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APH NewsApril 2021

Art is for Everyone!


various art supplies spread out across the floor including paint, crayons, raised line coloring pages, and TactileDoodle

Art shows us how others experience the world. Adaptive tools enable individuals who are blind and visually impaired to add their unique worldview to new masterpieces. Draw, color, paint, and create all year long with APH’s Building Your Fine Arts Toolkit blog.

InSights Art Competition Deadline Extended

Acrylic paint on canvas is the medium used for this realistic floral still-life depicting a close-up of a beautiful blooming blue hydrangea bush.


It has been a long, hard winter on top of an already difficult year! For this reason, we’ve decided to extend the APH InSights Art Competition submission deadline to Friday, April 16, 2021. Take this extra time to polish up those masterpieces. We can’t wait to see them!

This year, all artists can email a digital photograph of their artwork with a completed entry form to Download an entry form from the APH InSights Art Enter the Contest page. Selected artwork will be shipped to APH at a later date.

Free National Coding Symposium


event logo, text reads "2021 National Coding Symposium, Hosted by APH ConnectCenter and California School for the Blind

Together, the APH ConnectCenter and California School for the Blind (CSB) will cohost the free, virtual National Coding Symposium from Tuesday, May 11, 2021 through Friday, May 14, 2021, to demonstrate how the world of coding, programming, and related careers are available and accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired. Read our Coding Symposium blog to learn more, and register for the Symposium today!

Congratulations to the 2021 APH Scholars

Please, join us in recognizing the 2021 APH Scholars. Thank you for your many contributions to the field of blindness and visual impairment. Read more about the 2021 APH Scholars in our blog.

iOS 14.4.1 Public Release

After working with Apple and testing the latest public, beta, and developer builds, the iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1 update fixes the connection issues with the Mantis Q40 and Chameleon 20. We know some users were waiting to update their devices because of issues that arose with the previous update. It is now safe to update. If you are already on the beta, you will not get the new update automatically. You may need to downgrade/uninstall by following these instructions from Apple: how to uninstall iOS beta software. Thank you for your patience. We continue to work with Apple and other screen reader developers to help avoid accessibility regressions and ensure the best possible support for all braille users.

New Products

APH is excited to announce the release of the following new product(s):

Math Symbol Reference Booklets – Large Print Version and Braille Version


Math Symbols Reference Booklet Large Print

The Math Symbol Reference Booklets are a resource for students and teachers who are using Nemeth and UEB math. Each Booklet contains a list of Nemeth or UEB math symbols, along with an explanation for what each symbol represents.

RC Snap Rover Access Kit

RC Snap Rover Access Kit

The RC Snap Rover® Access Kit is an innovative tool that provides hands-on electronics education for students. ‘Snap’ together colorful Snap Circuits® parts to build a Rover that can zoom across any surface with the included wireless remote control. Combine the RC Snap Rover with the Snap Circuit Jr® and Snapino® kits to open up endless possibilities of projects.

Quick and Easy Expanded Core Curriculum App

Hands holding a small tablet displaying the Quick and Easy ECC app

Made for convenience and portability, and developed for iOS and Android devices, this mobile app offers over 140 lessons to address the nine areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). This application is a new format of the physical Quick and Easy Expanded Core Curriculum. Designed for transition students who are visually impaired, the included lessons address the most common gaps found within this population and require little time, expertise, or equipment to implement by the educational team and family members.

APH Spring Fever Sale 2021

Visit our sales page to see which APH products are on sale while supplies last. Happy shopping!

Coming Soon: Step-By-Step, Second Edition

A new, all-digital Step-By-Step (SBS) will be available this spring, in the form of two flash drives. We’re happy to announce our plans to release the second edition of this popular interactive computer curriculum that provides step-by-step instructions and demonstrations of how to perform mobility techniques. Stay tuned for a release date and learn more by reading our Step-By-Step blog.

APH Catalogs

We are hard at work producing the 2021-2022 Catalog and expect these to be printed in May. Print copies of the 2020-2021 Instructional Products Catalog are out of stock, but accessible PDFs of the Products Catalog, Parts Catalog, and the APH Press Catalog (2021-2022 catalog now available!) can be downloaded from our Catalogs page. Additionally, we discovered there was a printing error on the Annual Report, with some content and images running to the edge of some pages. An accessible version can be downloaded from our Annual Reports page. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Get Involved!

Pilot Study for “APH Visual Interpreter”

APH is exploring the possibility of offering a Visual Interpretation Service on Federal Quota as we seek possible solutions to address the unique challenges posed by remote learning. We are in need of students who are blind or visually impaired (age 18 years or older) to participate in a pilot study for this service. Learn more and find contact information regarding this opportunity on our Get Involved page.

Physical Education Experiences Study

A research team from Old Dominion University is looking for students ages 12-17 who are visually impaired to participate in a year-long study about physical education. Students who complete the study will receive a gift card of up to $250. More information and contact details are available on our Get Involved page.

Refresh Your Braille Knowledge!

Illustration showing a mad scientist in a lab bringing a braille cell to life. Text reads “Braille Refreshers” APH logo

Does it feel like your braille knowledge has lost its pep? Gotten a little lifeless? Let our Braille Refresher questions bring your braille knowledge back to life! Each question is delivered via SurveyMonkey and takes about three minutes to complete. If you sign up, you’ll receive a weekly email with a link to a Braille Refresher question for at least a year. Opt out at any time.

There are a few types of Braille Refresher questions. The question of the week might ask you to choose the correct braille for a printed word or phrase, or it might ask you to identify a braille symbol; other questions ask about a very brief reading passage; and others give a silly joke in braille with the punchline in print. Your answers will be anonymous. These Braille Refresher questions are not meant to measure your braille knowledge, but rather to give it a fun and refreshing jolt of energy. Great for teachers, students, and parents!

For each question, after submitting your answer, you will get immediate feedback, and often a link to a related resource as well.

Sign up today for a year’s worth of weekly Braille Refresher questions by sending your name and email address to

Interface Design of Mobile Applications Survey

The Rochester Institute of Technology Institutional Review Board (RIT IRB) is seeking blind and visually impaired individuals of all ages to participate in a new study about mobile app interface design. Complete this 15-minute RIT survey to share your opinions about current and future mobile app interface designs, particularly navigation-based apps. At the end of the survey, there is an option to share your email address and enter into a raffle for a chance to win a $20 gift card. Three winners will be chosen.

Access Technology Study

The NRTC (National Research and Training Center) on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University is conducting a study about access technology (AT) in the workplace, to identify trends in access technology and gaps in available access technology software and hardware. They are recruiting people with blindness or low vision (age 21+), who are working or interested in working, to be part of a 5-year study about technology in the workplace. Participants will complete multiple surveys over time so they can learn about changes in access technology use.

The NRTC will share their findings with participants and technology company partners, and will also make recommendations for access technology users, VR professionals, access technology specialists, and employers. Would you, or someone you know, like to help with their 5-year study? Complete the access technology prescreening survey, or call 662-325-2001 to schedule an appointment for a telephone screening.

Educational Corner

APH Press Featured Publications

In celebration of Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Week (April 11-17, 2021), APH Press brings your attention to Foundations of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. This book provides an overview and principles of the profession of vision rehabilitation therapy. Updated information and techniques are also included for vision rehabilitation therapists to use with transition-age students, adults, and clients who are blind and visually impaired, and who have multiple disabilities.

Also, this month, we are celebrating CVI literacy awareness. Check out these great resources.

  • Coming soon! Babies with CVI: Nurturing Visual Abilities and Development in Early Childhood is a guide through the history and best practices related to the treatment of CVI in children from birth to 36 months.
  • Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention provides educators, therapists, physicians, and parents of children with CVI with an understanding of the condition and a complete framework for assessment and intervention.
  • Cortical Visual Impairment: Advanced Principles is the companion book to Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention and offers an in-depth examination of the needs of students and individuals with CVI in areas such as literacy, social skills, and O&M, while also addressing the demands of students with CVI and other disabilities.
  • Vision and the Brain: Understanding Cerebral Visual Impairment in Children is a unique and comprehensive sourcebook of current knowledge about CVI and best practices for working with children with CVI.

APH offers a variety of products to supplement the learning and development of those with CVI, including the CVI Book Builder KitCVI Complexity Sequence KitIncreasing Complexity CVI PegboardLED Light Box, and LED Mini-Lite Box. Visit and search “CVI” to learn more about these and other CVI-related products from APH.

The Buzz: News from the APH Hive

The Buzz: News from the APH Hive

The Expanded Core Curriculum sub-category Recreation and Leisure recently made its grand entry into the APH Hive, with a new course: Multi-Sensory Adventures Using Finger Walks. Whether educators are looking for a tactile recreational activity or an idea to supplement braille reading instruction, ideas of how to adapt Finger Walks come alive for all learners. 6 video modules walk participants through sequenced instruction, with an end result of earning 1.5 hours of ACVREP credit for FREE.

Sign up for the APH Hive today!

APH ConnectCenter: Connecting people with useful information and resources

ConnectCenter News

During National Crafting Month in March, we featured craftsman, Alan Shrebtienko, on the VisionAware blog. Read all about how he uses art as an expression of how things visually look to him in this blog, How One Craftsman Uses Woodworking to Depict His Vision Loss. Additionally, for National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day in January, VisionAware Peer, Maribel Steele, chatted with fellow Peer and renowned artist, Lynda McKinney Lambert, and shared about her life and work  in this blog, Inspire Your Heart with Art Interview with Lynda McKinney Lambert. Want to read more about how to create art with vision loss? Here is a short roundup of several blog posts we thought you’d enjoy reading:

APH Behind the Scenes


a square foil canvas on a blue background. The canvas is decorated with paint and a drawing in relief depicting a sunset on the water as seen from the beach with birds flying overhead

Every year, APH hosts the InSights Art Competition, an international art contest open to artists of all ages who are blind and visually impaired. How does this competition work, and who’s responsible for making it happen? Find out by reading our latest blog post Behind the Canvas: An Inside Look at the APH InSights Art Competition.

Change Makers: An APH Podcast

Next on Change Makers

Change Makers: A Podcast from APH highlights the people who are making the biggest difference in the blindness field. Listen to “Change Makers Ep. 26 COVID: 1 Year Later,” and hear APH President, Dr. Craig Meador, discuss the many curveballs COVID-19 brought to APH and how the organization adapted to those challenges. Plus, Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum, AFB Director of Research, examines the impact of COVID-19 on students with visual impairments in the Access and Engagement Study.

On Thursday, April 8, “Change Makers Ep. 27 Babies with CVI” highlights the upcoming APH Press book, Babies with CVI: Nurturing Visual Abilities and Development in Early Childhood. Hear from the author, Anne McComiskey, and learn what additional CVI resources and books are available for babies. Also, learn about PixBlaster in our Partners with Paul segment.

Missed one? Don’t worry. Find all episodes of Change Makers on our website.

From the Field

Congratulations to Gary Mudd, the 2021 Recipient of the Fred Sinclair Award


APH is proud to congratulate Gary Mudd, our former Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, for being selected as the recipient of the 2021 Fred Sinclair Award. The award will be presented on April 16, 2021 at 12 PM EST during the general session of the California Transcribers and Educators for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CTEBVI) 2021 conference. Please, join us for this virtual event by registering for the CTEBVI conference. Register for free for the whole or portions of the conference that interest you.

About the Fred Sinclair Award

The award for Outstanding Contributions to the Education of the Visually Impaired was established in 1988 by the Board of Directors of the California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped. The award was named in honor of its first recipient, Fred L. Sinclair. Fred was a founding member of the organization, originally known as California Transcribers and Resource Committee. In 1959, Fred L. Sinclair was a teacher of students with visual impairments in Campbell, CA, in the early days of blind students attending their local schools. The need for braille copies of the state adopted textbooks was apparent. In April of that year, a meeting was held at San Francisco State College to address this issue. Delegates from the identified 25 transcribing groups throughout the state were urged to attend, along with resource teachers from local school districts, and representatives from the State Department of Education. By 1964, the Clearinghouse Depository for the Visually Handicapped was established by the Department of Education in Sacramento, with Fred Sinclair at the helm. The Depository handled all braille, large print, and aural state adopted textbooks for grades K-8, and helped school districts coordinate efforts to obtain secondary textbooks as well. The Clearinghouse managed the registration of blind children, and the Federal Quota funds allocated for them through the American Printing House for the Blind. Today, CDVH is known as the Clearinghouse for Specialized Materials and Technology (CSMT) and has tasks in addition to those described above.

Fred was known as “Mr. CTEVH.” He led the site-finding committee for conference locations, served as consultant or committee chair for local conference committees, and was president of CTEVH from 1975 to 1977. He was beloved by volunteer transcribing groups throughout the state, made many visits to school programs for students with visual impairments statewide, and was active nationally as an Ex Officio Trustee of the American Printing House for the Blind. He served as CTEVH’s first representative to the Braille Authority of North America (BANA). In his position at CDVH (later CDHS), Fred served as an ex officio member of the CTEVH Board.  After retirement, the position of Board Member Emeritus was created for him. Fred passed away in 2014, and his memory and legacy live fondly on.

And the Award Goes To…

Writer/director Doug Roland and the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths & Adults (HKNC) partnered on a short film, Feeling Through, which has been nominated for a 2021 Oscar in the Live Action Short Film category. The film details how a late-night encounter on a New York City street leads to a profound connection between a teen in need and a man who is deafblind. Feeling Through has also won 15 Film Festival awards. Learn more about Feeling Through.

In the Archive

Blind Musicians, APH Migel Collection

Spend some time in the M.C. Migel Library, and it becomes clear the historical role music has played in the lives, education, and livelihoods of the visually impaired. As early as 1833, Samuel Howe, the founding director of the Perkins School, noted the importance and impact of music in the education of his pupils and the need to be both diligent and persistent in its cultivation. It was in this vein that the M.C. Migel Library in 2015 began its Blind Musicians Collection of audio records and literature to archive and preserve the careers and contribution of blind musicians.

The collection is populated with many music luminaries such as Andrea Bocelli, Ray Charles, Ronnie Milsap, and Doc Watson. They range from the famous, Stevie Wonder, to perhaps lesser known names like the Newcomer Twins and Arvella Gray. From the vast rolling steppes of medieval Russia to the busy canyon streets of contemporary New York City, regardless of genre, period, or notoriety, the collection has grown to include 130 artists and 350 albums. Coincidentally however, the impetus of the collection was right here, a literal stone’s throw away from APH.

Michael Cleveland, a 1998 graduate of the Kentucky School for the Blind, is considered by many to be the finest fiddle player of his generation, winner of 12 Fiddle Player of the Year awards, numerous album and instrumental performance awards, and a 2020 Grammy. But how to represent Michael in the collection? As archivist, the voices we are entrusted to preserve are mostly those on paper or in inanimate objects in which the life of the individual is imbued upon. Michael’s voice, however, was not necessarily in the words written about him or in an onstage photograph, but it was in that furious thunderclap of a moment when bow meets fiddle. From this recognition, a one-of-its-kind collection of blind musicians was born to preserve the works, in not just literature but also in musical performance. In 2018, we were thrilled to be able to make selections of this collection available through the Blind Musicians, APH Migel Collection Spotify playlist to share with the world the mastery, genius, and artistry of the collection’s musicians.

APH Travel Center

We’ll be attending the following virtual conferences and hope that you will join us.

VAVF, March 30, April 6 and 13, 2021

Please, join APH for some informative presentations at this virtual conference.

  • “You + UEB Math = Success” by Kyle DeJute
  • Creating Quality Collage Tactile Graphics by Sally Hart

CTEBVI, April 15-17, 2021

APH has multiple presentations at this virtual conference.

  • Equipping Educational Communities to Grow with APH Products and Services by Leanne Grillot and Amy Campbell
  • Refreshing Strategies for Teaching Braille by William Freeman
  • How to Create Tactile Graphics for All Using the TGIL by Sally Hart
  • Building Skills for Success by Leanne Grillot

Vision Serve Alliance Executive Leadership Conference, April 27-29, 2021

Save your spot at the virtual 2021 VSA Executive Leadership Conference from April 27 – April 29. You won’t want to miss out on this incredible 3-day experience with leaders from around the blindness and low vision field.

Please also join APH’s Director of Accessibility, Diversity, and Inclusion, Tai Tomasi, on Thursday, April 29, 2021 from 10:30-11:35 AM CST for her presentation The Myth of Functionality: COVID-19 and The Vindication of Universal Design.
Register now for the VSAELC Conference.

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