on intelligence testing of individuals who are visually impaired will be revised and finalized based on feedback from expert reviewers, and made available.

The Test Access Survey results will be prepared, finalized, and posted on the Accessible Tests Department webpage. Survey results will be discussed with APH staff, Advisory Committee members and others as needed, and ways of addressing current test-related concerns and issues will be determined.

Accessible Tests staff will offer leadership through services, collaborative efforts and partnerships, and product-related research and development. One or more APH and/or "on the road" training workshops in connection with other conferences will be offered, presentations provided and/or webcasts on test topics and issues will be developed and made available on the APH Web site; 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 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 Webpage. Test guidelines will be discussed with members of BANA, and efforts will be made to encourage BANA to adopt test and tactile graphics guidelines so that tactile versions of tests and assessments and needed graphics will be produced according to adopted rules and guidelines.

Research Department

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

Terrie (Mary T.) 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 2010

APH Adult Life products and their applications to specific populations were presented by the Adult Life Project Leader at the following venues: Southeastern Orientation and Mobility Association Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina, November, 2009; Michigan Association for the Education of the Blind and Visually Impaired Conference, Lavonia, Michigan, April, 2010; and Association for the Education and the Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired International Conference, July, 2010. Information about specific products under development is provided in the remainder of the Adult Life section of this report.

Work planned for FY 2011

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

(Discontinued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

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

Background

During development of and subsequent presentations of the EZ Track Financial Record Keeper, Catalog No. 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, Catalog No. 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:

http://www.aph.org/advisory/2003adv11.html

Information about the Braille DateBook can be found at:

http://www.aph.org/advisory/2003adv12.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, the assistance of Gissoni, Technical Support Specialist at APH, was sought and obtained. The project leader and Gissoni discussed solutions and explored 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.

During FY 2008, Gissoni and Terlau discussed difficulties inherent in attempting to create a record book that would work for most people. They considered the development of a guidebook 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.

Ongoing examination of layout issues during FY 2009 suggested the value of a software solution in addition to or in lieu of a hard-copy braille solution.

Work during FY 2010

Complexity of issues related to a hard-copy braille product, relatively lower priority of this project compared to others, and appropriate usage of software development resources were considered. The decision was made to discontinue development of this product at this time. This product, or components of it, may be developed in the future.

Work planned for FY 2011

No work on this project is anticipated because development has been temporarily discontinued.

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

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Diane Bender, Project Author/Consultant
Barbara Henderson, Project Advisor
Ann Travis, Research 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 resulted in the finalization of four areas to be included in the Functional Assessment: Food Management, Clothing Management, Personal Management, and Home Management.

Based on this plan, Bender submitted revised materials for all four levels of each of these modules. Item editing/revision and creation of additional items by Bender and the project leader have continued.

During FY 2009, the project leader reviewed all items at all levels in all modules of the system. She prepared suggested item changes throughout all modules and levels of the assessment to support more standardization across assessors and to equalize weights given to similar items across module levels. She spoke with Bender about these issues; provided general descriptions of and rationale for item changes; and prepared specific item change suggestions in spreadsheet format. Spreadsheets with specific item content changes were sent to Bender for consideration and review.

Work during FY 2010

During monthly telephone conferences, Bender and the project leader reviewed changes to support test-retest and inter-rater reliability, redesigned the scoring system to enhance psychometric properties of the test, determined final rewrites of items in the Clothing Management and Food Management sections of the test, wrote scoring scenarios and item explanations for these sections, and developed plans for content of the Home Management and Self Management sections.

Work planned for FY 2011

Item content, item explanations, and scoring scenarios will be completed for the Home Management and Self Management sections. The test manual and answer booklets will be prepared for field testing, field testers will be located, and field testing will be initiated.

Guitar Instruction -- Audio

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide guitar instruction to children and adults who require nonvisual learning tools

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Assistant
John Spiegelhalter, Business Manager

Background

Guitar Instruction -- Audio is an auditory guitar instruction program with which students, who know nothing about playing guitar, can learn basic guitar scales, chords, strums, and techniques. The program is provided on CDs that can play in a standard CD player as well as on a computer. Because the program is a self-study, all information needed by learners is provided on the CDs. Lessons were developed by alumni of the innovative Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. TalkingTabs, the company responsible for developing the product, approached APH with the request that APH consider carrying the product as the exclusive distributer. After the project leader, who is an amateur guitar player, evaluated the product, it was field tested by professional music instructors and professional guitar players with visual impairments. Results of these field reviews supported the value of the product and its appropriateness for teaching guitar to persons who cannot learn visually.

The product consists of 10 lessons, 16 hours, recorded on a series of CDs that can be played in a CD player or on a computer. CDs are stored in plastic sleeves, which are bound into a storage box. The product includes these instructional CDs and a pack of practice song CDs.

Work during FY 2010

TalkingTabs was approved as a product to be carried by APH by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) in November of 2009 and was evaluated in-house by the project leader at this time.

Field testing was completed during FY 2010 as follows. All Ex Officio Trustees of APH were sent e-mails describing this product and asking for recommendations of guitar/music teachers or skilled guitar players who could review the materials and complete the evaluation form. Individuals recommended were contacted, and a pool of interested participants was developed. Eight potential testers were selected on the basis of their familiarity with guitar playing/teaching and their overall music background. Attention was also paid to demographic variability. On March 2, 2010, materials and evaluation forms were sent to eight reviewers from the following states: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Five reviewers were female and three were male. The due date for reviews to be returned was set as April 7.

As of May 7, 2010, five evaluations were returned from three male and two female evaluators from the following states: Colorado, Iowa, Mississippi, Texas, and Wisconsin. Two female evaluators taught music to students with visual impairments in school settings; one male taught non-musical subjects to students from a state school for the blind; and the remaining two males worked with adults with visual impairments in the capacity of a rehabilitation counselor and a vision rehabilitation teacher. The latter two males played guitar professionally in bands.

Field test results indicated that the program was very strong, but that more practice songs should be included. TalkingTabs representatives agreed to add five more practice songs to the package.

Contract arrangements were completed between APH and the TalkingTabs company. The product was made available for sale during August 2010.

Work planned for FY 2011

Because Guitar Instruction -- Audio has been made available for sale, no further development is anticipated.

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

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Lisa-Anne Mowerson, Project Author/Consultant
Erica Rucker, Research 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. Because project leaders' time was required for other projects, essential work on the Labeling Book and Tool Kit prototype was postponed during FY 2008.

During FY 2009, the project leader rewrote sections of the book to reflect advances in auditory labeling systems and to include new MagneTacher labels available for sale from APH. Information about APH's MagneTacher labels can be found at: http://www.aph.org/advisory/2008adv01.html#P3

Work during FY 2010

The project leader and consultant completed revisions to the final third of the book, and a draft was prepared for field review. Field reviewers were selected and the field review process was begun.

Work planned for FY 2011

Materials will be edited based on field review results, and final text will be made available for layout with graphic design. Braille translation and creation of HTML and DTB file production will be completed. It is anticipated that the product will be produced and made available for sale in FY 2011.

MiniBook

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, 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 include 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 series.

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; and 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.

During FY 2008, field test responses were collected from 29 of the 32 initial testers; two infrequent slate users and one frequent slate user did not complete and return assessment materials. Seven frequent slate users evaluated the binder first and then the notebook, and eight frequent slate users evaluated the notebook first and then the binder. Eight infrequent slate users evaluated the binder first and then the notebook, and six infrequent slate users evaluated the notebook first and then the binder. Although group size was too small to allow for application of rigorous analyses, comparisons of average group scores on evaluation and performance questions suggests that the frequency of slate use and the order in which components were tested were not related to testers' evaluations of the components.

Testers expressed strong preferences for a slate with notches in the top rectangle of the cell to help guide the stylus into appropriate dot positions; and a significant number experienced pain or discomfort when using the flat styli. As a result of this feedback, changes to the slate mold were initiated, and substitution of a saddle stylus for the APH flat stylus was made.

During FY 2009, the initial slate prototype was redesigned, field testing on the redesigned slate was conducted, and additional slate design changes were made. After the initial design changes (adding dot indentations to the top cell rectangles) were made, slates made by the Rapid Prototype manufacturing method were received, in-house expert review was undertaken, recommendations for additional changes were received, and a new set of slates were obtained meeting the new design specifications.

Six of the original MiniBook field reviewers, selected according to their ability to articulate their responses and balanced for their strong opinions for or against slate design changes, tested new prototype slates for 2 weeks and returned evaluation forms. Based on these evaluations, one more change was made to slate drawings, and one more rapid prototype was created. After the final rapid prototype was created, mold drawings and bid requests for the slate mold were sent to three vendors.

Continued analysis of field test data indicated that testers found the binder rings to be very difficult to open and close. The 2-ring set used in the binder prototype did not have an opener tab; and the smallest ring set with this feature was approximately one half inch longer than the prototype ring set. Twenty-eight of the original 29 field testers were asked by e-mail if they would trade up a half-inch in binder size in exchange for rings that could be opened easily; one tester did not have an e-mail address and was omitted from this sample. Six messages were returned as undeliverable, and four additional e-mails received no response.

Sixteen testers expressed a strong preference for rings that opened more easily and indicated that they could tolerate a half-inch increase in binder size to obtain this feature. One respondent had no preference, and another wanted both binders to be offered. Based on these results, the slightly larger binder with the ring-opener tab was selected for use in the final product.

Field testers expressed a variety of preferences about components that should be included in the final MiniBook kit. In the absence of consensus on this point, it was decided that components would be sold separately so that consumers and professionals could select the specific components that would work well for them. Final components will include: the redesigned MiniSlate and saddle stylus; the MiniBinder; filler paper; and a pack of two MiniSpirals.

Work during FY 2010

Two bids for producing the slate mold were received. Inquiries were sent to the third vendor who did not respond.

Work planned for FY 2011

As the third vendor has not sent a bid after additional inquiries, the selection of vendor will be made from the two who submitted bids. Production binders with the new ring set will be made, paper will be cut and drilled, and spiral notebooks will be made. All parts of the series (binder and filler paper, slate and stylus, and notebooks) will be sold separately so consumers can purchase the combination to meet their unique needs. It is anticipated that the MiniBook will be produced and become available for sale in FY 2011.

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

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Darleen Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

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 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 onscreen grid views; and the software logo.

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, was released in December 2005. This version:

Improvements and upgrades to the program made during FY 2007 were released in two program up-dates, Version 1.2 in February 2007 and Version 1.2x in August 2007. Changes made in these two releases included:

During FY 2009, program updates changed the method used to identify system folders. The program was also tested for use with 64-bit versions of XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Work during FY 2010

In January of 2010, version 1.4 was released. This version included the following changes:

Work planned for FY 2011

Upgrades and improvements will continue to be made based on feedback from the field.

Nonverbal Communication Curriculum

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Karen McCulloh, Author/Consultant

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 submitted materials to be used to select and prepare students for the instructional course. Scheduling complications 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, background, and additional material for Session 1.

Work during FY 2010

McCulloh resigned from her full time position and is devoting work time to this project. She completed preliminary materials and submitted all curricular materials for the first three group sessions. The project leader edited this material.

Work planned for FY 2011

It is anticipated that McCulloh will submit materials for approximately 12 sessions and the project leader will edit these materials.

O&M for Families

(Completed)

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

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Fabiana Perla, COMS, Author/Consultant
Betsy O'Donnell, COMS, Author/Consultant
Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader
John Hedges, Programmer
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant

Background

In order for a student with visual impairments to integrate orientation and mobility skills into his/her daily life, the student must use these skills in a variety of home and school settings. The more information families have about their child's orientation and mobility needs and about the skills that their child is currently learning, the more they can encourage and support their child's use of orientation and mobility skills at home and in the community. Orientation and mobility instructors attempt to establish and maintain communication with their students' families. However, large caseloads 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 can benefit from an easy-to-use, standardized method of communication about a child's orientation and mobility skills and needs.

Fabiana Perla and Betsy O'Donnell, 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 worked with the Adult Life Project Leader to develop a software package on CD-ROM that guides an orientation and mobility instructor through the process of creating such a book for a particular student and her/his family.

The software package 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.

During FY 2007, necessary program changes were outlined, the programmer revised the program, and additional changes were suggested by in-house staff.

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 were addressed by in-house testers; the programmer made changes to meet these specifications.

During FY 2009, the software was revised to meet in-house review specifications. It was shared with consultants who offered additional changes. Approximately 28 O&M instructors used and reviewed the software and suggested additional changes in an online e-mail list forum. Further changes were suggested by consultants as they reviewed pertinent sections of the program. The program was completely rewritten to present a more comprehensive user interface and to handle pull down menus in a more responsive manner.

Work during FY 2010

The rewritten software was tested rigorously in-house for 4 months and then tested by 23 field testers for 2 months. After changes resulting from this testing were made to the software, it was released for sale in July 2010. Information about this product can be found at:

http://www.aph.org/advisory/2010adv08.html#P4

Work planned for FY 2011

Because the product was made available for sale, no future development is planned at this time.

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

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

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.

A database was developed to record, store, and manipulate information 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 and the project leader wrote, edited, and rewrote all chapters of the book based on information obtained from the parent sample. Photos were obtained from Ingber for inclusion in the book.

During FY 2009, all chapters were reviewed/edited for consistency of style. Additional photos were sought from all participating parents; and photos were received from seven parents. Permissions for use of photos were sent to and received back from all parents who sent photos.

Work during FY 2010

The Resources chapter was completed and reviewed, and the book was made ready for field review. Six expert field reviewers were located.

Work planned for FY 2011

Six expert reviewers will offer suggestions for revision to ensure that the book reflects current promising practices in the parenting field and viable parenting practices for parents with visual impairments. It is anticipated that revisions will be completed and the product will become available for sale in FY 2011.

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

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Monica Vaught-Compton, 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 2010

The project leader's schedule constraints precluded further development of the product prototype during FY 2008 through FY 2010.

Work planned for FY 2011

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 guidebook 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

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, 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, Dr. Rosen participated in a symposium 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 included photos and detailed descriptions of all techniques covered by the symposium. Additional written materials provided a quick review of all techniques. Videos and electronic photos provided both demonstrations of techniques and assessments in which students selected the video that best answered a specific technical question.

Rosanne Hoffmann viewed videos and read all written materials. Written materials were well-prepared. They required correction of only a few keyboarding errors in order to be submitted for expert review.

As a result of expert review, Rosen re-shot a number of photos that were "blurry," and she submitted replacement pages and files to APH. Before FY 2008, cross-platform video materials originally developed with Macintosh® hardware presented a persistent problem when running on a PC: the cutting off of text in scroll boxes. This problem was solved by reprogramming by Rosen.

Five certified O&M specialists (three university O&M faculty members and 2 advanced graduate students) were selected as expert reviewers. Complete Step by Step video and print materials and a questionnaire were sent to them.

During FY 2009, all expert reviews were received, data were analyzed, and multiple, extensive changes to written materials were made based on reviewer suggestions. APH's in-house graphic designer prepared a color scheme and layout to be used throughout all modules of the printed materials. Based on this layout, design of the first Study Guide module, Human Guide, was completed. It was found that video scenarios that challenge the student to select the correct technique from a series did not operate properly; this problem was corrected by reprogramming by Rosen and her associates.

Work during FY 2010

Rosen provided a corrected set of video DVDs to serve as masters for the videos. Layout has been completed for six of the eight Study Guide modules.

Work planned for FY 2011

Layout for the remaining two Study Guide and eight Review Guide modules will be completed. These materials will be produced as HTML and text files for inclusion on CDs in the volumes, and will be printed in book form. DVDs will be copied, and the product will be made available for sale.

Talking PC Maps

(New)

Purpose

To teach street layout and location literacy with an interactive, PC-based, talking and on-screen United States map in which specific key strokes move students virtually along streets and past points of interest

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Ann Travis, Project Assistant

Background

In 2007, Mike May, CEO of the Sendero Group (a company noted for its development of accessible GPS systems for persons with visual impairments), proposed that APH develop, in collaboration with Sendero, a map exploration tool to be run on the BrailleNote® note taker made by Humanware Inc., and possibly later on a PC. The APH Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) decided to pursue the development of such a product for the PC.

Ongoing dialog was undertaken among all interested parties, leading to the following conclusions about product development: first, working jointly to provide a GPS solution for the BrailleMobile Manager and a maps solution for the PC was not feasible because technical differences between operating systems precluded parallel and collaborative development; second, Talking PC Maps must present street data by itself to teach street layout and must also present combined street and Point of Interest data to teach the integration of landmarks, location awareness, and street layout; and third, Talking PC Maps must perform in accordance with a stipulated set of essential features, some of which will be stipulated as proprietary to the APH PC program.

During FY 2009, the project leader specified an overall program description; a set of essential features (some of which are proprietary to APH's PC software); a set of directions for describing intersection shapes and layouts; and a set of onscreen color combinations to be used to depict pertinent features.

Work during FY 2010

During FY 2010, Sendero released a map product for the PC that included many of the basic, nonproprietary features of the APH product. In a new product proposal, Sendero indicated that more advanced and proprietary features could be easily added to their existing software to produce the product of interest to APH. In a contract between APH and Sendero, arrangements for purchasing the finished software product from Sendero were made.

Work planned for FY 2011

The first version of the software is expected to be released for sale during FY 2011, with the final version to be released for sale during FY 2012.

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

Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau, Project Leader
Karen Wolffe, Project Author/Consultant
Ann Travis, Project Assistant

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 did 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 Karen Wolffe, 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 Wolffe regarding revision issues. Wolffe wanted to update and provide major expansion of the Transition Tote System. During FY 2007, Wolffe conducted extensive exploration of additional funding sources and potential collaboration partners.

During FY 2008, Wolffe indicated that additional funding sources had not emerged for this project. She proposed a series of revisions which were approved by the project leader. She agreed to write the revision material at no cost to APH.

During FY 2009, Wolfe completed revisions on the Student Manual and began revisions on the Facilitator's guide, formerly called Information Supplement. A new backpack design has been developed to replace the tote bag. Drawings were sent to three vendors, and one sample was received.

Work during FY 2010

Wolffe completed the draft of the Facilitator's Guide. Terlau edited the Student Manual and Facilitator's Guide, making sure that changes and terminology were consistently applied to both books. Research assistants also edited these books. Resource sections for both books were revised and verified.

Two other vendors sent samples of the backpack, a preferred sample was selected, and the associated vendor produced additional samples to match changes in specifications. The selected vendor will produce the backpack for APH.

Work planned for FY 2011

The backpack will be produced and made available for sale as a catalog item and as part of the revised Transition Tote System. The revised Student Manual and Facilitator's Guide will be submitted for graphic design, braille, and recording; production of new materials will begin.

Travel Tales

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Terrie (Mary T.) 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 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 2010

Project leaders' full schedules did not allow for work on Travel Tales during FY 2009 and FY 2010.

Work planned for FY 2011

As the project leader and consultant's 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, earrings, necklaces, and ankle bracelets for personal use, gifts, and to support fundraising efforts

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
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 2010

Sorting trays and threading bolsters were created. A small but large enough quantity of rapid reproduction beads were manufactured for field testing. Prototype kits were assembled.

Work planned for FY 2011

Field testing will take place.

Braille

Alphabetic Braille and Contracted (ABC) Braille Study

(Continuing through 2011)

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. Since that time, the Research Team has been conducting an analysis of data and writing and submitting articles for dissemination of the research information.

Background

The ABC Braille Study was 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 sought to develop guidance for teachers of students with visual impairments with regard to initial instruction in braille, it also provided the first in-depth look at how young blind children were learning to read, write, and spell. This study was the first time a consortium of eight universities, two organizations, and a special school for the blind, had 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 to the end of the 5 years, with the fourth grade being the highest grade level achieved by students in the study. 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 were included where it was 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.

Work during FY 2010

During the 2009-2010 school year researchers continued to work in their various writing groups. A publication of Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness in October/November 2009 was presented to participants at the APH Annual Meeting as it contained the following articles on the ABC Braille Study:

In addition, a presentation at the 2009 Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference highlighted the study. Since then, two other articles have been submitted for publication and dissemination of research results.

Work planned for FY 2011

During the 2010-2011 school year, researchers will continue to work in their various writing groups. Writing teams will continue 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 four to five teams at work. The writing team functions with the assistance of APH Staff members, Eleanor Pester and Ralph Bartley. We would like to express our appreciation for John Aicken; the team will miss his financial and other guidance.

Current members of the writing team are as follows

ABC Braille Cumulative Contributor List through 2007

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.

Braille Buzz

(New)

Purpose

To provide beginning braille readers and writers with an engaging way of developing pre-braille, braille, and phonics skills through a series of sequential games that provide stimulating auditory and tactual feedback

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader
Burt Boyer, Co-Project Leader
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Roger Smith, Programmer

Background

This product came about through a unique partnership between Diane Brauner, a certified orientation and mobility specialist; Dr. Gary Bishop, a professor in the computer sciences department at the University of North Carolina (UNC); and Dr. Richard Goldberg, a professor in the biomedical engineering department at UNC. Dr. Bishop teaches a course called Enabling Technology in which students are required to create accessible games for individuals with disabilities, and Brauner supplies the class with a list of game ideas that would be accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired. Each spring Dr. Bishop hosts Maze Day, and students with visual impairments, their parents, and their teachers come to UNC Chapel Hill to try out the games created by Dr. Bishop's and Dr. Goldberg's students. Braille Buzz is only one of many games developed through this collaborative effort.

The prototype submitted by Brauner consists of a plastic overlay that transforms a standard computer keyboard into a six key entry device that emulates a Perkins Braillewriter. Each of the six keys that correspond to a dot in the braille cell has the ability to vibrate, and the strength of the vibration can be adjusted. The adapted keyboard is connected to any given computer through a USB port, thereby making it plug 'n' play. The accompanying software consists of a series of activities that teach the student to form and recognize specific braille letters and contractions and to associate these symbols with the sounds they make. Examples of words that start with the given letter are provided, and these words are also accompanied by interesting sound effects. For example, the keys that correspond to dots 2-3-4-5 gently vibrate, and the student is asked to press the keys she feels moving. If the student provides the correct response, she is told that she made the letter t, is given the sound it makes, is told that the word toilet makes the /t/ sound, and then hears the sound of a toilet flushing.

Specific pre-braille skills addressed by the Braille Buzz include both isolated and coordinated finger movements; tactual sensitivity in the index, middle, and ring fingers of both hands; tactual discrimination of different braille shapes; and simultaneous processing of information by multiple fingers. In addition to teaching the layout of the braille cell and identification of braille symbols for the alphabet, contractions, punctuation, and numbers, the Braille Buzz also teaches beginning braille writing skills. Unlike the Perkins Braillewriter, this keyboard does not require a great deal of physical strength and manual dexterity to operate. Finally, the Braille Buzz also introduces and reinforces phonemic awareness and phonics by having students isolate beginning sounds of words and then pairing these sounds with their corresponding letters.

Preliminary field testing conducted by Brauner shows that the Braille Buzz was received favorably by preschoolers who did not yet know braille, elementary students who had already learned some braille, and their teachers. While this product will serve as one more way to facilitate braille literacy for the congenitally blind, academic student, it also has potentially significant application to students with multiple disabilities and to adults with neuropathy for whom tactual discrimination is more difficult.

Work during FY 2010

In March, Brauner visited APH and demonstrated the Braille Buzz. This product was approved for development by the Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory and Review Committee in August.

Work planned for FY 2011

In order to facilitate development of this product, the consulting services of Brauner and Dr. Bishop will be retained. As a result of special drivers needed to operate the keyboard prototype, APH will send a laptop to Dr. Bishop. The keyboard will ultimately be redeveloped using cheaper technologies than the original. Furthermore, it will be designed as a stand-alone device since standard keyboards come in many different sizes and shapes. The software will also be evaluated and will be enhanced as needed to reinforce skills taught in specific braille curricula, such as Building on Patterns. The goal is to have a completed revised prototype of both the hardware and software by the end of the 2011 calendar year.

Braille Drill System

(New)

Purpose

To provide a convenient, independent study system for students, parents, and current/pre-service teachers of students with visual impairments who are learning contracted braille

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Background

The Braille Drill System was developed by Lori Johnson, a teacher of students with visual impairments and a National Consortium on Leadership in Visual Impairment fellow. Study sheets that cluster contractions by type are housed in a three-ring, Floppy Braille Binder.

Each contraction sheet is organized into two columns. The left column contains the contracted braille symbol, while the right hand column contains the uncontracted spelling. Preceding each word in both columns is a full cell of braille and a space. The contracted word in the left hand column is also followed by a space and another full cell of braille. A lead line consisting of dots 2-5 connects the last full cell of braille in the left column to the full cell of braille at the beginning of the right column. The purpose of the full cells of braille is to serve as a spatial indicator, and the purpose of the lead line is to facilitate tracking between columns and to promote good braille mechanics. This is important because light and smooth tracking actually facilitates accurate recognition of braille symbols and helps to prevent scrubbing. This system also contains a plastic overlay that conceals the right hand column of braille thereby allowing the user to independently quiz oneself.

In addition, Johnson has also suggested providing modified Braille Contraction Cards that adhere to Dr. Diane Wormsley's approach to teaching functional braille. Thus, one side of these cards would also contain a lead in line followed by a space and the contracted word followed by a space and a lead out line. The opposite side would be the same except that it would contain the uncontracted spelling of the word. Although these cards would be bigger, they would reinforce good braille mechanics, especially among students who are struggling or reluctant readers.

Work during FY 2010

The Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory and Review Committee approved this product for development in December 2009. Due to constraints in the project leader's schedule, further development of this prototype was prohibited.

Work planned for FY 2011

The consulting services of Johnson will be retained to guide development of this product. Study sheets for all types of contractions will be developed. In addition, the idea of providing another set of study sheets that contain the uncontracted spelling in the left column and the contracted word in the right column will be explored. Different samples of paper will also be evaluated for quality of tactile feedback and durability. The prototype is expected to be ready for field testing next fall.

Braille Series

(Modernization)

Purpose

To provide an updated curriculum that incorporates recent BANA changes and an introduction to Computer Braille in an easily reproducible format

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Background

The Braille Series, commonly referred to as the Illinois Braille Series, was first published in 1933. It was revised in 1960 and then again in 1992. This product is by far the top selling braille curriculum sold by APH. On average, it sells about 2,500 copies a year.

Geared toward adventitiously blinded individuals, the Braille Series includes two features believed to be important for this population. Since students using this curriculum are former print readers, it includes raised line letters of the alphabet paired with the corresponding braille symbol. This particular feature also facilitates independent study. The next component is the use of jumbo braille. Multiple sizes of jumbo braille are used throughout this curriculum. Braille is introduced in a larger cell with larger dots, and the size of the cell and the size of the dots get progressively smaller until the student is reading standard-sized braille. This feature is believed to be particularly useful to those with reduced tactile sensitivity due to neuropathy. While research is available on jumbo braille, the results of these studies are often inconclusive or contradictory. Thus, it is hard to ascertain the efficacy of using jumbo braille in this curriculum.

Furthermore, the use of raised line letters and varying sizes of jumbo braille make production of this curriculum difficult. Instead of being able to print these from a designated braille embosser, each page of the three volume set has to be manually brailled and hand tooled on metal plates. These plates are placed, one at a time, inside a clamshell press where each copy of each page must be individually produced. Given the fact that the clamshell presses operate on timers, there is also greater risk of injury to the worker since removal and insertion of paper must be synchronized with the automatic opening and closing of the press.

The desire to speed up the production process of this high selling curriculum and the need to make the production process safer is what spearheaded efforts to modernize this product. In addition, BANA has released significant updates to the Literary Braille Code since the last revision of the Braille Series in 1992. Plus, computers have since become a staple of mainstream society both personally and vocationally. Given the significance of computers in the ability of the blind and visually impaired to live independently and to be gainfully employed, an introduction to the Computer Braille Code has been deemed an important addition. Thus, the ultimate goal of the revision process is to find alternative production methods, incorporate changes in the Literary Braille Code, and revise content to introduce Computer Braille.

Work during FY 2010

This product was approved for development by the Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory Committee in December 2009. Given the difficulties related to producing jumbo braille combined with the controversy regarding its efficacy, the project leader spent a significant amount of time reviewing research and analyzing existing curriculums for adventitiously blinded individuals. In fact, a product development input session called A Modern Touch: Updating APH Materials for Adventitiously Blinded and Sighted Braille Learners was conducted at the 2009 APH Annual Meeting. Collaboration with Dr. Jane Erin revealed the need to further investigate the factors that affect the process of choosing a braille curriculum for use with adventitiously blinded braille learners. In an attempt to obtain as much information as possible, the project leader has been creating e-mail distribution lists of customers who have purchased the Braille Series as well as other professionals who work with this population in order to conduct an electronic survey. Finally, the project leader has been investigating alternative options for producing different sizes of jumbo braille and raised letters.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will be conducting an online survey regarding APH curriculums for adventitiously blinded individuals. Furthermore, she will be field testing different samples of raised letters of the alphabet, and jumbo braille produced on different paper samples.

Building on Patterns: Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade Levels

Revision of Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program

(Continued)

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 Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant
Carol Roderick, Research/Project Assistant
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader/Writer
Cathy Senft-Graves, (NLS Literary Certified Braillist), Research/Project Assistant
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research/Project Assistant
Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Project Leader
Suzette Wright, Emergent Literacy Project Leader

Background

Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program was designed to teach reading to children who would 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, and reading has been taught first with a whole language focus and then with phonics playing a major role. More recently the emphasis has been on phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, fluency, and development of oral vocabulary. With this being the case, some teachers are having a difficult time justifying the use of a program the age of Patterns. Young braille readers, however, still need a firm foundation for 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 first 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 first and second 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 10 words or so to start writing. Efforts were also made to clear the project leader's schedule so that more time could be devoted to this project. Meanwhile the textbook writer continued work on the text and teacher's guide for the first grade level.

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 first 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 were very helpful as the 1st grade level was developed. A group of teachers of the visually impaired from Ohio helped with the development of some of the stories.

In November of 2006, the beginning of FY 2007, the kindergarten level of Building on Patterns (BOP) became available for purchase. Development of the lessons for first grade continued. When a draft of the first 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 Ohio, California, and Oregon formed teams of teachers of visually impaired students to work on this.

In 2008, work continued on the 1st grade lessons with the project leader and the local consultant developing lesson drafts and sending them to the teacher writing teams from Ohio, California, and Oregon to reorder the lessons into 5-day sequences and supplement them with additional tactile graphics, creative writing, and other supplemental activities. The project leader worked with the teams and edited the lessons coming back from them to maintain consistency, checked print layout copy being prepared for field testing, and answered questions from the Braille transcriber. In May, a new writing team of three teachers of visually impaired students in Arkansas was trained to reorder and supplement lessons by a team leader from California and the expert whose idea it was to reorder and supplement the lessons. In June, members of the teacher writing 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 (BOP-1) to include the reading selections and all remaining parts of the lessons yet to be done. Preliminary planning for the development of BOP Grade 2 (BOP-2) was also begun. In September, the first two units of BOP-1 with all accompanying materials and appropriate evaluation forms were sent to field testers and expert reviewers.

In FY 2009, the evaluation of BOP-1 Units 1 and 2 was completed, and prototypes of Units 3 and 4 were distributed with appropriate evaluation forms. Data from these units were analyzed, and appropriate revisions to the units were made and proofread before they were laid out in print and transcribed into braille for production. Drafts of lessons for Units 5, 6, and 7 were received from the writing teams, revised as needed, finalized, and prepared for evaluation. The Scope and Sequence Chart for BOP-1 was completed. Beginning reading books available in braille for the students to read were identified for Units 5, 6, and 7. At the end of the year, the expert review for Units 5 and 6 was in progress and Unit 7 was being prepared for review. BOP-1 Unit 1 became available for purchase in September 2009.

Planning and development of BOP-2 is well underway. The heads of three writing teams had regular conference calls beginning in April and continued throughout the year. In June, all available members of the writing teams met at APH for further planning. All team members were put on Google Docs so that lessons could be shared and critiqued in progress. A BOP-2 Scope and Sequence Chart, outlining Phonics and Syllabication, Spelling Words, Language Topics, and Braille Contractions to be introduced lesson by lesson, was put together. To provide some cohesiveness, Guidelines for Writing the Lessons were prepared. Writing teams decided upon unit themes, were assigned to various units, and created sample lessons. The project leader and other consultants worked on Guidelines for Writing Unit Assessment Lessons for the writing teams to use.

Work during FY 2010

Expert reviews of BOP-1 Units 5-7 were completed, and the results were analyzed and used to make revisions. These units were prepared for production, laid out in print, and transcribed into braille. During FY 2010, five units were produced. BOP-1 Unit 2 became available for sale in December of 2009; Unit 3, in January of 2010; Unit 4, in June of 2010; Unit 5, in July of 2010; and Unit 6, in September of 2010. Drafts of the BOP-1 Posttest and the BOP-1 Teacher's Edition Reference Volume were completed. The Reference Volume includes front and back matter from the BOP-K Teacher's Edition updated to explain things done in the BOP program as a whole, as well as specific new things done in BOP-1 (such things as lists of New Reading Words, Dolch Words, Braille Contractions, Spelling Words, and an Index of Concepts and Skills taught at this level). At this time, BOP-1 Unit 7, the BOP-1 Posttest, and the BOP-1 Teacher's Edition Reference Volume are either in preparation or awaiting their turn in production.

Meanwhile the three writing groups were hard at work on the first three units of BOP-2. The Guidelines for Writing Unit Assessment Lessons was completed and distributed to them. Conference calls continued with the group leaders to discuss their concerns for most of the year. In June, two of the three group leaders met with other project consultants and personnel to discuss issues that had come up during the lesson development and to plan the agenda for a meeting of more of the writers in August. In August, all but one of the consultants/writers met and worked on their assigned units for BOP-2. Plans were made to feature chapter books in Unit 7, the last unit in BOP-2, with many exciting ideas shared. At this time, the drafts of the lessons for Units 1, 2, and 3 have been completed and sent out for expert review. The three writing teams are moving ahead with the development of Units 4, 5, and 6.

Work planned for FY 2011

It is expected that all remaining BOP-1 materials will be available for sale in early fall of 2010. The review of BOP-2 Units 1 through 3 by APH personnel and by expert reviewers will be completed, analyzed, edited, and prepared for production. Drafts of BOP-2 Units 4 through 7 will be developed, reviewed, edited, and prepared for production as time permits.

Jumping into the Johns Informal Reading Inventory Administration Made Easy

(New)

Purpose

To provide a tool that can be used to train both current and prospective teachers of students with visual impairments on the proper administration of the Johns Basic Reading Inventory and the appropriate interpretation of its results for a variety of readers with visual impairments

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Background

Irene Topor, adjunct associate professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson, submitted this project idea to APH in November 2009, and the Product Evaluation Team and Product Advisory and Review Committee approved this product for development in December 2009.

This project stemmed from a grant Dr. Topor received to produce a 30-minute DVD and guide booklet that demonstrates proper administration and scoring of the Basic Reading Inventory by Jerry Johns. Dr. Lisa Serino was videotaped administering this assessment to a braille reader, and Stephen Goudinoff did the final editing on the DVD. Angela Davis and Dr. Topor wrote an accompanying manual that included filled in scoring sheets. Dr. Serino and Pam de Steiguer served as editors of both the video and the manual. This completed project was shown at the Arizona AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired) Conference where it was well received.

The Basic Reading Inventory is one of the most widely used instruments for determining the most effective literacy modalities for students with visual impairments. It is included in the Assessment Kit: Part 3 from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and is recommended by the Functional Vision and Learning Media Assessment (FVLMA) from APH. However, there is little guidance available on how to best adapt administration and scoring procedures for this particular assessment and how to accurately interpret the results in a manner that allows for effective educational programming.

In order to address this need, the case studies of students with visual impairments depicted in the video footage will be expanded to include regular print users (with and without the use of optical aids), large print users, and braille users who are beginning readers, struggling readers, and proficient readers. The training manual will also be expanded to include implications for educational programming based on the interpretation of results from each of the case studies. The final product is expected to consist of a DVD and a print/braille training manual.

Work during FY 2010

Given the fact that an accessible version of the administration manual for the Basic Reading Inventory does not exist, APH decided to pursue the possibility of creating one through our Accessible Textbooks Department (ATIC). This would also ensure that the large print version of the student materials adhered to APH's standards regarding print size, font, spacing, and contrast. Furthermore, we would also have the opportunity to make sure that the braille was accurate and complied with the most recent code changes made by the Braille Authority of North America (BANA).

Work planned for FY 2011

Contracts for Dr. Topor, Dr. Serino, and Goudinoff will be developed to retain their services as project consultants. Before videotaping can occur, guidelines for best practices in administering this assessment must be developed, which will also be used to train a variety of volunteer teachers of students with visual impairments in Arizona. In order to make sure that the most common types of reading errors made by students with visual impairments are represented in the case studies, scripted reading passages will also be created. These preliminary materials will be completed this next fiscal year so that videotaping can begin in fall 2011.

Quick Check: Index of Literary Braille Signs

(New)

Purpose

To provide braille users, parents, teachers, transcribers, and aficionados with a reference guide to the 189 contractions and other commonly used symbols contained in the Literary Braille Code

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader
Cathy Senft-Graves, Project Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design
Elaine Kitchel, Project Advisor
Eleanor Pester, Project Advisor
Terrie Terlau, Project Advisor
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Advisor

Background

In December 2007, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) released updates that changed the Literary Braille Code. The most significant changes involved reconfiguring the slash (/) sign as well as adding signs for the following print symbols: ampersand (&), at (@), copyright (©), crosshatch (#), registered trademark (®), and trademark (™). In December 2009, the Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory and Review Committee charged the new Braille Literacy Project Leader with the task of modernizing the existing Braille Contraction Sheets.

An analysis of the original Braille Contraction Sheets revealed that the content of the print and braille versions differed significantly. The print booklet contained a column called "For Slate" that showed the reversed image of the sign shown in the "For Writer" column. On the other hand, the braille booklet contained a brief explanation of braille as well as the contraction classification of each symbol. Given the fact that these sheets could very well be used during braille proficiency exams, it was deemed necessary for the content of these documents be identical.

Since the development of the original Braille Contraction Sheets, philosophies surrounding slate and stylus instruction have shifted drastically in order to eliminate the notion of writing backwards. Instead of teaching new dot configurations for symbols written with a slate and stylus, curricula now focus on how the braille cell is approached when writing with different tools. For example, the braille cell is approached from the left side when using a manual brailler and from the right side when using a slate and stylus. Hence, the dot configurations of the braille symbols do not change. The sole difference is whether the numbering of the dots starts in the upper left corner or the upper right corner of the braille cell.

Another important factor guiding the modernization process was the accessibility of content presented in Simbraille to people with low vision. A discussion thread posted on the personnel prep listserv of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) described problems encountered by prospective teachers who happen to have visual impairments when they are required to use texts that contain Simbraille. Further evaluation revealed that both size and contrast greatly affect the readability of Simbraille by patrons with low vision.

Likewise, special consideration was given to the unique needs of braille readers, both beginning braille users and experienced braille users. Since the primary goal of this product is to facilitate quick access to information, the decision was made to organize the content in a manner similar to a dictionary. Thus, the inclusion of guide words at the bottom of each page was deemed important for allowing the user to expediently locate a designated word or symbol. Furthermore, informal research revealed the necessity of being able to look up information in either its contracted or uncontracted form. Since this involved organizing information in columns, it was determined that it would be helpful, especially to beginning braille readers, to employ the use of guide dots between columns in order to facilitate tracking.

In addition to addressing all of the aforementioned factors, the ultimate goal was to create an affordable and portable reference that could be used by anyone who is in the process of learning braille or who already knows braille but needs an occasional refresher. Since there are multiple braille codes that need to be mastered, the literary braille contraction sheets were revised in a manner that would easily allow for the creation of other booklets. So that future braille contraction sheets can be clustered together, this product line was given the over-arching name, Quick Check. Hence, this particular contraction sheet was renamed, Quick Check: Index of Literary Braille Signs.

Work during FY 2010

Development of the initial prototype was completed in March 2010 after extensive consultation with other project leaders. In April, an in-house expert review was conducted since the changes to this product were primarily aesthetic. Based on feedback, the prototype was significantly expanded to include multiple ways of looking up contractions. In addition to the pre-existing alphabetical list of contractions, similar contractions were grouped together and given their own sections. This change should be particularly beneficial to individuals learning the braille code who wish to study specific types of contractions governed by similar rules. In August, these changes were reviewed by another expert review committee comprised mostly of non-APH reviewers.

Work planned for FY 2011

Based on feedback from the expert review committee, necessary changes will be made to the content of this reference booklet. Content will then be given to the graphic designers at Bisig Impact Group. Once the print layout has been finalized, braille production will finalize the layout of the braille document. It is estimated that this product will become available for sale in spring 2011.

Singing Your Way through Functional Braille

(New)

Purpose

To provide a multisensory pre-braille curriculum that is motivating to all prereaders and emerging readers who are blind, especially those with cognitive impairments or developmental delays

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader

Background

This product was originally created as part of Laura Hampton's master's thesis, and hence, it is supported by research. This supplemental curriculum will include a braille booklet, a musical CD, and a teacher's guidebook. It currently consists of 17 lessons designed to teach left to right tracking, scanning from top to bottom, identifying the correct position of dots within the braille cell, tactually discriminating same/different, identifying letters, associating letters with sounds, and reading selected vocabulary words. All lessons are accompanied by repetitious melodies played on the piano with original lyrics sung to such popular songs as "Where is Thumbkin?", "Jingle Bells," and "The Adams Family."

Work during FY 2010

The Product Evaluation Team and the Product Advisory and Review Committee approved this product for development in December 2009. Due to constraints in the project leader's schedule, further development of this prototype was prohibited.

Work planned for FY 2011

The consulting services of Hampton will be retained to guide development of this product. The sequence and content of the lessons, including supplemental practice materials, will be finalized. More intricate verses and additional songs will be composed as needed. As is the case with "The Braille Rap," the feasibility of featuring children who are blind and visually impaired on vocals will be investigated.

Core Curriculum

Addition and Subtraction Tables

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide elementary students who are blind and visually impaired with a tool to assist in reinforcing basic addition and subtraction facts

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Nancy Etter, Administrative Assistant
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

The product submission for the Addition and Subtraction Tables came from a teacher in the field. She has used the Multiplication and Division Table produced by APH with success. She requested the new table for her younger students.

In FY 2009, PET and PARC committees accepted the product submission. A PDC meeting was held to gain input from staff and other project leaders. A prototype was developed that incorporated alternating highlighted lines to assist low vision students with tracking.

Work during FY 2010

The prototypes were field tested at 12 different sites from February to March. The manual and the tables were revised based on feedback from evaluators. A specification meeting was held in May 2010, and the project was added to the production schedule.

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will work to complete the production of the Addition and Subtraction Tables.

Consumable Number Lines - Large Print and Braille/Tactile

Formerly: Toss-Away Number Lines

(Completed)

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
Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker
Barbara Henderson, Project Advisor
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Anita Rutledge, Design Specialist/Process Engineer
Monica Vaught-Compton, 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.

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 began in 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.

The Consumable Number Lines became available for sale in November 2008. The model shop began work on the Desktop Stick-On Number Line.

Work during FY 2010

Prototypes of the Desktop Stick-On Number Line were developed to mirror the spacing, print type, and braille placement of the Consumable Number Lines. The Desktop Stick-On Number Line became available for sale July 2, 2010. This completes the series of number lines in this project.

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
Frances Mary D'Andrea, Consultant
Anna Swenson, Consultant
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Michael McDonald, Programmer
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Anita Rutledge, Design Specialist/Process Engineer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

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 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.

In 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 website hosted by APH. The website 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.

The prototypes, including the website, were field tested from September 2008 to March 2009 at 15 sites with 22 different students. The evaluations were positive and teachers unanimously recommended that APH produce the book with braille label sets and make the website available to customers. Changes and modifications were made to the materials and the website based on reviewer's feedback.

A work session with the original six members was held in the spring of 2009. Additional books were reviewed and three new sets were chosen to be added to the series. The first set of books, Sunshine Kit 2, became available for sale.

Work during FY 2010

The second set of books, Sunshine Kit 1, became available for sale in November 2010. A total of 26 books are now available to teachers and emerging braille readers. Work began on two sets of nonfiction books at the first grade level. Books were analyzed for contraction type and count. Information on each book as well as activities to use with each of the books was added to the website. A specification meeting for the two sets of nonfiction books, TWiG 1 and TWiG 2, was held in September 2010.

Work planned for FY 2011

The two sets of nonfiction books will be made available for sale adding 20 new titles to the collection. Two new sets of books from a different publisher will be reviewed by the original committee of consultants using the rubric developed by Holbrook. Books will be identified for the Early Braille Trade Book collection and the process will be initiated for the development and publication of two new sets of books.

Expanded Beginner's Abacus

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide young braille students with a beginner's abacus that extends to the hundreds place

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Design
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist
Tom Poppe, Model Maker
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Anita Rutledge, Design Specialist/Process Engineer
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

Background

The submission for a beginner's abacus that extends to the hundreds place came from a teacher in the field. She used the existing beginner's abacus "with trainable/low educable mentally handicapped students" who cannot memorize their addition and subtraction facts to use the "secrets" method but can use counting to add and subtract.

In FY 2009, the product submission was approved by the PET and PARC committees. A PDC meeting was held and work began on designing the Expanded Beginner's Abacus. The existing manual would also need to be revised to include lessons, examples and problems using the hundreds column.

Work during FY 2010

Three different prototypes were developed using rapid prototyping. The third design was accepted. Work continued on revising the manual.

Work planned for FY 2011

Complete the final revisions to the manual and field test the prototype.

FOCUS in Mathematics, Second Edition

(Continued)

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
Rosanne Hoffman, Research Assistant
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.

In 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.

In FY 2009, the prototype of the FOCUS in Mathematics, Second Edition was completed and sent to the following people for expert review.

Additions and revisions began on the prototype based on the comments of the expert reviewers.

Work during FY 2010

Additions and revisions were completes on the original prototype. Bisig Impact Group completed the final design of the manual and Technical Research completed the design of several new manipulatives. A specification meeting was held on December 18, 2009. Because of the many components in the kit, production is scheduled for September 2010.

Work planned for FY 2011

The production of the revised kit will be completed

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, Manufacturing Specialist
Jenny Dortch, Consultant/Project Assistant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Model Maker
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Anita Rutledge, Design Specialist/Process Engineer
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
Monica Vaught-Compton, 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 3-year research initiative to develop new products in math, science, and geography.

During the Mathematics Focus Group Meeting in September 1994, this program was discussed and specifications were determined. During FY 1995, work on the project included a review of the research and literature on math instruction for visually impaired students; analyses of math curriculum guides; thorough analyses of current textbooks to determine mathematical symbols, terms, and concepts being taught; a search of the catalogs for commercially available math related products; and a review of programs on abacus instruction. By 1996, prototypes of eight Primary Math Units and a general guidebook began to take shape with guidance from 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 FY 1998 and 1999, worksheets were developed to supplement the Lessons for Unit 1: Matching, Sorting, and Patterning for kindergarten through 3rd grade. In FY 2000, the decision was made to field test by units rather than waiting for the program to be finished in its entirety. Tooling of Unit 1 prototype worksheets for field testing began. In FY 2001, evaluation forms for the introduction and Unit 1 were drafted. Tooling of the prototype worksheets continued with coordination of the print and braille requiring much more time than originally planned. In FY 2002-2003, Jenny Dortch completed the final draft of the introductory book and Unit 1. The evaluation forms for the book, lessons, and worksheets were developed. During FY 2004, the evaluation forms, Guidelines (introductory material), and Unit 1 Lessons for Kindergarten through 3rd grade were finalized and prepared for field testing. Materials were placed with teachers having braille reading students in kindergarten through 3rd grade for approximately 6-8 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 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 at the time). 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 3 months in the spring of 2007. The text for Unit 8 was written and the development of a prototype was initiated.

In 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.

Unit 8, Data Collection, Graphing, and Probability/Statistics became available in September 2009. Unit 7, Fractions, Mixed Numbers, and Decimals was field tested in FY 2009. The development of Unit 5, Measurement began in FY 2009. Objectives for the remaining three units were also developed.

Work during FY 2010

Revisions to Unit 7, Fractions, Mixed Numbers, and Decimals were completed. A specification meeting was held on May 3, 2010. Production is scheduled for February 2011.

Unit 5, Measurement was field tested from February to May 2010 at 13 different sites. An analysis of the evaluations provided feedback as to the needed changes to the prototype. Revisions were begun on Unit 5.

The objectives for the last three units of the series were developed and organized in a meeting with the consultant for this project, Derrick Smith.

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will complete revisions to Unit 5 and prepare for production. The development of the last three units in this series will commence.

Talking Protractor

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide students and teachers of the visually impaired a protractor that measures to the nearest degree and provides an audible announcement of the measurement

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Andrew Moulton, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

The product submission for the Talking Protractor came from two teachers in the field.

This protractor will enable students with visual impairment to measure any angle and hear the measurement spoken. An optical encoder would be used to record the amount of rotation and the readout would then be translated into degrees (and/or) radians, which would then be reprocessed for speech output. This would provide an accurate means for students to measure angles in mathematics or science classes. Students currently use protractors that provide approximate measurements. Currently available protractors make use of tactual clues (e.g., one dot for 10 degree divisions, two dots for 45 and 135 degrees, and three dots for 90 degrees). Other values would need to be interpolated.

The product submission was approved by the PET and PARC committees. A meeting was held with the teachers to review a prototype and brainstorm ideas for improvements.

Work during FY 2010

Two prototypes were developed and evaluated by staff at APH and teachers of the visually impaired. Concerns were raised about the size of the prototypes. Research continued to work and refine the models.

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will work to develop a prototype of the talking protractor that can be mass produced and meet the needs of students with visual impairments.

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
Jennifer Stocker, 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.

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 in FY 2008.

Work during FY 2010

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 has been delayed due to illness of the consultant.

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will work to complete a prototype of the V-file.

Wilson Reading System

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a remedial reading program for students with visual impairments

Project Staff

Jeanette Wicker, Project Leader
Cheryl Kamei Hannan, Consultant
Mary McCarthy, Consultant
Justine Carlone Rines, Consultant
Rosalind Rowley, Consultant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Design

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 McCarthy, 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.

The 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.

The first three readers and the first six workbooks were reformatted for large type editions. The Readers and Workbooks became available in October 2009.

In FY 2009, prototypes of the first six workbooks were translated and the supplemental worksheets were revised and translated for use in field testing. A set of six modified workbooks were developed and translated for field evaluation. Work was begun on the prototypes of the Print/Braille Word Cards, Syllable Cards, Sound Cards, and Magnetic Tiles to be used in field testing.

Work during FY 2010

Prototypes of the remaining components of the Wilson Reading System were completed. A call for field evaluators was sent to Ex officio Trustees in May and also appeared in the June and July APH News. A 3-day Web Training was held on August 30, 31, and September 1. The three consultants from Perkins (Rowley, McCarthy, and Rines) with the trainer from Wilson provided training to 30 participants on the use of the Wilson Reading System and the modified and adapted braille materials. Dr. Hannan trained teachers in the use of data collection tools that will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of these braille materials.

Work planned for FY 2011

Field evaluators will be recruited from the 30 participants in the Web-based training. Field testing will be completed and data will be analyzed.

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., 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 CVI Project Leader, working on a part-time basis. 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 2010

The project leader and staff continued to work on a comprehensive functional vision evaluation designed for students with CVI. The CVI Starter Kit is now integrated into the CVI Evaluation Kit. It will include materials and suggestions designed to adapt objects and 2-dimensional materials according to the specific characteristics associated with CVI. CVI Sequences is complete and is available for purchase in October 2010. Updates have been made to the APH CVI Web site and requests for additional postings or submissions to the Web site are ongoing. The CVI Advisory Group suggestions were integrated into to a Statement on Cortical Visual Impairment. This paper provides guidelines that may be useful in the development of CVI products for APH. The paper also attempts to clarify distinctions between students who have CVI from those who have visual perceptual disabilities. The paper was accepted for publication in the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness and was printed by JVIB in winter 2010. The CVI Lightbox to Literacy project began as a set of materials designed to assist parents or professionals with methods and materials designed to facilitate literacy for children and students with specialized learning needs associated with CVI.

Work planned for FY 2011

Development of The CVI Evaluation Kit is projected for completion. It is 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. The evaluation kit will contain assessment techniques, guidebooks, and photo supplement support materials. In addition to the CVI Evaluation Kit, the other major projects will include the development CVI early literacy materials. Updates to the CVI Web site will continue to be made.

The CVI Lightbox to Literacy Kit will continue to be developed in 2011. It will contain instructional methods and materials designed to facilitate literacy in students with specialized learning needs associated with CVI.

The CVI Advisory Committee will assemble to continue to advise the CVI Project Leader regarding products for children and students who have CVI. Specific topics to be considered include the CVI Web site, the use of the iPad or other technologies to assist students with CVI, and products designed to promote communication and literacy.

CVI Assessment Kit

(Continued)

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, Project Leader
APH Production Staff

Background

CVI is the primary cause of visual impairment in children in the U.S. 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 2010

Kit components were determined. This kit will contain a copy of the text by the project leader, Christine Roman (Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention). The book 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, photo guidebooks, and additional guidelines for the completion of the assessment.

The Starter Kit, now integrated into the Assessment Kit product, will include "raw materials" and a list of 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 2011

Materials used in assessment will be completed and will coordinate with specific aspects of the text. Instructional photo guidebooks will provide examples of assessment materials and are meant to be integrated with individual assessment strategies. An APH product review will be completed and changes will be made according to reviewer comments and recommendations.

CVI Complexity Challenges

(Continued)

Purpose

To help students with CVI systematically identity details in 2-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
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 2-dimensional images and identifying salient details of pictures or symbols especially when the image is presented with additional details or elements.

Work during FY 2010

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. Informal evaluation of the product resulted in a decision to postpone further development.

Work planned for FY 2011

No further work is planned on CVI Challenges. The CVI Advisory Committee will be asked for input regarding potential options for this product.

CVI Complexity 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
Rosanne Hoffmann, Project Assistant
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 2-dimensional images and identifying salient details of pictures or symbols especially when the image is against a patterned background.

Work during FY 2010

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 was completed and changes were made according to reviewer comments and recommendations.

Work planned for FY 2011

This product will be available for sale in October 2010.

CVI Stick & Stay Kit

(Discontinued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Christine Roman, Project Leader
Tristan Pierce, Project Leader, Multiple Disabilities
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 2010

Work on the CVI Stick & Stay was suspended due to an inability to reach the creator of this project. PARC voted to abandon the Stick 'n Stay Kit, and no further work will be done during 2011.

Work planned for FY 2011

No further work will be done on this project.

CVI Web site

(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, 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 listserv to help APH develop a new website 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 website 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 website. 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 website. APH announced in January of 2004 that Christine Roman would serve as the new CVI Project Leader/Consultant.

Work during FY 2010

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. The CVI Web site has a Contact Us 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. A number of changes and additions were made based on suggestions from APH staff and comments offered through the Contact Us link on the website.

Work planned for FY 2011

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. There are plans to use parent or teacher-made videos that show methods used for interventions and materials used to adapt environments or objects.

CVI Lightbox to Literacy

(Continued)

Purpose

Lightbox to Literacy is intended to provide professionals and parents a set of materials and suggested methods to plan and implement pre-literacy and literacy activities for children and students who have CVI. This product will contain a activities that begin with materials designed for use with the APH Lightbox (students in Phase I or II CVI) and proceed to beginning picture books, intermediate books, and finally books or materials that use symbols including: communication symbols, letters, sight words (students in Phase III).

Project Staff

Christine Roman, Project Leader
Erica Rucker, Research/Project Assistant
APH Production Staff
Bisig Impact Group

Background

Federal mandates such as No Child Left Behind have placed increasing emphasis on literacy for all students. Students with CVI frequently require special methods and materials due to their unique visual needs. The materials in Lightbox to Literacy will be designed in accordance to best practices in literacy and in CVI. The activities are designed to match the individual student's level of CVI (Phases I-III) as determined by The CVI Range.

Work during FY 2010

The outline of the project was developed. Consultations with literacy and reading specialists helped develop a basis for the progression of skills. Prototypes of sample materials were developed and presented to professionals and parents of children with CVI for initial product evaluation. A guidebook containing the principles used to create individual materials was initiated.

Work planned for FY 2011

Prototypes will be presented to APH staff for review and input. Additional samples will be designed to meet the needs of a variety of student age and interest levels. A comprehensive guidebook will be developed and product reviewers will be selected. It is hoped that this product may have implications for use with an iPad or similar technology. This will be discussed with APH staff and with the CVI Advisory Committee.

Early Childhood

Art Digitizing/Modernizing of On the Way to Literacy Storybooks

(Continued)

Purpose

To replace deteriorating film art with digital art, slightly reduce page sizes to enable production of the books on iGEN equipment, and modify the books' visual illustrations

Project Staff

Suzette Wright, Project Leader
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer and Co-Project Leader

Background

The 18 storybooks in the On the Way to Literacy series were first produced in the early 1990s using film art, then standard in the printing industry. Because the original film art for these books has deteriorated with time, and because present day printers are reluctant to use film art, the print tooling for the books is being recreated in digital file formats. Meetings with production staff defined additional objectives for the modernization effort. Since the cost of offset printing rises dramatically when fewer than 500 copies are printed, and books are not inventoried, Production staff recommended redesigning the books for iGEN production, making it possible to produce smaller runs in-house. To make this change, the books' page dimensions are being reduced slightly. In addition, any serif fonts are being replaced with more readable sans serif fonts. Increasing numbers of consumers and focus group members have noted the importance of providing read-aloud books that will also interest sighted peers. For this reason, print illustrations are being modified somewhat to make the illustrations more visually attractive for sighted audiences. The updated illustrations implement changes that add visual appeal but do not reduce visibility for low vision readers or introduce visual elements that are key to understanding the story. None of the modifications affect the tactile illustrations or change the content of the book's texts.

Work during FY 2010

The project leader and Technical Research staff analyzed the 18 books in the On the Way to Literacy series and grouped them according to type and nature of the modifications that were to be made. Colors were chosen based on iGEN swatches, and the Low Vision Project Leader was consulted regarding visual art modifications. The project leader has worked with the in-house graphic designer and outside graphic designers, under the in-house designer's supervision, to complete the modernization for the first five books: Something Special, That's Not My Bear, Giggly Wiggly, The Littlest Pumpkin, and Jennifer's Messes. Two other titles are in the process of being modified. A change in binding is being considered for some books provided a suitable, less expensive alternative to the current binding can be found. Standardization was specified as being of lesser importance than the ability to move production of the product in-house at a competitive price as well as retain current art for the tactile illustrations and plates for the braille text

Work planned for FY 2011

Modernization of The Blue Balloon and The Longest Noodle will be completed. The project leader, Technical Research, and Production staff will review test runs of each title on the iGEN equipment to ensure it meets expectations. Modernization of the print art for the remaining books will continue.

Calendar Time

(Continued)

Purpose

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 classroom.

Project Staff

Burt Boyer, Project Leader
Donna Brostek Lee, Consultant
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant

Background

Classroom discussions relating to the calendar have become more than just learning months of the year, dates, and events. Several teachers of the visually impaired 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 presently have 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 classroom calendar board is fine. For the student-sized calendar, it is recommended that the board be made from plastic (rather than paper) with pieces that are attached with Velcro; thus, the board can be reused 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 have to make these calendars as described, which is very time-consuming.

In 2008, work began on the modernization of the Classroom Calendar Kit and the Individual Calendar Kit. The project leader and the consultant met several times to discuss the modernization, and identified suggestions for consideration as the product idea moves forward. Based on sales of the current products Individual Calendar Kit 1-18971-00 and Classroom Calendar Kit 1-18970-00, these will not be replaced by the new Calendar Kit. Instead of a modernization, the new Calendar Kit, to be called Calendar Time, will be an additional APH product.

In FY 2009, a contract and timeline were established with the consultant. The project leader and consultant began working with technical research on the design and materials of the calendars. Layout templates of the student-sized calendar pieces were completed. The consultant researched curriculum standards set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics as they relate to use of the calendar product. In addition, the consultant began writing the user's guide for the kit.

Work during FY 2010

The consultant, project leader, and research assistant presented the Calendar Time kit during the Information Fair at Annual Meeting. Prototypes of the student-sized and classroom-sized calendars, along with their calendar pieces, were shown. Comments from attendees were very positive, and people liked the idea of matching calendar boards. Many attendees expressed interest in field testing the product.

Components of the kit were further defined to include an instruction booklet; classroom size calendar and student size calendar; and Velcro pieces for the year, month, days, and numbers 1-31 in several shapes/colors.

Other progress on this product was delayed by the consultant's scheduling conflicts.

Work planned for FY 2011

Content, design, and layout for the user's guide will be completed. Field testers will be identified. Prototypes for this product will be completed and sent out for field testing. Revisions will be made based on feedback from evaluators.

Experiential Learning Kit

(Continued)

Purpose

To set up an experiential learning environment that promotes cause/effect, coordination, motor development, object permanence, sensory awareness, and spatial awareness

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Tessa Wright, Consultant/Author
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant

Background

In June 2005, a focus group on early childhood education for children who are blind or visually impaired met at APH. The purpose of the focus group was to identify potential products for APH to develop. 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 could have components such as the following: toy rings, a shiny red pom pom, shiny metal measuring spoons/cups, rubber squishy toy (in a bright color), large jingle bells, and additional items of bright, simple colors and interesting texture.

Children who are blind or visually impaired, birth to 3 years of age, need stimulation to explore their environment, develop auditory and visual skills, and practice 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.

During 2008, the project leader and 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 of the literature on activities to be included in the guidebook. (3) Activities were written for the concept areas to be included in the guidebook. (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.

In FY 2009, content for the Activity Booklet was completed by the consultant and reviewed by the project leader. The booklet includes an introduction about the concept of experiential learning and the purpose of the kit; an overview of the six developmental areas, specifically cause/effect, coordination, motor development, object permanence, sensory awareness, and spatial awareness; three activities per developmental area; and a suggested materials list. Work began on the design and graphic layout of the Activity Booklet.

Twenty-five mobiles were purchased for field testing; the mobile comes with five hang-down toys of different textures and sizes. For purposes of field testing, it was determined that these five toys would be evaluated for their appropriateness to the kit activities as well as their similarity to readily available hang-down toys. In addition to these toys, project leaders considered several others that could be included in the product.

Work during FY 2010

The consultant, project leader, and research assistant presented the Experiential Learning Kit during the Information Fair at Annual Meeting. During this time, attendees signed up to be potential field testers of the kit. The kit was sent out for field testing in December 2009 to 16 reviewers, representing the states of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Indiana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Dakota. Ten evaluations were returned.

The majority of reviewers felt that the guidebook was thoroughly researched and clearly explained activities and concepts. One reviewer reported that two areas in the guidebook needed further explanation; these were motor development and sensory awareness. Revisions were suggested for the illustrations in the guidebook so that a wider diversity of children would be represented. In regards to the mobile gym, reviewers reported that it was not entirely appropriate for use with the guidebook activities. One reviewer noted that the mobile lacked the quality and innovation of typical APH products. The majority of reviewers felt that most of the toys on the mobile were things families/service providers already own or have easy access to. In addition, the reviewers felt that the guidebook could be a stand-alone product. Based on reviewer input and consultation with project staff, the decision was made to forgo the inclusion of a mobile in the kit. Work began on revisions to the guidebook. In addition, the project leader identified a do-it-yourself instruction guide for making a mobile for children with visual impairments and blindness. Efforts began to obtain permission for this document, which would make an ideal appendix to the guidebook.

Work planned for FY 2011

All revisions and additions will be made to the guidebook based on feedback from evaluators, and input from consultant. Product will become available for sale.

FirstTouch Books

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop read-aloud, tactile books that support the development of emergent literacy skills for students from 0 to 3 years of age

Project Staff

Suzette Wright, Project Leader
Wendy Sapp, Ph.D., COMS, Project Consultant
Dana Fox, M.A., Project Consultant

Background

Children take their first steps toward learning to read and write early in life. Reading aloud to a child, from infancy onward, has been cited as a key contributor to later success in learning to read. Early, positive experiences with books help motivate children to become readers. Important oral language skills and vocabulary are built as the adult reader and young child share a book and talk about its words, illustrations, and relate these to the child's own experiences. Early experiences with books provide opportunities to encounter written words and to learn book-handling skills. Young children who will read braille, however, face a limited selection of books in braille, particularly print/braille books that a typically sighted adult can read aloud to the child. Even fewer books contain well-designed tactile illustrations, capable of adding interest and meaning to the words of a story for a very young child who cannot access print pictures. APH and other braille publishers have worked to widen the availability of print/braille books. APH's On the Way to Literacy books for children, ages 3 to 5 years, and the Moving Ahead Tactile Graphic Storybooks for ages 4 to 7 offer print/braille texts and tactile illustrations designed to support the text and introduce children to a range of types of tactile displays. Given the importance of books for young children who will read braille, APH continues to make strong efforts to poll the field to determine current needs and to seek help in prioritizing these needs. In an online survey, 140 of 156 respondents ranked very simple, early books for birth to 3 as a high need. This need was also noted by focus groups.

In 2009, the objectives for books for this target audience were defined in detail. The project leader examined current offerings of braille producers to determine what was already available in print/braille for children from birth to age 3. She searched commercially available print books to identify titles that might be adapted to meet the needs of a young blind child with an emphasis on selecting books with high quality language that would lend themselves to the addition of simple tactile, interactive, or other multisensory components. Hundreds of books found through a wide variety of sources were considered. In addition, designs for a variety of types of tactile interactive components were considered and reviewed by in-house staff regarding their feasibility for mass production.

This information, including input received from focus groups, was given to two consultants with combined experience in teaching and research regarding emergent literacy for children with visual impairments. The resulting recommendation was that APH develop several types of books for students ages 0 to 3 years: adaptations of high-quality commercially available books with a few tactile components developed by APH to ensure their meaningfulness for a young blind child; APH-created books with simple texts written to support tactile, interactive components; a blank book kit and guidebook to encourage/facilitate the creation of individualized books with tactiles from the child's own environment. Consultants indicated books should be small, preferably no more than 7.5" x 7.5" and be constructed of sturdy board stock.

To meet the need for a blank book kit, also recommended by past focus groups, the Tactile Book Builder project was proposed. (See separate report.) To explore development of an APH-created book with tactile interactive components, FirstTouch Books was submitted to APH's in-house product evaluation and approval process.

The combined efforts of the project leader and consultants to locate a print book that would be excellent as an adaptation for children birth to 3 years have not yet been successful. The difficulty lies in finding texts that are not too pictorially-based and offer the opportunity to use tactile components that would have meaning for a very young child. In addition, a number of print books have already been produced in print/braille. It was also noted by consultants that it is easier for individuals to produce braille labels for these short books than to develop a blank book kit or a book with tactile interactive components--tasks APH is well-situated to perform. The project leader continues to monitor commercially available print books for a suitable title for the 0-3 age group.

For books in the FirstTouch series, it was proposed that books be developed one at a time; the series could eventually include adaptations of commercially available books, as suitable ones were discovered, as well as original books. The proposed project received the approval of the Product Evaluation Team (PET) and Product Review and Advisory Committee (PARC) and was removed from the "parking lot" in April 2009. In June, the first Product Development Committee brainstorming meeting was held. A number of good ideas regarding book construction were received. Individuals, including both parents and teachers, were encouraged to submit ideas and original drafts. As a result, four promising drafts and sketches or descriptions of accompanying tactile, interactive components were obtained. These were submitted to the project consultant for a detailed review, including a rating of each draft and ranking of their suitability for the target audience. Two drafts were rated "excellent" as candidates for further development. The draft ranked first, Holy Moly!, has been roughly laid out in electronic form by the project leader, including dimensions, materials, and tactile as well as visual illustrations. This file was sent to several current and past consultants for a preliminary, informal review and was examined by in-house staff regarding production methods that might be used.

Work during FY 2010

Various production methods for board books were examined and priced. Methods and materials for all of the book's tactile interactive components were determined and priced; relevant safety standards were investigated to ensure compliance. The text and all tactile interactive components for the book were finalized. The braille tooling for the book has been completed. The graphic designer is working to complete the print art.

Work planned for FY 2011

Prototypes will be made and sent out for field review. Revisions will be made based on teachers' and parents' observations through extended use with children in the target audience.

Focus on Fingers Kit

(New)

Purpose

Based on current literature and research in emergent literacy, the Focus on Fingers Kit

is designed to assist family members, caregivers, and early educators in their quest to prepare infants and young children who are blind or visually impaired and may have additional special needs to enjoy tactile learning and literacy.

Project Staff

Burt Boyer, Project Leader
Kay Clarke, Consultant

Background

A review of current literature and research on braille literacy reveals a growing body of information to guide our profession in meeting the braille literacy needs of young children and those with multiple disabilities. Present emergent braille literacy materials include lists of early critical skills areas (McComiskey, 1996) and "how-to" chapters and books for teachers of children who are visually impaired (Olsen, 1981; Wright, & Stratton, 2007) with a primary focus on early braille reading and writing instruction for children ages 3-5. Strikingly absent are family-friendly materials that promote an overall parental understanding of the earliest skills necessary for tactile learning and literacy, while offering practical, engaging activities that parents may implement at home and with their infants and young children to support these skills. Focus on Fingers is an innovative, initial attempt to meet this need.

The author further states, "It is well known that literacy begins at birth. In contrast to prior products, Focus on Fingers (Preparing Little Hands to Enjoy Tactile Learning and Literacy) addresses the earliest stages of tactile learning and literacy in a family-centered and developmentally appropriate way, empowering families to play an active role in the beginning steps of their children's tactile learning and literacy. Focus on Fingers additionally reflects a shift from traditional thinking about emergent braille literacy as 'learning ABCs' to a broader, research-based viewpoint that acknowledges the importance of a variety of early experiences that subsequently may contribute to competent, motivated braille readers and writers." Focus on Fingers has the potential to make a significant different for young blind or visually impaired children learning braille literacy.

The key is enjoyment! Young learners should have fun as they learn. Functional activities and literacy experiences that are developmentally-appropriate and highly-engaging best describes Focus on Fingers.

Work during FY 2010

The author, Kay Clarke, submitted this product idea to APH for consideration during FY 2010. The Products Evaluation Committee recommended this product to PARC, and PARC approved this product idea for development by APH. The author signed a contract allowing APH to be the sole source for Focus on Fingers, and a timeline to complete the product was developed. Product development is in the early stages and much work remains to be completed.

Work planned for FY 2011

The author submitted this product idea to the National Braille Press for consideration in a contest they hold each year. The contest is held in September, so work has not yet begun on this product at APH. When the contest is completed, the author will work with the project leader to establish more definite timelines for the completion of the product. The author and project leader will work to have the final product meet APH standards.

Because of the many tactile components of this product, much work needs to be done by APH to ready it for production. A majority of the work done by the project leader during 2011 will be working with APH production staff to design the tactile components. The written part of this product is almost completed, and editing of the content will take place during FY 2011.

Getting in Step With Little Feet

(New)

Purpose

To develop a product that will be a practical, creative, and "how-to" manual on purposeful movement for children who fall within the infant through preschool developmental range

Project Staff

Burt Boyer, Project Leader
Kay Clarke, Consultant
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant

Background

Over the past two decades, purposeful movement/O&M has increasingly been acknowledged as important for infants and young children who are blind or visually impaired. Although some "how-to" booklets have emerged to guide families and practitioners in meeting the early O&M needs of their young children, additional practical information is needed. In recent years, professionals (and families) in our field have expressed (via numerous listserv messages and personal requests at meetings, workshops, and conferences) a strong desire/need for the following:

  1. Specific guidance on what skills to incorporate into purposeful movement/O&M instruction for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, who are not developmentally ready for more "traditional" O&M skills
  2. Guidance on when certain skills may be good developmental matches for young children
  3. Ideas for how to reach and teach infants and young children (creative, developmentally-appropriate songs, rhymes, activities and teaching materials that are user-friendly for families and professionals, that engage young children and that work)

This product will be based on researched early child development principles and practices. The author of this product holds a Master's Degree in child development and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in the areas of early childhood, visual impairment, and multiple disabilities. She has been a practicing O&M/TVI specialist for the past 25 years and has developed numerous original songs and poems and other activities contained within this product. Some of the activities presented in this product were developed for, and used with, children in the author's dissertation study that compared the use of adapted mobility devices and canes by preschoolers.

This product will be an extension of the research-based module developed by staff at UNC Chapel Hill (2004) on developmentally appropriate O&M for infants and toddlers. It will be designed to offer clear, brief background information blended with fun, "hands-on" activities to be used by family members, early childhood educators, child care providers, visual impairment professionals, and related services providers. The information provided in this guidebook will be appropriate for young children who are visually impaired and those who may also have additional disabilities. The introductory section of this guidebook will begin with a simple overview of unique developmental aspects of young children who are blind or visually impaired.

Work during FY 2010

This product idea was submitted by the author in 2010, and a contract was signed by the author allowing APH to develop Getting in Step with Little Feet: A Practical Guide to Purposeful Movement for Adults who Love, Teach and Care for Infants and Preschoolers who are Blind or Visually Impaired.

Work planned for FY 2011

The author and project leader will work together to complete this product. The author has already completed a tremendous amount of work required for this product, and is making steady progress toward completion. Once the content is complete, the project leader will work with the research assistant, APH graphic designer, and Bisig to prepare the product for production. It is anticipated this will happen in FY 2011.

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 to 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 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 on 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. 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 Velcro-backed pieces) were created to enable students to create their own tactile displays. A Reader's Guide including information about introducing the child to the book's tactile graphics and briefly discussing emergent literacy skills and development of tactual learning skills was written to accompany 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 8 to 10 week period. Without dissension, teachers indicated texts and tactile graphics for all four books were interesting and appropriate for kindergarten and first grade students; 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"; and "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.

Finished product, the third book in this series, The Boy and the Wolf

All final tooling for the third book in this series (The Boy and the Wolf) and the accompanying Reader's Guide has been completed. Specifications have been written and given to Production. This book is similar in format to Splish, utilizing a combination of full-color visual graphics, Tactile Visions graphics, and paper-embossed braille. Lois Harrell is the author of the third storybook in the series.

Work during FY 2010

Production of The Boy and the Wolf was largely completed. All final tooling for the fourth storybook in the series (Turtle and Rabbit) was completed and Technical Research wrote final specifications.

Work planned for FY 2011

The Boy and the Wolf will be priced and made available for purchase. Turtle and Rabbit will be given over to Production and a production date will be set. The project leader, working with consultants, will identify a commercially available children's book suited to development as the next Moving Ahead book and will design accompanying tactile illustrations.

Parents and Visually Impaired Infants

(Modernization)

Purpose

To modernize PAVII (Parents and Visually Impaired Infants), which has been sold on quota by APH since 1990

Project Staff

Burt Boyer, Project Leader
Deborah Chen, Consultant
Gail Cavello, Consultant
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant

Background

PAVII addresses the need for materials focused on early intervention for infants and toddlers who are blind or visually impaired. These materials have been used extensively in early intervention programs serving families and infants and toddlers who are blind or visually impaired nationally and internationally. The target groups for these materials have been teachers of the visually impaired, O&M instructors, early childhood special educators, and early interventionists.

PAVII was developed and field tested in a federally-funded project serving families of infants and toddlers with visual impairments and was based on recommended practices of the time. These recommended practices have not really changed, although person-first language will be used e.g., could be renamed PAIVI (Parents and Infants with Visual Impairments). The revised edition of this product will draw on current evidence-based practices.

Work during FY 2010

The project leader contacted the authors of PAVII and requested they consider modernizing this product. Dr. Deborah Chen contacted the project leader and indicated she agreed and would submit a product idea form for modernization. A contract was agreed upon by the authors and APH. A work plan was developed by the authors, and the project leader worked with the authors to finalize this plan.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader and consultants will complete the following work in FY 2011:

  1. Gail Cavello, a consultant, will update:
    1. Identification of visual impairments in infants
    2. The art of home visiting
    3. Getting ready for school

  2. Deborah Chen, a consultant, will update:
    1. Introduction to PAVII materials
    2. Overview of "how to" papers on assessment
    3. Parent assessment of needs
    4. Functional hearing screening
    5. Parent observation protocol
    6. Assessing infant communication
    7. Assessing interaction with objects
    8. Developmental assessment section
    9. Learning Together

The project leader will work closely with the consultants to complete the above work plan. This is a valuable product, but certainly is in need of modernization.

Reach for the Stars

(Continued)

Purpose

To review and modernize the product Reach for the Stars

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Jennifer Grisham-Brown, Consultant
Diane Haynes, Consultant
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant

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 have not changed, but new interventions resulted 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 2 to 3 years old because 3 years of age 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 (1st 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 believe the product can be substantially improved and made more user-friendly for families and service providers.

In 2008, the project leader and authors 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. A contract was established with consultants.
  2. A second meeting was held involving the project leader and authors. 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 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 project leader developed a plan of action that included a timeline for completion of the product in 2010.

In FY 2009, the authors outlined a detailed work plan and timelines for various modules of the product. They completed research of national standards for transition, especially the early years. Components of the product that needed revision were identified. The authors completed the following sections of the book: introduction/overview, assessment section, and assessment maps. Feedback was sought on these sections and changes made.

In August 2009, the authors met with the project leader and graphic designers to discuss artwork for the book. The APH graphic designer presented an artistic theme for the book, which was approved by the authors and project leader. At this meeting, a revised timeline was discussed; the authors committed to a January 2010 date for finalized content to be submitted to the project leader.

Work during FY 2010

The authors presented the developing product at several training sessions, including the Division of Early Childhood Conference in October 2009. These training sessions were used an opportunity to collect input from the field and make revisions to the product as it is in development.

In the spring of 2010, authors submitted a complete manuscript of Reach for the Stars to the project leader. This manuscript included assessment maps/forms and photos taken by the authors. The project leader reviewed the submission. Then, the manuscript and assessment maps/forms were edited by the research assistant. These edits were then shared with the authors for their feedback.

Work planned for 2011

Authors and project staff will finalize book content. The maps/forms will be formatted by graphic design. Graphic layout of the book will be finalized. Expert reviewers will be identified, and prototypes will be sent out for expert review. Revisions will be made based on feedback from evaluators.

Sound Adapted Tangle Ball

(Completed)

Purpose

To provide babies who have visual impairment/blindness and cerebral palsy with their first sound emitting ball

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

APH currently sells several sound emitting balls that are suitable for children, teens, and adults. The Sound Adapted Tangle Ball is a toy that can be used by babies for sensorimotor development during play-based interventions. Throwing a ball, which has an important upper limb component, is a gross motor task. Gross motor skills are needed for the baby to roll over, sit, pull up to stand, stand independently, and eventually run. The Sound Adapted Tangle Ball allows babies, toddlers, and young children with cerebral palsy and visual impairment to practice these skills. The ball can be used throughout early childhood from teething to developing ball throwing skills. The exoskeleton Tangle Ball is designed to be a teething toy. The Sound Adapted Table Tennis Ball inserted inside the Tangle Ball allows it to float, making it ideal for water and bath time play.

Work done in FY 2010

Documentation was written, printed, and embossed. Each kit contains three Tangle Balls and three Sound Adapted Table Tennis Balls. The customer assembles the Tangle Ball and the Sound Adapted Table Tennis Ball together per the documentation. The product became available for sale on January 25, 2010.

Tactile Book Builder

(Continued)

Purpose

To develop a blank book kit and accompanying guidebook that will encourage/facilitate the creation of individualized books for children; materials will support inclusion of text in an appropriate medium as well as various types of tactile illustrations, including objects from the child's own environment, shapes, textures, collaged illustrations, and raised line illustrations.

Project Staff

Suzette Wright, Project Leader
Wendy Sapp, Ph.D., COMS, Project Consultant
Dana Fox, M.A., Project Consultant
Jane Barabash, COMS, Project Consultant

Background

The request that APH create a kit of materials that would enable users to more easily create a variety of individualized, custom-made books has been expressed for some time. A 2004 online survey elicited this request, and various focus groups have remarked on the usefulness of such a tool. Individualized books offer a way to provide a range of audiences with books in an appropriate medium with related tactile components. Because a very young child's concepts and language are limited, individualized books that address familiar topics and include things the child has experienced firsthand are more likely to be meaningful than commercially produced books. And although many commercially available books are meaningful for an older child, preschoolers as well as older children often show great interest in reading from custom-made books they have helped to write, perhaps based on a recent personal experience. If the child helps to produce the written text, the adult can use this opportunity to build important early literacy knowledge and skills. The child can also participate in illustrating the book with objects, other tactile items and illustrations, broadening his awareness of how tactile displays can be used to communicate meaning. Creating custom-made books, whether done by the adult or in collaboration with the child, can broaden the number of appropriate books available to the child and increase his/her interest in books.

The idea for a blank book kit and accompanying guidebook was presented via a product submission form, received approval from the Product Evaluation Team (PET), and proceeded to the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC). The project was approved and released for work to begin in April 2009. The brainstorming session, which marked the first Product Development Committee meeting, yielded a number of useful suggestions for materials that might be part of the kit. The project leader examined a wide range of materials that could be used for book-making by looking online and in stores. The kit will also be accompanied by a hard copy version of the Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books. This is a document that was field evaluated at the same time as the new 2nd edition of the On the Way to Literacy handbook; it is currently available at the APH website as a free download. It supplies suggestions for designing meaningful tactile illustrations and indicates the limitations of tactile illustrations as it highlights good tactile graphic design principles.

Work during FY 2010

The list of kit components and how they will be grouped was finalized. Dimensions and quantities for kit materials were selected and costs were estimated. The basis for the kit is a small binder (8" x 9" x 1.75") with plastic safety rings and blank pages, 3-hole punched, for insertion into the binder. A number of different page types may be fitted into the binder: doubled braille paper pages, board stock pages, pocket pages, permabraille pages, magnetic pages, Velcro loop pages, and colorful polyblend pages. Labeling material will be included in the basic kit, as will "tools" such as Sticky Dots, adhesive-backed Velcro hook attachments, and adhesive-backed magnetized strips. Add-on "packs" are also proposed, including a version of the APH SoundPage sized for the small binders in the kit, a textured fabric and paper pack, a scented sticker pack, and a pack containing materials and fibers for creating raised lines. The project leader completed the first draft of a 42-page manual. It includes instructions and guidelines for using the kit materials to construct books with a variety of types of tactile illustrations. Suggestions for writing and illustrating tactile experience stories are included, as are suggestions for creating concept books, and selecting print books suited to adaptation. Examples of custom-made books were gathered and photographs of students sharing these books were included in the manual. The list of suggested kit items and a draft of the manual were submitted to two consultants for evaluation in March 2010. Overall, they were pleased with the kit items and contents of the manual. They recommended that the manual (Tactile Book Builder Kit Manual) and the Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books be integrated into one document. That work has begun. The consultants also suggested that two blank book sizes or construction types be considered: a smaller size for infant/toddlers, and the 8" x 9" size for preschoolers and older students.

Work planned for FY 2011

The Tactile Book Builder Kit Manual and Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books will be merged into one document. A smaller "blank book" will be designed and proposed as part of the current kit or as the basis for another project to create a product that is focused on infants and toddlers, perhaps incorporating "chewable" rings, foam construction pages that can be wiped clean, and an assortment of textures that can be attached and removed for cleaning.

Teaching Puzzles for the Light Box

(Continued)

Purpose

To have fun while learning, and to have puzzles that children can manipulate as well as use on the light box

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader

Background

Several users on the Early Intervention Listserv have suggested more products need to be made available from APH for use on the light box. In addition, the 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 project leader plans to 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.

In 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 that can be used as standalone 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 project leader began 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

In FY 2009, the project leader continued efforts to develop a variety of puzzles for use on the light box. Designs were developed by the project leader for farm animals, fruits, and cars. The project leader talked with TVIs in the field to get additional ideas, and began work on designs for word games and mazes as several TVIs suggested the project leader pursue these ideas. In addition, several O&M specialists suggested developing O&M routes for the light box. The project leader outlined the next steps of the project, but was unable to share plans with Bisig and other staff at APH.

Work during FY 2010

The project leader selected eight animals to use in developing puzzles for the light box. The animals chosen are horse (and foal), cow (and calf), cat (and kitten), dog (and puppy), bear (and cub), deer (and fawn), pig (and piglet), and wolf (and pups). The plan calls for each animal to have several pieces allowing the children to put them together forming an animal. The project leader is writing a story about each of the eight animals, including the babies.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will provide to Technical Research the shapes of the eight animals, and how each animal is to be formed utilizing puzzle pieces. For instance, the horse will have the following pieces: legs, a head and neck combined, full body, and tail. The horse will be standing upright, and shape of the horse will present side view. The head of the horse will be looking to the side. All animals, and their babies, will be formed for the light box using the above-described picture of the horse.

The project leader will complete the stories for all animals and their babies, and work with APH graphic designer and Bisig to complete written document. All materials will be readied for field testing by spring of 2011. Field testing will be complete and analysis of the results reviewed in the summer of 2011. Final documentation will be complete by fall of 2011.

The Best for a Nest

(Continued)

Purpose

To revise The Best for a Nest, a book once printed by APH; to produce an interactive storybook for learners to focus on many concepts, such as positions, prepositions, and use of tactile symbols

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Karen Poppe, Project Advisor
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant
Lois Harrell, Consultant

Background

The Best for a Nest was copyrighted in 1976 by Lois Harrell, and produced as a contract job by APH in 1986. However, the book was not available from APH as a catalog item. The book 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.

In 2008, the project leaded worked with APH staff, the consultant, and Bisig to complete the many tasks. The written document was reviewed and revised; appropriate changes were made. Regarding the layout of the book, the following components were determined: size of print, size of book (paper size), the location of braille storybook pages, presentation of graphics, how the storyboard will be used as part of the product, size of storyboard, the manipulatives to be used on the storyboard, and materials used to make the manipulatives.

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

In FY 2009, Bisig completed graphic layout of the book. Technical research worked with the project leader to prepare the product to be printed and embossed with braille. The manipulatives, which are to be used on the storyboard as tactile illustrations, were made. This part of the project took considerable time to complete.

The Best for a Nest was sent out for field testing in the spring of 2009. Fourteen reviewers, representing the states of Kentucky, California, Colorado, and Indiana, evaluated the product. Thirty-seven students used the product. These students ranged in age from 3-12 years old; school grades ranged from Pre K to 6th, with the majority being Pre K. A wide range of visual acuities and eye conditions were represented.

It was reported that 100% of students enjoyed the story and showed strong interest in exploring the manipulatives on the storyboard. Evaluators felt that concepts of varying degrees of difficulty were represented. While 100% of evaluators recommended that this product be sold by APH on quota, the reviewers also suggested revisions to the prototype. These revisions included texture changes for the manipulatives and using bolder colors in the storybook. In addition, the consultant suggested that raised lines be added to the storybook. Based on this feedback and potential changes to the tactile components of the product, Tactile Graphics Project Leader Karen Poppe was assigned as a project advisor on this product.

Work during FY 2010

Project leaders and the project advisor developed a post-field test survey that was sent to the original field reviewers. This survey gathered further input about tactile graphics to be used in The Best for a Nest. Nine (of 14) surveys were returned. The overwhelming majority of respondents felt that tactile graphics (e.g., raised lines) were not needed in the storybook itself as the interactive storyboard was sufficient for the tactile component. In addition, reviewers felt that the manipulatives were appropriate for a younger audience. In the future, project staff may explore developing a complementary version of The Best for a Nest that includes raised-line tactile graphics on each page of the storybook; this type of tactile graphic would be more abstract in representation and would require a key/legend for interpretation. The consultant was in agreement with this plan.

Revisions were made to the book and storyboard components based on field test feedback from FY 2009. These revisions included changing the fabric on the cat manipulative and increasing the size of the eggs and baby bird pieces.

Work planned for FY 2011

Final tooling and specifications will be completed, and product will become available for sale.

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
Conrad Reynolds, Technical Consultant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant

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 MRECVICG 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:

Establish a centralized registry of children with visual impairments, birth to 3.

In 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 the following:

  1. To have data analyzed on an 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 website 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, and Nevada. Interest in the project continues to be fairly high. Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan have shown a desire to get involved.

During FY 2009, the coordinator of Babies Count continued to work closely with states and agencies participating in the Babies Count Project. The agencies participating continued to collect and enter data into the database. Interest was shown from several states, but no new states were added during FY 2009. The following work was also completed in FY 2009:

  1. Twenty-two items were identified to be included in a report for each individual agency participating.
  2. Improved entry time for surveys sent to coordinator of project.
  3. Better communication between coordinator and participating agencies was established.
  4. Identified what materials should be part of a link on the APH Web site.

Someone outside APH had done data entry into the database, but that individual was unable to continue working on the project. The project leader worked to identify an outside source to do this work, but efforts were not successful.

Work during FY 2010

The Babies Count Project continued to be important to the field, and to APH. During FY 2010, efforts were made to re-define APH's commitment to the project. This included (1) identification of how best to analyze the data that is currently in the database, and (2) what data should continued to be gathered in the future. The process through which data is gathered and entered into the database was reviewed. The electronic survey form was reviewed and needed changes identified.

Work planned for FY 2011

The Babies Count Project is on hold as APH is seeking some another agency to continue this project. Dr. Deborah Hatton is in the process of putting in place a process to analyze data entered from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2009. It is anticipated this will not be completed prior to January 1, 2011. The Babies Count database is still available to those agencies wishing to continue entering their data.

VIPS@Home Parent University Series

(New)

Purpose

To offer courses to parents that allow them to gain valuable information aimed at helping them raise their children who are blind or visually impaired

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Pauletta Feldman, Consultant
Terri Connolly, Consultant
Suzette Wright, Contributor, Emergent Literacy Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Cathy Senft-Graves, Research Assistant
Terri Gilmore, APH Graphic Designer
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Designer

Background

Research shows that family involvement in education is critical to children's success. It is even more important for young children who are blind or visually impaired. Since it is estimated that 80-90% of what a young child learns occurs through vision, knowledgeable and involved parents can help mitigate the developmental delays and/or differences that can accompany visual impairment. During the early intervention years, when services are very personal and family-friendly, it is imperative that families learn as much as they can to carry them through the many years ahead in raising and educating their child.

Visual impairment is a low incidence disability. Therefore, a young family who has a visually impaired child may have never known anyone who is blind or visually impaired. They most likely have no background or experiences to draw from in dealing with having a child who is blind or visually impaired. They typically feel devastated and terribly alone, not knowing anyone else who has had to face such a difficult situation. Young families need information and support to accept their child's disability and to know how to cope with it, reducing both the child's and the family's risks of adverse impacts.

VIPS@Home Parent University Series addresses these needs by offering a curriculum or courses for parents of blind or visually impaired children that can be taught by service providers or trained parent teachers. These courses can be taught in the home. Many parents find it difficult to attend parent meetings, so this is a way to get information to families at their convenience while making it possible for them to connect with other parents to network and share information and support.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) obtained a grant for $15,000 to develop VIPS@Home Parent University. The initial approach was to submit a grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education, but it was not approved. Four courses were developed by VIPS: (1) Tour Through the Jungle; overview of special education, (2) Emergent Literacy, (3) Power at Your Fingertips; introduction to Braille, and (4) Magical Moments. Because the Early Childhood Project Leader from APH was involved in the formation of this project, he recommended that APH take on this project and have it be a product APH could sell on quota.

The project leader presented the idea to the Director of Research, and it was taken to the Products Evaluation Team (PET). PET approved this request, and it was sent to PARC. PARC approved the request and APH purchased the rights to the product from VIPS. This took place in late FY 2009.

Work during FY 2010

Each of the aforementioned courses of the VIPS@Home Parent University Series needed revisions in order to have them become a product sold by APH. The project leader worked with consultants from VIPS, and another project leader from APH, to revise each of the four courses. Considerable progress has been made in the revisions of each course.

The project leader worked with the APH research assistants to edit each of the courses. In addition, the project leader worked with APH's graphic designer and Bisig to design each of the four courses, including cover art. Cover pages have been designed for each course, and have been approved by the project leader. Editing has been completed on three of the four courses. Power at Your Fingertips (introduction to Braille) is close to completion in terms of editing and graphic design. A brief description of each course follows.

Power at Your Fingertips; an introduction to Braille: This course emphasizes a basic understanding of braille. Parents will learn how braille was developed, the braille alphabet and numbers, how to basically read braille by sight, and how to write braille using both the braillewriter and slate and stylus. The course is designed to be parent-friendly and easy to understand.

Emergent Literacy: Children are never too young for parents to begin working on literacy skills. This course will help parents learn about the foundations of early literacy, the importance of reading to their children, and how to make story time come alive. Parents will learn about how to incorporate literacy opportunities into daily routines. Parents will learn how to make a story box, adapt books, and create homemade books. The course is designed to be parent-friendly and easy to understand.

Tour Through the Jungle; an overview of special education: Parents will learn about special education laws, and what is meant by a free and appropriate education for children with disabilities. The course discusses the differences between early intervention services and special education services in public schools. Parents learn about the Individualized Education Plan, and how to be a strong advocate for their children. The course is designed to be parent-friendly and easy to understand.

Magical Moments Everyday: Parents will learn about what makes a magical moment, and how to create a magical moment each day. As their child grows, parents will learn how to ensure their child is a part of--not apart from--the places of their everyday lives. Parents will learn they truly are the magician in their child's life: (1) They make amazing things happen in the life of their child every day; (2) They are the one who pulls it together throughout the day; and (3) They are the major support for their child. The course teaches how vision loss affects early learning and play. Having fun is emphasized throughout this course. The course is designed to be parent-friendly and easy to understand.

VIPS@Home Parent University Series was presented in November 2009, at the Literacy Conference. In addition, a presentation was made at the International AER Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, in July, 2010. Tremendous interest was shown in this product at both conferences.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will work with the consultants, research assistants, APH graphic

designer, Bisig, and technical support to have all four courses prepared to be field tested by the end of FY 2011. Power at Your Fingertips will be ready to be field tested by November 2010. Emergent Literacy will be prepared to be field tested in the winter of 2011. The remaining two courses will take longer to prepare, but will be sent out for field testing by summer 2011.

What Is IT?

(Completed)

Purpose

To promote comparative thinking and the ability to generalize

Project Staff

Charles "Burt" Boyer, Project Leader
Lois Harrell, Consultant
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant

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 formed. 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 about how to expand 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. What Is 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!" This game allows the blind child to have fun, but develop comparative thinking skills.

In 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 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 the layout of the product, the size of the word cards, what graphics to include, and how the product would be packaged. Bisig, with the assistance of APH staff, prepared the product to be sent to Technical Research for review and recommendations prior to sending on to production. Ten prototypes of the product were developed for field testing purposes. The product for field testing included: Instructional Guidebook, Words and Descriptors (102), and a recipe-type box to store the cards.

What is IT? was field tested in the spring of 2009. Six reviewers, representing the states of Kentucky and Indiana, evaluated the product. Fifteen students used the product. These students ranged in age from 6-14 years old; school grades ranged from Pre K to 8th, with the majority being Pre K. A wide range of visual acuities and eye conditions were represented.

Five of six evaluators recommended that this product be available from APH on quota. Reviewers reported that 87.5% of students found the game to be both fun and challenging, and the large majority of students wanted to discuss and examine the actual object after identifying it based on the clues. Suggested revisions to the product were (1) use of a thicker card stock for the game cards, (2) revising several word cards so that the word is more specific to the provided clues, and (3) adding an orientation corner cut to the cards for the braille reader. The project leader worked on these revisions. A thicker card stock in the color salmon was chosen for the game cards; the project leader consulted the Low Vision Project Leader regarding the color of the card stock. Revisions were made to the word cards and the instruction booklet. Technical research began work on a new cutting die for the cards.

Work during FY 2010

In FY 2010, final tooling and specifications were completed. The product became available for sale in August 2010.

Educational Games

Game of Squares (Redesign)

(Continued)

Finished product, Game of Squares (Redesign)Purpose

To redesign and reintroduce a game that has long been a product staple in APH's catalog.

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker
Andrew Dakin, Pattern/Model Maker

Background

In October 2008, a facility fire experienced by an outside vendor for many of APH's urethane products destroyed the tooling for Game of Squares, specifically the grid board. This fire was the impetus for the redesign, update, and/or re-tooling of many of APH's products.

The Game of Squares is an adaptation of the two-player pencil and paper game in which dots are connected to make squares. Two players alternate placing white plastic "sides" on the board to enclose a square. Completed squares are covered with the player's marker. The markers differ in texture and color. The player who covers the most squares wins. The original game board has a 16-square, blue game grid, and storage areas for game pieces.

Expecting that the game still had merit, but could benefit from an aesthetic and tactile "facelift," the project leader conducted a survey to garner feedback from those using the original version. Feedback received from survey respondents indicated that the original version of the game, although still valuable, could be improved in the following ways:

One teacher noted, "the game develops strategy and problem solving skills. Because of the grid layout, it reinforces many spatial concepts (rows, columns, left, right, etc.). Like all interactive games, it encourages peer interaction and turn-taking." With this reassurance that Game of Squares was still worthwhile with some updated design features, the project leader submitted a Product Submission Form in January 2009. In March 2009, the product was approved for development by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC).

In April 2009, with in-house approval to proceed with the update and reintroduction of the Game of Squares, the project leader conducted a "Brainstorming" Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting to request additional ideas from staff representing various APH departments. The project leader came to the meeting with some preliminary ideas, including a mock-up of a new game layout involving a decorative border around a larger grid area. Masking overlays were suggested to minimize the playing area, if needed. Intention to utilize the same u-channel "side" pieces was proposed, allowing game players to snap them onto clear, vacuum-formed grid dividers. Visual/tactile game tokens of a more interesting style were suggested as well.

Product activities were a bit sluggish the remainder of FY 2009 due to the project staff's involvement in higher priority and closer-to-availability projects. However, by August, some actual construction of the game grid was underway.

Work during FY 2010

In December 2010, the project leader and Tom Poppe originated a two-sided, two-color pedestal game token. Several renditions of the game token were molded and tested with other APH staff to determine the best design for tactile discrimination and grasping. Multiple game tokens were then built and constructed for field test purposes.

Concurrently, the thermoformed grids were prepared by Katherine Corcoran. The project leader experimented with various print designs of the game board to complement and align with the tactile grid. In January, the outside graphic designer initiated work on the final print layout and by February a final layout was approved. Multiple copies of the game board were printed in-house on a wide-format printer.

Remaining prototype construction tasks included the following:

By the end of the fiscal year, multiple copies of the game board and related pieces were ready for field testing.

Work planned for FY 2011

Game instructions will be written by the project leader. Once this document is readied, field test sites will be selected. Field evaluator will be given at least 3 months to use the game with their students. Feedback from field reviewers will directly impact the end design. Final production tooling will be readied and the timeline will be updated to reflect the expected production and availability dates.

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
Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker
David McGee, Technical Research Assistant
Terri Gilmore, Art Design

Background

With the sudden and expanding popularity of these number-based puzzles for both recreational and classroom use, finding a tactile adaptation for them seems 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 complexity and 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 without the need for a multitude of small numbered parts. This feature would set the product apart from other braille-adapted sudoku boards being sold by various companies.

Work during FY 2010

The FY 2008 "pilot" field evaluation suggested that adding braille numbers to the raised bumps on the solving board would be helpful; and after some experimentation, project staff succeeded in doing this. The version which went out for field testing in February 2010 included the braille numerals and other revisions made after the initial trial.

Schools or agencies in Arkansas, British Columbia, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, S. Dakota, Texas, and Virginia (two sites) participated in the full field evaluation. Twenty-seven students ranging from elementary age to adult, several with significant additional handicapping conditions, were involved.

The project leader decided on further revisions needed, including the addition of print divider lines, and final tooling was produced by the model maker and technical assistant. Writing of production specifications began.

Work planned for FY 2011

The 6 x 6 version of the solving board will be produced and offered for sale. Although evaluators also urged the development of a full-size 9 x 9 board using the same system, plans to move ahead on that version will wait until feedback from customers indicates a need for that work to take place.

Touch 'em All Baseball

(Continued)

Purpose

To replace the APH Baseball Game with a version that is more interesting, educational, and enjoyable to play

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader
Katherine Corcoran, Model/Pattern Maker
Terri Gilmore, Art Design

Background

The existing game has been in need of replacement for a long time, as it is overly simple, awkward to handle, and uninteresting to play. The fire at the TriPlastics plant in the fall of 2008 destroyed the mold for the game; this event served as the impetus to begin developing a replacement.

The goal is to devise a game that is more accurate in its scoring, more realistic in its graphic format, more educational in its potential for variations and extensions, and more fun for a variety of ages.

The project leader mocked up and tried several playing formats extensively. These included various playing field surfaces and sizes, and different combinations of cards and spinner designs. The chosen design uses spinners for the pitcher and the hitter, with areas of unequal size to represent the probability of different events. The playing field will be made of colored felt with raised bases, using Velcro® pieces to represent runners and fielders.

Work during FY 2010

The project leader wrote the instruction booklet with teaching suggestions and extension activities. The model maker produced sets of tactile/print action images, playing fields, and spinners. The field evaluation was carried out in the summer of 2010 in 12 locations around the country.

Work planned for FY 2011

A simplified set of spinners will be devised to accommodate players at a very basic level. Because of the variety of people's preferences regarding games, there may be more such revisions or additions to be considered. The final revisions will be made and tooling changes will be specified.

Treks

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Model/Pattern Maker
Frank Hayden, Prototype Specifications
Paul H. 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 Olson, made numerous revisions to the game and wrote a new game booklet. The revised game includes 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 2010

No new development work was needed, but a major fire at the plant where the game boards were to be manufactured brought production of the game to a halt in the fall of 2008. That company produced a sample game board and tooling for the game logo in 2010, both of which were approved by the project leader. Writing of production specifications for the product is underway.

Work planned for FY 2011

The game will go into production and become available for sale.

Expanded Core Curriculum

Adventure ECC: The Hatlen Center Guide

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide teachers of students with visual impairments, certified orientation and mobility specialists, parents, and other members of the educational team with quick, creative lessons designed to teach skills related to the expanded core curriculum to secondary students in school, home, and community settings

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader
Patricia Maffei, Author/Consultant
Patricia Williams, Consultant

Background

In spite of the fact that instruction in the expanded core curriculum (ECC) has been identified as an important goal of The National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youth with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities, teachers of students with visual impairments report that it is difficult finding the time and resources required to consistently and systematically address the plethora of skills contained in the following domains of the ECC: assistive technology/technology, career education, compensatory access skills, independent living, orientation and mobility, recreation and leisure, self-determination, sensory efficiency, and social interaction. This is particularly problematic because it is these specialized skills that allow students who are blind and visually impaired to access the core curriculum and to ultimately have the opportunity to attain the intended post-secondary outcomes afforded high school graduates. However, given the shortage of qualified personnel, oversized caseloads, the extensive time it takes to produce accessible instructional materials, the need for specialized knowledge of adaptive techniques, and emphasis on demonstrating adequate yearly progress on core-curriculum standards, instruction in the expanded core curriculum is often provided in a haphazard fashion. Furthermore, it is often difficult to achieve generalized use of these skills due to time constraints that affect communication between the teacher of students with visual impairments, classroom teachers, related service providers, and parents.

In order to facilitate systematic instruction in the ECC for secondary students with visual impairments, it would be beneficial to provide ideas for lessons, including suggestions for adaptive strategies and aids, which could be easily executed across all the student's environments by any member of the educational team. Given the extensive heterogeneity among the population of learners with visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities, a sequential and leveled curriculum is impractical. A collection of lesson plans produced like recipe cards would create an individualized and dynamic curriculum that could easily be tailored to accommodate a variety of needs, interests, age levels, and ability levels. Given the fact that most middle and high school students do not have a scheduled daily class devoted entirely to mastery of the ECC, these specialized skills are often embedded within other content on an as-needed basis. Unfortunately, this can lead to the development of splinter skills that are not generalized across situations and environments. However, the availability of short, easy-to-implement lessons would increase the likelihood of direct instruction in the ECC being provided regularly by any member of the educational team in the most naturally occurring context. Furthermore, lesson plans produced in a recipe format would facilitate the understanding of adaptive techniques and the procurement of adaptive aids needed for the execution of the targeted skill. Hence, this type of curriculum would facilitate systematic instruction in the ECC while helping the student and the educational team realize that mastery of the ECC is essential to success in the core curriculum and in life after school.

In order to effectively prepare transition-age students with visual impairments to live independently, Patricia Maffei, Program Director of the Hatlen Center for the Blind, and Patricia Williams, Executive Director of the Hatlen Center for the Blind, have been forced to address their students' lack of proficiency in the ECC. Knowing that this is a concern for almost anyone working with this population, Maffei proposed that APH develop a guide containing lesson plans and suggested adaptive aids and techniques that would facilitate instruction in the ECC across a variety of environments by all members of the educational team, including parents. Seeing the need for this product, APH officially approved this product for development in April 2009, and Maffei and Williams were hired as project consultants.

Work during FY 2010

During the 2009 Annual Meeting, Williams and Phil Hatlen, in conjunction with APH staff, conducted a product input session. The session was well attended, and participants expressed a need for this product. Based on the feedback obtained from this brainstorming session as well as input provided by staff at the Hatlen Center for the Blind, Maffei submitted a draft of 135 ECC lessons in February. Since that time, the project leader has been preparing the prototype that will be used in field testing.

Work planned for FY 2011

Due to the fact that there is not a large body of research available on the ECC, selected lessons will be reviewed by a group of leading experts. Feedback gleaned from this process will be incorporated, and the final prototype, including a guidebook, will be developed. Field evaluators will be selected, and field testing will be scheduled.

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, Early Childhood Project Leader
Nita Crow, Consultant
Stephanie Herlich, Consultant
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant
Cathy Senft-Graves, Research Assistant

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 everyday 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 subsequent 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.

In 2008, the project leader and consultants met twice to review the curriculum and 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 prepared a draft of the guidebook, and several illustrations have been identified to be included in the guidebook. The project leader and Bisig planned to have pictures of students taken as illustrations to depict a variety of the activities in the guidebook. The Getting to Know You kit was reviewed and revised. Graphics and illustrations needed for the guidebook were identified. Items for the kit were discussed and a preliminary list made.

In FY 2009, the project leader worked with the consultants to finalize the components of the kit to accompany the guidebook. The project leader began to build the prototype of the kit, which included purchasing items and creating others. Illustrations were completed for cards to be used in the kit. The project leader worked to identify a source for the vision simulators; it was determined that three vision simulators will be included in the kit and these will have to purchased, rather than made specifically for the kit. Pictures and illustrations for the guidebook were completed. A research assistant reviewed the guidebook, and revisions were made.

Work during FY 2010

Additional sections were written for the guidebook; this included a description of kit components and their use in activities. Kit components were readied for field test: CDs containing files to be used in activities were made for field testing; a source for the vision simulators was identified, and samples of these for field testing were purchased; and Facial Expression Cards and Go Fish Cards were printed and brailled. Reviewers were sought via the APH News and APH Field Tester Database. Prototypes and the evaluation form for this product were sent out for field test.

Work planned for FY 2011

Revisions will be made based on feedback from evaluators. Final tooling and specifications will be completed, and the product will become available for sale.

Social Thinking Curriculum

(New)

Purpose

To adapt a social thinking curriculum, originally authored by Michelle Garcia Winner, for the visually impaired population, specifically for students with moderate cognitive impairments, as well as high functioning students, in elementary and middle school grades, who need to develop social thinking and social problem solving skills

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Project Leader
Brett Page, Consultant/School Psychologist

Background

In December 2009, the consultant submitted a formal product submission form suggesting the adaptation of Michelle Garcia Winner's social thinking curriculum for visually impaired students. The author is an internationally recognized therapist in the areas of autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities. The purpose of her curriculum is to provide therapists, teachers, and parents with a fun, motivating, and non-threatening way for students to explore social thinking concepts while increasing their awareness of their own behaviors with strategies taught through a series of worksheets and comic books. The published curriculum can be reviewed in further detail at the following Web site: www.socialthinking.com

The consultant indicated that the social thinking curriculum can be used with therapists in individual and group counseling environments, by teachers within the classroom, and by parents through interactions with their children at home. The program is most effective if all key adults in a child's life use the curriculum together. As the consultant explains in the product submission form, "I use the curriculum in my groups then have our teachers reinforce the concepts daily within the classroom environment while providing the students social thinking homework assignments. I also communicate/share the curriculum with our children's parents to reinforce and use at home." The consultant has observed that a majority of students with visual impairments/blindness exhibit tremendous weaknesses in this skill set. Not developing these skills hinders these students' ability to successfully transition from high school to college or to the workplace. This curriculum addresses this need in a highly engaging and effective manner. The ideal target groups for this product are elementary and middle school students, and in some cases, high school level students.

Work during FY 2010

In January 2010, the product submission form was reviewed and approved by both the Product Evaluation Team (PET) and the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC).

During the summer of 2010, the consultant initiated work on the modifications to the initial chapters of Michelle Garcia Winner's Thinking About You, Thinking About Me, a book that provides the philosophy behind the curriculum and is extremely necessary for those who are coordinating social-education programming. The adaptation of this book was approved by the author.

The project leader became familiar with the related materials, particularly the Superflex comic books, which are expected to be made accessible in both braille and large print formats, with tactile hands-on props if necessary. The consultant envisions the entire curriculum being "a truly interactive, hands-on experience."

Work planned for FY 2011

The consultant will complete the preparation of a companion manual to the Thinking About, Thinking About Me that will detail specific adaptations for the visually impaired student on a chapter-by-chapter basis. The project leader will coordinate the preparation of this companion, as well as other related materials (e.g., braille/print worksheets, tactile components), for the purpose of expert review and/or field evaluation with teachers, parents, and students.

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 were established for the purpose of development and testing of the guidelines. Highly-trained consultants have provided useful input in the production of a truly accessible, enhanced format, (large print with additional, specific formatting for accessibility), atlas for students with low vision. These efforts will ultimately lead to 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-Compton, Research Assistant/Freelance Consultant
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Robert Forbes, Project Consultant/University Liaison
Matt Smith, Cartographer
Carie Ernst, Cartographer
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Jeffrey Lucas, Expert/Writer
David Pepper, Expert/Writer
Phillip Cantrell, Expert/Writer
Anu Sabhlok, Expert/Writer
Iman Azzi, Expert/Writer
James Erwin, Expert/Writer
Carol Hanchette, Expert/Writer
Andrew Novak, Expert/Writer
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

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 to develop guideline for maps. 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 for production was not feasible. The decision was made to continue work on the atlas at APH 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. To date, they have reviewed maps for both Section 1 and Section 2 of Address: Earth and their reviews have been very useful. Some changes were made to maps based upon recommendations from National Geographic.

With information about the latest technology, guidelines for the content and proposed format of the Address: Earth 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. In 2007 the project leader and department director decided to contact geography and history experts, to write the units. Most were professors of geography and social sciences at universities. Ten 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; this writing continued through the first half of 2009. In 2009, after the consultant units were written, APH staff continued to edit, find photos, request permissions, do layouts, refine maps, and prepare Address Earth, Section 2 for expert review.

Work during FY 2010

Maps were sent to National Geographic for review and revisions were made based upon the suggested changes. Semi-final content is now in review by experts, teachers, and bias reviewers. Revisions were made based upon the reviews of the experts. Technical Research personnel began to draft specifications and production schedules. Production processes began.

Work planned for FY 2011

Final specifications, documentation, and production of Section 2 will take place. Text and photo acquisition on Section 3 will commence, as will photo permissions and sidebar development. Edits, development, and layout of the first 5 chapters will take place. Schedules will be drawn up by Technical Research staff and Educational Research staff.

Determining Appropriate Visual Reading Media for Students with Low Vision

Formerly: Optimizing the Reading of Text

(Continued)

Purpose

The two purposes of this project were twofold:

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

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Amanda Hall Lueck, Project Consultant
Ian Bailey, O.D., Consulting Research Optometrist
Helen Dornbusch, O.D., Consulting Research Optometrist
Richard Windsor, O.D., Consulting Low Vision Optometrist

Background

This project 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 & 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. A model of the decision tree and a user's guide were developed and reviewed by APH.

Work during FY 2010

Some pieces of the decision tree were not fully accessible when APH staff tried to open them and this problem had to be resolved. APH policy dictates that all parts of a product must be accessible to persons with low vision and blindness. Editing began on the User's Guide. Since the product is technically very complex, the project leader suggested that a low vision optometrist who is not involved in the development of the product, and who is familiar with the needs of teachers, review the product for feasibility and usability. This review has been set-up and will take place in November 2010.

Work planned for FY 2011

The user's manual will be edited and formatted after the expert review is complete. At that time, field test sites will be developed and shortly thereafter field testing will take place. Changes to the product will be made based upon field testing. 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 move into production phase. It is planned for this project to be completed in FY 2012.

Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments, Revision

(Completed)

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 and to improve the quality of the edits, 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 benchmarks and interventions.

Project Staff

Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist
Amanda Hall-Lueck, Lead Consultant
Linda Kekelis, Writer
Elizabeth Hartman, Writer
Deborah Chen, Writer
Laurianne Matheson, Consultant/Editor
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant

Background

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

Work during FY 2010

The final steps of editing, final revision, documentation, and specifications were completed and the product was produced and made available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2011

The product is complete.

Maximize Multi-Camera Video Magnifier2

With Cordless PenTracker™ and Joystick

(Continued)

Purpose

For many years, individuals who help provide materials and technology have asked APH to develop a video magnifier for use by 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. This product was made available in 2008. In 2009, the developer and APH decided to upgrade the product.

Project Staff

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

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. The ability to connect other media sources such as PCs and DVD players is also now possible through the addition of hardware and software to video magnifiers.

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. The new 2009 model features a cordless and ergonomic PenTracker™; a joystick replaces the mouse. The monitor is larger and the footprint is smaller. The whole unit is quieter, having been covered by a layer of sound-muffling polymer, and fitted with a quieter scanning motor.

Work during FY 2009

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 developed, edited, and completed as was research and development of an extended warranty. The product became available for sale in August 2009.

NewT: New Tools for Use with FV/LMA

(New)

Purpose

FV/LMA, a set of protocols for conduction of functional vision and learning media assessments requires a set of tools for practitioners to use. The protocols within FV/LMA often require such tools as colored markers, print samples of varied sizes, photos, pictures, cartoons, rulers, etc., to be used with them. In the past, practitioners have been responsible for the development of their own set of tools. However, there is value in standardization and accessibility. When tools are standardized, other practitioners, optometrists, teachers, and all people of a student's vision care/educational team understand how the results of the functional vision and learning media assessments were gathered and analyzed. They all understand what the results mean. With the development of NewT, practitioners across the country will be able to interpret results from their colleagues' reports when a child moves to a different state, for example. The NewT product will be accessible to all persons with blindness or low vision.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
LaRhea Sanford, Consultant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Background

FV/LMA became available in 2008. Dr. LaRhea Sanford, one of the originators of FV/LMA has done several workshops through the National Instructional Partnership. After each of her presentations, practitioners, teachers, and early interventionists call APH to request sets of tools such as the kind NewT would provide. They are very interested in having the tools to complement their FV/LMA products. During the development of FV/LMA, Drs. Sanford and Burnett developed their own set of tools and made a list of those items. The project leader and other staff are working out ways to make all the tools and materials accessible for practitioners who have blindness or low vision. The project leader and consultant met together in June of 2009, to determine the scope of the product, and to brainstorm about which items would go into the array of tools in NewT. The project leader then met with the manufacturing specialist assigned to the product and talked over the projected specifications.

Work during FY 2010

The project leader enlisted feedback from many of those who had attended the FV/LMA workshops to determine specific guidelines and grade levels for the NewT materials to meet. She and the manufacturing specialist then identified which items in the tool array would be made in-house by APH, and which ones would need to be procured outside APH. The project leader then examined several items procured outside APH to determine if they would be suitable for use in the NewT array.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will continue to locate and evaluate items for inclusion in the NewT array. The consultant will work on a short informational booklet for use by the consumer. The project leader will continue to write the grade-level materials for use by students and practitioners. Field testing will take place and data will be analyzed. A search for an appropriate carrying case will take place. Specifications will be updated and finalized immediately after tooling is completed. Projected completion is 2012.

Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning

(Continued)

Purpose

To revise to current APH and educational (best practices) standards the longtime selling and very successful product created by Dr. Natalie Barraga in 1978

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Millie Smith, Lead Consultant
Natalie Barraga, Project Advisor
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Advisory Panel/Contributors

Bill Daugherty
Amanda Lueck
Deborah Orel-Bixler
Rona Pogrund
Cecelia Robinson
Christine Roman-Lantzy
L. Penny Rosenblum
LaRhea Sanford
Irene Toper

Background

In 1978, Dr. Natalie Barraga demonstrated that school-age children with low vision could learn to use their vision more efficiently within a program that taught visual perceptual skills. She wrote,

"Experience has shown that many persons with low vision do not employ their usable vision. If they are accustomed to functioning as if blind, they do not understand how to look. Others who have tried to use vision in the past may have stopped trying because of negative experiences. A basic assumption is made that efficiency in the use of vision is desirable for all low vision learners. The major portion of the program focuses on effective use of low vision."

Dr. Barraga and APH agreed that now is the time to update the product. Millie Smith, a former graduate student of Dr. Barraga's, is the lead consultant on the project. Dr. Barraga sits on the advisory panel that was created to guide this revision. The advisory panel met in Austin, TX, in August 2009.

Work done in FY 2010

APH contracted with doctoral student Jon Howe to have a literature review done based on a list of key words created by the advisory panel. A meta-analysis of educational applications of low vision research was commissioned by APH in collaboration with the National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities. We are grateful that the researchers (Dozier, Ferrell, and Monson) shared their list of key words with us and a draft copy of their technical report. Both reports were reviewed and resulted in a new three-part product design: guidebook, visual efficiency assessment procedure, and instructional activities.

Work planned for FY 2011

The new guidebook, visual efficiency assessment procedure, and instructional activities will be written. The panel will review and accomplish specific tasks in relation to the development of the product.

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 learners of the developmental ages of 0-2 yrs. Guidelines for the uses of the tools and materials are to be included.

Project Staff

J. Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader
Millie Smith, Consultant
Erica Rucker, Research Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer

Background

Numerous requests from practitioners in the field led to a project named ToAD that provides a standardized set of tools, toys, reflective materials, lights, cards, and overlays 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 practitioner'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 2-dimensional graphic materials were not appropriate for children 2 years and younger. They also 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 students who are ages 0-2. The project leader, with approval of PARC, and with advice from the project consultant, developed a sequence of developmental activities and visual materials for use by children 0-2 and their teachers called Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book. The project leader then developed a Practitioner's Guidebook 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 2010

Additional activities were developed as a result of field testing. Editing was also completed on practitioner's guidebook of appropriate foundation activities for multi-handicapped students, to accompany the ToAD array of tools. Additional images were added and editing of the text for Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book was also completed and additional TADPOLE cards were developed as was a report form. Specifications were drawn up and completed. All braille and HTML materials were produced.

Work planned for FY 2011

Print production began in March 2010, but due to difficulties printing on the heavy polymer paper, printing will not be complete until January 2011. An additional item, soft snap puzzles, was added late in the process and those too will be completed in 2011.

Teach Me to See

Formerly: Appropriate 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
Amanda Hall-Lueck, Lead Consultant
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 deals with children who have disabilities that range 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. The product will be primarily helpful to students who are planning to become teachers of students with visual impairments.

Drs. Hall-Lueck and Heinze videotaped 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 2010

The taped material was put into DVD Format and sent to five expert reviewers. This was done to determine the accuracy of the content, and the feasibility of using footage that was problematic due to audio and video interference. Video clips were merged with story boards, introductions, credits, voiceovers and music. Editing continues until the video is considered to be complete. The presentation will then be closed captioned and fitted with video description. It will then be duplicated and made available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2011

Edits will be completed; closed captions and video description will be added. The material will then be duplicated and made available for sale.

Mathematics

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
Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker

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.

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, was investigated; it did not generate enough enthusiasm to warrant the extra time and cost needed for tooling. Input was gathered at two Annual Meeting sessions and from teachers at a multi-school in-service in New York. The revised product will continue to use the embossed rubber grid currently offered.

Work during FY 2010

Manufacturing bids were obtained for the redesigned board and a new component, an embossed circle graph to be mounted on the reverse of the grid. Project staff also devised and made prototypes of two new items: a pivoting ruler with print and tactile markings, to help students mark points at a given radius from another point, and a set of adjustable X-Y axes that can be placed anywhere on the grid board.

Fifteen complete prototype sets were made up in preparation for field evaluation in the fall of 2010.

Work planned for FY 2011

The field evaluation will be concluded. The project leader will decide on final design revisions and consult with Technical Research staff to get production specifications drawn up.

Nemeth Across Time

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide students and teachers of students with visual impairments a series of "teach sheets" (e.g. reference sheets) that address mathematical concepts and appropriate application of the Nemeth Braille Code

Project Staff

Loana Mason, Project Leader
Derrick Smith, Expert Reviewer

Background

The idea for Nemeth Across Time came from a teacher in the field, Patricia Bolger. She had developed and used the "teach sheets" with her students and found them to be very helpful. Each "teach sheet" has a definition or description, specific vocabulary, description of print concepts, appearance in braille, process or steps in calculation, formulas, math concepts explained, and oddities or exceptions to the math rule noted. The materials would be available on CD and could be embossed or printed when needed.

The product submission was approved by the Product Evaluation Team and Product Advisory and Review Committee. The files submitted by Bolger were reviewed by another math consultant, Dr. Derrick Smith.

Work during FY 2010

Upon Jeanette Wicker's retirement, this product was assigned to another project leader, Loana Mason. Feedback from Derrick Smith, an expert reviewer, was analyzed, and the standards set by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) were researched. It was decided that the reference sheets would be organized in accordance with the NCTM standards and would include the following sections: number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability. A standardized template for each reference sheet is currently being developed.

Work planned for FY 2011

A scope and sequence will be determined to make sure that all concepts are addressed in a logical manner. Each sheet will be revised and additional sheets will be developed as needed. Bolger's consulting services will be retained in order to help with the revision and development of the "teach sheets." By the end of this fiscal year, a field testing prototype should be ready.

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

Given 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 shared among several applications was the model that was most efficient for the wide variety of projects under development. Several of the educational software projects, 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 the 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. (See the separate write-up on Studio Recorder.)

Through the years, staff continued 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 2010

The studio requested several modifications to make the job of studio monitors easier. These include the following:

Version 3.7.2, October 2009

Version 3.7.2.x, February 2010

Work planned for FY 2011

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 DirectX 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. File size limitations with the .wav file type are quickly becoming a problem as the power of PCs increases and the demands of users grows. Programmers investigated additional file types for inclusion as the set the component supports. 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 develops 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.

Work during FY 2010

Minor bugs were corrected.

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will work to complete the following:

Book Port

(Continued Support)

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.

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

As design for the next generation of hardware failed, staff began looking for an alternative means of providing the capabilities Book Port offered.

Work during FY 2010

Project staff updated support for bookshare.org DAISY titles as file specifications evolved.

Work planned for FY 2011

See the report for Book Port Plus for the description of the hardware replacement. We will continue to provide software support and upgrades for this product.

Book Port Plus

(Continued)

Purpose

To replace the analog cassette machine and the Book Port with a portable electronic device that is simple enough for anyone to use for both playback and recording of Digital Talking Books and to harness the capabilities of wireless networking to obtain content

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Takoru Shiroki, Project Consultant
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Ken Perry, Programmer
Rosanne Hoffmann, Editor
Terri Gilmore, Artist

Background

As the difficulty of using cassette tape as a playback and a recording medium increases due to normal equipment breakdown and the lack of parts and tape, the National Library Service (NLS) transitions to online and cartridge distribution of its titles, and the ever quickening capabilities of the Internet for educational and content distribution purposes explodes, the need for a portable, reliable, expandable reading device for a blind student in a technological classroom setting becomes apparent. At the same time, elderly NLS patrons who embrace the simplicity of the operation of the cassette machine and its adequate recording capabilities require a device to perform the functions for which they formally employed the APH Handi-cassette or other analog tape recorder. They want to be able to simply and effectively play a book or make a recording without having to consider extra complexity because the medium has moved from tape to digital. Many also desire the increased recording quality made possible by the digital media, recording level controls, recording monitoring, and the ability to append to existing recordings without having to position a tape.

In addition to simplicity of playback and recording, many users desire physical controls that are large and distinctive. Of all the existing DTB players, the Plextalk Pocket was identified as the hardware base that most closely meets the desired characteristics. The Plextalk Pocket contains 12 large telephone keys with a very pronounced dot on the five key, a five-way arrow/selection control, and six additional, easily distinguishable keys for various purposes including recording. Its keys are well spaced and arranged in a familiar telephone-like layout.

In addition to its desirable key controls, the Plextalk Pocket features state of the art hardware that will let it evolve over the next few years with quickly evolving standards. Standards of particular interest from the DAISY consortium are the online specifications that define methods for transferring content directly from the provider to the patron's device and specifications that will eventually let users answer test questions in a DAISY title.

APH contracted with Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd., to adapt the existing Plextalk Pocket (PTP1) DAISY player recorder to meet the following goals:

The hardware already supported the goals which include the following:

Staff and engineers from Shinano Kenshi met and evaluated the feasibility of firmware modifications, packaging, warranty and repairs, marketing, and distribution.

Firmware modifications were broken down into options that would increase the simplicity and usability of the interface, improvements in performance, more optimal behavior for an auditory interface, and features specific to APH's interests.

Programmers at Shinano Kenshi added the following:

Work during FY 2010

Firmware Version 4.5 (Erin) May 2010

APH's narrator talent, superior software, and processing capabilities make it possible to offer a new guide voice with each new version of software for your Book Port Plus. The new guide voice for version 4.5 is Erin Jones.

Users find the human guide voice adds personality to Book Port Plus. The features that add functionality include the following:

Software Version 1.2, May 2010

Firmware Version 4.1, February 2010

Software Version 1.1, February 2010

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will work to complete the following tasks:

Add support for the following additional file types: RTF (rich text format), Encrypted files from www.openlibrary.orgePubProtected WMADocx

Docx"

Correct issues that make the device not disconnect from a Mac computer properly

Exploit the WiFi radio to provide, initially, wireless file transfers, Internet radio, and podcast receiving without having to use a computer, then later to support DAISY onpne specifications as US producers adopt this standard.

Make the folder navigation more flexible while trying to retain the simppcity that so many users appreciate

Make it possible to delete single audio files from a folder

Create a version of Book Transfer that runs on both Mac and PC

Make installing the NLS key easier

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 DTDs can become quite elaborate. Creating one from scratch is not a trivial task.

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

When NLS first commissioned the study, they were mainly on a quest for information about how to produce and distribute digital talking books for United States citizens, and this is still their primary goal. But as the process evolved and their needs coincided so well with the needs of many others, they soon found themselves, under the leadership of first Michael Moody then Michael Katsman, 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 handheld 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 z39.86 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 2010

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

Book Wizard Reader Version 1.5, January 2010

Book Wizard Producer Version 1.5.1.x, March, 2010

Version 1.4.4.x, December 2009

Version 1.4.3.x, October 2009

Version 1.4.3.0, September 2009

Version 1.4.2.0, August 2009

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will work to complete the following tasks:

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

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

The cursor used in the text view will be synchronized with the cursor in the braille view for simultaneous editing of both text and braille.

Support for special navigation modes such as for tables and lists from the Navigation Control XML (NCX) will be added.

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.

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

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

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

Braille+

(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
Michael McDonald, Programmer
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Ken Perry, Programmer
Michael Borsuk, Programmer
Rosanne Hoffmann, Editor
Terri Gilmore, Artist

Background

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

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

The unit should use a commercial operating system designed for low power consumption. This ensures the device continues to evolve and ensures 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.

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.

Once prototypes were built, several field testers were recruited. These included a number of people from various states with ages ranging from 12 to 79 and a wide degree of education levels and occupations including students, teachers, technology consultants, social workers, accessibility consultants, and research scientists. In addition, APH has begun using public beta testing to help increase the size of the test pool. The Braille+ became available for sale in April 2007.

Work during FY 2010

Version 2.1, October 2009

Calculator

RSS

Calendar

Network

More fixes

Tuner

Version 2.2, June 2010

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will work to complete the following tasks:

GPS

(New)

Purpose

To provide location, navigation, and routing functions to the Braille+ that are geared specifically to blind pedestrians

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Deanne Chance, Consultant
Michael Borsuk, Project Lead
Tim Allen, Consultant

Background

Since the introduction of the Braille+, APH and its customers knew that location based services are critical to a blind pedestrian.

While there are numerous GPS solutions available for sighted drivers, none is appropriate for use by blind pedestrians. Some speak rout instructions, but none is accessible enough to let the blind traveler set the device or ask it for information. Devices designed for sighted users also use graphical representations of maps to provide information about location, points of interest, and routes. A blind pedestrian needs a virtual map that lets her use keys to command the program to move through map data in a logical and useful way. To this end, APH began designing software that lets the user navigate through virtual space by moving from point to point. That point can be a street or path intersection, a point of interest, or a distance.

Another feature not provided by commercial GPS devices is the ability to get information about the buildings or other features of the landscape around the user. Such a system might tell the user something like "Papa John's Pizza ahead and to the right" or even "three way intersection with traffic light control."One of the most frustrating experiences for the blind traveler is the inability to read signage that adorns businesses, public facilities, and other landmarks in the environment. Such a system provides this information as well. The user may receive this information upon request, or she may instruct the device to automatically announce each point of interest as she approaches it.

In terms of routing, the blind pedestrian obviously wants to be able to walk on streets that may be controlled in a certain direction for motor vehicle traffic, wants to avoid getting a route that has her walking on an interstate, and wants extra information about pedestrian specific characteristics of the environment.

In this three phase project, APH will provide the basic navigation, location, and routing functions in the first portion of the project.

Phase two includes the ability to create and share points of interest and information about points of interest.

In phase three, indoor spaces will be included in the ability to locate and get routes for points of interest.

Work during FY 2010

Project staff completed the following: created project specifications, bid contract services, and finalized contract with consultant organizations.

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will work to complete the following tasks:

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
Deanne Chance, Consultant
Rob Meredith, Programmer
John Hedges, Programmer
Keith Creasy, Programmer
Mike McDonald, Programmer
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Ken Perry, Programmer
Mike Borsuk, 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, 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.

Staff regularly works with other project leaders to suggest and implement technologies for projects that have technological components in specific areas of interest. Such projects include a Web-based early trade book learning and management system for braille readers (see the write-up for Early Braille Trade Books), an orientation and mobility instructor tool to help disseminate useful information to a client's parents, and continuing enhancements to Studio Recorder and Book Wizard Producer for the studio. Staff also creates CD layouts for projects that have CD based training material or documentation.

Work during FY 2010

Staff continues enhancing 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 continued programming and debugging an application to help orientation and mobility specialists communicate better with their clients and families. See the write up on O & M for Families.

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

Staff continued working on a project to create "digital talking books" (DTBs). See the Book Wizard write-up for information on how the program was modified.

The Technology Group continued to participate in beta testing, monitor listserves, attend conferences, collaborate with other developers, and disseminate information.

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.

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.

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 2011

There are two additional areas of software development that require addressing. They are automated testing and error reporting. While automated testing is not an immediate possibility, staff has determined the need for additional personnel for testing purposes. APH will investigate the needs of this testing position and make a determination about the addition. In the meantime, the Human Resources department has connected the technology group with students at the Kentucky School for the Blind participating in a Co-op work program. Two seniors who are tech savvy will begin with complete regression testing of the Braille+ before each public beta or release of software. The group also has need for much more rigorous testing on all its products by someone who is not the product's developer or another developer in the group. Such extensive testing should both better catch problems that the developer would not normally think to consider or check and help free the developer for more time to program.

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.

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. Staff members plan to participate in the DAISY specifications process to define behavior and characteristics for documents, like work books, that take input from the user.

The technology group will continue to host and maintain Early Braille Trade Books. This system runs on the Drupal content management system. The Web application lets teachers track a student's braille contraction mastery and suggests titles of trade books that contain the contractions the student knows. Drupal provides the account creation and management processes, creation and management of groups for administrative purposes, data management for edits, and most of the account and data management aspects of the system. Staff is ready to provide expansion services to support more types of content or if it is decided to broaden the application's scope.

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.

Qwerty Docking Station

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide the student with an ergonomic qwerty keyboard with additional functionality for use with the Braille+

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Marc Mulkahy, Project Consultant
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Rosanne Hoffmann, Editor
Terri Gilmore, Graphics

Background

The docking station is designed so that the Braille+ fits into it. Together, the docking station adds a full-sized qwerty keyboard, Ethernet connector, larger speakers, and a larger battery. The docking station also offers a foldout wrist rest.

Work during FY 2010

No additional work has been performed on this product.

Work planned for FY 2011

Work is complete. Future modifications will be added as the need arises.

Refreshabraille 18

(Formally Refreshable Braille Display)

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Thomas Friehoff, Project Consultant
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Rosanne Hoffmann, Editor
Terri Gilmore, Artist

Background

As APH advances its braille interests to all parts of the company, technology applications for braille were also prominent. A high quality integrated refreshable braille subsystem was finalized and released for the Braille+, and a new display and input device, Refreshabraille 18, was designed, debugged, and released. While the refreshable braille display matches Braille+ in size, convenience, and durability, it was designed to be used with a variety of other devices, both portable and desktop. GW Micro's Window-Eyes screen reader and Apple's VoiceOver screen reader both contain built-in support for Refreshabraille18, and it can be used with other software that does not yet know about it by telling that software that the device is a display from Baum. APH ships a driver that adds support to an existing JAWS installation.

Refreshabraille was designed with both USB and Bluetooth (wireless) connections, and the firmware keeps device configuration simple by automatically detecting requests for a connection through either interface.

Input capabilities mean the user can control her PC or other portable device like a personal data assistant (PDA) or smart phone from the braille display. When these input features are combined with the Bluetooth wireless communications, it is possible to keep the PDA away in a purse or pocket and use Refreshabraille to both read and control the device. This small, elegant braille control is ideal for both students and professionals who prefer or require braille.

Refreshabraille is easily configurable with respect to its orientation. In other words, the user may use the device with the braille cells either on the side closest to her or on the side furthest away. All controls also flip their orientation when the orientation of the braille cells is altered.

Work during FY 2010

Project staff completed the following:

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will work to complete the following tasks:

Studio Recorder

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Rob Meredith, Programmer
Steve Mullins, Special Projects Manager
John Zinninger, Senior Technician
Dave McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research/Project Assistant

Background

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

Studio Recorder was originally written for internal use at APH to serve as a tool for creating digital audio recordings for the National Library Service (NLS). It contains many features that ease the task of recording, editing, and proofreading audio books. Its features also facilitate simple production to Digital Talking Book or to cassette.

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 via Digital Talking Book, on audio cassette, or via the World Wide Web.

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 let the narrator 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 various common audio editing and management tasks.

Continuing development is largely driven by studio needs and customer requests. 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 2010

The following enhancements were made to Studio Recorder:

Version 3.7.2, October 2009

Version 3.7.2.x, February 2010

Work planned for FY 2011

Project staff will work to complete the following:

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

Talking Learn Keys

(Continued)

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 functionality features list. The programmers wrote, tested, and finalized the code in 1999, and Talking Learn Keys became available for sale.

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 continues to be modernized for new versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. 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.

Work during FY 2010

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2011

Updates will take place as needed.

Talking Typer for Windows

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

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

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

The program entered its field testing phase in September 1999. The programming group field tested Talking Typer over a 6-month period in a variety of sites, and the field test participants played a very active role in shaping the development of this product. Field testing began in September 1999 with an early prototype of the system and the programmers quickly replaced features that were difficult to understand with methods suggested by participants. The field testers and customers suggested adding some lessons that used common phrases. In response to this, Research Assistant Kris Scott created two new lessons with about 40 phrases in each lesson. Customer feedback indicated this feature was a great idea, and several users requested the two-phrase lessons be renamed "sentences," as well as the creation of additional lessons (to precede the sentence lessons) that contain shorter, more common phrases. Customer feedback indicated 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 2010

Version 1.13.3 December 2009

Version 1.13.4 April 2010

Version 1.13.5, August 2010

Work planned for FY 2011

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

(Continued)

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
John Hedges, 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. These data are committed to persistent storage and all puzzles are dynamically generated from this information.

Work during FY 2010

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2011

Future enhancements will be made as identified.

Teacher's Pet

(Continued)

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 2010

Staff corrected bugs that prevented it from running on 64 bit versions of Windows 7.

Work planned for FY 2011

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

(Continued)

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 two recent innovations, however, that violate these patterns: the Net--a worldwide network of connected computers--and the Web--a global collection of connected multimedia documents. Both of these developments have emerged in the past quarter century and have already influenced every aspect of human endeavor throughout the civilized world.

Now that a personal computer costs about the same price as a quality television set or high-performance stereo system, an individual can afford a personal computer and can access the Net and the Web any time anywhere. The personal computer has invaded every area of human activity, and its ubiquity has made the Net and the Web commonplace. No other technology has spread throughout our 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 the Web is assumed.

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

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

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

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

Work during FY 2010

This project was made available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2011

The material will be updated as needed.

Verbal View of the Office Ribbon Bar

(Formerly: Verbal View of Office 2007)

(Continued)

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
Rosanne Hoffmann, Editor

Background

Microsoft completely redesigned the user interface for the series of programs in the Office suite. While each application is more consistent, the whole paradigm 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 2010

Project staff recorded audio and created DAISY title.

Work planned for FY 2011

This project is complete. It is available for sale.

Verbal View of Online Mail

(Continued)

Purpose

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

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 two different support teams for them because they are substantially different. Both programs come with an Address Book in which you can enter information about persons, organizations, or businesses; these are 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 2010

This project is complete.

Work planned for FY 2011

Updates will take place as needed.

Verbal View of Vista

(Continued)

Purpose

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

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 2010

This project is complete.

Verbal View of Web Documents

(Continued)

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 three different ways: as complete Web pages to read with a Web browser; as HTML documents to read and edit with Microsoft Word; or as text documents to read and edit 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 2010

This project was made available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2011

The material will be updated as needed.

Verbal View of Web Searches

(Continued)

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 2010

This project was made available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2011

Updates and enhancements will occur as the subject matter evolves.

Verbal View of Windows XP

(Continued)

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 2010

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

Work planned for FY 2011

Updates and enhancements will occur as the subject matter evolves.

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 dominant 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 2010

This project is available for sale.

Work planned for FY 2011

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

Verbal View of Word Advanced

(Continued)

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 APH.

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

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

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

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

Work completed in FY 2010

No work was performed on this project during FY 2010.

Work planned for FY 2011

Future enhancements will be made as new versions of Word are released.

Verbal View of Word 2007

(New)

Purpose

To instruct about the features available in Word 2007 as they relate to using the product with a keyboard (not a mouse) and a screen reader

Project Staff

Larry Skutchan, Project Leader
Peter Durant, Project Consultant/Author
Rosanne Hoffmann, Editor

Background

Verbal View of Word 2007 is the second in a series started by Verbal View of the Office Ribbon Bar. It presents the information necessary to effectively use the new ribbon bar interface. Verbal View of Word 2007 builds on this foundation to explain the features and characteristics unique to this program and have to use them with the keyboard and a screen reader.

Work during FY 2010

The author researched, tested, and composed a draft of the document. Larry Skutchan and Rosanne Hoffmann reviewed the text and sent corrections to the author.

Work planned for FY 2011

The author will finalize the text, the studio will record it, and the Tech group will build a DAISY book for distribution. The files will also be sent to the Braille department for translation services. The product will be made available for sale.

Multiple Disabilities

Child-Guided Strategies: The Van Dijk Approach to Assessment

(Completed)

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
Jan van Dijk, Consultant
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

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 new training manual will be packaged with a new CD to provide a comprehensive tool to professionals working with learners (birth-21) who have congenital deafblindness or multisensory impairments. The new CD will have excerpts from the original CD and new video footage; it will feature a baby, a child, and a teenager. The focus of the assessment tool is to gather information for program planning and educational intervention for learners in educational settings.

Work during FY 2010

Field test recommendations were incorporated into the final documentation. The product became available for sale on January 14, 2010 and was used by Drs. Nelson and van Dijk as the course material for a class in The Netherlands.

Multiple Disabilities Projects and Needs

(Ongoing)

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 2010

Child-Guided Strategies: The Van Dijk Approach to Assessment and the Sound Adapted Tangle Balls became available for sale. Documentation and video production continued on SAM: Symbols and Meaning. A literature review was conducted to help establish need for the revision of the Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning. Work continues on the O&M Manual for Wheelchair Users. The project leader co-presented an input session and presented two informational posters during Annual Meeting. Multiple presentations were held for guests and teachers at APH. The project leader presented and worked the exhibit booth at the ATIA in Orlando, FL, and at the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, IN.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will continue to research, identify, and develop needed products; conduct presentations to the field; and address questions referred from customer service. APH will host two new Multiple Disabilities Focus Groups. In March, the Birth to Grade 12 Multiple Disabilities Focus Group will meet; in June, the Adult Multiple Disabilities Focus Group will meet.

O&M for Wheelchair Users

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant
J. 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.

Work during FY 2010

The video-to-manual comparison editing continued. Editing continued of the video voice over manuscript. A gender bias review was conducted.

Work planned for FY 2011

The voice over on the videos will continue. A professional review of sample chapters will be obtained.

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
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

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 2010

Field test revisions were incorporated and the final manuscript was completed and turned over to design and layout. The remaining videos and photographs were taken. Vendors for the kit components were identified.

Work planned for FY 2011

Lead-in explanations of each video will be scripted and filmed. The electronic assessment forms will be created. Custom kit components will be manufactured.

SLK: Sensory Learning Kit (Revision)

(New)

Purpose

To update this successful product using feedback from the field and to add a video component to match its sister product, SAM: Symbols and Meaning

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Millie Smith, Consultant and Author
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

The Sensory Learning Kit (SLK) is the first of three sequential products that APH offers as a communication/intervention continuum--Sensory Learning Kit, SAM: Symbols and Meaning, and Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication. The SLK has been on the market since 2005. During that time, APH has co-hosted numerous training events across the country. We have learned from the field additional information, resources, and educational aids that teachers and parents would like to have in the kit. Through field testing SAM, the second product of the continuum, we learned how valuable videos are to the user. We decided to incorporate videos into the revision of the SLK.

Work during FY 2010

Students were selected and filmed throughout the school year. All three routine levels were filmed: quiet alert, active alert, and partial participation.

Work planned for FY 2011

The videos will be edited and voice overs will be written. The kit items, documentation, and product presentation will be reviewed.

Spangle Tangle

(New)

Purpose

To provide a toy and educational aid that can be used by children--who have limited motor skills and visual impairment or blindness--independently for short periods of time on a wheelchair tray without the toy falling off of the tray

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Marie Amerson, Author/Consultant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Katherine Corcoran, Model Maker
Andrew Dakin, Model Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

APH currently sells the APH Tangle Toy, a custom-made toy that has pop-apart segments that are color and tactile specific. Work on SAM: Symbols and Meaning brought to light that more products are needed that can be used on a wheelchair tray without the items constantly falling off the tray and out of the child's reach. This new toy and its specifically-designed stand will allow children to experience success instead of frustration. The existing APH Tangle Toy can be used with the new Tangle Stand, but the stand will ship with the new Spangle Tangle, a shiny chrome Tangle Toy that has both smooth and textured segments. The reflective property of the Spangle Tangle will appeal to some children with low vision and to some with cortical visual impairment.

Work during FY 2010

Arrangements were made with Tangle, Inc., to provide prototype Spangle Tangles to APH for use when designing the stand. The project leader and model makers met several times to work out functional needs and design options.

Work planned for FY 2011

Prototypes will be created and the product will be field tested.

Tangible Symbols Cues

(New)

Purpose

To provide a starter set of standardized tangible symbols to represent a dominant feature of an object, person, or activity that could be recognized by many children

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Ellen Trief, Consultant
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

The Lavelle Fund for the Blind funded a study--conducted by Dr. Ellen Trief--on the use of standardized tangible symbol cues by visually impaired, non-verbal students. Dr. Trief has presented her findings both nationally and internationally. APH currently sells Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication, a kit for teachers and parents to make individualized communication cards for their students. APH believes that it will meet the needs of more students if both an individualized system and a standardized system are offered.

Work during FY 2010

The project leader and the technical research division manager assessed all symbol cues for repeat purchase, safety, ability to clean/sanitize, small parts, bite test, finished edges, and intellectual properties. APH requested MSDS reports on all items used in the symbols cues.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader and Dr. Trief will conduct a session on the Tangible Symbol Cues at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind. The MSDS reports will be read, a decision on symbols to be used for field testing will be determined, and the instruction guide will be written.

Physical Fitness

Everybody Plays!

(New)

Purpose

To provide elementary school students who have visual impairment or blindness with a storybook that is entertaining while teaching them about many athletic activities that are available to them

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Cindy Aillaud, Author
Lauren Lieberman, Author
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant

Background

This book is a collaboration between Lauren Lieberman, founder of Camp Abilities, and Cindy Aillaud, an Alaskan educator and author of Recess at 20 Below. The book is told in first person by a child attending a sports camp for children with visual impairment, blindness, and deafblindness. For each sport that the child experiences, there is a Listen Up! page describing each sport or activity in detail.

Work during FY 2010

The manuscript was written, edited, and sent to design and layout.

Work planned for FY 2011

The book will be field tested.

Games for People With Sensory Impairments

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide a guidebook for physical education teachers and activity leaders that offers appropriate, appealing games and activities for their students who have sensory impairments

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant
Lauren Lieberman, Consultant and Author
Jim Cowart, Author
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist
Frank Hayden, Technical Research Division Manager

Background

The first edition of this book was published by Human Kinetics, a leading publisher of physical fitness and health related materials. As visual impairment is a low incidence impairment, the authors sought a more appropriate publisher for the second edition. The original book was not accessible to braille or screen readers.

Work during FY 2010

The manuscript was updated and edited and additional photos were added. The book was sent to two professional reviewers. Design and layout was completed.

Work during FY 2011

The accessible formats of the book will be completed. It will be published and made available for sale.

PE Web Site

(Ongoing)

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-Compton, Research Assistant
John Aicken, Assistant Director of Research

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 2010

The project leader continued to monitor the site, solicited and reviewed submissions, and requested article permissions. Two new feature presentations (Conversational Jogging and Yoga) were added to the site. The 2010 sport camps were listed.

Work planned for FY 2011

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

Health and Physical Education Special Projects and Needs

(Ongoing)

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, a core curriculum subject.

Work during FY 2010

The project leader continued to maintain the PE Web site and to work on Games for People With Sensory Impairments, the Tactile Food Pyramid, and Everybody Plays! The project leader presented the PE core curriculum products at the Educational Product Showcase in Washington, DC: Teaching Tools for Students Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired. The project leader presented a poster and conducted a panel session at the 2010 convention for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. The project leader presented adapted sports equipment at ATIA in Orlando.

Work planned for FY 2011

Games for People With Sensory Impairments and the Tactile Food Pyramid will be completed. Field testing will be conducted on Everybody Plays! APH will explore the feasibility of carrying a yoga mat designed specifically for persons who have visual impairment or blindness.

Tactile Food Pyramid

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide students who have visual impairment or blindness with accessible tools to learn about proper nutrition and how to make healthy menu choices

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

APH acquired permission from The Nutrition Center at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make the MyPyramid materials accessible. There are two pyramids, one for children (Primary) and one for teens/adults (Secondary).

Work during FY 2010

The two wall posters (Primary and Secondary) were sent by The Nutrition Center on disc, and APH printed a small minimum quantity for field testing. APH translated and embossed all information on the posters. Both posters were drawn to desktop size, printed, and embossed. The Tactile Food Pyramid was field tested in both residential schools for the blind and in public schools. Adjustments were made to the primary pyramid after field testing. The Tactile Food Pyramid is currently in production.

Work planned for FY 2011

The Tactile Food Pyramid will be available for sale.

Visually Impaired Yoga Mat (VIYM)

(New)

Purpose

To research if using a tactile yoga mat is beneficial to a person who is blind and wishes to learn yoga

Project Staff

Tristan Pierce, Project Leader
Tracy Curly, Inventor and Consultant

Background

A certified yoga instructor developed and manufactured the Visually Impaired Yoga Mat. She field tested it at the Illinois School for the Blind and the Indiana School for the Blind. Both field test sites have posted on her website that they like the product and found it beneficial to the students. APH is interested in knowing if adults who take community-based yoga classes are comfortable using it and if they find it beneficial. The mat comes with instructional DVDs.

Work during FY 2010

The project leader had APH staff who are blind take yoga classes, which are offered at APH, use the mat.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will conduct community-based field testing.

Recreation

SQUID: Tactile Activities Magazine [Issue 7]

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Finished product, Issue 7 of SQUID Tactile Activities Magazine

Karen J. Poppe, Project Leader/Tactile and Visual Designer
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant
Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker
Andrew Dakin, Pattern/Model Maker
Bisig Impact Group, Print Booklet Layout/Cover Design

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 can 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 will remain available for future generations of children to enjoy. SQUID issues will hopefully become commonplace in home settings where children can acquire early tactile skills within a relaxed atmosphere with their family and friends.

Work during FY 2010

By April 2010, the project leader had completed the design of 24 original activities for SQUID: Issue 7. These activities, like those included in earlier issues, represent a variety of tasks (e.g., coloring pages, find the differences, hidden pictures, simple mazes, and puzzles). Activities included the following:

A Wink and a Smile
ABC Recall
Circular Code
Daisy's Doodles
FISH Coloring Page
Follow that Fly!
Knot that Hard
Lone Star Larry
Missing Numbers
Mittens for Kittens
Parasol Puzzler
Party Hats
Penny Apiece
Rectangle Tangle
Ruff Maze
SQUID Squares
Table Sitting
Take Note
That's the Ticket
TREE Word Search
Triangle Teaser
Undercover Clover
Window Pain
Word Play

A sheet of clear point symbol stickers are included for the completion of the "SQUID Squares" activity.

In May 2010, the project leader prepared a detailed matrix specifying the following for each activity: type of activity, planned production method, number of pages, page orientation, and thermoform pattern assignment (if not an embossed paper or Green Machine graphic).

Significant project activities throughout May and June involved the following:

By mid-July 2010, all tooling for all components of SQUID Issue 7 was in place for production.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will provide Technical Research with necessary information for the development of the "Specifications" document. The production timeline will be updated and the pilot and production runs will be monitored by the project leader. Post-production activities will include preparing marketing information, showcasing the product at workshops/conferences, and initiating work on SQUID: Issue 8.

Science

Sense of Science: Astronomy

(Continued)

Purpose

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

Project Staff

Finished product, Sense of Science: Astronomy, the third module of a series

Karen Poppe, Project Leader/Author/Tactile and Visual Overlay Designer
Tom Poppe, Pattern and Model Maker/Tactile and Visual Overlay Designer
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Terri Gilmore, Print Material Layout
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Monica Vaught-Compton, Research Assistant
Ann Travis, Research Assistant
Helen Kielkopf, Astronomy Instructor/Consultant
Rodger Smith, Programmer
Bisig Impact Group, Guidebook Layout

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 to the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC); both committees approved the product's development.

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, writing of content material continued and more thought was given to possible overlay depictions; actual preparation of tactile masters (e.g., moon phases, cross-section of the Sun) had begun. The project leader explored inclusion of 3-dimensional models that would assist the young students in understanding abstract concepts encountered in the area of astronomy. The project leader also kept abreast of 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 is 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 production parts, the project leader prepared 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 Astronomy 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 of the visually impaired.

During the first quarter of FY 2008, extensive prototype development continued. In February 2008, prototypes were mailed to evaluators located through a Field Evaluator Survey posted in an issue of the APH News. 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:

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 Cards"; "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"; and "brailled worksheets that were laminated."

In June 2008, the project leader reconvened the Product Development Committee (PDC) and furnished them with an outline of the expected components of the kit. A complete timeline was established.

On October 3, 2009, the Educational Product and Advisory Committee (EPAC) gave Quota approval for Sense of Science: Astronomy.

Extensive and continuous effort was devoted to the tooling of this project throughout FY 2009. Major accomplishments included the following:

Work during FY 2010

The first and second quarters of FY 2010 were committed to the completion and readying of final tooling for the initial production of the Sense of Science: Astronomy. Concurrent activities included the following:

On February 9, 2010, a Specification Meeting was conducted and the product timeline was updated with the expectation that the product would be produced and made available by the beginning of the next school year.

The fourth quarter of 2010 witnessed the beginnings of production activity with the printing of the Astronomy Worksheets, the guidebook, and case artwork. Items from outside vendors were delivered, such as the overlay folders and outer carrying cases. In September, the outside printer produced the clear overlays and Astronomy Quick Fact Cards.

The plan to have the kit available by the end of the fiscal year was derailed by higher priority products within the production queue.

Work planned for FY 2011

Sense of Science: Astronomy is anticipated to be available in November 2010. The project leader and other project staff, especially the manufacturing specialist and pattern/model maker, will closely monitor the quality of the pilot and production runs. The project leader will assist in the preparation of marketing material and product training workshops related to the product.

Tactile Science Posters/Puzzles

(Continued)

Purpose

To adapt existing science posters by popular school supply companies that are of an appropriate scale for meaningful tactile representations.

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
John Aicken, Assistant Research Director

Background

In April 2008, the project leader submitted a product submission form for the adaptation of commercially-available science posters and/or puzzles for tactile adaptation. This product submission was written following the project leader's review of various types of science wall charts and interactive puzzles purchased from Delta Education and other popular school supply sources. Posters/puzzles illustrating the lungs, the skeleton, the brain, the heart, the skin, the eye, the ear, the kidneys, the digestive system, the tongue, and so forth, were of particular interest for seeking permission to adapt for students with visual impairments/blindness.

The goals of this product are 1) to utilize existing science posters/puzzles commonplace in the regular classroom; 2) to alleviate APH's burden of creating original print artwork and contribute their tactile expertise by preparing raised-line counterparts; and 3) to provide braille awareness to sighted peers who are using the same posters/puzzles.

The product idea was approved in April 2008 by the Product Evaluation Team and in May 2008 by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC).

Initial efforts by the project leader involved identifying and selecting ideal science posters to adapt. The considered posters for adaptation show realistic and full-color layouts and are of a convenient size for capturing the detailed features via the use of a variety of tactile textures, line heights, and contours. The main concern was obtaining the poster(s) in bulk quantities, in a flat condition for convenient attachment of the tactile counterparts. As time allowed, the Assistant Research Director attempted to seek permission from the copyright holders of the print artwork.

Work during FY 2010

The project leader identified an ideal anatomy poster, showing the entire human skeleton, as a starting place for adapting an existing, commercially available science product. The goal was to prepare a tactile overlay to affix to the printed poster and to supply a 3-D skeleton model to complement and reinforce the poster's content. Although contact with poster's manufacturer was made, multiple copies that were ordered for field test purposes were never received. The project leader decided to abandon pursuit of this particular poster for adaptation and search for other posters (or puzzles) for tactile adaptation. Significant strides on this project were prevented by other higher priority projects.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will continue to identify possible commercially-available posters and/or puzzles for tactile adaptation by searching common educational/science catalogs and online sources.

Tactile Graphics

Feel 'n Peel Sheets: Carousel of Textures

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide an assortment of textured and brightly colored sheets that can be used by teachers, transcribers, students, parents, and adults with blindness and visual impairments for a variety of purposes including adapting/creating storybooks, classroom worksheets, or commercial game boards; preparing collage tactile displays; labeling purposes; coloring activities; arts and crafts; etc.

Project Staff

Finished product, Feel 'n Peel Sheets: Carousel of Textures

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker
Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Terri Gilmore, Print Layout of Suggested Uses Sheet

Background

In November 2008, the project leader submitted a Product Submission Form that detailed the purpose and expected components of the product. The product was presented as an extension of the existing Feel 'n Peel products that would offer teachers, parents, students, and transcribers tactually discriminable, colorful, and adhesive-backed sheets using the same material (.005 translucent rigid vinyl) used in previous packages. The textures created by the project leader and Tom Poppe for other tactile products (e.g., Web Chase, Periodic Table, Textured Sorting Circles and Shapes, etc.) were expected to be incorporated. By doing so, the product would utilize popular textures applied to APH products, thus allowing cross-over to products adapted in school and in the home. Possible applications outlined included the following:

The project leader's product submission form was reviewed by the Product Evaluation Team (PET) in November 2008 and approved for development by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) in December 2008. In March 2009, the project leader conducted a combined "Brainstorming" and "Timeline" meeting with the Product Development Committee (PDC). Expected components and planned production processes were reviewed. A product timeline was established.

The second and third quarters of FY 2009 were devoted to the following product activities:

In July 2009, field test prototypes were readied. Each contained the following components:

Prototype Component Quantity
Translucent "rough" sheets (blue, red, yellow, green, clear) 2 sheets per color
Translucent "bumpy" sheets (blue, red, yellow, green, clear) 2 sheets per color
Corrugated (red, blue, purple, dark green, light green, orange, yellow, pink) 1 sheet per color
Velour (red, dark blue, dark green, white, black) 1 sheet per color
Vivelle (red, green, blue, yellow) 1 sheet per color
Package of StickyDots Adhesive 1 package/8 sheets
Double-sided adhesive sheets 10 sheets
Suggested Uses Sheet  
Housing Envelope for Textured Sheets  
Housing Box (for all components)  

In August 2009, the project leader identified 14 field test sites. These sites were selected from over 50 interested teachers and blind adults who had responded to a request for evaluators posted in the July issue of the APH News.

By mid-September, each field test site received a complete prototype. Ideas for potential uses, complemented by photos, were documented in the accompanying "Suggested Uses" sheet. However, evaluators were encouraged to use the textured sheets in self-defined ways that met the needs of their students and/or their own personal uses. A deadline of November 2009 was set for the return of the evaluation form. Feedback specific to the following was requested:

Work during FY 2010

The field test of Feel 'n Peel Sheets: Carousel of Textures was completed in November 2009. Field evaluations were completed by 13 teachers representing the states of Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri (2), Alabama, California (2), Florida, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Iowa, and West Virginia. Evaluators included teachers of the visually impaired, braille transcribers, and orientation and mobility instructors. Materials made with Carousel of Textures were used with 63 students and adults. The largest group of students (46%) ranged in age from 2 to 4 years old. Equal percentages were between the ages of 5 and 7 years old (21%) and teenagers/adults (21%). The remaining students (12%) were between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. The sample was composed of 43% females and 57% males. The majority (83%) was White; 6% Hispanic; 9% African American; and 2% Asian. The students' primary reading medium was reported as 46% braille, 35% prereaders, 13% large print, 5% print (unspecified type), and 1% dual print/braille readers. Forty-one percent of the students were reported as having additional disabilities.

A variety of materials were adapted or created by teachers and students using Carousel of Textures:

According to the evaluators, noted advantages of Carousel of Textures included the large variety of colors and textures; familiarity of textures to the students; items are all together in one place; inclusion of two-sided adhesive sheets; and it acts as a spring board for other ideas. On a scale of 5 (Excellent) to 0 (Poor), evaluators rated the tactile quality of the 5 types of sheets 4.3 or above, with bumpy translucent sheets receiving the highest rating (4.9). Similarly, evaluators were asked to rate the visual quality of the provided sheets. All of the sheets received a 4.6 rating or above, with the Velour sheets rated the highest (4.9). A full 85% of the evaluators used the double-sided adhesive sheets; nearly half (46%) used the StickyDots Adhesive™.

Improvements made to final kit based upon evaluator feedback included the addition of new colors and more textures. Because of the reported texture similarity between Vivelle and Velour textures, repeated colors between the two types of materials were minimized and more color options were incorporated (e.g., gray, brown, and lilac). Provision of one double-backed adhesive sheet for each non-adhesive backed textured sheet was added. An "overhang" liner was added to the double-sided adhesive sheet to assist with easier removal. Added product ideas and photos appear in the documentation, including photos taken by field evaluators. The front cover of the product features a young student using the product (as incorporated into a tactile map of California) during field testing.

In mid-January 2010, the project leader convened PDC members to review the expected final product based upon field test results. The project leader prepared a document for each committee member that outlined the planned materials/papers, color specifications, pressure-sensitive adhesive requirements, sheet sizes, vendors, known costs, tooling status, accessory items, and anticipated quantities. A summary of the field test results was also disseminated. The production timeline was updated. During the Specifications meeting in April, the project leader proposed doubling-up on the .005 sheets during the die-cutting operation to significantly reduce the production time and, consequently, the cost of the product.

By May 2010, all in-house tooling was completed, including the following: graphic layout of accompanying documentation; outer box artwork; braille translation of the documentation; thermoform patterns for vinyl textures; and drawings of needed cutting dies. Purchasing staff and Technical Research staff were instrumental in making final vendor selections for the purchased materials and double-adhesive sheets with special liner.

As early as August, all of the ordered materials from outside vendors, minus the Vivelle sheets, were received, leaving only in-house production for the completion of the kits. The project leader prepared content for the brochure information and to demonstrate the product's use at upcoming workshops/conferences.

Work planned for FY 2011

Completion of the initial pilot and production runs of the Feel 'n Peel Sheets: Carousel of Textures is anticipated by the end October 2010.

Feel 'n Peel Stickers: Nemeth Braille/Print Numbers 0-100

(New/Completed)

Purpose

To provide a new package Feel 'n Peel Stickers featuring Nemeth Braille numbers paired with their print counterparts

Project Staff

Finished product, Feel 'n Peel Stickers: Nemeth Braille/Print Numbers 0-100

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Layout (of cover art and accompanying documentation)

Background

For more than a decade, various types of Feel 'n Peel Sticker packages have been produced by APH. Available kits offer "Point Symbol" stickers, "Reward" stickers, "Alphabet" stickers, "Color Name" stickers, and "Smiley/Frowny Face" stickers. After years of availability, the sales of these sticker packages have remained popular and steady. The "Literary Braille Number" stickers, in particular, experience one of the highest sales--over 1,200 packages sold in FY 2010 alone. However, in FY 2009, APH received several outside product idea submissions requesting "Nemeth Braille Numbers" stickers to facilitate math- and science-specific adaptations.

Work during FY 2010

In November 2009, the project leader posted an online survey in APH's Newsletter to gauge the need for Nemeth Braille stickers. Not only was the need for Nemeth Braille stickers echoed by survey respondents, but additional sticker packages (e.g., grade stickers, shape stickers, and more reward/incentive stickers) were requested as well.

In January 2010, the development and production of Nemeth Braille/Print Stickers was presented to the Product Evaluation Team (PET) and to the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC). Both committees approved the production of Nemeth braille/print number stickers.

On February 16, 2010, the project leader conducted a "Brainstorming" Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting. At this meeting, the project leader presented an early draft of the expected sticker page layout. Issues of product quality and the need for a safety warning were discussed at the meeting. Although additional math-related stickers (e.g., fractions and math symbols) were requested, the committee felt it best to tackle one package at a time. It was also decided that formal field testing would not be necessary since the production methods and expected customer uses mirrored those of earlier Feel 'n Peel Stickers.

In March 2010, the project reconvened PDC members to review the planned components of the package and to set timeline dates. A product catalog number was assigned and the inclusion of a safety warning was planned. Tooling was scheduled for the following components:

By the end of March, significant project tasks were accomplished including a) the final layout design of both sticker sheet layouts [proofed by a Certified Nemeth Braille transcriber]; b) the preparation of the accompanying documentation; c) the provision of a clean file of the documentation to the Braille Department for translation; and d) the delivery of electronic art to be used by the outside vendor to generate embossing plates.

In-house tooling tasks came to a conclusion in April. The final graphic layout of the accompanying print documentation was completed, the braille tooling of the documentation was readied, and silk screens were prepared. A Specifications meeting was conducted by Technical Research.

By June 1, 2010, the outside vendor had prepared necessary cutting dies and embossing plates. July was dedicated to in-house screen printing of the two sticker page layouts--numbers 0-9 and numbers 10-100; total sheet production equaled 6,400 sheets to satisfy the first production run. By late August, APH was expecting the delivery of embossed and collated sticker packages from the outside vendor. The project leader prepared brochure content. The new package of Feel 'n Peel Stickers: Nemeth Braille/Print Numbers 0-100 became available in September 2010. The project leader closely monitored the quality of received parts from the outside vendor.

Work planned for FY 2011

This product is available for sale. The project leader will continue to monitor the field's requests for additional sticker packages.

Flip-Over Concept Books

(Completed)

Finished product, Flip-Over Concept Books

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-Compton, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Bisig Impact Group, Logo Design/Information Sheet Layout

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 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, 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 2007, 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.

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 student sample was nearly equally divided between females (56%) and males (44%). 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 a 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 A 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, was 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 (EPAC) 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 through the end of September.

Throughout FY 09, the project staff continued necessary documentation and tooling tasks to ready both LINE PATHS and PARTS OF A WHOLE for final availability. For each Flip-Over Concept Book, the following efforts were undertaken:

By July 2009, the final product specifications and tooling were turned over to Production staff. Timelines were updated at the Specifications meeting where availability of LINE PATHS and PARTS OF A WHOLE was slated for September 2009 and February 2010, respectively. In August 2009, initial production efforts, namely the screen printing of the LINE PATHS worksheets, had begun.

Work during FY 2010

The pilot run of LINE PATHS [Catalog No. 1-08831-00] was initiated and completed in November. The project leader oversaw the quality of this first production run. On November 11, 2009, an in-house "airplane" announced the availability of LINE PATHS with a selling price of $50.00 [available with quota funds]. By August 2010, 634 copies of the book had been purchased. LINE PATHS particularly targets the following concepts/skills:

Completion of LINE PATHS was followed by immediate attention to readying PARTS OF A WHOLE for production. In December 2009, the project leader approved press copies of the full-color panels produced by the outside vendor. In February 2010, APH Large Print Department printed the accompanying documentation. Actual production was pushed out a few months due to higher-priority projects. By May 2010, thermoforming of the full-color panels was underway and production was completed. An "airplane" was released on June 3, 2010, announcing the availability of PARTS OF A WHOLE [Catalog No. 1-08832-00] at a selling price of $50.00 [available with quota funds]. PARTS OF A WHOLE particularly targets the following concepts/skills:

Both books were showcased at conferences and workshops, including the AER International Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they received very favorable comments from teachers of the visually impaired.

The effort invested by the project leader, David McGee, and Tom Poppe in identifying a wide-format printing option (in combination with in-house thermoforming process) for these books has had positive and direct impact on the design of other recent and future APH projects (e.g., Life Science Tactile Graphics and Tactile Food Pyramid), allowing for more colorful graphics paired with tactile elements.

Work planned for FY 2011

Future development of similar books, as encouraged by field test evaluators and EPAC recommendations, will be pursued.

Giant Textured Beads with Pattern Matching Cards

(Continued)

Finished product, Giant Textured Beads with Pattern Matching Cards

Purpose

To provide tactile/visual pattern matching cards that extend the use of APH's existing Giant Textured Beads. The tactile cards and textured beads will support the tactile continuum encountered in APH's Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding--real object, thermoformed object, and raised line drawing.

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker
Terri Gilmore, Graphic Designer (of box art)

Background

Giant Textured Beads is a long-standing, consistently popular product produced by APH. The kit consists of 12 large tactile, colored beads that incorporate three different textures (smooth, striped, and checkered), three different colors (red, yellow, and blue), and three different shapes (cube, rectangular solid, and cylinder). Intended for young children ages 3 to 6, the beads can be strung onto a provided cord in various combinations (guided by the teacher's verbal instructions) that reinforce concepts related to shape, color, and texture. However, the kit lacks the common component included with many commercial bead-stringing kits--that is, pattern matching cards. To make the matching cards for the Giant Textured Beads fully accessible to students with visual impairments and blindness, the cards need to be both visual and tactile.

In April 2008, the project leader submitted a product idea form that suggested that APH design and offer tactile matching cards to complement the Giant Textured Beads. The submission form indicated that the proposed product would provide the following:

As proposed, the product will encourage...

The target population was expanded to include older students who still need tactile interpretation training.

In May 2008, the product idea was reviewed by the Product Evaluation Team (PET) and was approved for development by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC). By the end of the fiscal year, the project leader had conducted a "Brainstorming" meeting with the Product Development Committee (PDC).

A product timeline for the development of the Pattern Matching Cards for the Giant Textured Beads was established in January 2009.

In March 2009, the project leader posted a request for current owners/users of the Giant Textured Beads to complete a 10-question survey to confirm the need for tactile matching cards, as well as to obtain feedback about the current bead design and use. Although only a small number of teachers completed the survey, helpful information was garnered. The feedback provided the following insights:

  1. Giant Textured Beads were being used with children older than 6 years of age, including students in grades 1-3, as well as students with multiple disabilities and cognitive delays. One respondent reported that she used the beads with high school students "in a life skills classroom to build their hand/eye coordination and work on keeping their vision focused on a specific activity," noting that the beads "help build sensory awareness and identification skills."
  2. The beads were used for a variety of activities including: matching beads to similar ones of the same shape; following an "ab" or "abc" pattern with the textures/shapes; matching the shape of the bead to other objects in the environment; copying a pattern created by the teacher; using the beads to represent letter sequences, words, or sound patterns; and so forth.
  3. One hundred percent of the respondents thought that pattern matching cards would be a helpful accessory to the existing beads. As one teacher noted: "If the cards are tactile, this would be of great benefit for students learning to discriminate tactile graphics and to be able to be more independent when working on a task." Another echoed: "The cards would help the child develop tactile discrimination skills from 3D to 2D."
  4. One hundred percent of the respondents supported the project leader's intention to add a tray to allow a child to place the beads into separate compartments. As one evaluator attested: "Currently we use a table and it is difficult to keep the beads in a central location for students to reach." Another expected that "it would specifically help autistic and multi-impaired visually impaired students."
  5. One hundred percent of the respondents indicated that the assortment of print/tactile pattern matching cards (e.g., 2-D raised shape with texture, 2-D raised shapes without texture, and 3-D view with hidden lines depicted) would allow a variety of matching activities. As one respondent indicated: "A variety of cards would be great for students at various cognitive/skill levels."
  6. Some respondents requested a duplicate of each type of bead. As one teacher explained: "I often combine sets in order to work with students and have them copy me."

Throughout the third and fourth quarters of FY 2009, multiple prototypes of the Matching Pattern Cards for the Giant Textured Beads were designed and built by the project leader and the model/pattern maker in preparation for field test activities. These tasks involved the following:

By the end of July 2009, the project leader and pattern/model maker had all the tangibles constructed for field test purposes--2 months ahead of schedule despite the product's complexity. In September, the project leader authored an Activities Booklet to accompany the beads and matching cards.

Work during FY 2010

In October 2009, the project leader posted a request for field evaluators in the online APH News. Nearly 40 teachers expressed interest in field testing.

The field test of Pattern Matching Cards was initiated in November 2009 and extended through January 2010. Product evaluations were completed by 12 teachers representing the states of Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Texas (2), Vermont, and Virginia. The majority (75%) of evaluators worked in itinerant settings; 17% worked in resource centers; and 8% worked in day schools. Over half (58%) of the field evaluators had previous experience using the original Giant Texture Beads.

The student sample of 46 students ranged in age from 1 to 16 years of age with 23% between the ages of 1 and 4, 31% between the ages of 5 and 7, 37% between the ages of 8 and 11, and 10% between the ages of 12 and 16. Gender representation was split between 61% males and 39% females. The student population reflected cultural diversity: 72% White, 7% Hispanic, 13% African American, 2% American Indian, and 7% "two or more races." Grade levels were represented like so: 23% of the students were in preschool, 17% were in kindergarten, 30% were in grades 1-3, 12% were in grades 4-6, and 4% were in grades 7-9; a full 15% were classified as "ungraded." The students' primary reading media varied greatly: 28% were braille readers, 22% were large print or print (size unspecified) readers, 17% were nonreaders, 13% were prereaders or pre-braille readers, 7% were auditory readers, and 6% were dual readers (braille/large print and auditory/braille); a primary reading medium was not reported for 7% of the students. A large percentage (72%) of the students had other disabilities including such things as Down Syndrome, autism, speech delays, ADHD, cognitive impairments, developmental delays, and cerebral palsy.

One hundred percent of the evaluators recommended that APH produce Pattern Matching Cards to complement the existing Giant Textured Beads. Unanimous approval was given for the following features of the kit: the provision of three different types of matching cards (i.e., duplicate, 2-D raised platform, and 3-D Views); colors, textures, and size of the matching cards; thickness and color of backing foam applied to matching cards (especially for students with multiple disabilities); durability of cards; usefulness of the sorting trays; the manner in which the trays securely held the matching cards; and the usefulness of the Activities Booklet. All of the evaluators thought the kit reinforced skills/concepts related to identification of shapes, identification of textures, identification of colors, sorting and classifying by various attributes, hand skills, patterning skills, and interpretation of tactile displays.

All of the students were reported as enjoying the use of the Pattern Matching Cards in combination with the Giant Textured Beads. Performance outcomes for the students were reported with regard to their success in matching the three types of cards to the actual textured beads. The performance results supported the tactile continuum from the easiest-to-match cards (Duplicate) to most difficult (3-D Views) across all age groups.

PATTERN MATCHING CARDS (f/Giant Textured Beads)
  Matched successfully on first attempt Matched successfully after a few attempts Never matched successfully Did not use this type of matching card
All Students (n =43)
**Note: Outcomes for 3 students were not reported.
Duplicate Cards 13 (30%) 23 (53%) 7 (16%)  
Platform Cards 12 (28%) 13 (30%) 9 (21%) 9 (21%)
3-D View Cards 7 (16%) 11 (26%) 8 (19%) 17(40%)
AGES 1-4
Duplicate Cards 1 (10%) 8 (80%) 1 (10%)  
Platform Cards 3 (30%) 4 (40%) 2 (20%) 1 (10%)
3-D View Cards 3 (30%) 1 (10%) 2 (20%) 4 (40%)
AGES 5-7
Duplicate Cards 6 (46%) 5 (38%) 2 (15%)  
Platform Cards 3 (23%) 5 (38%) 2 (15%) 3 (23%)
3-D View Cards 1 (8%) 5 (38%) 1 (8%) 6 (46%)
AGES 8-11
Duplicate Cards 6 (40%) 7 (47%) 2 (13%)  
Platform Cards 6 (40%) 3 (20%) 2 (13%) 4 (27%)
3-D View Cards 3 (20%) 5 (33%) 2 (13%) 5 (33%)
AGES 12-16
Duplicate Cards   3 (60%) 2 (40%)  
Platform Cards   1 (20%) 3 (60%) 1 (20%)
3-D View Cards     3 (60%) 2 (40%)

The following percentages of evaluators reported appropriateness of the kit for various target populations:

Target Population Percentage of evaluators who found
Pattern Matching Cards to be suitable for target population
Preschoolers with visual impairments/blindness 92%
Kindergarteners with visual impairments/blindness 100%
Tactile readers in grades 1-3 100%
Low vision students in grades 1-3 100%
Older students with limited prior experience with tactile learning materials 67%
Children with multiple disabilities 92%

The versatility of the Giant Textured Beads with Textured Matching Cards was best summarized by one of the evaluators: "This kit offers a complete range of learning opportunities from the earliest learners (infant/toddlers) to academic elementary students with multiple disabilities. The variety gave me, as an instructor, a level of flexibility not found with all teaching materials."

Work planned for FY 2011

The field evaluators' feedback will be used to determine enhancements to the materials and accompanying guidebook. Post field-test activities will include:

The goal is to have the product available within the 2011 school year.

Inkjet Hook Paper

(New/Completed)

Purpose

To provide a convenient means of producing customized print/braille labels (in combination with APH's Braillable Labels and Sheets) for eventual use with a hook-compatible surface such as APH's ALL-IN-ONE Board, InvisiBoard, and Picture Maker

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
David McGee, Manufacturing Specialist
Karen Marshall, Purchasing Manager

Background

During the development of Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit [see separate report], the project leader located a product produced by Velcro® USA called Velcro Picture Paper that proved an ideal accessory to the kit--that is, it allowed teachers and O&M Specialists to create customized print/braille labels specific to their own surroundings (e.g., street names, specific landmarks/buildings, personal names, etc.). The usefulness of this printable hook paper was confirmed by 14 Orientation and Mobility Instructors and Teachers of the Visually Impaired during the field test of Tactile Town; a full 92% of the evaluators indicated that it was helpful in creating customized labels. Requests for this paper were also echoed by attendees of the poster session on Tactile Town at the 2009 Getting In Touch with Literacy Conference in Costa Mesa, California; a popular, enthusiastic question was "Where can I get this paper?!"

In November 2009, the project leader prepared a Product Submission Form suggesting the separate availability of this Velcro®-backed paper. The product was quickly approved by the Product Evaluation Team (PET) on December 2, 2009, followed by the Product Advisory and Review Committee's (PARC) approval on December 9, 2009.

Work during FY 2010

At the time Tactile Town was field tested (early 2009), Velcro® Picture Paper was available from Velcro USA. However, the vendor no longer manufactures this product and it is only obtainable from its sister company in Canada. The project leader made initial contacts with the Canadian-based company and explained the unique uses of the product for persons with visual impairments and blindness. Confirmation that the vendor expected to continue to the manufacture the product (unlike its USA counterpart) was received. The condition of the Canadian version of the product is actually superior to the Velcro® Picture Paper in that it lays flat and has a slight overhang of plastic that allows the paper to more easily feed through inkjet printers.

The project leader prepared content for the accompanying documentation to explain the proper and varied uses of Inkjet Hook Paper. Using an inkjet printer [not a laser printer or copier], the teacher can print a group of needed labels on the smooth side of the paper; the opposite side has tiny "hooks" that grab to a Veltex® surface. Application of clear, brailled labels on top of the printed labels creates durable and reusable labels. Labels can be customized for low vision readers by using appropriate-sized fonts and background colors. The labels lay flat against the Veltex surface, providing a seamless flow as the child/student tracks the labels within a graphic.

Apart from preparing custom labels, the project leader explains in the documentation how Inkjet Hook Paper can be used to create enlarged, colorful pictures for the construction of communication symbols, storybook sequencing cards, game tokens, puzzles, etc. Cutting discernible edges/outlines around the print images (e.g., X's and O's for a Tic-Tac-Toe game), whenever appropriate, can accommodate tactile readers as well.

Final project related tasks prior to production and availability included the following:

Work planned for FY 2011

Inkjet Hook Paper is expected to be available from APH in first quarter of FY 2011. The components of the kit will include 10 sheets of Inkjet Hook Paper, vendor instructions (in large print/braille), and APH product instructions (in large print/braille). The product will eventually be included in the final kits of Tactile Town, as well as in future APH storybook-building products.

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
David McGee, Technical Research

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. 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.

A field evaluation was conducted in the winter of 2007/2008, involving 35 middle and high school science students in 11 states. Evaluators generally approved of the tactile graphics and the selection of topics covered. Evaluator comments led to several graphics being redesigned or expanded for clarity.

Experiments with sending colored files to a vendor for printing highlighted some of the difficulties inherent in the process of mating printed and vacuumformed images together accurately. In time, however, the problems were resolved, and a successful tryout with one full printed and vacuumformed sheet was accomplished.

Work during FY 2010

All print preparation, including final coloring and labeling, was completed. Files were sent to the vendor for printing on the large vinyl sheets. The vendor completed this job in September. Production specifications were completed and a production schedule set.

Work planned for FY 2011

The pilot run is scheduled for December 2010. If it succeeds as expected, the product will be offered for sale and a full production run will follow later.

Match-It Up Board

(New)

Purpose

To provide an interactive board that facilitates a variety of matching activities for young students who are visually impaired and blind in grades K-3

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Joanne C. Friesen, Consultant
Andrew Dakin, Pattern/Model Maker

Background

In January 2009, the consultant submitted a product submission form, along with a handmade prototype, describing an interactive matching board that she had successfully used with her kindergarten student. Her design is a small, slightly raised table-like wooden board that fits on a desk or table. Two rows of squares (each with a Velcro tab) are divided by a string of red yarn. A single hole is drilled above each of the lower squares and below each of the upper squares. Threaded through each of the lower holes is a cord with a peg attached; the cords are of various colors. The child matches cards in the bottom row to those in the top row by inserting the pegs in the corresponding holes. The consultant made a variety of matching cards to assist in the instruction of tactile shapes, braille letters, braille numbers, and braille words.

Work during FY 2010

In January 2010, the project leader provided a review of the product submission form, rating it high in originality and appropriate target populations. The project leader's review documented considerations for making the matching board less problematic and expensive to produce.

The product idea was initially reviewed and evaluated by Product Evaluation Team (PET), and officially approved as a viable product by the Product Advisory and Research Committee (PARC) on January 14, 2010. Shortly after, the project leader hosted a Product Development Committee (PDC) "Brainstorming" Meeting with a wider audience of APH staff from various departments. The PDC supported the project leader's plan to design a one-piece "board" with open windows that attaches to a Veltex® surface (e.g., ALL-IN-ONE Board); long drapery cords would be replaced by shorter nylon cords that stay in place on a Velcro®-hook band spanning the center of the board. The committee was especially concerned with the safety of the original design given the long cords and potentially detachable small pegs of choking size. The project leader also suggested supplying a "starter kit" of mounting cards (using those included in Tactile Connections) that the teacher could use to design and construct her own matching cards.

Throughout March and April, the project leader and model maker experimented with various layouts of the board. Their search for an ideal nylon cord to securely stick to a hook Velcro was not successful. The nylon cords were replaced by various lengths of matching strips cut from color polyblend and backed with hook Velcro; the band in the middle of the board was updated to a soft loop material. The board itself was changed to a bright yellow instead of white. The project leader built a variety of matching cards to use in combination with board.

In May 2010, a complete prototype of the board was sent to the consultant for direct use with her student. Initial feedback supported the design of the board itself and the provision of the mounting cards, but the matching strips proved challenging for her young student when finding and selecting the ideal length to connect a card in the lower row with a card in the upper row.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project staff will continue to modify the prototype to best achieve the objectives of the consultant's original design. If a functional and producible design is determined, multiple prototypes will be built and field tested.

Student Model ALL-IN-ONE Board

(New)

Purpose

To provide a noticeably smaller version or "student model" of APH's popular ALL-IN-ONE Board, which is a multi-platform, adjustable board for use with either hook-Velcro® accessories or magnetic pieces (homemade, obtained from APH, or purchased commercially), as well as dry-erase markers. The reduced size would specifically accommodate portability and desktop use by an individual student with visual impairment or blindness.

Project Staff

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

Background

The current ALL-IN-ONE Board was developed after a background search eliminated the risk of duplicating a similar tool already commercially available. The ALL-IN-ONE Board provides the following:

In FY 2008, the field test of the original ALL-IN-ONE Board revealed the product's usefulness for a myriad of learning activities. Reported tasks included the following:

The field evaluators 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.

The original ALL-IN-ONE Board was introduced for sale on January 31, 2009. Its sales quickly exceeded the first-year sales forecast of 1,000 units. By August 2010, nearly 4,000 ALL-IN-ONE Boards had been purchased.

Work during FY 2010

As prompted by field requests and responses to an online product-specific survey, the project leader submitted a formal product submission form suggesting the development of a complementary, smaller size ALL-IN-ONE Board, specifically targeted for use by an individual student. The product proposal was approved by the Product Evaluation Teams (PET) on June 30, 2010, and supported by the Product Advisory and Research Committee (PARC) on July 14, 2010. By the end of August, the project leader had conducted a meeting with Product Development Committee (PDC) to give known details about the new design's dimensions and to establish a product timeline. Field test was determined to be unneeded given the success of the current model.

Work planned for FY 2011

The existing ALL-IN-ONE Board design will be used as a template for the development and production of the Student Model ALL-IN-ONE Board. The working surface will measure approximately 10-3/4" (h) x 13-1/2" (w). It will retain the two-sided (Veltex® and metal/dry-erase) panel and rotating arm/hub features. Minimal updates to the accompanying documentation will be incorporated.

The project staff will be involved in meeting with outside vendors to create new tooling for the Student Model ALL-IN-ONE Board and related carrying case. Needed locating fixtures for in-house assembly will be built and product specifications will be readied. The product's availability is slated for September 2011. Post-production activities on the project leader's part will involve preparing marketing materials and demonstrating the product at conferences and workshops.

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
Katherine Corcoran, 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 provide 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 2010

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

Work planned for FY 2011

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.

Tactile Tangrams

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide accessible versions of tangram puzzles for use by blind and low vision students and adults

Project Staff

Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Katherine Corcoran, Pattern/Model Maker
Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker
Bisig Impact Group, Cover and Box Art

Background

Tangram puzzles are frequently used to teach geometry concepts and skills. A tangram puzzle is made up of seven simple shapes: two small triangles, one medium-size triangle, two large triangles, a parallelogram, and a square. The goal is to arrange the pieces to create geometric shapes, buildings, animals, letters of the alphabet, human figures in motion, etc. Silhouette print images are presented in books or on cards that accompany the tangram puzzle pieces.

Many types of tangram puzzles are available commercially--from wooden tangram sets and magnetic foam pieces to giant tangram floor tiles. However, the movable puzzle pieces are never accompanied by tactile silhouette cards or tactile "solution" pages from which the tactile reader can independently solve and recreate the pictures and shapes, nor are tactually-discernible puzzle frames provided.

Describing figures and visualizing what they look like when they are transformed through rotations or flips, or are put together or taken apart in different ways, are important aspects of geometry in the lower grades. Tangram puzzle activities encourage spatial reasoning, shape recognition, size comparison, and pattern replication. Concepts such as congruence, symmetry, sides and angles, and fractions are reinforced. The following National Geometry Standards are supported:

In April 2008, the project leader prepared a formal product submission form detailing the purpose and proposed components of the product. It was reviewed by the Product Evaluation Team (PET) the same month, and then approved by the Product Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) in May 2008 for development and production.

The project leader initiated work on this project during the first quarter of the fiscal year. Efforts entailed the following:

In January 2009, the project leader acquainted the Product Development Committee (PDC) with the proposed components of the kit, as well as the anticipated production methods. A product timeline was established.

Work during FY 2010

Between the third quarter of FY 2009 and the second quarter of FY 2010, the project staff focused on the development and construction of multiple prototypes of the planned kit, including the following:

In January 2010, the project leader posted a request for field evaluators in the APH News. Many e-mails were received from teachers, parents, and blind adults interested in field testing the prototype. Field test sites were selected based upon location, type of setting, and potential number of students.

The field test of Tactile Tangrams was initiated in March 2010 and extended through mid-May 2010. Product evaluations were completed by 19 teachers representing the states of California (2), Connecticut (2), Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio (2), Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas (2), and Utah. The majority (74%) of evaluators worked in itinerant settings; 11% were in residential schools; 11% were in resource settings; and 5% were in after school, enrichment programs.

The student sample of 66 students ranged in age from 6 to 20+ years-of-age with 25% between the ages of 6 and 8, 20% between the ages of 9 and 11, 28% between the ages of 12 and 14, 15% between the ages of 15 and 17, and 13% 18 years-of-age or older. The student sample was nearly equally divided between males (53%) and females (47%). The student population reflected cultural diversity: 50% White, 24% Hispanic, 18% African American, 3% Asian, and 5% were reported as either "two or more races" or "other." Over half (51%) of the students were in grades 4-8, 31% were in grades K-3, 15% were in high school; and 3% were post-secondary level. The largest percentage of the students (56%) were classified as either large print or print readers, 34% were braille readers, 4% were dual readers (i.e., large print/braille or braille/auditory), and the remaining students were reported as either nonreaders, auditory readers, or with an "unspecified" primary reading medium. One-third of all the students had other disabilities.

One hundred percent of the evaluators recommended that APH produce Tactile Tangrams. Among the strengths were the lesson plans, the format and illustrations of the activity guide, the size and color of the puzzle frames, the size of the tangram puzzle pieces, and the kit's appropriateness for both blind and low vision students. The kit was also noted for its organization, tactile qualities, color contrast, combined tactile/print format of the solution pages, and compliance with core curriculum skills, all of which serve to promote geometry concepts and terminology.

The field test results supported the need for various types of tangram puzzle pieces. Although the largest percentage (53%) of the evaluators used the thick foam pieces most frequently, 37% reported using the magnetic-backed pieces "often" as well. All types of puzzle pieces were used at least "sometimes" by the students--63% used magnetic-backed pieces "sometimes," 42% used the thick foam pieces "sometimes," and 37% used the magnetic-backed pieces "sometimes." One evaluator stated: "I liked the versatility of having all three kinds."

One hundred percent of the evaluators reported using the puzzle frames/pieces "often" (68%) or "sometimes" (32%) as stand-alone parts. However, at least 21% used them in combination (either "often" or "sometimes"--5% and 21%, respectively) with a light box and 47% used them in combination (either "often" or "sometimes"--21% and 26%, respectively) with a metal board.

A rating scale was used to indicate the difficulty of each tangram puzzle based upon observed use by the students. A rating of "1" indicated "easy"; a rating of "2" indicated "adequately challenging"; and a rating of "3" indicated "difficult--rarely solved." The following average ratings were compiled:

Puzzle Frame Average Rating Notes
Boat 1.5  
Arrow 1.7 * Received most "1" (easy) ratings--5 total
Barn 1.8  
Square 1.8  
Chicken 2.0  
House 2.0  
Table 2.0  
Tree 2.0  
Well 2.0  
Fish 2.1  
Hourglass 2.1  
Rectangle 2.1  
Spinning Top 2.1  
Swan 2.1  
Bowl 2.2  
Ramp 2.2  
House w/Chimney 2.3  
Prism 2.3  
Vase 2.3  
Maple Leaf 2.4 Received most "Omit" recommendations (4 total)
Trapezoid and Maple Leaf received the most 3 ("difficult") ratings--7 total
Triangle 2.4  
Hexagon 2.5 Received the 2nd largest number of 3 ("difficult") ratings--6 total
Trapezoid 2.6 Trapezoid and Maple Leaf received the most 3 ("difficult") ratings--7 total

The largest percentages of evaluators used Tactile Tangrams to facilitate the following activities: solving tangram puzzles (94%), puzzle piece comparison (90%), and the concept of symmetry (85%). More than half used the kit to demonstrate types of angles (74%), congruent polygons (79%), convex and concave puzzle frames (64%), making convex and concave polygons (58%), making symmetrical shapes (63%), and identifying symmetrical puzzle frames (53%). The least-used activities were "reviewing area/perimeter" (47%) and "creating tangram puzzles" (27%).

Using a scale of 5 ("Very Well") to 0 ("Not at All"), field evaluators indicated the degree to which Tactile Tangrams promoted the following skills/concepts:

Skill/Concept Average Rating
Comparison and recognition of shapes 4.4
Geometry concepts (e.g., angles, symmetry, congruency, convex/concave, area/perimeter 4.4
Visual/tactile discrimination 3.7
Independent problem solving 3.9
Recreational skills 3.5

The following percentages of evaluators reported appropriateness of the kit for various target populations:

Target Population Percentage of evaluators
who found Tactile Tangrams to be suitable for
target population
Kindergarteners with visual impairments/blindness 47%
Tactile readers in grades 1-3 63%
Low vision students in grades 1-3 84%
Tactile readers in grades 4-8 79%
Low vision students in grades 4-8 89%
Tactile readers in high school 68%
Low vision students in high school 74%
Students with multiple disabilities 42%
Adults with visual impairments/blindness 63%

The last quarter of FY 2010 was dedicated to reviewing the field test results and finalizing changes to the kit based upon evaluator feedback. Suggested improvements include:

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will hold a Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting to review final components and changes to the kit. A timeline will be established and tooling of the product components will take place. The tooling process will involve readying final thermoform patterns for the puzzle frames, preparing screen art, selecting final colors and materials for the puzzle pieces, preparing artwork for the solution pages, finalizing content and photos/illustrations for the Activity Booklet, preparing braille translation of the Activity Booklet, and designing of a new carrying/storage case. These activities will likely span all four quarters of FY 2011; availability is targeted for FY 2012.

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit

(Continued)

Purpose

Finished product, Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit

To provide a comprehensive kit of 3-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
Christina J. Smerz, Project Assistant
Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker
Terri Gilmore, Guidebook Cover Layout

Background

Past research indicates the efficacy of using interactive, 3-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 raised-line displays can pose for inexperienced, young tactile readers.

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

In 2003, the project leader conducted an online 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 (PARC), the project leader transferred the 3-D O&M Kit from "PARC-ing Lot" status to active development.

The project leader and pattern/model maker 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, pedestrians, and buildings; determining amount and structure of grassy areas, railroad tracks, roads dashes, and other manipulatives; tailoring components around a newly designed tri-fold Velcro board; acquiring commercially-available labeling materials; and authoring accompanying lesson plans.

The project leader and Pattern/Model Maker had the opportunity to conduct a Product Input Session on Tactile Town at APH's 140th Annual Meeting. The session was well attended and participants representing teachers of the visually impaired, O&M specialists, and Ex Officio Trustees expressed great enthusiasm for the product and had lots of suggestions for additional parts and a toolbox-like storage container. Encouraged by the feedback, the project staff hurried to construct multiple prototypes for field testing purposes. Because of the complexity of the kit and the number of uniquely built pieces for each kit, prototype preparation occupied most of the first quarter of the fiscal year. Activities carried out by the project leader and Pattern/Model Maker consisted of the following:

Other pre-field test activities included reviewing the kit with two Orientation & Mobility Instructors at the Kentucky School for the Blind, who were so impressed with the kit that they wanted to participate as field test evaluators. The project leader also conducted a Research Department meeting attended by other project leaders and research assistants to review ways to acquire performance outcome data. It was determined that the project leader's Skills Checklist could be utilized for this purpose.

Identified field test evaluators were a blend of respondents to an APH News request for field test evaluators, as well as attendees of the Annual Meeting Product Input Session who indicated an interest in reviewing the final prototype. The number of respondents to the APH News posting was overwhelming, thus reaffirming the great need for this product.

The prototypes of Tactile Town were shipped to evaluators on February 23, 2009. The evaluators were given until the end of May to use the materials with their students. With the exception of one, all evaluators returned their field test evaluation forms, along with three separate progress reports on each participating student over the 3-month evaluation period.

All of the field test evaluators were Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, with 72% having over 11 years of teaching experience; of those, 43% had teaching experience exceeding 21 years. They represented the states of Connecticut, Kentucky, Tennessee, Hawaii (2), Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota (3), California, Michigan, Texas, and Ohio. The majority (64%) of the field test sites were reported as itinerant settings; 21% residential settings; 7% a combination of itinerant/residential; and 7% resource settings.

The field evaluators used the prototype with a total of 114 visually impaired and blind students. The student sample reflected a range of ethnic backgrounds: 61% were White, 13% Hispanic, 11% African American, 5% Asian, and an equal percentage (4%) either Native Hawaiian or reported as "two or more races;" and 3% "Other" (e.g., from India or Somalia). Nearly half (47%) of the students were braille readers; 25% large print readers; and 10% read regular print. The rest of the student sample included nonreaders, combination print/auditory or print/braille readers, and pre-readers. The students ranged in age from 4 to 21 years of age, with 13% between the ages of 4-6, 30% between the ages of 7 and 9, 19% between the ages of 10 and 12, 18% between the ages of 13 and 15, 15% between the ages of 16 and 18, and 5% between the ages of 19 and 21. The largest percentage of students (31%) were in grades 1-3; 28% of the students were in grades 4-8; 20% were in high school; 14% were preschoolers or kindergarteners; and smaller percentages were either post-high school/transition (4%) or unreported grade level (3%). Students reported as having additional disabilities represented exactly half of the student sample. Examples of other disabilities reported included speech/language impairment, autism, learning disabled, seizure disorder, cerebral palsy, and hearing loss.

One hundred percent of the evaluators indicated that Tactile Town offered specific advantages over other available tools/materials for teaching orientation and mobility skills. Specific comments included:

With regard to ideal target populations, an equal percentage of evaluators (93%) thought Tactile Town was appropriate for preschoolers, as well as tactile readers in grades K-3 and low vision readers in grades K-3. Eighty-six percent of the evaluators thought it was appropriate for both tactile readers and low vision readers in grades 4-6; 71% indicated that it was appropriate for tactile and low vision readers in grades 7-8; 79% indicated it was appropriate for both tactile readers and low vision readers in high school; and 71% indicated that it was appropriate for students with multiple disabilities, blind adults, and sighted peers. These results highlighted the potential impact of Tactile Town on a wide and varied student audience.

One-hundred percent responded "YES" to the following questions posed on the evaluation form:

Over 90% of the evaluators responded "YES" to the following:

The only component receiving less than a 70% approval rating was the 2-tiered, commercially-available storage container, which some evaluators reported as not durable or awkward to carry.

Specific ratings of each of the individual Tactile Town manipulatives, based upon a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), yielded the following results from the evaluators:

Tactile Town Component Overall Rating
5 = highest possible rating
Pond 4.8
Railroad Tracks 4.8
Arrows 4.8
Stop Signs 4.7
Dividing Lines 4.5
Buildings 4.4
Road Dashes 4.4
Pedestrians 4.2
Crosswalks 4.2
Traffic Lights 4.1
Sidewalks 4.1
Cars 4.0
Grassy Strips 3.7

Considering students' reactions to the prototype as direct indicators of the expected usefulness and popularity of the kit, the project leader asked evaluators to comment on whether or not their students enjoyed using Tactile Town. One hundred percent of the evaluators responded "Yes." Below are examples of actual comments received from the teachers:

In July 2009, the project leader conducted a Product Development Committee (PDC) meeting to acquaint other APH staff with the expected components of the kit. A complete product timeline was established.

By the end of the fiscal year, the project leader and Pattern/Model Maker had initiated making improvements to the kit's design based upon field test feedback, such as the incorporation of an upright traffic light, more durable grassy areas, additional building structures, and pieces to facilitate a roundabout setup.

Work during FY 2010

The project staff continued to make product enhancements based upon feedback from field evaluators. Tom Poppe prepared necessary hard tooling (e.g., thermoform patterns and silk screen art) and related specification drawings (e.g., cutting die layouts) that are needed internally and/or by outside vendors to mass produce the product. This information was provided to Technical Research who will repeat the designs in the product specifications document.

To increase momentum on the project, the project leader held biweekly PDC meetings to keep all department staff versed in the expected components and planned production processes--whether in-house or via an outside vendor. Detailed charts of all known information about each specific component were provided; information included quantities, colors, production methods (e.g., liquid resin, urethane parts, etc.), and replacement parts. The pattern/model maker made duplicates of the cars, pedestrians, stop signs, etc., as well as full sets of the green grassy areas, so that Purchasing staff could obtain multiple bids from outside vendors. An ideal vendor to stitch around the periphery of each green "grassy" area was located; this sewn feature addresses the durability concern aired by field evaluators. Added components, such as a custom carrying case with a compartment tray insert, were also designed. The project leader located a new vendor for Inkjet Hook Paper [see separate report], a package of which will be included in each Tactile Town kit.

Beginning in March 2010, after all component details and quantities were known, the project leader turned attention to the content update of the accompanying guidebook. The guidebook provides suggested activities for each of the following layouts:

The project leader also added new sections such as "Tactile Town Games" and/or enhanced and expanded other sections (e.g., Skills/Concepts Checklist).

On April 8, 2010, the product received quota approval from the Educational Product and Advisory Committee (EPAC).

Throughout June and July, the project leader and Christina Smerz, a graduate student at the University of Louisville, worked together to edit and expand each layout activity. The content was carefully proofed before provision to the outside graphic designer for final text page layout. Numerous supporting photos (approximately 150) were professionally taken. By the end of August, the first proof of the entire guidebook was received for review. The end of the fiscal year witnessed the review and final preparation of the guidebook layout, the cover art, and the CD label.

Work planned for FY 2011

Steady effort to bring the tooling of the product to a conclusion will characterize most of FY 2011. Specific tasks will involve preparing braille translation and HTML conversion of the guidebook, hard tooling for in-house production, and the identification of outside vendors for the urethane parts, liquid resin 3-D manipulatives, sewn green grassy areas, and carrying box/compartment tray. Production specifications will be prepared and a final production timeline will be updated. Because Tactile Town is a very complex product from a tooling and production standpoint, its availability might be delayed as late as FY 2012 depending upon other production priorities and how fast Technical Research can prepare a Specifications document based upon all the information provided to them in detail by the project leader and pattern/model maker.

Textured Sorting Circles and Shapes

(Completed)

Purpose

Finished product, Textured Sorting Circles and Shapes

To provide tactile diagramming circles and shapes that can be used for creating Venn diagrams on a magnetic surface and/or Veltex® surface. The materials also facilitate a variety of matching, counting, patterning, sorting, and graphing activities appropriate for a wide range of ages and grade levels.

Project Staff

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

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 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 Board.

Concurrent with the development of the ALL-IN-ONE Board, 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. 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 as 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 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® boards). In April, a Product Development Meeting was held to set a complete timeline and determine initial pilot/production run quantities. In May 2008, the product received quota approval from the Educational Product Advisory Committee.

The third and fourth quarters of the fiscal year were dedicated to tooling preparation and vendor identification. Specifically, the following activities were accomplished:

The first quarter of FY 2009 witnessed the completion of the tooling needed for the production of the large print and braille versions of the Reader's Guide. Other pre-production tasks included the following:

By May 2009, product specifications were provided to Production staff; all outside materials and cutting dies had been received; and all in-house tooling was in place for the scheduled pilot run slated for July 2009. Because of higher priority assigned to the production of other products, the scheduled production date was missed. By August 2009, the print Reader's Guide and related box label had been produced.

Work during FY 2010

The initial pilot run of the Textured Sorting Circles and Shapes took place in October 2009. Due to some unforeseen difficulties during the application of the smooth vinyl to the magnetic sheets, a second pilot run was scheduled to incorporate the revamped production process and arrive at more accurate production cost. The second pilot run occurred in December 2009. On January 11, 2010, the "Airplane" was released announcing the product's availability.

The project leader authored the brochure content that highlighted the product's varied uses, including

The product was showcased at various training workshops and conferences, including the AER International Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. As of July 2010, 478 units had been purchased.

Work planned for FY 2011

No additional work specific to this product is anticipated. However, the project leader will continue to pursue the development of additional magnetic teaching materials.

TG TV

(Continued)

Purpose

To create an instructional video that gives real-time, specific examples of the thinking that goes into adapting print images into tactile graphics

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader

Background

The existing videos relating to tactile graphics, from APH and elsewhere, speak either in very general terms about philosophy or in specific terms about working with materials. What is apparently lacking is an understanding of how to adapt the print graphic after deciding what is to be shown--that is, how to convert it into a readable design for a tactile.

The project leader has experimented with "screen-capture" programs, which record the onscreen editing of images in a drawing program along with voice-over narration. This seems promising as a relatively low-cost and direct way of illustrating the processes and should form the foundation of the video.

Work during FY 2010

No significant development took place on the project.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will consult videographers and in-house tactile graphics staff to develop a storyboard and outline. Appropriate software will be selected and obtained, and shooting will be done. The process of editing and preparing accompanying materials will begin.

U.S. & Canada Basic Atlas

(Continued)

Purpose

To produce new volumes of high-quality tactile thematic maps by continuing a partnership with The Princeton Braillists

Project Staff

Fred Otto, Project Leader
Katherine Corcoran, Model and Pattern Maker
Terri Gilmore, Art Design
Nancy Amick, The Princeton Braillists, Map Design

Background

An earlier collaboration with The Princeton Braillists resulted in the product World Maps, which has been well received. This project aims to address a deficiency in APH's offerings in the way of detailed thematic maps showing land use, elevation, major cities, and so on. It is based on the multi-volume set Northern North America by The Princeton Braillists, but has fewer and simpler maps and will be contained in one volume.

A major advance represented in this set of maps is the addition of color and print maps, making the volume more accessible to low-vision or sighted students and teachers. The medium on which the tactile maps must be produced for best readability--a thin vinyl--limited the methods by which the print maps could be provided. Through various trials, project staff decided to produce the tactile maps on a clear vinyl and the print maps as paper underlay sheets. These will be put in a binder so that pages can be removed as desired. The chosen format also has the advantage of using all in-house processes, so no coordination with outside vendors is needed.

The project leader and Ms. Amick agreed on the maps to be included and the simplifications needed for each. The model maker created vacuumform patterns, poured molds, and revised the production patterns.

Because the content of the maps is already determined, a full field evaluation was deemed unnecessary; an expert review of several representative maps with the clear map/print underlay format was conducted.

Work during FY 2010

The expert reviews were positive and helpful in determining the changes needed. The project leader colored the remainder of the map scans accordingly.

Work planned for FY 2011

The project leader will lay out the final print content for the volume and work with Technical Research to draw up production specifications.

Tests & Assessments

Accessible Answer Documents

(Continued)

Purpose

To provide well-designed, accessible answer documents in braille and large print for use in classroom tests, test preparation, and in actual statewide testing situations

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader
Kerry Isham, Accessible Tests Editor, Project Assistant
Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader, Project Consultant
Eleanor Pester, Braille Project Leader, Project Consultant
Andrew Dakin, Model Maker
Frank Hayden, Manufacturing Specialist

Background

As states moved toward No Child Left Behind (NCLB) compliance, the need for accessible answer documents became evident. If students with visual impairments are to take the tests independently and successfully, they must know how to use a variety of answer document styles. The original project 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 and 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.

Late in FY 2004, the project leader made several contacts with test publishers and research entities, but a committed partner could not be identified. Therefore, the answer document project remained on the PARCing Lot through the end of FY 2007.

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 was posted on the APH Web site. The survey was also mailed and/or e-mailed to test publishers, education agencies, and individuals listed in the departmental database. Over 123 people from 24 states and numerous agencies submitted a survey. The project leader and assistant analyzed survey results in the last quarter of FY 2008.

During FY 2009, results of the survey were gathered into a report. A field review questionnaire was developed in preparation for field-testing. A poster session was created for presentation at annual meeting information fair in October 2009.

Work during FY 2010

Kerry Isham, Project Assistant, presented a poster session on accessible answer documents at APH Annual Meeting in October 2009. Results of the survey were presented. In Spring 2010, the project leader began working on designs for a "pop a dot" answer sheet with model maker Andrew Dakin, and on braille answer sheets with Technical Research Director Frank Hayden. Progress was made toward development of prototypes for field testing in November 2010. Field test sites were identified.

Work planned for FY 2011

Field testing will be completed by January 2011, and results will be summarized. Any revisions to prototypes will be made at that time. Product documentation will be completed with product availability targeted for the third quarter of FY 2011.

Boehm Test of Basic Concepts, Third Edition (Boehm-3): Braille/Tactile and Large Print Adaptations

(New)

Purpose

To fill the need, expressed by the field, for a large print and braille/tactile version of this test of basic concept development in very young children

Project Staff

Barbara W. Henderson, Project Leader
Ann Boehm, Ph.D., Project Consultant
Kay Alicyn Ferrell, Ph.D., Project Consultant
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Art & Layout

Background

Based upon feedback from the field, it was determined that a student large print and a braille/tactile adaptation of this testing instrument should be developed using a research-based model. The first Boehm Test had been adapted by APH in the 1970s so there was a tradition of interest in and recognition of the importance of this testing instrument for our populations.

Permission to do an adaptation of the Boehm 3rd edition was sought from the publisher, Pearson Assessment, as part of a research project using the adapted materials by APH. The project was proposed by Dr. Kay Ferrell and Dr. Jane Farber, with the approval of Dr. Ann Boehm (author of the test). APH agreed to partner in the project. The project leader and Dr. Ferrell planned to work on the project in the Fall of 2011, during Dr. Ferrell's "Executive In Residence" at APH.

Work during FY 2010

The project idea was brought forward through PET and PARC Committees in the 3rd quarter of FY 2010. The project leader did preliminary library research into the Boehm Test, including past research studies and publications about basic concept development in blind children. The concepts covered in the Tactile Treasures Kit by APH were partially based upon those in the original Boehm Test. The project leader did a review and comparison of the two concept lists. Suitability of Tactile Treasures molds for some field test items was judged to be inappropriate and therefore not of use for the current project. The project leader held a teleconference to discuss the presentation at annual meeting with Dr. Kay Ferrell in early September 2010. An additional teleconference with Dr. Ann Boehm was held in late September 2010.

Work planned for FY 2011

Dr. Kay Ferrell and the project leader presented a product development input session at APH Annual Meeting Information Fair in October 2010. Input from the field will inform design of the Boehm-3 tactile and large print adaptations. Dr. Ferrell will be at APH for the Executive in Residence program in the fall of 2011 and will work with Barbara.

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 primary 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 W. Henderson, Project Leader
Monica Turner, Co-Project Leader
Rosanne Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Bisig Impact Group, 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 project Leader and co-project leader 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, copyright 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. Project staff were assigned within a few months and preliminary designs for product structure were documented.

Work on the large print reformatting and on the braille transcription continued toward a prototype in FY 2006. Field review and field testing at six sites was initiated in the last quarter of FY 2007.

Field-testing continued through the first two quarters of FY 2008. Monica Turner left the department, so Barbara assumed role of project leader. With a new assistant, Barbara worked to compile field test results and summarize findings. The project leader 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.

An annotated bibliography and updated resource list were developed by the project leader beginning in the new year. An additional field test site and expert reviewer were identified in order to address issues found with tactile materials for younger children. Results from that site were received in February 2009 and analyzed. Work on the bibliography continued. Communications with the publisher revealed that updates to the IED II were planned, and a new copyright would be released in 2010. The publisher told us that changes consist of graphical and design elements to update the "look" and do not involve changes in content. New editions of the print tests were ordered for the project leader to review.

Work planned for FY 2011

In reviewing the new 2010 edition, the project leader discovered that changes were much more substantial than the publisher had indicated. A total reorganization of the materials needs to be done at this point in time.

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
Carol Roderick, Research Assistant

Background

Meeting the needs of TVIs and others who are called upon to assess visually impaired students is the focus of this home project. 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."

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.

Work during FY 2010

Related customer service calls and e-mails were forwarded to the project leader by Customer Relations and other APH staff for more detailed information than they could supply on the topic of tests and assessments.

The project leader planned a new assessment needs survey. Recent publications on visually impaired English Language Learners (ELLs) were gathered. The new assessment needs survey was delayed until after Fall 2011 test administration so that new topics can be identified. The project leader was asked to concentrate on the Test Ready Project as a priority. The project leader returned to the Research Department where projects were revaluated and new projects planned for FY 2011. One new project was brought forward [Boehm 3].

Work planned for FY 2011

A new assessment needs survey will be circulated in order to identify new trends. The project leader will review new commercially available assessments.

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, Project Leader
Michael Sell, Consultant
Dena Garrett, Accessible Media Editor, Project Editor
Cathy Senft-Graves, Project Assistant
Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist
Bisig Impact Group, Graphic Art/Layout

Background

The project leader 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 project leader selected and brought forward the Test Ready® Series from Curriculum Associates. Subject areas chosen were: Math, Reading, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.

Plus Mathematics and Plus Reading, each comprised of seven levels and seven 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 test practice is therefore especially important for braille readers.

Work during FY 2010

Work continued on the Plus Math books. Plus Math Grade 7 and Plus Math Grade 3 were placed in stock. Production will continue to funnel the grade levels through the system. Transcription and large print formatting work began with Bisig on the Plus Reading books.

Work planned for FY 2011

The Plus Reading titles will be completed and work on the third subject area, Language Arts, will begin.

Technical Research and Model Shop

Technical Research and Model Shop Activities

(Continued)

Introductory Note

In December 2009, Tom Poppe, the Senior Model/Pattern Maker with 30 years of service to APH, semi-retired, moving to part-time work. In March 2010, the Technical Research Division and Model Shop were combined with Frank Hayden as the manager of the two areas. Technical Research and the Model Shop have a history of more than two decades of working closely together on the products developed at APH. The combination of the two areas is anticipated to make even better use of the unique and complimenting skill sets of both Model Shop personnel and Technical Research personnel.

Purpose

The Technical Research Division and Model Shop function as a "bridge" between the concepts of the project leader's product and the concrete reality on the production floor. These areas are concentrations of specialized skill sets within the Educational Research Department. The purpose of these areas 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. These areas are involved in all aspects of the product including design work, materials selection, tooling development, vendor selection, and process development. While both areas are involved in process and tooling development, the model shop's primary focus is the physical development of tooling. Technical Research is heavily involved in tooling, materials, and process development and research with an emphasis on the documentation of the product's specifications and manufacturing processes. 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.

Some of the contributions Technical Research and the Model Shop make to product development on a regular basis include:

This development, documentation, and preparation of the product for actual manufacture, along with the monitoring of the manufacturing process by these two areas, help to assure the greatest probability of success for a new product.

Division Staff

Frank Hayden A.A.S., C.E.T., Manager

Katherine Corcoran B.S., B.F.A, Model/Pattern Maker

Andrew Dakin, B.F.A., Model/Pattern Maker

Darlene Donhoff, Manufacturing Specialist

Nancy Etter, Administrative Assistant

David McGee A.A.S, C.E.T., Manufacturing Specialist

Andrew Moulton B.S., M.E., Manufacturing Specialist

Tom Poppe, Model/Pattern Maker (part time)

James Robinson M.S., E.E., Manufacturing Specialist

Bryan Rogers, A.A.S., Software Applications & Programming, Manufacturing Specialist

Anita Rutledge, Manufacturing Specialist (part-time)

Work during FY 2010

Accessible Answer Documents, Braille/LP

(Continued)

Technical Research used the plate from the graphic artist and ran samples of the raised dot and full cell answer sheets on paper. Technical Research reviewed the samples with the project leader and paper was chosen based on the results of the test embossing. Plates for production of field test copies have been tooled and Technical Research is currently coordinating and registering the print information to the plates. The project leader and Model Shop are proceeding with the prototype development for the pop-a-dot sheet and to contact Technical Research regarding when it could begin. Andrew Dakin was given the go-ahead to begin with the prototype and met with the project leader to make sure they agreed on what was to be included on the tool.

Adapted Science Materials Kit

(New)

This kit will consist of materials that APH will purchase from outside vendors and make in-house as well. Technical Research worked with the project leader, the potential vendor, and the Marketing Department to discuss company requirements of the products regarding child safety, production capacities, and other points with the potential vendors. Technical Research remains available to assist in the initial stages of the vendor discussions and will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Address: Earth -- Section 2

(Continued)

This product will likely go out for field testing in late 2010. Information is being gathered and work on specifications is still in preliminary, informational gathering stages for the kit and for the separately available components listed below.

Address: Earth -- Section 2 Maps and Charts
Address: Earth -- Section 2 Large Print Textbook Set
Address: Earth -- Section 2 Braille Textbook Set
Address: Earth -- Section 2 Symbol Guide

Addition/Subtraction Tables

(New)

Field testing for this item was completed in April. Specifications and tooling for this product were turned over in May. Production and availability for sale of this item is anticipated in November 2010.

Adventure ECC: The Hatlen Center Guide

(New)

The project leader is working with the consultant in the initial stages of this product's development. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

APH Insights Calendar 2011

(Completed)

APH Insights Calendar, Custom 2011

(Completed)

Technical Research met with all parties to establish a game plan for in-house production of the calendars. Final print files were given to Large Type. Large Type furnished the Tactile Graphics Department proof copies to use in tooling the plates for the calendars. Plates were completed and production began in late spring/early summer of 2010. Technical Research continued monitoring this project through its production and into stock in June 2010.

APH Numberline Device

(Continued)

This product was one of 34 impacted by the October 2008 fire at the vendor. Tooling for the number line base itself has been re-created. However, in order to take advantage of the need for a new mold, Technical Research incorporated several changes to the item suggested by a consultant and the project leader. The changes incorporated in the base also impact the number lines themselves. Changes to the tooling for these items are in-progress. In addition, the number of number lines included in the kit will increase by 50%. Tooling will need to be created for these items as well. Technical Research continues to work in this product with the project leader.

Beginning Braille: Power at Your Fingertips -- VIPS Series

(New)

The project leader is working to finalize content for field test prototypes. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Boehm Test of Basic Concepts

(New)

This product was added to the time lines report in mid-August. Technical Research has only basic information on the product at this time. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product's development.

Book Port Plus

(Completed)

Book Port Plus, Battery Door

(Completed)

Book Port Plus, Battery, Lithium Polymer

(Completed)

Book Port Plus, Mini AB-B Short

(Completed)

Book Port Plus, AC Power Adapter

(Completed)

This series of products was developed jointly between the APH technology group and the vendor. Prototypes were completed in December. Field testing, product revisions, final product content, specifications, and tooling were all completed in February. These products were available for sale in March.

Braille Beads

(Continued)

Custom-made rapid prototype beads were purchased and print and braille materials are in-process for the prototypes. Technical Research is currently working with the project leader to complete the prototypes and prepare them for mailing to the field test sites.

Braille Buzz

(New)

This product was introduced onto the new product time lines in mid-August. Technical Research will be working with the project leader and the technology group on this product. Technical Research only has limited information on this product at this time.

Braille DateBook Calendar 2010

(Continued)

Request for catalog and associated part numbers placed in January for the 2011 product. Tooling information turned over to Braille Translation in February. Tooling proofed and approved in March. Requested sales forecast and provided Production with information to have the product placed into the production queue and will continue to monitor it through the completed production run. Production began in the early summer but has not yet been completed due to problems encountered embossing the Calendar Tabs. New material for the tabs has been ordered to replace materials lost in production due to poor braille embossing of the tabs. Technical Research continues to monitor this product.

Braille DateBook 2011 Calendar Tabs

(Continued)

See above entry.

Braille + and RefreshaBraille Combo

(New)

Braille + and RefreshaBraille Combo, Case

(New)

The case will be a pass-through item. It is anticipated to be available for sale in September. Once the cases arrive, APH will package a case with a Braille+ unit and a RefreshaBraille unit as a combination product. Technical Research continues to monitor these two products.

Brigance Yellow

(Continued)

Technical Research met with the project leader in a series of brainstorming 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, 1st Grade (Units 2 through 7 materials)

(Continued)

Technical Research working with information received from the Graphics Designer, the Assistant Director of Research, and Braille Translation in developing product specifications for each of Units 5 through 7. Each unit has 8 individual parts, so this covered 24 individual product specifications that were turned over to Production in May. This included an additional item that added 4 more product specifications for the Lesson Monitoring Sheets. There is still another item, an eighth volume to incorporate Introductory Materials and the Index, but it will not be completed until all of the 7 units are done. In addition work was completed in May on product specifications for the Posttest Materials, which will be 3 individual parts covering all 7 units. Technical Research continues to work on the specs for the components for the index unit (Unit 8). Unit 2 materials were completed and made available for sale in December. Unit 3 materials were completed and made available for sale in January. Unit 4 materials were produced and available for sale in June. Unit 5 materials were produced and available for sale in July. Unit 6 materials were produced in August and should be packaged and available for sale in September. Production on materials for Unit 7 was started in August. Unit 7 materials are anticipated available for sale in either late September or early October. Technical Research will continue to monitor the work being done on the production floor.

Building on Patterns 2nd Grade

(Continued)

Grade 2 materials are being composed by the project leader and consultants. Two writing sessions were held with all consultants; 1 in June and 1 in August. Technical Research will begin working on developing product specifications as information is received on the individual parts.

Crafty Graphics DVD

(New)

The project leader is working on final edits for the video master. Work is progressing on the print files for the print case insert. Technical Research has begun work on specifications. Technical Research will continue to monitor the development of this product.

CVI Complexity Main Kit

(Continued)

This will be a kit containing a combination of the Sequencing and Challenges kits listed below.

CVI Complexity Challenges

(Continued)

Many features of this kit were combined and incorporated into the CVI Complexity Sequencing kit below. It is believed this kit will be abandoned and not produced as a separate item. Technical Research continues to monitor PARC committee meeting minutes to obtain information on this item.

CVI Complexity Sequencing Kit

(Completed)

CVI Complexity Sequencing Guidebook, Print

(Completed)

CVI Complexity Sequencing Guidebook, Braille

(Completed)

Technical Research completed specifications on these items in March. Tooling was completed in July. Production on these items has been underway since July. This series of products was completed and available for sale in September. Technical Research monitored these products throughout their development and manufacture on the production floor.

Desktop Food Pyramid, Primary Kit

(Continued)

The kit includes a wall poster, paper-embossed personal sized food pyramids, and other associated materials. Field testing on this series of products was completed in November. Specifications were completed and tooling was in place in June. Production is underway with outside printed materials being received in August. Internal production of materials is expected to begin in October with possible availability of the product by the end of 2010.

Desktop Food Pyramid, Primary (10 Pack)

(Continued)

Desktop Food Pyramid, Secondary Kit

(Continued)

Desktop Food Pyramid, Secondary (5 Pack)

(Continued)

Desktop Stick-On Number Line -- Large Print

(Continued)

See entry above.

Developmental Guidelines Print Kit w/CD

(Completed)

Developmental Guidelines Braille Kit w/CD

(Completed)

Developmental Summary Consumable

(Completed)

These products were completed and made available for sale in March 2010.

Discovering the Magic of Reading DVD

(Completed)

This product is an update to the original VHS video. Tooling for this item was completed in April and specifications were completed in May. The products were produced and made available for sale in June.

Emergent Literacy -- VIPS Series

(New)

The project leader is working to finalize content for field test prototypes. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Envision I DVD

(Completed)

Envision II DVD

(Completed)

These two products were updates to the original VHS videos. Tooling for these items was completed in April and specifications were completed in May. The products were produced and made available for sale in June.

Everybody Plays

(New)

This product is instructional materials that will be housed in a custom binder. Technical Research has met with the project leader and has begun work with the Purchasing Department to obtain price quotes from vendors for the binder. Work is ongoing on this product.

Expanded Beginner's Abacus Kit

(Continued)

Expanded Beginner's Abacus Print Guidebook

(Continued)

Expanded Beginner's Abacus Braille Guidebook

(Continued)

Technical Research worked with the project leader and operations engineering to obtain rapid prototype models of the proposed design. After two revisions of the part and samples, the design has been finalized. The project leader is currently working on finalizing content for the guidebook. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this series of products.

Experiential Learning Kit

(Continued)


Materials for this product were sent out for field testing in December. Field test results indicated that this item should be an instructional manual. Work on this project is ongoing. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

EZ Track Calendar 2011

(Continued)

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 turned over files to Production in April. The calendars are currently in-process on the production floor. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product through completion and putting it into stock.

Feel 'n Peel Carousel of Textures

(Continued)

Field testing of this product was completed in November. Specifications were completed in April and tooling was completed in May. Many of the items used in this kit are specialized materials ordered from overseas. Orders have been placed and the materials are en route. Production will begin on the product when materials are received. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Feel 'n Peel Nemeth Numbers:

(New)

This product was introduced to the new products time lines in March 2010. Specifications were completed in April with tooling complete in May. Work is well under way on this product with availability for sale anticipated in either September or October.

Flash Cartridge, 2GB, Green

(Completed)

This was a pass through item. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and monitored this product through its availability for sale in January.

Flash Cartridge, Mailer, Grey

(Completed)

This was a pass through item. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and monitored this product through its availability for sale in February.

Flash Cartridge, USB 2.0 Extension Cable

(Completed)

This was a pass through item. Technical Research worked with Purchasing and monitored this product through its availability for sale in February.

Flip-Over Concept Books - LINE PATHS

(Completed)

Production was completed on this item, and it was made available for sale in November.

Flip-Over Concept Books - PARTS OF A WHOLE

(Completed)

Production on this item was completed, and it was made available for sale in June.

FOCUS in Mathematics; 2nd Edition Print Kit

(Continued)

Specifications for this item were completed in December. Tooling was completed in January. One of the items in the kit uses specially embossed foam. The embossing of the foam was found to be defective when it was received. Technical Research worked with the Purchasing Department and found the embossing company had gone out of business. APH was reimbursed for the lost foam but had to find another vendor for the embossing. Technical Research located an overseas vendor that would custom make the foam with our specifically designed texture. This material was ordered and the order expedited. The foam arrived in August and APH quickly die cut the materials to produce the puzzle pieces used in the kit. All but one item used in the kit is produced. Once the last part is in stock, all parts will be pulled for final packaging of the kit. The full kit is anticipated to be made available for sale in either October or November. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product through its production and placement into stock.

FOCUS in Mathematics; 2nd Edition Braille Kit

(Continued)

This kit is following the same timelines as noted in the above report. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this item through production and stocking.

From Lightbox to Literacy

(New)

Technical Research has no information on this product at this time.

Functional Vision: A Bridge to Learning DVD

(Completed)

This product is an update to the original VHS video. Tooling for this item was completed in April and specifications were completed in May. The products were produced and made available for sale in June.

Games for People with Sensory Impairment

(Continued)

Technical Research has met with the project leader on this item. Work is just beginning on the development of product specifications. Work is ongoing.

Getting to Know You

(Continued)

Prototypes were completed and sent out for field testing in August. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Giant Textured Beads with Pattern Matching Cards

(Continued)

Pattern Matching Cards for Giant Textured Beads

(Continued)

Giant Textured Beads

(Revision)

Prototypes were completed and sent out for field testing in November. Field testing and evaluation was completed in February. The project leader is currently working with the Model Shop to make revisions to the product and tooling.

Graphic Aid for Math

(Revision)

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 for a graphing material. Vendors were contacted to obtain samples of board material and wire was ordered for the project leader to evaluate. Samples of the various cork materials were found to be unsuitable for use in the board. The project leader and Technical Research worked together to re-design the board, keeping the rubber mat concept and also explored the possibility of making the board 2-sided for greater versatility. Technical Research created tooling drawings for two distinct rubber mats. These were approved by the project leader and turned over to the Purchasing Department in July. These drawings have been sent out to several vendors for bids. Once bids are received, the project leader and Technical Research will review the feasibility of moving forward with a 2-sided design for this product from a cost standpoint. Work on this project is ongoing.

Guitar Instruction - Audio

(Completed)

This item was a pass-through item. Technical Research worked with the project leader and the Marketing Department on the development of this item. This item was received and made available for sale in August.

History in the Making: APH Story, Braille Version

(Continued)

This was produced and placed into stock in October 2009.

Holy Moly: First Touch Books

(Continued)

Technical Research met with the project leader to discuss the product. Technical Research has fabricated several options of attaching a cord to 1 of the pages in the book. Project leader is reviewing these samples. An outside vendor is in-process of fabricating the prototypes needed for field testing.

iBill Paper Money Identifier

(Completed)

This was a pass-through product. Technical Research monitored the progress of this product to make sure it was ordered and received. Technical Research as well as receiving personnel pulled random samples and tested the units to be sure they functioned. This product was stocked June 2010.

Inkjet Hook Paper

(New)

Product content was finalized in April and tooling was completed in July. Specifications were completed in September and an anticipated available for sale date is November. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

Insights Calendar, 2011

(Completed)

The specifications for these products were completed in January. Final product content was developed in February. Tooling was completed in May and the products were available for sale in June.

ISAVE Revision

(New)

This product was added to the time line chart in June. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

Labeling Booklet, Print

(Continued)

Labeling Booklet, Braille

(Continued)

The project leader is in-process of creating content for these products. Technical Research will continue to monitor the products.

Large Print/Braille Desktop Stick-On Number Line

(Completed)

Specifications and tooling were completed on this item in January. This item was produced and made available for sale in July.

Life Science Tactile Graphics Kit

(Continued)

Technical Research completed specifications for this product in March. Tooling was completed in July. Production on a pilot run of 100 kits has begun and the pilot run is anticipated being in stock in December. If the pilot run is successful it will be followed by a full production run in February 2011. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product's pilot and production runs.

Lighting Guide DVD

(New)

Project leader is in-process of obtaining material for the video master. Work on this product is ongoing.

Magic Moments -- VIPS Series

(New)

The project leader is working to finalize content for field test prototypes. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Match It Up

(New)

The project leader, Model Shop, and Technical Research are exploring options to make the submitted product more easily produced as well as a better functioning unit.

MathBuilders Unit 5 Print Kit (Measurement)

MathBuilders Unit 5 Braille Kit (Measurement)

MathBuilders Unit 5 Print Teacher's Guide (Measurement)

MathBuilders Unit 5 Braille Teacher's Guide (Measurement)

MathBuilders Unit 5 Consumables Pack (Measurement)

MathBuilders Unit 5 Manipulatives Set (Measurement)

(Continued)

Prototypes for these products were completed and sent out for field testing in February. Field test results were reviewed and revisions are currently underway on these items. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of these products.

MathBuilders Unit 7 Print Kit (Fractions)

MathBuilders Unit 7 Braille Kit (Fractions)

MathBuilders Unit 7 Print Teacher's Guide (Fractions)

MathBuilders Unit 7 Braille Teacher's Guide (Fractions)

MathBuilders Unit 7 Consumables Pack (Fractions)

MathBuilders Unit 7 Manipulatives Set (Fractions)

(Continued)

Specifications for this series of products were completed in May as was the tooling. Unfortunately, the circle fraction pieces were 2 of over 70 parts that had tooling destroyed in an October fire in the manufacturing plant (Tri-Plastics). Technical Research worked with Purchasing and the vendor to make new tooling for these two components of this kit. Tooling was completed and approved for production in July. This series of products is anticipated to be available in February 2011. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of these products.

MaximEyes Wireless Pen Tracker

(Completed)

This was a pass through item. Technical Research worked with the vendor throughout the production of this item. This item was stocked and available for sale in November.

MaximEyes Joystick Controller

(Completed)

This was a pass through item. Technical Research worked with the vendor throughout the production of this item. This item was stocked and available for sale in November.

MiniBook Slate with Stylus

MiniBook 3-ring Binder

MiniBook Filler Paper

MiniBook Spiral Notebook (2-pack)

(Continued)

Initial field test results were received and a review of the data noted interest in both types of binding (a mini-binder as well as spiral binding). Based on field test results, this project was split into multiple products. The plastic mini-slate included in the kit was also being revised. Several field test sites had made recommendations for changes to the slate. These changes were extensive enough that a new mold would be required. Technical Research worked with the Operations Engineering Department to fabricate two runs of rapid prototyped parts for review by the field. After the first round of RPM prototypes, a second series of changes were made to the part. This was accomplished simply by changing the design in the CAD file and sending the file out to a RPM facility to have parts made. This second series of parts was reviewed by the field and approved. Technical Research and the Purchasing Department finalized vendor selection for the mold in September. Work will begin with the successful bidder to begin the tooling process. Technical Research will work with the project leader, the Purchasing Department, and outside vendors to establish final product specifications. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader and monitor the progress of this product.

Newt: New Tools for use with FV/LMA

(New)

Technical Research met with the project leader to discuss this new product. It will include some items from existing products and purchased off the shelf items. Technical Research has been working to find materials for prototypes. Technical Research will continue to work with the project leader on this product and monitor its progress.

NonVerbal Behavior Curriculum

Creation of product content is currently in-progress. December is set as a target date for completion of the prototypes.

O&M Family Booklet CD

(Completed)

O&M Family Booklet CD--Electronic Distribution

(Completed)

Final content for these products was completed in November. Tooling was completed in May. These products were made available for sale in July. Technical Research monitored the progress of these products through production and placing them into stock.

O&M Manual for Wheelchair Users

(Continued)

Content development is in-process for this product. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

Parenting Book, Print

(Continued)

Parenting Book, Braille

(Continued)

Content is currently being written on this product. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

Pattern Matching Cards for Textured Beads

(Continued)

Field testing on this item was completed in February. Work is progressing on product revisions and content. Technical Research is not actively working on this product at this time due to departmental workload.

Primer Color Electronic Magnifier

(Completed)

This item was a pass through item. Technical Research worked with the purchasing department and the marketing department on this item. Specifications were completed for this item in July and the product was made available for sale in July.

Quick Check: Index of Literary Braille Signs, Print

(New)

Quick Check: Index of Literary Braille Signs, Braille

(New)

Prototypes were sent out for evaluation in August. Recommendations from field testing are currently being reviewed and revisions made to the products. Work on specifications should begin on these items in the near future. Technical Research will continue to monitor these products.

Reach for the Stars

(Revision)

This is a revision of an existing product. A target date of November has been set for completion of the prototypes for this product. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

RefreshaBraille 18--Version 2

(Complete)

This item was a revision of the original Refreshabraille 18. It was processed through APH as a pass-through item. Technical Research worked with the project leader, Purchasing, Inventory, Warehousing, and Quality Assurance to see that this item was ordered, inspected upon receipt and placed into stock. This item was placed into stock in July.

SAM; Symbols and Meaning Kit

(Continued)

SAM; Symbols and Meaning Guidebook, Print

(Continued)

Prototypes were sent out on this item and field testing is completed. Revisions to the product are currently underway. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Sense of Science -- Astronomy

(Continued)

There was a great deal of work between Technical Research, the project leader, and Model Shop to develop/document new production process for items for this product. This product is heavy in various standard and new production methods. Technical Research was involved with assisting with standard in-house methods and developing the tooling requirements for several new processes. Technical Research assisted with obtaining cutting dies, generating silk-screen tooling and production screens, and developing the tooling and production processes for items using vinyl printed in the offset process. Technical Research also generated CAD drawings for an expanded Carry Case. This is designed to have a clear view pocket, that holds a multi-color product insert on one panel and be screen-printed on a number of the other panels for easy identification of the case. Previous Sense of Science kits had multiple print overlays for each tactile. The subject matter was often broken into sub-parts. For this kit, the clear overlays, which are the main component of the Sense of Science products, will be limited to one print overlay and its corresponding clear tactile counterpart. With the possibility of printing the overlays using offset process, there is a greater range of both color and detail that will be available. Technical Research scanned the actual clear vacuum-formed sheets and generated graphics that included line drawings and fills that the project leader could work with to create final art that met the requirements for such a complex topic. The outside vendor selected for printing the items has worked with their ink suppliers, and feels confident in their ability to satisfy our requirements. The test will be a confirmation of the process, used for this kit and several others in development. Specifications were completed in February and tooling was completed in January. Work is in-progress on the APH production floor and at outside vendors. Technical Research will continue to follow the progress of these materials through production completion and placement into stock.

Sense of Science: Astronomy Large Type Manual

Sense of Science: Astronomy Braille Manual

Sense of Science: Astronomy Worksheets

The project leader decided to make several components part of the kit and separately available as catalog items. This product will consist of both printed and braille embossed worksheets packaged together as a set. The print worksheets will be produced with standard methods. Technical Research proposed using the interpoint 55 embossing machine because of its ability to have alphanumeric identifiers placed into the sheets, eliminating the need for plate fabrication for the braille. After some preliminary testing, the project leader felt that this would be an important feature to have. Technical Research worked with the Braille Transcription department, providing instructions on how to create, format and insert the identifiers into the braille document.

Sense of Science: Astronomy Quick Fact Cards

(Continued)

The project leader decided to make several components part of the kit and separately available as catalog items. Based on results on experimentation with offset printing directly onto vinyl, Technical Research proposed having these cards printed on vinyl and then cold form embossing with plates on the clamshell presses. This printing method would allow for realistic photo print images on a medium (white vinyl) that would be extremely durable. The vendor currently printing on vinyl confirmed that they could print two-sided or backed up sheets. Several 8.5" x 11" sheets were taken to Braille and embossed in order to determine the quality of the braille. This material embossed extremely well with text only. The project leader decided on using this method of production for the Quick Fact Cards in the product. The cards are currently in-process of printing at the outside vendor. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

Shape Board, Updated

(Completed)

This product was one of 34 impacted by the vendor fire in October 2008. This product was re-designed to avoid the use of the urethane molding process and to use up the existing shapes already in stock. Once the parts in-stock were used up, the kit was again re-designed to use a different color board and to use different designs of shapes. All shapes were drawn in CAD and made to have a greater discernable size difference between the small, medium, and large sizes of a shape. The shapes were also re-designed to allow each size of all shapes to be nearly the same size (the small triangle is the same size as the small circle and the small pentagon, etc.). In addition, new colors for the shapes were chosen as well as a new, higher contrasting color for the back-side of the parts. Specifications for the new design were finalized in December and tooling was completed in February. Technical Research monitored the product though production and availability for sale in May.

SMALL-IN-ONE Board

(New)

This item was added to the new products time lines in August. This will be a smaller version of the ALL-IN-ONE Board. Work has begun to establish the size of the board. The handles and their associated tooling from the original board will be used for this product. A new size for the board itself, the magnetic dry-erase portion, the Veltex® portion, the carry case, and the packing box will need to be determined.

Sound Adapted Tangle Balls

(Completed)

This product was completed and made available for sale in January.

Spangle Tangle

(New)

The project leader is currently working with the Model Shop to design a holder for the tangle toy products that will easily attach to a wheelchair tray. Several designs are being considered. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

Special Ed: A Tour Through the Jungle -- VIPS Series

(New)

The project leader is working to finalize content for field test prototypes. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

SQUID, Tactile Activities Magazine Issue 7

(Continued)

Content for this product was finalized in May. Tooling was completed in July. Specifications are completed and Technical Research will be meeting with operations engineering in September. A specification meeting will follow. Technical Research will continue to work on and monitor this product.

Step by Step: An Interactive Guide to Mobility

(Continued)

Work continues on finalizing product content. Technical Research continues to monitor this product.

Sudoku Partner 6x6

(Continued)

Tooling for this product is in-process. A mold was finalized for the game board in this kit. However, this mold was one of those lost in the vendor's (Tri-Plastic's) fire. This mold has been re-tooled. Work continues on vacuum form molds for the overlays for the kit. The vendor for the game tokens was selected in August and work has begun on the injection mold for the game pieces. Technical Research is well into specification development. As processes for this product become finalized, Technical Research will document those in the product specifications.

Super-Sized File Pocket

(Completed)

Field testing for this product was completed in November. Product specifications were completed and tooling was finalized in January. This product was made available for sale in March.

Tactile Tangrams

(Continued)

Work continues on the design and tooling for this product. Technical Research continues to monitor the progress of this product.

Tactile Science Posters/Puzzles

(Continued)

This product is not being actively worked on at this time because of difficulty in obtaining printing rights for the posters. If these rights cannot be worked out, or if posters from another source cannot be located, the product may be abandoned.

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit

(Continued)

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Teacher's Guidebook, Print

(Continued)

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Teacher's Guidebook, Braille

(Continued)

Technical Research continues to work with the project leader and the Purchasing Department to locate vendors that can produce the items in this kit. This is a fairly complex kit with many types of parts. Work is also progressing on the in-house made items tooling and the product content. Technical Research will begin on specifications as product details are finalized and as time allows.

Talking Protractor

(Continued)

The concept of this product is to develop a protractor that provides auditory feedback in degrees, with potential accuracy of 0.5 degree. The device will likely consist of two arms with a center pivot point. A miniature rotary optical encoder will be attached at the pivot point in such a manner that real time feedback readings in degrees from 0 to 180 are possible. Optical encoders have been obtained and preliminary testing is underway. Due to workload in Technical Research, co-op engineering students from the University of Louisville were asked to assist in the development of the arm assembly to which the encoder would be attached. This rapid prototype was demonstrated at annual meeting. Further development of the physical aspects of the product as well as software interface development is needed.

Tangible Symbol Cues

(New)

This product is being investigated for possible sale by APH. It is made by an outside vendor and is a series of cards with real objects attached to give cues to complete an activity. Technical Research has participated in several conference calls with the project leader and the vendor to discuss potential child safety issues with several items in the product. All items in the kit will require child safety testing. Technical Research will continue to be available as a resource on safety and other issues. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this potential product.

Tasha Tadpole's Puzzle Book

(Continued)

Tasha Tadpole Practitioner's Guide, Braille w/CD

(Continued)

Tasha Tadpole Practitioner's Guide, Print w/CD

(Continued)

Tasha Tadpole's Object Cards

(Continued)

Tasha Tadpole Light-Box Overlays

(Continued)

TADPOLE Report of Visual Skills (10 pack)

(Continued)

Tadpole Soft Snaps Puzzle (8 pack)

(New)

Final content for this product was established in December. Specifications were completed and turned over in February. Production has been progressing and all items for this series of products are complete with 2 exceptions: the Tasha Tadpole Puzzlebook and the Tadpole Soft Snap Puzzle Pack. The Soft Snap Puzzles are available separately from the full kits so they will not delay the production of the kits. Specifications are nearly complete as is tooling for this product. Specifications will likely be turned over in October for the Soft Snap Puzzles. Work is in-progress on the puzzle book but is expected to take several months. Current anticipated availability for sale is late December or early January.

Teach Me To See DVD

(Continued)

Prototypes were completed and sent out for field testing in May. The results were evaluated in July. The project leader is currently working on revisions to the product and final video content editing, closed captioning, etc. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

Test Ready +Math (Books 3 through Advanced)

(Continued)

Work on Book 7 products (4 catalogue items) was completed and the books put into stock in April. Specifications were completed for book 3 and 4 materials (8 catalogue items) in October. Specifications were completed for book 5 and 6 materials (8 catalogue items) in December. Specifications were completed for book 8 materials (4 catalogue items) in May. Specifications are currently in-process for the Advanced book materials (4 catalogue items). Work is nearly completed on Book 3 materials and they are anticipated being available for sale in September. Work has just started on book 4 materials with an anticipated available for sale date of October. A target available date of November has been set for the Book 5 materials. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of these items.

Test Ready +Reading (Books 3 through Advanced)

(New)

The project leader is working on final content for these materials and Braille tooling. Technical Research will develop specifications on these products as they are developed. Work on this series of products is anticipated to be ongoing.

Textured Sorting Circles and Shapes

(Completed)

Production was completed on this item and it was available for sale in January.

The Best for a Nest

(Continued)

Technical Research worked with the project leader to finalize materials used in this product. Work is well under way on the specifications for this product. Tooling is also ordered with some tooling already arriving. Specification turnover for this project is anticipated in October. Technical Research will continue to help with and monitor this product.

The Boy and the Wolf Storybook, Moving Ahead Series

(Continued)

Tooling was completed on this product in August. This product is currently in-process on the production floor. Technical Research continues to follow production and give any help required.

The Boy and the Wolf, Braille Reader's Guide

(Continued)

The Braille Reader's Guide will be produced at the same time as the storybook.

Touch 'em All Baseball

(Continued)

Prototypes were completed and sent out for field testing in May. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product.

Transition Tote Kit

(New)

Transition Back Pack

(New)

Transition Student Manual, Print

(New)

Transition Student Manual, Braille

(New)

Transition Tote Print and Braille Forms

(New)

Transition Tote Facilitator's Guide, Braille

(New)

Technical Research worked with the project leader and Operations Engineering to develop drawings and specifications for the transition back pack. For several months Technical Research worked with the Purchasing Department, several outside vendors, and the project leader to send out bid packages and obtain pricing from vendors. Vendor selection was narrowed down to 2 vendors. Both were requested to send in sample back packs. Based on the samples a vendor was chosen in August. Technical Research is currently working with the Purchasing Department and the vendor to obtain final, pre-production approval samples. Once a sample has been approved work will begin on the full production run of the back packs. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Treks

(Continued)

Technical Research worked with the vendor to replace the mold lost in the fire at the vendor's (Tri-Plastics) plant. The mold has been replaced. Final vendor selection for the game pieces was made in August. Work is starting on the injection mold. In-house work is in-progress in Technical Research and the Model Shop for the overlays. This involves vacuum form patterns, silk screens, and cutting dies. Specifications are well under way but cannot be finalized until the process is determined to put the holes (120 holes) into the game board. Technical Research continues to work on this product.

Turtle and Rabbit Storybook

(Continued)

Technical Research has completed product specifications and reviewed them with the project leader. The project leader and the graphic designer are finalizing print files. A production schedule will be set for this product at the specifications turnover meeting. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Turtle and Rabbit, Braille Reader's Guide

(Continued)

Technical Research has completed product specifications and reviewed them with the project leader. The project leader and the graphic designer are finalizing print files. A production schedule will be set for this product at the specifications turnover meeting. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

U.S. & Canada Basic Atlas

(Continued)

Prototypes were sent out for field testing. Field testing was completed in November. Product revisions are currently underway. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Van Dijk Approach to Assessment

(Completed)

Specifications for this product were completed in December with tooling being completed in January. Technical Research monitored the progress of this product through its availability for sale in January 2011.

Verbal View of Office 2007

(Continued)

Technical Research has completed specifications on this product and has scheduled a specifications meeting in September. At that meeting, tooling completion and production dates will be established. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Verbal View of Office Ribbon Bar

(Completed)

Final product content was completed in October. Specifications were completed in November. Tooling was completed in March. The product was produced and made available for sale in April 2010.

Verbal View of Office Ribbon Bar--Flash Card Version

(New/Completed)

This product was originally placed on the new products time lines in June. Final product content was completed in May. Specifications were completed in June. Tooling was completed in June. This product was produced and made available for sale in September.

v-File Vision Portfolio

(Continued)

The project leader and consultant continue to have meetings to write and finalize product content. Technical Research continues to monitor this product and assist whenever needed. Product specifications cannot be started at this time.

What Is IT?

(Completed)

This project is a series of cards with clues printed on one 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. Specifications and tooling for this product were completed in January. This item was produced and made available for sale in August 2010.

Wilson Reading System

(Continued)

This product has grown into 29 individual products. Technical Research has worked very closely with the project leader to determine how the items would be arranged in order to request catalog numbers. As of this time for the braille parts there are the following: Student Kit One, which will contain the Student Reader One (already in stock), Student Workbook One A, Student Workbook One B, and Supplemental Worksheets One. Student Kit Two, which will contain Student Reader Two (already in stock), Student Workbook Two A, Student Workbook Two B, and Supplemental Worksheets Two. Student Kit Three, which will contain Student Reader Three (already in stock), Student Workbook Three A, Student Workbook Three B, and Supplemental Worksheets Three. And in Large Print there are the following: Student Kit One, which will contain the Student Reader One, Student Workbook One A, Student Workbook One B. Student Kit Two, which will contain Student Reader Two, Student Workbook Two A, Student Workbook Two B. Student Kit Three, which will contain Student Reader Three, Student Workbook Three A, Student Workbook Three B. In addition to the student parts there are the following: Print/Braille Cards Set, Print/Braille Magnetic Tiles Set, Magnetic Journal, Teacher's Kit Large Print, and Teacher's Kit Braille.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Kit One

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Reader One

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Workbook One A

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Workbook One B

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Kit Two

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Reader Two

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Workbook Two A

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Workbook Two B

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Kit Three

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Reader Three

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Workbook Three A

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System Large Print Student Workbook Three B

(Completed)

This item was produced and made available for sale in October 2009.

Wilson Reading System: Print/Braille Sound Cards Set

(Continued)

This item was part of a group of materials that was needed for a workshop to be conducted via the Web held on August 30, 31, and September 1. Technical Research facilitated the fabrication of this item and several others in a timely fashion. The critical date for completion was August 20 in order to mail out materials to arrive in plenty of time for the package to be received, reviewed, and the materials organized prior to the seminar. The materials were mailed out on August 11--9 days ahead of schedule. The workshop was held and was a success. Further development of the materials will be needed in order for mass production of the items to be possible. Technical Research will continue to assist on this item as needed and will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Wilson Reading System: Print/Braille Magnetic Tiles

(Continued)

Because of the complexity in manufacturing this product, the project leader met with Technical Research in March, to begin the development process for this component of the Wilson Reading System. This was in advance of other separately available components of the Wilson System. This meeting was to provide the requirements of the product and solicit possible manufacturing methods. The product will consist of print/Braille cards with a magnetic backing for use with the Wilson Magnetic Journal. This item was part of a group of materials that was needed for a workshop to be conducted via the Web held on August 30, 31, and September 1. Technical Research facilitated the fabrication of this item and several others in a timely fashion. The critical date for completion was August 20 in order to mail out materials to arrive in plenty of time for the package to be received, reviewed, and the materials organized prior to the seminar. The materials were mailed out on August 11--9 days ahead of schedule. The workshop was held and was a success. Further development of the materials will be needed in order for mass production of the items to be possible. Technical Research will continue to assist on this item as needed and will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books

(Continued)

Technical Research worked with the project leader and Braille Production in getting prototype samples of labels in contracted and uncontracted braille run together for the Sunshine Kit 2 books and sent out for field testing. Testing was completed in March 2009 with favorable results. Technical Research met with the project leader and in discussing things further, a decision was made to offer these as separate set in either contracted or uncontracted kits. So this product has become 16 individual catalog items. Sunshine Kit 1 Contracted Braille, Sunshine Kit 1 Uncontracted Braille, Sunshine Kit 2 Contracted Braille, Sunshine Kit 2 Uncontracted Braille, Twig Kit 1 Contracted Braille, Twig Kit 1 Uncontracted Braille, Twig Kit 2 Contracted Braille, Twig Kit 2 Uncontracted Braille. Each kit will contain a set of the books selected for that group and sets of labels either contacted or uncontracted form. There are Print and Braille Instruction Sheets containing information about the books, how to build a database for students, and how to attach the labels onto the storybook pages for the TBVI teacher. In addition to the 8 full kits, there will be 8 sets of just the Braille Labels in either Contracted or Uncontracted form. Technical Research has developed product specifications for the Sunshine Kit's 1 and 2, Contracted and Uncontracted.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Sunshine Kit 1 Contracted Braille

(Completed)

This product was produced and made available for sale in November 2009.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Sunshine 1 Contracted Braille Pack

(Completed)

This product was produced and made available for sale in November 2009.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Sunshine Kit 1 Uncontracted Braille

(Completed)

This product was produced and made available for sale in November 2009.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Sunshine 1 Uncontracted Braille Pack

(Completed)

This product was produced and made available for sale in November 2009.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Twig Kit 1 Contracted Braille

(Continued)

Product content has been finalized and tooling is completed. Specifications are complete for this product and a specification meeting has been scheduled for September. Production and availability dates will be set at that meeting. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product throughout its development.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Twig 1 Contracted Braille Pack

(Continued)

Product content has been finalized and tooling is completed. Specifications are complete for this product and a specification meeting has been scheduled for September. Production and availability dates will be set at that meeting. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product throughout its development.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Twig Kit 2 Uncontracted Braille

(Continued)

Product content has been finalized and tooling is completed. Specifications are complete for this product and a specification meeting has been scheduled for September. Production and availability dates will be set at that meeting. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product throughout its development.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Twig 2 Uncontracted Braille Pack

(Continued)

Product content has been finalized and tooling is completed. Specifications are complete for this product and a specification meeting has been scheduled for September. Production and availability dates will be set at that meeting. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product throughout its development.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Twig Kit 2 Contracted Braille

(Continued)

Product content has been finalized and tooling is completed. Specifications are complete for this product and a specification meeting has been scheduled for September. Production and availability dates will be set at that meeting. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product throughout its development.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Twig 2 Contracted Braille Pack

(Continued)

Product content has been finalized and tooling is completed. Specifications are complete for this product and a specification meeting has been scheduled for September. Production and availability dates will be set at that meeting. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product throughout its development.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Twig Kit 2 Uncontracted Braille

(Continued)

Product content has been finalized and tooling is completed. Specifications are complete for this product and a specification meeting has been scheduled for September. Production and availability dates will be set at that meeting. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product throughout its development.

Wright Group: Early Braille Trade Books, Twig 2 Uncontracted Braille Pack

(Continued)

Product content has been finalized and tooling is completed. Specifications are complete for this product and a specification meeting has been scheduled for September. Production and availability dates will be set at that meeting. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product throughout its development.

Other Technical Research Projects

Product Updates/Redesigns and Special Projects

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. Technical Research also worked on several special projects this year, not the least of which was to head a team of in-house personnel and outside vendors to re-tool the molds for all urethane molded parts. This involved 34 kits and over 70 parts. These projects are documented in greater detail below.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)

Technical Research has remained vigilant on new products in development watching for child safety issues. Technical Research continues to work with the purchasing department and the materials manager to coordinate testing by outside vendors on new and existing products. Existing products are also being reviewed and testing/documentation requirements are being put into place by the Purchasing Department and the materials manager. The laws are in a state of flux but do require testing of materials for conformance to maximum allowable levels of lead, phthalates, other chemicals, and basic child safety standards. Technical Research has worked with the executive committee to make the company aware of the potential impacts the new law will have on APH company operations. Technical Research will continue to monitor the laws' progress and work with internal company personnel to keep them informed and to support them as needed/requested.

Digital Flashcard Duplication Project

(Special Project, Revisited)

In FY 2009, Technical Research spent time in March and April working with Operations Engineering and other production support departments to create a working duplication line for the new NLS digital flashcard talking book program. That production process is now fully operational. The first non-NLS APH product to be produced using this process is the Verbal View of Office Ribbon Bar for Office 2007--Flash Card Edition (D-10519-FC). This product was completed in September and made available for sale.

Light Box

(Product Re-Design)

Technical Research has developed a new design for the full-size light box. Circuitry has been developed that will enable the light box to run using a 28VDC adapter rather than the current 120VAC mode of operation. This lowers the voltage in the unit itself and eliminates the requirement for UL testing of the light box unit. The adapter itself will be UL tested by the manufacturer and arrive at APH pre-certified for UL compliance. The unit emits a 20% brighter light and is 24% lighter in weight. The unit retains the full range of dimming of the light. In addition to product improvement, one of the goals in re-designing the unit is to simplify the assembly process, specifically the wiring of the unit. The new design will eliminate more than 30% of the parts used in the current light box and will reduce the number of assembly operations on the production floor. Six units were fabricated and reviewed by the project leader and a limited number of field test sites. All sites reported very positive comments on the design with 1 suggestion: make the cord permanently attached to the adapter. The prototypes used an off-the-shelf design that had an AC cord that was removable from the adapter. Field test sites felt the cord could be lost and should be permanently attached to the adapter. This feature was incorporated into the design of the unit. Circuitry designs were finalized in January and bid packets were sent out to multiple vendors. The top two vendors were selected in May and they were asked to submit prototype samples for evaluation and final award of the bid. Samples from both vendors were received and are being evaluated. Final vendor selection is likely in September or early October. Once a vendor has been selected a few, minor changes will be made to in-house APH drilling fixtures for this product. Technical Research is currently working on updating assembly drawings and procedures for this item and is working to update bills of materials in SYSPRO (the APH materials requirement planning program). This will all be put in place while the circuit boards are being produced overseas.

Mini-Lite Box

(Product Maintenance)

Component availability has again forced the overseas factory to source new components for this product. While the vendor was able to locate a new source for most parts, a positive temperature coefficient thermistor that is key to the design still requires a custom production run and can only be purchased in larger quantities. In addition, Technical Research tested and approved a new source for the rechargeable batteries in the unit. Technical Research is working with the Purchasing Department and has furnished all specifications, artwork, and schematics in order to solicit competing bids on this item. The current vendor as well as one other vendor will be bidding competitively on this product. Once a winning bidder is selected, Technical Research will work with that vendor to examine pre-production samples of all parts and the unit as a whole to assure conformance to specifications. Technical Research will continue to monitor this product to assure future product performs correctly.

Mini-Lite Box, LED Version

(Research/Product Development)

Technical Research learned of a "light panel" made with LEDs from an existing vendor some time ago. During FY 2009, Technical Research examined the existing designs of LED panels submitted and worked with the vendor to improve the panel. Initial samples only gave approximately 35% to 40% of the current Mini-Lite box's current light output. Technical Research located brighter LEDs and developed a different spacing specification between individual LEDs to give a brighter and more consistent light across the entire panel. The LED version was mocked up as a prototype on the test bench in Technical Research and reviewed by the project leader and the Director of Research. Both liked the performance of the unit and felt it should be pursued further. Technical Research has developed the control circuitry for the panel and has developed schematics of that circuitry. Final circuit layout and case design cannot begin until a size for the panel is determined. The project leader is currently investigating the best size of lighted area suited for individual use. Once this size is determined, work can progress on actual circuitry layout, battery selection and placement, and overall case design. It is believed the size of the panel will not impact light output due to the fact that light output is a factor of the density of LED spacing. That spacing has been determined so, once a size is established, the light density will be consistent regardless of the size chosen. At that point, the number of LEDs to be used and final output levels needed from the control circuitry can be determined. Once this is determined a limited number of units will be hand-fabricated in Technical Research for review by the project leader and designated testing sites. Technical Research will continue to work on refining this product and monitor its progress.

On the Way to Literacy, digital conversion of art

(Special Project/Product Maintenance)

The On the Way to Literacy series of children's book consists of 19 individual books requiring various skill levels of tactile reading. Recent books in the series had the artwork for the books done as digital graphic files. However, most of the original books were done over 20 years ago as film negatives for printing plates. Currently, the printing industry is relying heavily on digitally produced printing plates. Supplies for film based plates are becoming scarcer and the original films are deteriorating from time and use. Technical Research worked with the project leader, the APH graphic designer, and production areas to help coordinate the conversion of this material from film to digital files. Film or production copies of the books are being scanned and used to maintain registration of the print and tactile materials. The books are being given a more modern appearance and visual esthetics are being incorporated into the books. To date "Something Special and "That's Not My Bear" have been completed; "The Littlest Pumpkin" and "Jennifer's Messes" are converted but in-process of having proofs made for final pre-production approval; and "The Blue Balloon" and "the Longest Noodle" are in-process of being converted. Technical Research will continue to monitor the progress of these titles. Work on this is expected to be ongoing.

Small Desk Slate Board

(Product Maintenance)

A full production run of this item, and the wooden boards used in this item had to be discarded due to the wooden boards warping severely. Technical Research worked with the purchasing department and the wood supplier but could not come to an agreement for the quality standards of future shipments of materials. Technical Research re-designed the product to use a white Excel plastic board in place of the wooden board. This design was reviewed and approved by the project leader. Technical Research designed the new board so that all existing hardware and production tooling was able to be used. No new tooling or parts were needed for this switch. The product was successfully produced and made available for sale in September.

Sound Balls (Techno beat and Boing Boing)

(Product Maintenance)

The current vendor of the sound balls has delivered 4 shipments of the balls with no rejects on incoming APH inspection. In order to assure the pricing of the balls remains competitive, the Purchasing Department requested all specifications, product drawings, and information be made available for bidding. Technical Research supplied multiple packs of information for the bidding process and worked with Purchasing to send out the bid packets. Following the vendor selection based on pricing, 2 vendors remain candidates for the work; the current vendor and one other. Since the current vendor is successfully producing the product, no samples were required of that vendor. However, since the second successful bidder has never made the product, qualifying samples would be required of this potential vendor. Technical Research has spent time at various points in FY 2009 working with this vendor to assure they fully understand all requirements. Technical Research completed work on a basic foam-density testing apparatus in September and furnished this device to the new potential vendor. It is an identical device to the one APH provided the current vendor. The new potential vendor is currently in-process of fabricating and furnishing 7 sample balls. These balls will be evaluated by Technical Research for conformance to all product standards. Product is currently being produced at the original vendor. Technical Research has recommended that the current vendor continue to produce the balls until the new potential vendor's samples are reviewed, tested, and approved. At that point, a decision will need to be made as to whether or not to move the production of the balls or to start the second vendor as a second source of product, keeping the original vendor. Technical Research continues to work on this item with the Purchasing Department and both vendors.

All Urethane Parts--72 Items/34 kits

(Special Project/Product Maintenance)

On October 11, 2008, Tri-Plastics in Huntington, Indiana, had a catastrophic fire that destroyed all tooling for urethane foam molded parts for APH.

On August 27, 2010, at 10:45AM, the last production tool lost in the Tri-Plastics fire was approved to be put back into production. A substantial portion of the approved molds have already run full production runs of APH parts and the parts have been approved and received into stock.   

Of the 34 kits impacted, 10 kits were obsolete; 2 kits were re-designed to use alternate production methods; and 22 kits had tooling completely re-made. On one kit that the tooling was re-made Technical Research was able to reconfigure the parts and substantially reduce the number of molds needed to produce the kit.

APH lost molds for 72 different APH production parts. Through the actions noted in the above paragraph the total number of molds at Tri-Plastics was reduced from 72 to a current total of 44 molds used to produce 56 different APH parts (16 parts were discontinued either due to obsolescing the kit or re-designing the part).

This project was a fairly long and involved project. It is one of the most involved in terms of number of parts and time involved to complete the project. It would not have been possible without the key contributions and hard work of several individuals. Technical Research would like to take a moment and acknowledge these individuals:

Nancy Etter (Technical Research)--Tracked and catalogued all kits, molds, sample parts, hard copy drawings, and electronic copy drawings. Test fit numerous parts to confirm proper molding (US Puzzle Maps). Maintained the central database for the progress of the entire project.

David Manteuffel (Purchasing)--Assisted with vendor interactions/negotiations and prioritizing parts. This was particularly important when working with an alternate vendor

that did not work out very well.

Karen Marshall (Purchasing)--Assisted with vendor interactions/negotiations and prioritizing parts. This was particularly important when working with an alternate vendor

that did not work out very well.

Andrew Moulton (Technical Research)--Produced both 2-D and 3-D CAD drawings for the majority of the parts. Output the files in multiple file formats as well as hard copies.

Tom Poppe (Model Shop)--Recreated patterns on several items that were uniquely complex or had critical tolerances in their design. This also helped to move the project along when the vendor's pattern/mold maker got behind due to the large volume of patterns to re-make.

James Robinson (Technical Research)--Photographed, weighed, and documented all existing parts immediately after the fire. Reviewed all drawings from Operations Engineering prior to sending them to the vendor. Measured and tested all pre-production approval parts when submitted by vendor. Once past this initial testing, the mold was approved for production. Measured and tested first production run samples as they arrived at APH. Once past this final testing the parts are received into APH stock.      

Anita Rutledge (Operations Engineering)--Produced both 2-D and 3-D CAD drawings of the first 4 parts that were re-tooled. Output the files in multiple file formats as well as hard copies. Helped train Andrew Moulton on the style of drawings and information required for the re-tooling.

All tooling is now in-place for the production of APH urethane parts. Technical Research will still have a little work to do sporadically as the last of the production approved molds actually produce their first full production runs of parts. Technical Research will continue to monitor the first production runs of the approved tooling until all tooling has completed at least 1 production cycle.

Workshop for Wilson Reading System

(Special Project)

APH desired to produce a special webcast workshop using the upcoming items from a series of products known as the Wilson Reading System. Small quantities of several items in the Wilson Reading System were needed for the workshop. The workshop was scheduled to be held on August 30, 31, and September 1. Technical Research facilitated the fabrication of the sound cards, the magnetic tiles, and several other items in a timely fashion. Technical Research staff had to be very creative to fabricate materials as close to the production items as possible yet avoid running the products through the production floor in order to make the deadlines of a very tight schedule. Technical Research worked closely with the project leader to fabricate the items and assisted in the packaging and mailing of the materials as well. The critical date for completion was August 20 in order to mail out materials to arrive in plenty of time for the package to be received, reviewed, and the materials organized prior to the seminar. The materials were mailed out on August 11--9 days ahead of schedule. The workshop was held and was a success. Further development of the materials will be needed in order for mass production of the items to be possible. Technical Research will continue to assist on this item as needed and will continue to monitor the progress of this product.

Presentations & Workshops

Brostek Lee, D., Vaught-Compton, M., & Boyer, B. (2009, October). Calendar kit. Poster session presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Erin, J., & Mason, L. (2009, October). A modern touch: Updating APH materials for adventitiously blinded and sighted braille learners. Product Development Input Session conducted at the Annual Meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Ferrell, K. A., Correa-Torres, S. M., & Mason, L. K. (2009, November). Research-based literacy practices in blindness and visual impairment. Paper presented at the Ninth Biennial Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, Costa Mesa, CA.

Henderson, B., & Jaffe, L. E. (2009, December). Training test administrators on the Woodcock-Johnson III Braille Adaptation. Presented at NIP Event 2-Day Workshop Phoenix, AZ.

Henderson, B., & Jaffe, L. E. (2010, June).Training test administrators on the Woodcock-Johnson III Braille Adaptation. Presented at NIP Event 2-Day Workshop, Washington School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA.

Kitchel, E. (2009, October). ISAVE: Suggestions for revision. Presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2009, October). MaximEyes: Another option for persons with visual impairments. Presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2009, October). Understanding the lighting needs of students and adults who have visual impairments. Poster presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2010, February). Understanding light and its effects on human physiology especially persons with low vision. [Multimedia]. Presented at the Indiana and Kentucky Interior Design Symposium, Louisville, KY.

Kitchel, E. (2010, March). ToAD: Tools for Assessment and Development of Visual Skills. Workshop presented to Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

Kitchel, E. (2010, March). Understanding the illumination needs of persons with low vision. Presented via Teleconference to North Carolina Chapter of the American Council of the Blind, Winston-Salem, NC.

Kitchel, E. (2010, July). Color, text, and graphic guidelines for the development of test documents and computer tests for students with low vision. Presented to APH, Louisville, KY.

Mason, L. (2009, October). Is bigger really better? The pros and cons of jumbo braille. Poster presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Mason, L. K. (2010, June). An experimental replication of hand and finger usage patterns among congenitally blind, braille reading adults: A pilot study. Paper presented at the Research in the Rockies: Research Summit on Braille Reading and Writing, Denver, CO.

Mason, L., & Halley, K. (2010, July). Literacy for learners with significant cognitive and visual impairments. Paper presented at the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired 2010 International Conference. Little Rock, AR.

Mason, L., & Wicker, J. (2009, November). Putting parents in touch with literacy. Paper presented at the Ninth Biennial Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, Costa Mesa, CA.

Otto, F. (2010, March). Making a tactile puzzle game for blind players. "Creative Solutions" badge activity for Girl Scouts, APH Museum, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2010, April). Tactile graphic design principles. Presentation to Vanderbilt University students, APH, Louisville, KY.

Otto, F. (2010, July). Tactile graphics? Relax. Seriously. Presentation at AER International Conference, Little Rock, AR.

Otto, F., & Poppe, K. (2010, July). Tactile graphic considerations in adapted tests. Presentation at workshop hosted by Accessible Tests Department, APH, Louisville, KY.

Perla, F., O'Donnell, B., & Terlau, M. (2010, July). A tool to encourage O&M collaboration: One family at a time. International Conference of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Little Rock, AR.

Pester, E. (2009, October). Building on Patterns first grade: Unit by unit. Poster session presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E., & Hoffmann, R. (2009, October). Building on Patterns grade 1: Past, present, & future. Product Training Sessions at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E., & Mason, L. (2010, April). Current braille product development at APH. Presentation for Visiting Vanderbilt Students, APH, Louisville, KY.

Pester, E., & Scoggins, D. (2009, September). Teaching literacy to braille readers. In-service Presentation for Teachers of Students Who Are Visually Impaired, Lexington, KY.

Pester, E., & Scoggins, D. (2010, February). Braille sessions of Dits, dahs, and dots: Using Morse and Braille codes. Saturday APH Museum Program for Scouts and the Public, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T., & Smith, M. (2009, October). Reversing a classic: Updating the Barraga program to develop efficiency in visual functioning. The 141st Annual Meeting of the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2009, October). Information fair: Digital Lightbox Artwork. Poster session presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T., & Smith, M. (2009, October). Information fair: SAM: Symbols and Meaning. Poster session presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2010, January). Adapted sports equipment for persons who have visual impairment/blindness. ATIA, Orlando, FL.

Pierce, T., Lieberman, L., & Schedlin, H. (2010, March). Value of adapted sports equipment: Two field test results. AAHPERD National Convention and Expo, Indianapolis, IN.

Pierce, T., Lieberman, L., LaCortiglia, M., Mastro, J., & Paschall, J. (2010, March). Run, jump, swim, & play: Resources for youth with blindness. AAHPERD National Convention and Expo, Indianapolis, IN.

Pierce, T. (2010, April). Product showcase: Multiple disabilities and physical education. Vanderbilt University students visiting APH, Louisville, KY.

Pierce, T. (2010, June). Educational product showcase in Washington, DC: Teaching tools for students who are blind and visually impaired. Cannon House, Washington, D.C.

Poppe, K. J. (2009, October). Carousel of Textures. Poster session presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2009, October). Tactile Town: 3-D O&M kit. Poster session presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2009, October). Zickel Award: Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set. Opening session of the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2009, November). Roland printer results. PowerPoint presentation to APH staff, American Printing House for the Blind, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2009, November). Tactile Town: A kit to expand O&M literacy. Poster session at the Biennial Getting In Touch with Literacy Conference, Costa Mesa, CA.

Poppe, K. J. (2010, April). New tactile graphic products. Vanderbilt In-Service Training, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2010, June). Expanded core curriculum. Product display at "APH on Capitol Hill" Event, Washington, D.C.

Poppe, K. J. (2010, July). Tactile Town: Expanding O&M literacy. AER International Conference, Little Rock, AR.

Poppe, K. J., & Otto, F. (2010, July). Tactile graphics: Making test accessible to students with visual impairments. In-house training workshop for test publishers and other special guests, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J., Terlau, T., Hatlen, P., & Williams, P. (2009, October).Quick and easy ECC: 10 minute lessons and more. Product Input Session presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Poppe, K. J. (2010, August). Tactile graphics product demonstrations. Ex Officio Trustee Training Event, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Terlau, M. (2009, October). O&M for families: Software to help you help families understand and support student's O&M skills. Southeastern Orientation and Mobility Association Conference, Charlotte, NC.

Terlau, M. (2010, April). Braille+ family: Learn, work, and play through the life span. Michigan Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Conference, Lavonia, MI.

Terlau, M. (2010, April). Match the braille tool to the braille task. Michigan Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Conference, Lavonia, MI.

Terlau, M. (2010, July). Match the braille tool to the braille task. International Conference of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Little Rock, AR.

Wicker, J. (2010, March). What's new with literacy - Early Braille Trade Books. Presented at North Carolina AER, Raleigh, NC.

Wicker, J. (2010, April). Product showcase: Early Braille Trade Books. Presentation to Vanderbilt University students, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J. (2010, July). What can I read? Early Braille Trade Books. Presented at AER International Conference 2010, Little Rock, AR.

Wicker, J. (2010, July). Poster session: FOCUS in Mathematics. Presented at AER International Conference 2010, Little Rock, AR.

Wicker, J., & Brasher, J. (2009, October). Early Braille Trade Books. Presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J., & Holbrook, C. (2009, November). Early Braille Trade Books. Presented at Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, Costa Mesa, CA.

Wicker, J., & Mason, L. (2009, November). Putting parents in touch with literacy. Presented at Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, Costa Mesa, CA.

Wicker, J., & Mason, L. (2010, July). VIPS@Home Parent University Series. Paper presented at the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired 2010 International Conference, Little Rock, AR.

Wicker, J., & Roberts, J. (2009, October). Raising your scores means knowing the process. Presented to COSB at The 141st Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wicker, J., & Smith, D. (2009, October). Math products -- Coming soon to a classroom near you. Presented at The 141st Annual Meeting of the Ex-Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wright, S. (2009, October). Going global: Tactile books around the world. Poster session presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Wright, T., Vaught-Compton, M. & Boyer, B. (2009, October). Experiential learning kit. Poster session presented at the 141st Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

Product Materials

Henderson, B. W. (2010). Introduction to the student audio edition: Test Ready Plus Mathematics, grades 3 through advanced. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Henderson, B. W. (2010). Introduction to the student large print edition: Test Ready Plus Mathematics, grades 3 through advanced. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2009a, 2009b, 2009c, 2009d, 2009e, 2009f, 2009g, 2009h, 2009i, 2009j). "A pig in the coffee shop," "A rooster in my closet," "All kinds of water," "Animal talk," "Burlap bag," "Cart adventure," "Fixing up the garden," "Games," and "Shopping with Mom." Building on Patterns: First grade. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E., (2010).TADPOLE practitioner's guidebook. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E., Sanford, L., Burnett, R. & McGee, D., (2010). TADPOLE: Tasha Tadpole's puzzle book. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. & McGee, D., (2010). TADPOLE object cards. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. & McGee, D., (2010). TADPOLE overlays. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Kitchel, E. (2010a, 2010b, 2010c, 2010d, 2010e, 2010f, 2010g, 2010h, 2010i, 2010j, 2010k, 2010l, 2010m, 2010n, 2010o, 2010p, 2010q, 2010r). "Animal crackers," "Fables," "Fred Fred," "Getting lost," "Grandmother's birthday," "I like short words," "Little Pig Shipley meets the Little Red Hen," "More to a tree," "My dog Dart," "My friend Deb," "Reading is special," "Shipley's adventure," "Soup," "Telefono," "Waiting for the bus," "Water slide," "What's a fox," and "Yes I can." Building on Patterns: First grade. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Perla, F., O'Donnell, B., & Terlau, M. (2010). Orientation and mobility family booklet user manual. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 2 print kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 2 braille kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 2 teacher's edition (print). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 2 teacher's edition (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 2 student textbook Going and Doing (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 2 worksheets (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E.J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 2 lesson monitoring sheets (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 2 assessment check-up forms (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 3 print kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 3 braille kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 3 teacher's edition (print). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 3 teacher's edition (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 3 student textbook Animal Tales (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 3 worksheets (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E.J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 3 lesson monitoring sheets (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 3 assessment check-up forms (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 4 print kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 4 braille kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 4 teacher's edition (print). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 4 teacher's edition (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 4 student textbook At School (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 4 worksheets (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E.J. (2009).. Louisville, KY: Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 4 lesson monitoring sheets (print and braille). American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 4 assessment check-up forms (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 5 print kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 5 braille kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 5 teacher's edition (print). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 5 teacher's edition (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 5 student textbook This and That (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 5 worksheets (braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E.J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 5 lesson monitoring sheets (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pester, E. J. (2009). Building on Patterns: Grade 1 Unit 5 assessment check-up forms (print and braille). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pierce, T. (2009). Sound Adapted Tangle Balls. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Feel 'n Peel Sheets: Carousel of Textures: Product instructions. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Feel 'n Peel Stickers: Nemeth Braille/Print Numbers 0-100: Product instructions. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Flip-Over Concept Books: LINE PATHS: Reader's guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Flip-Over Concept Books: PARTS OF A WHOLE: Reader's guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Inkjet Hook Paper: Product instructions. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Sense of Science: Astronomy: Guidebook. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010) Sense of Science: Astronomy: Quick fact cards. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Poppe, K. J. (2010). Sense of Science: Astronomy: Worksheets. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Wright, S. (2009). The boy & the wolf: Reader's guide. (Moving Ahead: Tactile Graphic Storybook Series). Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Publications

Kitchel, E. (2009). Guidelines for making fonts accessible [Online Conference]. New York, NY: NCR Corporation.

Kitchel, E. (2009). The effects of fluorescent light on the ocular health of persons with pre-existing eye pathologies. Philadelphia, PA: Council of Citizens with Low Vision International.

Kitchel, E. (2009). Ultraviolet A, blue light and children [Web page]. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_6711132_effects-black-lights-vision.html

Kitchel, E. (2010). The effects of fluorescent light on the ocular health of persons with pre-existing eye pathologies. Westerville, OH: National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs.

Mason, L. (2010). President's message. D.V.I. Quarterly, 55(2), 3.

Mason, L. (2010). President's message. D.V.I. Quarterly, 55(3), 3.

Mason, L. (2010). President's message. D.V.I. Quarterly: Special Issue on the Future of Our Profession, 55(4), 3.

Mason, L. (2010). Reshaping the role of residential schools. D.V.I. Quarterly: Special Issue on the Future of Our Profession, 55(3), 31-33.

Mason, L., Skutchan, L., Terlau, T., & Crispin, C. (2009). Educational uses of the Braille+. Available from http://www.aph.org/edresearch/index.html

2010 New Products

Product Name (Grant #) Catalog No
AC Power Adapter, O-Type (444) 1-07192-00
Battery Door, Silver (444) 1-07193-00
Battery, Lithium Polymer (444) 1-07194-00
Book Port Plus (444) 1-07191-00
BOP 1st Grade Unit 2 - Assessment Check-Up Forms (364) 8-78466-U2
BOP 1st Grade Unit 2 - Braille Kit (364) 6-78460-U2
BOP 1st Grade Unit 2 - Braille Teacher's Edition (364) 6-78461-U2
BOP 1st Grade Unit 2 - Lesson Monitoring Sheets (364) 8-78463-U2
BOP 1st Grade Unit 2 - Print Kit (364) 8-78460-U2
BOP 1st Grade Unit 2 - Print Teacher's Ed. 8-78461-U2
BOP 1st Grade Unit 2 - Student Textbook (364) 6-78463-U2
BOP 1st Grade Unit 2 - Worksheets Pack (364) 6-78464-U2
BOP 1st Grade Unit 3 - Assessment Check-Up Forms (364) 8-78466-U3
BOP 1st Grade Unit 3 - Braille Kit (364) 6-78460-U3
BOP 1st Grade Unit 3 - Braille Teacher's Ed. (364) 6-78461-U3
BOP 1st Grade Unit 3 - Lesson Monitoring Sheets (364) 8-78463-U3
BOP 1st Grade Unit 3 - Print Kit (364) 8-78460-U3
BOP 1st Grade Unit 3 - Print Teacher's Ed. (364) 8-78461-U3
BOP 1st Grade Unit 3 - Student Textbook (364) 6-78463-U3
BOP 1st Grade Unit 3 - Worksheets Pack (364) 6-78464-U3
BOP 1st Grade Unit 4 - Assessment Check-Up Forms (364) 8-78466-U4
BOP 1st Grade Unit 4 - Braille Kit (364) 6-78460-U4
BOP 1st Grade Unit 4 - Braille Teacher's Ed. (364) 6-78461-U4
BOP 1st Grade Unit 4 - Lesson Monitoring Sheets (364) 8-78463-U4
BOP 1st Grade Unit 4 - Print Kit (364) 8-78460-U4
BOP 1st Grade Unit 4 - Print Teacher's Ed. (364) 8-78461-U4
BOP 1st Grade Unit 4 - Student Textbook 6-78463-U4
BOP 1st Grade Unit 4 - Worksheets Pack (364) 6-78464-U4
BOP 1st Grade Unit 5 - Assessment Check-Up Forms (364) 8-78466-U5
BOP 1st Grade Unit 5 - Braille Kit (364) 6-78460-U5
BOP 1st Grade Unit 5 - Braille Teacher's Ed. (364) 6-78461-U5
BOP 1st Grade Unit 5 - Lesson Monitoring Sheets (364) 8-78463-U5
BOP 1st Grade Unit 5 - Print Kit (364) 8-78460-U5
BOP 1st Grade Unit 5 - Print Teacher's Ed. (364) 8-78461-U5
BOP 1st Grade Unit 5 - Student Textbook (364) 6-78463-U5
BOP 1st Grade Unit 5 - Worksheets Pack (364) 6-78464-U5
BOP 1st Grade Unit 6 - Braille Kit (364) 6-78460-U6
BOP 1st Grade Unit 6 - Braille Teacher's Edition (364) 6-78461-U6
BOP 1st Grade Unit 6 - Student Textbook (364) 6-78463-U6
BOP 1st Grade Unit 6 - Worksheets Pack (364) 6-78464-U6
BOP 1st Grade Unit 6 - Print Kit (364) 8-78460-U6
BOP 1st Grade Unit 6 - Print Teacher's Edition (364) 8-78461-U6
BOP 1st Grade Unit 6 - Lesson Monitoring Sheets (364) 8-78463-U6
BOP 1st Grade Unit 6 - Assessment Check-Up Forms (364) 8-78466-U6
Braille+ Case (68) 1-07449-00
Braille+ Refreshable Combo (68) 1-07444-00
Braille+ Refreshable Case (68) 1-07448-00
Cable w/Mini Ab-Short (444) 1-07195-00
Child-guided Strategies: The Van Dijk Approach to Assessment (340) 7-31001-00
CVI Complexities Guidebook, Braille (353) 5-08156-00
CVI Complexities Guidebook, Print (353) 7-08156-00
CVI Complexities Kit (353) 1-08156-00
Developmental Guidelines Braille w/ CD (384) 6-50701-00
Developmental Guidelines Print w/ CD (384) 8-50701-00
Developmental Guidelines Summary Consumables (384) 8-50701-01
Discovering Magic Of Reading (67) 1-30002-DVD
Electronic Distribution O&M Family Booklet CD (278) D-03480-ED
Envision I Homegrown Video (67) 1-30015-DVD
Envision II Homegrown Video (67) 1-30016-DVD
Extension Cable, USB 2.0 3' Male-Female (flash cart) (68) 1-02612-00
EZ Track Calendar 2011 (68) 1-07900-11 EZ Track Calendar 2011 Insert (68) 1-07901-11 Feel 'n Peel: Nemeth Braille/Print Numbers (453) 1-08876-00
Flash Cartridge 2 GB Green (68) 1-02610-00
Flip Over Books: PARTS OF A WHOLE (377) 1-08832-00
Flip-Over Concept Books - LINE PATHS (377) 1-08831-00
Functional Vision: A Bridge To Learning (67) 1-30009-DVD
Guitar Instruction - Audio (68) 1-09110-00
History In The Making: APH Story (68) w-hist-aph-brl
iBill Currency Identifier (68) 1-03931-00
Insights Calendar 2011 (68) 5-18971-11
Insights Custom Calendar 2011 (68) 5-18972-11
Joy Stick Controller F/Maximeyes (344) 1-03914-01
Labels Sunshine Kit 1: Contrctd (391) 3-00201-CL
Labels Sunshine Kit 1: Uncontrc (391) 3-00202-UL
Large Print/Braille Desktop Stick-On Number Line (358) 1-03481-00
Mailer For Flash Cartridge Grey (68) 1-02611-00
O&M Family Booklet CD (278) D-03480-00
Pen Tracker, Wireless F/Maximeyes (344) 1-03916-00
Primer Color Electronic Magnifier (68) 1-03932-00
Refreshabraille 18 Version 2 (67) 1-07445-01
Refreshabraille Case (68) 1-07447-00
Shape Board, Updated (67) 1-03710-01
Small Desk Board w/27 Cell Slate & Stylus (67) 1-00060-01
Sound Adapted Tangle Balls (429) 1-08111-00
Sunshine Kit 1: Contrc Brl (391) 3-00201-00
Sunshine Kit 1: Uncon Brl (391) 3-00202-00
Super Sized Folder (Set of 3) (435) 1-04296-00
Test Ready + Math Book 7 Student Book, Braille (302) 5-00514-00
Test Ready + Math Book 7 Student Book, Print (302) 5-00513-00
Test Ready + Math Book 7 Teach Guide, Braille (302) 5-00513-00
Test Ready + Math Book 7 Teach Guide, Print (302) 7-00513-00
Textured Sorting Circles And Shapes (400) 1-08834-00
Verbal View Of Office Ribbon Bar - Flash Card Ed (424) D-10519-FC
Verbal View of Office Ribbon Bar (424) D-10519-00
What Is IT? (258) 1-03535-00
Wilson Reading System, Student Kit One, Large Print (372) 8-79501-SK1
Wilson Reading System, Student Kit Three, Large Print (372) 8-79501-SK3
Wilson Reading System, Student Kit Two, Large Print (372) 8-79501-SK2
Wilson Reading System, Student Reader One LP (372) 8-79502-00
Wilson Reading System, Student Reader Three LP (372) 8-79504-00
Wilson Reading System, Student Reader Two LP (372) 8-79503-00
Wilson Reading System, Student Workbook One A LP (372) 8-79502-WA
Wilson Reading System, Student Workbook One B LP (372) 8-79502-WB
Wilson Reading System, Student Workbook Three A LP (372) 8-79504-WA
Wilson Reading System, Student Workbook Three B LP (372) 8-79504-WB
Wilson Reading System, Student Workbook Two A LP (372) 8-79503-WA
Wilson Reading System, Student Workbook Two B LP (372) 8-79503-WB

Completed Projects (Chart I)

Completed Projects (Chart I)

Active Projects (Chart II)

Active Projects (Chart II)

Parking Lot Projects (Chart III)

Parking Lot Projects (Chart III)

Pipeline Projects (Chart IV)

Pipeline Projects (Chart IV)

Compilation of Projects (Chart V)

Compilation of Projects (Chart V)

Project Status (Chart VI)

Product Status: Summary
as of 9/30/10
 ActiveParking LotCompletedPipeline
Assessment71261
Assistive Technology & Electronics41179
Career Education & Transition6000
Communication Modes & Literature Education592562
Daily Living12442
Early Childhood293111
Health0200
Insights/Special Touch0030
Math35024
Orientation & Mobility and Concept Development7221
Physical Education2000
Recreation & Leisure6112
Social Studies & Geography12200
Science11100
Self Determination1000
Social Interaction2000
Visual Efficiency & Low Vision8060
Total 265 20 10822