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APH NewsAugust 2021

Make Music with Us

an elementary aged student playing a keyboard and wearing headphones. A teacher can be seen in the background.


Music is all around us. Read our Building Your Music Toolkit blog to discover a variety of APH products, resources, lessons, and activities to help your student learn about and practice this beautiful form of creative expression.

Now Available from APH Press: Babies with CVI

Babies with CVI book sits atop a desk, next to a laptop, APH mug, and pad of paper and pen

We are excited to announce the release of a new APH Press textbook! 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. To learn more about this valuable resource, listen to our Change Makers podcast episode with author Anne McComiskey and read our Babies with CVI blog or purchase your copy of Babies with CVI.

Please, join us on Friday, September 10, from 12-1:30 PM ET for a webinar all about the book. Participants will learn firsthand from teacher and author Anne McComiskey about what it takes to help parents and new professionals work with babies from birth to 36 months who are newly diagnosed with CVI. Practical explanations and activity ideas from the new APH Press book entitled Babies with CVI will be shared with hopes of helping more children flourish in early visual development. Register for the Babies with CVI webinar today.

Attention: All Users of APH Products in Education and Rehabilitation Settings

If you have purchased APH products and services, we want to hear from you! By responding to this brief, 11-question survey, you are making an impact by helping APH improve our products and product development, services, and customer experience. Start the GPRA 2021 Survey now.

The survey response deadline is Thursday, September 30, 2021.

This brief annual performance survey is designed to accomplish several key goals:

  • To measure our performance in order to improve our products and our product development processes
  • To gather input for our strategic planning and product development priorities
  • To collect APH performance data for the US Department of Education

We encourage everyone who has used our products in an education or rehabilitation setting within the last year to take a few minutes to reflect on your experience with our products. All individual responses will remain confidential. Your honest feedback about our performance and product effectiveness DOES make a difference.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with APH products and services!

Typhlo & Tactus Tactile Illustrated Book Contest International Judging Postponed

The Typhlo & Tactus Tactile Illustrated Book Contest has just announced that the international judging has been postponed until 2022, because of rising COVID-19 cases in Europe. APH is the host of the U.S. competition. We have been asked to hold the entries that we have already received until 2022. APH will host the judging of the U.S. contest at a future date, and announce the winners, before sending the finalists to the international competition next year.

To enter this exciting competition of tactile illustrated books for children, contact Rob Guillen, Special Programs Coordinator, at or 1-800-223-1839, extension 242.

Meet APH Scholar Michelle Shanley

We would like to congratulate Michelle Shanley for being selected as a 2021-2022 APH Scholar. Michelle was nominated by EOT, Kristin Oien. She works in district 917 and serves as an itinerant TBVI for students ages birth through 21 in district 192 in Farmington, Minnesota. Read our blog to learn more about Michelle and discover what makes an APH Scholar stand out.

New Products

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

Babies with CVI: Nurturing Visual Abilities and Development in Early Childhood by Anne McComiskey



Cover of Babies with CVI book featuring a red, orange, and yellow geometric pattern

APH Press is proud to offer this guide through the history and best practices related to the treatment of CVI in children from birth to 36 months.

Babies with CVI: Nurturing Visual Abilities and Development in Early Childhood is based on the author’s nearly five-decade career working with families in homes and classrooms. Understanding and knowledge about effective interventions to address the visual skills of children with CVI evolved enormously over that period. Babies with CVI reflects that evolution. The book presents specific approaches, strategies, and activity suggestions that families and visual impairment professionals can use to meet the unique learning needs of a child with CVI. It stresses the importance of early intervention, proper evaluation, and integrating teaching opportunities into the child’s daily routine.

Happy Embosser-versary!

Can you believe it? APH is celebrating one year of the availability of two embossers that can be purchased with Federal Quota funds. On August 3, 2020, APH launched not one, but two unique and robust embossers—PageBlaster and PixBlaster—to increase the quantity and quality of braille and tactile graphics available to your students! If you are struggling to choose between the two options, see this handy Comparison Chart, or visit our PageBlaster videos and PixBlaster videos on YouTube.

If you have already purchased one or both embossers, APH would love to hear from you! Please, go to our Embosser Customer Satisfaction Survey and give us your feedback on how the embossers are meeting your students’ braille and tactile graphic needs.

APH Sizzling Summer Sale 2021

Visit our website to see which APH products are for sale while supplies last. Happy shopping!

Get Involved!

AFB Journey Forward Survey

As a follow up to AFB’s Flatten Inaccessibility: Impact of COVID-19 on Adults with Visual Impairments (Flatten Inaccessibility) study from April 2020, AFB is asking adults who are blind and visually impaired to participate in the new Journey Forward: Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic by Blind and Low Vision Adults survey. This survey should only take 30-45 minutes to complete and is available through August 9, 2021. Please, take the time to share how COVID-19 has impacted you. Participants can also enter a drawing to receive a $20 Amazon gift card. 20 winners will be randomly selected at the conclusion of the survey. Take the Journey Forward survey today.

Educational Corner

Mastering Music with Feel the Beat


a group of students sitting together in a music classroom talking. one of them holds a trumpet.

The music braille code gives everyone the opportunity to read and write music independently. Unsure of where to start learning? Read our Expand Your Music Horizons with the Music Braille Code blog to discover how the Feel the Beat curriculum can assist with music education.

Learning is Fun with the Braille Trail Reader!

APH’s Braille Trail Reader is small, affordable, and packed with many classroom features, making it an ideal first braille display for young students. Discover more advantages and uses of this compact device by reading our Braille Trail Reader blog post.

APH Press Website Gets a New Look

APH Press publishes educational content for teachers, families, and other professionals who work with individuals who are blind and visually impaired. We’re excited to announce the APH Press website has been updated, making it easier for all to learn about and shop the collection. Some new sections on the website include the following:

  • APH Press Learning provides access to learning content that accompanies our books.
  • For Authors shows writers how to submit a proposal and lists our guidelines.
  • Examination Copies discusses how customers can request a desk or review copy of APH Press titles.

Go to the APH Press website to discover more helpful features and unlock the knowledge you need to support others.

The Buzz: News from the APH Hive


Collage of two Hive Course graphics. The first shows a child holding a Juno and magnifying the page of a book. Beneath the image text reads "Introducing Juno: A Portable Magnifier. Justine Spencer and Greg Stilson." The second shows a middle schooler using a desktop in a computer lab with text that reads “Getting Started with Zoom Text. Ben Knolles."

Two new courses from the APH Hive:

Juno is a powerful and portable device that equips low vision students and adults to move from indoors to outside and the kitchen table to the classroom for journeys close to home and out of this world. Enroll in the new course Introducing Juno: A Portable Magnifier for FREE to learn about this product and earn 2 hours of ACVREP credit.

Discover how screen magnification offers students with low vision access to computer applications by enrolling in Getting Started with ZoomText. This FREE course offers 2 hours of ACVREP credit and helps educators and families learn basic ZoomText tools to customize both Google Chrome and Microsoft Word documents.

Visit the APH Hive today and start learning for FREE.

APH ConnectCenter: Connecting people with useful information and resources

Our Websites Have a New Look!

August is an exciting time here at the APH ConnectCenter as we reveal our rebranded websites (FamilyConnectAPH CareerConnect, and VisionAware). Our new look is dynamic, high contrast, with our websites still offering a wealth of curated resources on all aspects of living, learning, and working with vision loss.

Introducing the APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub

Just in time for the new school year, the new APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub is a one-stop, easy-to-use, searchable resource of transition programs across the United States available for school-age students, teachers of the visually impaired, vocational rehabilitation professionals, and families. Users can search for programs by state and program type; if a program has attendance fees, if a program is offered in languages other than English, or if aprogram is offered year-round or seasonally. To learn more, read our Introducing the APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub blog, and visit the Transition Hub today.

FamilyConnect Announces Our ParentConnect Parent Support Group In Partnership With The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind

Starting Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 7:30 – 8:30 PM EST, APH FamilyConnect and the Chicago Lighthouse are pleased to offer this virtual support group for parents and families of children who are blind or visually impaired. These monthly sessions are for families to connect with and learn from each other about the joys, challenges, and adventures of raising children with visual impairments and blindness. These sessions are open to families and will meet on the first Wednesday of each month. Please, share with families and have them visit the Webinars section on for details.

APH Behind the Scenes: Learning All About Annual Meeting

For 152 years, APH has hosted Annual Meeting for Ex Officio Trustees (EOTs), Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs), other professionals, and special guests here in Louisville, Kentucky. Check out our latest APH Behind the Scenes blog post to learn more about the purpose, history, and planning of this event, and get an exclusive sneak peek at the 153rd Annual Meeting taking place this October.

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 Episode 34, “Where’s the Money?” and hear Paul Schroeder, APH Vice President, Government and Community Affairs, discuss how APH gets its funding and what you can do to provide your input.

On Thursday, August 12, tune in to Change Makers Episode 35, “Advocating for your Child,” which examines common concerns from parents during back-to-school season and what services are provided through the APH ConnectCenter. We’ll also talk about what parents should keep in mind when their child has a new teacher and some tips to help make your child’s upcoming school year successful.

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

From the Field

Four New Shortform Words Added to UEB Rules

The International Council on English Braille (ICEB) Executive and Code Maintenance Committee recently added four new words to the Rules of Unified English Braille 2013, Appendix 1: Shortforms List.

  • Under “after” the words aftermentioned and aftertheater
  • Under “before” the word beforementioned
  • Under “must” the word mustardy

Happy 31st Anniversary to the ADA

a man and a woman talk in an office setting. the woman is smiling and holding a white cane

On July 26, we celebrated the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Keep the party going by checking out our blog #ADA31: Celebrating Access and Inclusion, where we share some great accessibility resources and tips.

A New Resource for Students Experiencing “Long COVID”

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) have issued a new resource: Long COVID under Section 504 and the IDEA: A Resource to Support Children, Students, Educators, Schools, Service Providers, and Families.

To date, many students have contracted COVID-19 and are still experiencing its effects, in the form of what has come to be called “long COVID.” The resource from OCR and OSERS builds on guidance issued by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services concerning long COVID as a disability and clarifies that, for young children and students, long COVID can be a disability that gives rise to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) eligibility and may also be a disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The resource reminds all members of the education community that existing procedures and protections under IDEA, Section 504, and the ADA apply to students of all ages whose long COVID is a disability. Read more about the Department’s work to support all students—including students with disabilities—as our nation continues to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 in their new blog post.

The LightHouse Launches into Space

According to their newsletter, the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is partnering with SciAccess Initiative for the launch of a new program called Mission: AstroAccess. In this study, a group of ten people who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, or who have another disability will participate in a zero-gravity parabolic flight. They will complete certain tasks to answer basic questions about how people with disabilities can safely and accessibly work and live in space.

Want to participate? Applications are open through August 15, 2021, and the flight will launch in October. Learn more by reading the LightHouse newsletter and watching this Mission: AstroAccess webinarApply here for Mission: AstroAccess.

Nominations for the Darleen Bogart BANA Braille Excellence Award are Now Open Until August 31, 2021!

The Darleen Bogart BANA Braille Excellence Award was given for the first time in 2009 to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Louis Braille. Previous recipients include Abraham Nemeth, Joseph Sullivan, BANA Tactile Graphics Committee, Darleen Bogart, Larry Smith, and Robert Englebretsen.

Darleen Bogart BANA Braille Excellence Award Criteria:

  1. The award may be given to a person, committee (which could be a BANA committee), or organization.
  2. The recipient will be chosen based on the development or contribution to a braille code (e.g., a new code, a subset of a code).
  3. The code/material/software being recognized supports BANA codes.
  4. The code/material/software being recognized represents the highest standards for braille production.

Further considerations for the award recipient include such details as:

  • Length of time spent developing code (a measurement of “lifetime dedication”)
  • Impact of the code(s)
  • How widely the code is used
  • The breadth of the audiences affected by this code
  • Whether this was an individual effort or a business-related effort

Nominees from prior years may be considered again. The nominations which were not successful are retained for consideration only for the next time the award is to be given. Send nomination letters to by August 31, 2021.

Casting Call for a Child Who Is Blind/Low Vision for Netflix

Lucy Bevan Casting (‘Cruella’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’) is currently searching for a girl with visual impairments to play a key guest speaking role in an upcoming Netflix limited TV series, which is shooting in Europe in 2022. They are looking for a Caucasian girl who is blind or partially sighted/low vision between the ages of 6-16 years old. The character is thoughtful, curious, intelligent, and courageous. Potential applicants must speak fluent English. No previous acting experience is necessary. Applications must be submitted by a teacher, parent, or legal guardian. If your child would like to be considered, please, send their D.O.B, height, location, and a recent photo in one email to Emily and Katie at Please, only submit your child if they meet the brief. Every application will be considered, but they cannot respond to all applicants. They will be in touch if they would like to invite your child to audition.

APH Travel Center

SAVE THE DATE! 153rd APH Annual Meeting

annual meeting graphic. APH logo. text reads "153rd Annual Meeting October 6-8 2021. Hybrid, Louisville KY. Learn your way" graphic of a path with blocks of color in pomegranate, teal, gold, and purple

APH’s 153rd Annual Meeting will take place in-person, October 6-8, at the Hyatt Regency in Louisville, KY. This year’s theme is Learn Your Way, with some sessions offered virtually. Stay tuned to your email inbox and the September issue of APH News for additional details. In the meantime, learn why you should attend, especially if you are a TVI.

2021 Remote Braille Challenge

APH was proud to participate in the 2021 Remote Braille Challenge. On Monday, July 19, 2021, the APH ConnectCenter participated in the Braille Challenge webinar series by presenting about its different services for children, parents, transition-age youth, job seekers, and adults who are blind or visually impaired. On Wednesday, July 21, APH’s Communications Associate and 3-time National Braille Challenge finalist, Jessica Minneci, presented alongside alumni Judith Lung in the Braille Challenge Alumni Panel. In this webinar, the presenters discussed next steps after the Braille Challenge, covering topics such as higher education, employment, independence, and preparing for success. Stay tuned to the Braille Institute YouTube channel for recordings of these webinars. Lastly, APH President, Dr. Craig Meador, was the keynote speaker at the 2021 Remote Braille Challenge Finals Award Ceremony. Dr. Meador spoke about what it means to be a champion, defining the noun and verb form of the word. As winners or champions of this competition, Dr. Meador encouraged the students to also be champions of braille. Watch the Braille Challenge Finals Award Ceremony, and please, join us in congratulating the 2021 Braille Challenge champions.

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