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Thriving with Vision Loss: Introducing the APH ConnectCenter

“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

  • A mother gets tips on how to help her preschool daughter who is blind make friends.
  • A father whose son has low vision reads articles written by another parent with similar experiences.
  • A rehabilitation counselor watches his client’s confidence grow in mock job interviews.
  • A senior who is worried about life with recent vision loss finds reassuring information written in Spanish – her native language.

Continuing the Legacy of Independence through Information

In February 2018, the American Foundation for the Blind and the American Printing House for the Blind announced a historic partnership with the mutual goal of improving the lives of children and adults who are blind or visually impaired. As of July 1, APH became the steward of several key information resources founded by AFB. The goal of this partnership is to ensure the continued impact of these critical sources of information. AFB is taking its work to a new level by investing in policy and programs focused on creating a more inclusive, accessible society for people with vision loss.

Introducing the “APH ConnectCenter”

Building on decades of work by AFB, APH has now grouped these resources that cover every aspect of life under the name APH ConnectCenter. The APH ConnectCenter includes: – gives parents of children who are visually impaired a place to find resources and support each other.

CareerConnect – provides employment information, career exploration tools, and job-seeking guidance for individuals with vision loss and professionals who work with them. – helps adults who are losing their sight continue to live full and independent lives by providing timely information, step-by-step daily living techniques, and a supportive online community.

Braille Bug – teaches children about braille through games and activities and provides resources to teachers and parents.

APH ConnectDirect information and referral 800 number – provides information by phone on virtually any topic related to visual impairment and blindness. Dial toll-free 1-800-232-5463. You may also submit questions by email at

Directory of Services – lets anyone find services in his or her local area with a simple search. The Directory of Services list over 3,500 agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

Preserving Vital Content, Building for the Future

APH is honored to be preserving these vital sites and building them for the future. Users will notice lower activity on the sites until the fall of 2018 as APH completes technical changes that will make updating content easier. Most current content on the sites will continue to be available, and APH will continue the dialog with users through Facebook and Twitter. New content additions will resume in late fall.

Let us know what topics you would like to us cover in the future in the APH ConnectCenter, please email

NEW! Crossings With No Traffic Control

Teaching Concepts and Skills to Deal With Them

Independent travelers who are visually impaired need to be able to analyze situations at crossings where there is no traffic control, including recognizing when they don’t have enough warning of approaching vehicles. Crossings With No Traffic Control provides a logical, sequenced approach to teaching what is necessary for people with visual impairments to analyze these situations.

Student content is narrated throughout the software, with instructors taking an active role in their students’ learning by providing direct supervision and engagement. Examples of topics addressed include: Recognizing Situations of Uncertainty (auditory and visual modules included), What to do in Situations of Uncertainty, and Let’s Take this Show on the Road: Teaching Students to Apply Skills in Real-Life Situations.

Important Notice:
The American Printing House for the Blind and Dona Sauerburger, COMS, offer orientation and mobility specialists this product to help students learn the concepts and skills necessary to analyze and negotiate crossings that have no traffic control. Before using this product with students, instructors must read the first section in Chapter One: “How to Use this Product.”

Quota Spending for FY 2018

EOTs will be hearing a lot from APH in the coming weeks and months. Additional dollars added to each account based on increased funding from the federal government mean more books and educational aids for babies, students, and clients. We can help you with suggestions for new and trusted products as you plan for the 2018-2019 school year.

APH Product on Backorder

With the new school year fast approaching, APH is committed to getting educational materials in the hands of students and clients so that they can learn and grow alongside their peers. After receiving questions from EOTs regarding outstanding orders and back ordered items, we discovered that a step in our order processing procedure was inadvertently omitted. This step, which triggers the notification to order the materials and supplies needed to produce our products, did not occur. Once the issue was identified, we immediately implemented remedies to resolve the issue and looked at ways to speed up our production time to fill the outstanding orders more quickly and reduce back orders.

Improvements we have implemented include:

  • Resumed use of our materials planning software, and trained staff on the correct process to determine if materials need to be purchased for production.
  • Reopened our internal screen printing production line to speed up production.
  • Identified the 100 top sales items (by volume) to prioritize our production process and improve our forecasting of future orders.

These improvements are being done in parallel with other production improvements rolled out by our new Vice President of Production, Steve Paris. Steve assumed the Vice President’s position in late January, and since that time has implemented several quality improvement measures in our production area.

Below is a table outlining the availability date for some key items that are now on back order.

Item Date Available
Mini-Light Box August 2018
Light-Box Materials: Level I July 2018
Light-Box Materials: Level II July 2018
On the Way to Literacy July 2018
Sensory Learning Kit (SLK) July 2018
Spinner Overlays for the Light Box August 2018
Swing Cell Compact August 2018
Orion TI 84 and 30 September 2018

We sincerely apologize for any delays you may be experiencing. APH prides ourselves on the service we provide to our EOTs, teachers and the students and adults we serve. We are working diligently to resolve this issue and have put safeguards in place to ensure it does not happen in the future.

Building on Patterns Writers Meet to Continue Kindergarten Revision

Front: Cathy Senft-Graves (APH), Jo Ellen Croft (AR), Luanne Blaylock (AR), Anna Swenson (VA), Robin Wingell (CA) Rear: Izetta Read (CA), Mary Filicetti (VA), Kristen Buhler (OR), Sue Schimmelpfennig (OR), Becky Peek (VA)

The Building on Patterns (BOP) writing group held its annual meeting at APH, June 25–29. The BOP writers are also teachers of students with visual impairments and they traveled from across the country. The group continued their work on the lessons and assessment pieces for the revision of BOP Kindergarten during the five days of meetings. Careful planning and research are required to develop an appropriate progression for the literacy skills taught in the lessons. Some of the writers also worked on a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list for the future BOP Prekindergarten website.

Survey Opportunity

Educational Testing Service (ETS) is seeking science teachers to complete a short survey about how to make instruction, activities, and assessment for students with visual impairments accessible. ETS understands the inherent struggle to make strongly visual content accessible and wants to learn more about how teachers are facing challenges. The invaluable input gathered will guide future research and assessment development.

Below are details from ETS about the survey, which should remain open through July:

ETS is seeking K–12 science teachers who:

  • Use NGSS or similar science standards
  • Have taught one or more students with visual impairments in the past four years

ETS research has developed a 15-minute online survey to learn how teachers are making science content accessible. We would like to learn the strategies you have found to be successful and the challenges you still face. We request your input to learn how YOU teach NGSS-aligned content to your students with visual impairments.

If you are interested, please visit the survey here:

If you have any questions, you may contact, Teresa King,

Braille Blaster News

APH is pleased to announce an exciting new feature package for BrailleBlaster: Spatial Math Formatting! BrailleBlaster is the first—and only—software of its kind to offer automatic formatting for spatial math. This feature package includes tools for the creation of number lines, matrices, and templates for basic spatial equations. Simply fill in the numbers and BrailleBlaster translates and formats the spatial math for you. The spatial math text automatically updates, retranslates, and reformats when you switch from one braille code to another, just like the literary text features in BrailleBlaster.

BrailleBlaster is free braille transcription software created by the APH that makes transcription quick and easy through the use of automatic formatting tools. It simplifies the transcription process for transcribers and casual users alike, making braille readily available at a lower cost.

APH is very excited to present this new feature package. We are confident that the creation of STEM materials in braille is an easier process because of these new tools. We invite you to try them out in BrailleBlaster under the Math menu and welcome your feedback, comments, and suggestions. Let us know what you think!

You can download BrailleBlaster at To leave feedback, please go to To subscribe to our mailing list, send an email to

A Message from Quick Tips HQ

As you know, Quick Tips – the brief, informative, APH-centric videos produced in-house – have been created on a weekly basis for the past five years. They have been posted on the APH website, in the APH News, on the Fred’s Head blog, on Facebook, and in other places on the Internet.

These videos have been produced with the busy vision professional who doesn’t have a lot of time in mind. They’ve been quick, useful, and predictable.

As part of our new branding roll-out, APH Quick Tips are taking a hiatus as we look at new ways to provide this important information to our followers. We have had a blast producing these short videos and sharing them with you. We have always been humbled by the charge to educate professionals, as well as consumers, and families about all things APH.

Thank you so much for being the best audience a Quick Tips producer could ever have! And, as always, if you have any feedback, please feel free to share it with us.


  • Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Sizzlin’ Summer Savings Sale 2018, July 1—September 30. As always, first come, first served.

  • Presentations/Exhibits

    July 3-8, 2018
    NFB Conference 2018
    Orlando, FL

    July 12-14, 2018
    NOAH Conference
    Kansas City, KS

    July 16, 2018
    ENGAGE Conference
    Clarksville, TN

    July 16-20, 2018
    AHEAD Conference
    Albuquerque, NM

    July 17-18, 2018
    Gateways Summer Institute
    Louisville, KY

    July 25-29, 2018
    AER International Conference 2018
    Reno, NV

    August 1-2, 2018
    Iowa Summer Institute
    Des Moines, IO

    August 13-17, 2018
    BVA 2018
    Sparks, NV

    August 22-25, 2018
    Envision 2018
    Wichita, KS


    July 9-12, 2018
    US Business Leadership Network Annual Conference
    Las Vegas, NV

    July 20-23, 2018
    International Literacy Association
    Austin, TX

    September 14-15, 2018
    9th Annual IsLAND Conference on Disability
    Princeton, NJ

Treasures from the APH Libraries

  • Seelig, Tina L. Insight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and into the World. New York: HarperOne, 2015

    Insight Out, written by Tina Seelig, is one of a recent bevy of innovation titles inspired from Stanford’s renowned design school of engineering. Seelig incorporates her own design thinking course material, with anecdotes and stories, into a book that seeks to bridge individual notions of imagination and creativity with real-world implementation and action.

    Seelig walks readers through the concepts of imagination, creativity, innovation, and implementation in steps, conquering challenges, seeking opportunities, and growing ideas into something dynamic and full of potential. Perhaps the best lesson one can take from Insight Out is how our ideas have the power to inspire the imaginations and creativity of others when given life.

    For more information, numerous talks and lectures by Seelig on the topics of creativity and innovation are available on YouTube and other streaming sites. Seeling is also the author of the bestseller What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20.

  • Selected References Compiled in the M.C. Migel Memorial Library, 1965-1972. New York: American Foundation for the Blind.

    These simple bibliographies were originally created as pathfinders for the M.C. Migel Memorial library at AFB in New York over 45 years ago. They not only represent trends in the history of research on visual impairment, but also have an interesting journey of their own. They were initially brought to APH and housed in the pamphlet file of the APH Professional Library, which later became the Barr Library. Upon their discovery, they were transferred back to the Migel Collection, which had, by this time, moved to APH from New York. They compile some of the most important items in the Migel Library of their day and include 20 different subject categories. Selected References continues its journey through digitization for Internet Archive at

    APH is working with the Internet Archive to digitize portions of the M.C. Migel Collection. Search the phrase “full text” to find these items at The digitized texts are available in a variety of formats, including DAISY, Kindle, EPUB, PDF, etc.

    Contact Library staff:, 800-223-1839, ext. 705

APH Braille Book Corner

APH offers a number of recreational books in braille available with Quota funds. Each of these titles was originally transcribed and produced by APH for the National Library Service which has graciously granted permission for this offering. As usual, these titles have been added to the APH Louis Database where you can find thousands of titles produced in accessible formats.

  • By: Tom Angleberger

    T-N2194-20 – $40.50

    Hoping to become the world’s greatest detective, Inspector Flytrap, a Venus Flytrap, assisted by his assistant, Nina the Goat, investigates a thrilling mystery at the Capitol Building at the request of President Horse G. Horse. Grades K-3. *(AR Quiz No. 185859 EN Fiction, BL 3.8 Pts: 1.0)

  • By: Angie Thomas

    T-N2187-40 – $40.50

    When sixteen-year-old Starr Carter witnesses the fatal shooting by a police officer of her childhood best friend, Khalil, she is afraid to speak out. But remaining quiet and safe is difficult with tensions rising between the police and the community.
    Grades K-3. *(AR Quiz No. 185859 EN Fiction, BL 3.8 Pts: 1.0)

  • By: Christina Baker Kline

    T-N2187-30 – $ 136.50

    Christina Olson, whose legs are weakened by a childhood illness, lives most of her life in her family home. There, she is burdened by her family history, until she is visited by painter Andrew Wyeth. As Andrew becomes entwined with her family, Christina reflects on her world.

  • By: Neil deGrasse Tyson

    T-N2190-60 – $ 82.00

    Author of The Sky Is Not the Limit explains astrophysics concepts in a condensed and easily digestible manner intended for people with limited time to read about the subject. Topics covered include the big bang, light, the space between galaxies, dark matter, the solar system, and more.

  • By: National Federation of the Blind

    T-N2177-50 – $ 188.99

    Twenty-nine essays illustrate the impact Kenneth Jernigan (1926-1998) made during his life, which included two decades at the helm of the National Federation of the Blind. Contributors include former director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Frank Kurt Cylke and inventor Raymond Kurzweil.