APH is open for business and will be shipping all new orders beginning May 19. For information about previously placed orders, and for other updates, please read our blog. If you have any questions please contact cs@aph.org or 1-800-223-1839.

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May 2020

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Virtual ExCEL Summer Camp

With the expectations that restrictions regarding gatherings of large groups and summer camps will be extended into the summer, we are offering the Inaugural Virtual ExCEL Camp from mid-June through mid-August.

The Virtual ExCEL Camp is for students, and will include a live hour at 2:00 ET, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and is free to all registrants. Also included are five at-home extension activities for the camp theme. Virtual ExCEL Camp will be separated by age/grade groups. Because we know students are not always able to attend during the scheduled hour, we will be recording these sessions so all have the opportunity to learn. Students will receive a camp shirt and other APH goodies.

Parents, please register your student(s) for the week(s) that match their needs:
Week of June 15 and July 20: Early Elementary (K-2 grade)
Week of July 13 and August 17: Upper Elementary (3-6 grade)
Week of July 6 and August 10: Junior High (7-9 grade)
Week of June 29 and August 3: Transition age (10 grade through 21 years)
Week of June 22 and July 27: Pre Symbolic Language (any age or grade)

Teachers: we are actively recruiting for Virtual ExCEL Camp instructors. If you are an instructor interested in leading one of these weeks, please fill out this form. Instructor spaces are limited but come with a $750 honorarium for each week taught and, of course, a camp shirt. Each week needs a team of two instructors – think general education instructor paired with someone in our field, but any combination will work!

APH’s Continued Efforts to Assist Customers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Many APH staff are returning to work next week, with many others continuing to support our customers from home. To learn how we are working during COVID-19, please read our blog. APH Customer Service is available M-F from 8am-8pm EST at cs@aph.org, or 1-800-223-1839.

We remain dedicated to providing resources you need to work, teach, and learn at a distance. Please, refer to #AtHomeWithAPH for ways to stay active and engaged during this unprecedented time.

Make Your Voice Heard! COVID-19 and Its Impact on Students with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities and Deafblindness

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including social distancing, school closures, and the shift of in-person education to online environments, has led to concerns about the quality of distance education for students who are blind or have low vision, including those with multiple disabilities and deafblindness.

APH is proud to be one of the 19 organizations, companies, schools, and universities in the blindness field to collaborate in an effort to attain data and information from those most invested in the education of youth with visual impairments. We will work to develop solutions to ensure our students’ educational progress during this unprecedented period in history allows them to continue to learn and grow.

We encourage all of those receiving this newsletter to have their voice be heard by completing this survey, both in English and Spanish, at AccessEngagement.com. The survey closes on May 13, so don’t delay in participating! 

The survey focuses on education of children and youth who are blind or have low vision, including those with multiple disabilities and deafblindness, as well as the non-traditional delivery of services being provided by teachers of students with visual impairments and orientation and mobility instructors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey topics include:

  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of families and professionals
  • How professionals are adjusting their instruction to meet the needs of their students and provide continued instruction in the expanded core curriculum
  • How families are being supported by teachers of students with visual impairments and orientation and mobility instructors
  • Ways students and families are accessing education (e.g. online, telephone)
  • Access children have to tools, materials, and instruction

By adding your voice to others completing the survey, you will help to share novel ways professionals and families are working together to provide education, as well as illuminate barriers affecting students’ learning and engagement.

If you know families who do not have internet access, please, take the time to assist them to complete the survey. Share the survey with them, your friends, and colleagues at AccessEngagement.com.

Image of Jim Sullivan smiling. Graphic says "Welcome to the team!"

Jim Sullivan Joins APH Team as Director of Social Enterprise

We are excited to welcome Jim Sullivan to APH as the Director of Social Enterprise.

“I look forward to building the Social Enterprise team and creating additional sources of funding to enable the organization to build a future where everyone belongs,” says Jim. “I welcome people who are passionate about equity in education and access to the workplace to reach out and introduce themselves and to share their thoughts and ideas.”

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Change Makers: A Podcast from American Printing House

The idea for an APH podcast started almost a year ago. We were working a plan – we even had a studio being set up. What we didn’t plan? Launching the podcast last minute from an attic during a global pandemic. The response we’ve gotten from listeners has been great, but we’re just getting started. Change Makers is working on an editorial calendar that will feature some incredible people doing really great things in our field. We hope you will follow along as we create a podcast that we hope will strengthen our field and inspire us all to create a future that belongs to everyone. Know someone we should highlight? Email your idea to communications@aph.org.

You can listen to all episodes on:
Apple Podcast

New Products

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

  • Embark on a journey of reading and tactile learning with Little Wolf and Little Chick as they discover and devour a variety of foods. For emergent print readers, pictures act as an important bridge helping the child take a more active role in reading, as a listener and as a reader. Tactile illustrations in Let’s Eat are designed to serve a similar purpose. In addition, they offer critically important opportunities to build exploratory skills, tactile discrimination skills, and encounter spatial relationships.

  • Smaller than its counterpart, the LED Mini-Lite Box is lighter, brighter, and more versatile than ever before. The LED Mini-Lite Box is an all-inclusive, person-centered learning tool for students who are visually impaired as well as students with CVI and other disabilities. Change the position of the LED Mini with its included three-tilt tabletop stand. Three commercially available stands also allow the LED Mini to be attached to a wheelchair, gait trainer, or other mobility device.

  • The KNFB Reader Enterprise and Portable Scanning Stand consists of an OCR (optical character recognition) application and stand. Create an account, sign in on the app, and place a phone or device on the portable stand. A picture is taken once the document is aligned with the camera on your device, and the text is read aloud.

  • This Edition is a modification of the product, Crossings with No Traffic Control. Unlike the original, this product only includes a flashdrive containing software, and the software user’s guide and instructor’s manual. This special software teaches orientation and mobility skills to students who are blind and visually impaired through simulation experiences and information, to assist in analyzing situations at street crossings where there is no traffic control, including recognizing when there isn’t enough warning of approaching vehicles (“Situations of Uncertainty”).

The MATT Connect Just Keeps Getting Better

Are you a proud owner of a MATT Connect? If so, take advantage of the latest software update! You will be prompted to install these updates when connected to WiFi. The updates can also be found and installed by going to the settings menu. Read our blog to watch tutorials and learn about the new software features included in the April 2020 update.

Alignment of APH Science Products with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Released in 2013 and adopted across 20 US states, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) outline new strategies to teach science. Read our blog to discover APH products that align with these new science standards.

  • Building on Patterns Prekindergarten (BOP Pre-K) has been available for a little over a year, and sales have exceeded expectations! If you are a teacher who has used this level of BOP, we would love to hear from you.

    Please, complete this survey to share your thoughts. Also, feel free to respond even if instruction had to be changed due to school closures in your area. If you have any questions related to the survey, please contact Sara Lee (slee@aph.org).

  • Laura Zierer, APH Independent Living Project Leader, is seeking customer feedback to aid in the development of training opportunities. Please, take a moment to complete this short survey about the use of the Functional Skills Assessment series.

STEM Corner — Take the Breakthrough Junior Challenge!

Students 13 to 18 years old are invited to create a 3-minute video with original content explaining an important concept in physics, life science, mathematics, or the science of the COVID-19 pandemic. This competition, sponsored by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation (Khan Academy, National Geographic, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory), began April 1st and ends June 25, 2020. The prizes for the student with the winning video include a $250,000 post-secondary scholarship; $50,000 for your teacher; and, $100,000 for a Breakthrough Science Lab for your school.

Visit the official website, and be sure to check out the YouTube video, the Finalists (from previous competitions), and FAQ pages.

Treasures from the APH Libraries

From the Migel Library: Booth, Frank W. The Association Review: An Educational Magazine [Volta Review], vol. 1-11. American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, 1899.

A complete run of The Association Review was recently donated to the Migel Library. A precursor to The Volta Review, this rare series was published by the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (AAPTSD). AAPTSD merged with Alexander Graham Bell’s Volta Bureau in 1908, and was eventually renamed The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  All 11 volumes of this significant publication have been digitized for Internet Archive.

The APH Migel Collection is one of the largest collections of nonmedical information related to visual impairment in the world. Although the collection does not circulate, an ongoing digitization effort means APH will make materials available online. The digitized texts are available in a variety of accessible formats, including DAISY, Kindle, EPUB, PDF, and read-aloud. Contact library staff: resource@aph.org, 800-223-1839, ext. 705.

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2020 Newsletters

  • COVID-19 and its Effects on the APH Community

    We are dedicated to keeping our employees and customers safe during this difficult time. Due to COVID-19, our office is open and doing business, but our staff is working from home. We are currently holding shipments to schools and agencies that may be closed, unless you tell us you are open and ready to receive them. Read our blog to find out about current updates and ways you can learn and engage during this time of staying safe at home.

  • Be one of the first to get your hands on this revolutionary new product developed by APH and HumanWare! Consisting of a full-size QWERTY keyboard and a built-in, 40-cell refreshable braille display; the Mantis ensures that students and professionals don’t have to sacrifice the use of braille when typing on a keyboard. Learn more about the Mantis Q40 and subscribe to the waiting list.

  • There are few things more frustrating than having spent all your quota funds, only to learn that APH has launched a brand-new incredible product, and you have to wait until next quota season to order.  So, we’re excited to share a peek at some coming-soon products, set to launch before the end of the 2020 quota season.

    Learn what new products are in the pipeline…

  • The New Year has arrived and ushers in the availability of a new, accessible computer coding and programming tool for students who are blind or visually impaired – Code Jumper!

    What is Code Jumper?

2019 Newsletters

  • We are pleased to announce that Code Jumper, the newest tool designed to teach children who are blind or visually impaired the basics of coding, will be available for purchase in January 2020. Read Code Jumper for Sale in January 2020 at aph.org

  • Our family of quota magnifiers just welcomed another addition – Jupiter Portable Magnifier™! Jupiter’s easy-to-use, powerful HD magnification is perfect for users of all ages, whether in the classroom, at work, at home, or in the rehab setting for those experiencing vision loss.

  • We’re extremely honored to host the Lieutenant Governor of Washington, Cyrus Habib, as the keynote speaker of our 151st Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY. He will be speaking at our opening session on Thursday, October 10.

  • Ex-Officio Trustees have until 4:00 p.m. on September 30 to spend their federal quota dollars. Equip your students with learning tools and products that will enhance their chances of success in and outside of the classroom.

  • Before you throw on your flip flops and head to the beach, be sure to get the most out of your quota dollars, and rest easy during summer break knowing your items will arrive before the start of the next school year.

  • To help you get the most out of BrailleBlaster, we will release some important “how-to’s” in a series of short tutorial videos, beginning May 6. Be sure to subscribe to the APH Youtube page for release notifications. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and check your email for other special announcements and BrailleBlaster tidbits in the coming weeks!

  • The Braille Trail Reader is loaded with features to start students on their path to literacy by providing them with high-quality refreshable braille necessary to prepare them for for the more advanced refreshable braille displays they can expect to use later in life.

  • 3.2.1. – Blast off! The Jupiter Portable Magnifier is now available from American Printing House! Jupiter is a sleek, compact device that helps users of all ages who are visually impaired see the world in high definition.

  • We are excited to announce Code Jumper™ – the newest innovation to assist children, regardless of their level of vision, in learning computer coding and programming skills through a unique, physical system. Developed by Microsoft® and distributed by APH, this educational toy bridges the skills gap and opens up the world of coding to every student.

  • The Hall Board encourages you to nominate, or renominate, a worthy hero, and requests that you help us by widely sharing this announcement — through personal emails, listserves, newsletters, blogs, Tweets, Facebook accounts, etc.

    Thank you for participating in YOUR Hall of Fame nomination process! The nomination process will close Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

2018 Newsletters

  • Just before Thanksgiving, our museum at the American Printing House for the Blind unveiled a new, temporary exhibit featuring an international treasure of a well-known activist and icon: Helen Keller’s writing desk now holds a prominent position as you enter the museum.

    Click the button below to read the complete December 2018 newsletter.

  • The 150th Annual Meeting Celebrates 160 Years of APH! Each year for 150 years, Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind have journeyed to Louisville, Kentucky for the APH Annual Meeting.

  • It’s been a long journey, and the trials of bringing the Orbit Reader 20 to market were many, but those days are behind us. Cultivating a new technology always takes time, and this project was no exception.

  • The new APH Press has now completed its second month of operations as we embark on producing new publications while continuing the legacy of AFB Press.

  • Please join us as we celebrate the 2018 Annual Meeting of APH Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests on October 4-6, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in beautiful downtown Louisville.

  • “Your site has been an invaluable resource for my family and myself. I am so thankful that you guys take the time to compile information for families that would be impossible to find elsewhere.” – A parent speaking of FamilyConnect

  • Great news for teachers and students! The newest version of Math Robot is now available on the iPhone. Now your students can practice math drills anywhere, anytime.

  • APH has developed a revised “Phase-Gate” New Product Development (NPD) process. This process allows stakeholders to approve or reject projects at many points through the entire development process, resulting in a more efficient model that allows more strategic input across the life of the product idea.

  • The 2018 nomination process for the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field will be open through April 30!

  • Thank you for your interest in the Orbit Reader 20. This refreshable braille display is the result of a partnership of the members of the Transforming Braille Group. Launched earlier this year, the Orbit Reader reduces the cost of refreshable braille, making it affordable to those who may not have been able to enjoy this technology previously.

  • Over 1,300 in-copyright items from the APH Migel Collection are now available for digital check-out from Open Library. Formerly available only in Daisy format, these items can be borrowed digitally for two weeks with a free Open Library digital library card account.

  • APH President and longtime educator, Dr. Craig Meador, along with Cecily Morrison, Microsoft Researcher and Project Leader for Code Jumper, revealed the product and discussed the partnership on the Microsoft Schools Theater stage in London at the BETT Show.

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