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Get the Most Out of BrailleBlaster™

BrailleBlaster logo

Maybe you’re already familiar with BrailleBlaster – APH’s revolutionary and free braille transcription software designed to help transcribers provide students who are blind with braille textbooks on the first day of class. Maybe you know about BrailleBlaster, but aren’t familiar with all the ins and outs of the software. Or, maybe BrailleBlaster is completely new to you.

BrailleBlaster is easy to use, and with it, you’ll have time to get that 1000-page textbook completed before the start of the semester. You’ll have time to get that test produced in Nemeth and UEB Math. You’ll have time to write that letter to your dear braille-reading friend who always appreciates when you send letters to her the old-fashioned way.

Here are some of BrailleBlaster’s features:

  • translate braille accurately in UEB or EBAE
  • format braille
  • automate line numbered poetry and prose
  • split books into volumes
  • add transcriber notes
  • describe images
  • automate braille table of contents, glossaries, preliminary pages and special symbols pages
  • automate a variety of table styles
  • translate and edit single line math
  • so much more!

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! You can download BrailleBlaster at

Product Updates

  • In last month’s APH News, we announced the pre-sale of the new Braille Trail Reader LE – the newest addition to APH’s family of refreshable braille displays. Interest (and pre-sale orders) were overwhelming, and all Readers were spoken for in only a few short days. Our next supply of 300 Braille Trail Readers are on the way! There is plenty of time to order your Reader and have it delivered before the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year! Visit for more information, and to place your order.

  • Finding the right book for students is now easier! APH’s Early Braille Trade Books combine commercially available books with braille labels for beginning readers. These kits include books, braille labels, and access to an interactive website: The Rigby series provides nonfiction books that are aligned with national standards and provide motivating texts that systematically build high-frequency words and reading skills.

    Rigby Nonfiction Kit #3 includes the following books: Hot Sunny Days, Rain is Water, The Sun, the Wind, and the Rain, and Where Did All the Water Go?

  • This FREE, interactive app is specially designed for students with low vision and a cognitive level of 5 years of age or older. Students with additional disabilities, such as autism and language delays, may also benefit from this app. Sighted students and adults are invited to enjoy the app as well.

    Flip-Over FACES allows a child to casually explore facial expressions within a fun and versatile context. Hundreds of facial expressions can be generated by changing the eyebrow position, eye direction, and mouth type. Multiple hairstyle and eyewear options are available to add interest or visual complexity.

    Available for iOS® devices. Android™ app anticipated by end of September 2019.

  • Now available in UEB, the What is IT? Kit helps children develop real images related to descriptive terminology and words, and includes an instructional booklet for the why, how, and what of IT.

    Recommended for ages 3 and up, the exercises in the What is IT? Kit enable students to gain the foundation for comparative thinking, leading to the ability to generalize and communicate independently.

    Think about this: Both tables and chairs have “legs” and a flat surface, so what is the difference between them? What do “flat” and “surface” mean? Does “leg” mean table leg, animal leg, or person’s leg? Active repetition within the context of daily activities is required to meaningfully tie labels to their many possible associated concepts.

  • Get the manual you need instantly! APH offers a selected list of product manuals available for free download ( You may print or emboss these as needed. In most cases, we will continue to package hard copies of these manuals with their products and sell hard copy replacements.

    Newly added manuals include:

    • See Like Me: Low Vision Simulators Guidebook

Thank You, EPAC and ESAC Scholars and EOTs

Endless thanks to the EPAC and ESAC scholars who visited APH in April. Your leadership, your expertise, and your feedback is invaluable to us as an organization, and to the blindness and visual impairment field!

group photo
EPAC and ESAC scholars and EOTs pose in front of an APH “Welcome Everyone” banner. Seated in the front row, from left to right: Marjorie Kaiser, Donna Hultman, Pepper Watson, Marie Piquion-Leach, and Scott McCallum.
Standing in the middle, from left to right: Nancy Moulton, Carmen Willings, Donna Earley, Serena Preston, Mary Jo Wagner, and Mary Lane. Standing in back row, from left to right: Eric Shaw, Kathy Segers, Carson Cochran, Dan Wenzel, Paul Olson, and Rob Hair.


  • Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Spring Fever Sale 2019, April 1—June 30. As always, first come, first served.

  • We listened to your feedback and are pleased to announce the 2019/2020 APH Products Catalog will include product photos. We understand how important these photos are when making an informed purchase.

    Do you wish to continue receiving the APH Products Catalog? We are cleaning up our current catalog mailing list, and we need your help! Within the coming weeks, you will receive an email survey. Please respond, and let us know if you wish to continue to receive our catalog, or if you’d prefer to only access our catalog online. Those who do not respond, or who decline a printed catalog, will no longer receive future copies. As always, catalogs can be ordered by contacting APH Customer Service at 800-223-1839 or

  • It’s hard to believe that another school year is almost over, but we know your hard work and planning for the school year ahead is not. There’s still plenty of time to get the most out of your quota dollars. Visit for all of your educational products and textbooks needs, and rest easy during summer break knowing your items will arrive before the start of the next school year.

  • Did you know 80% of broken Braillers can be fixed with basic repair skills? The Perkins School for the Blind is hosting two Brailler Repair Workshops this summer. Two levels of Brailler repair workshops are being offered based on skill-level:

    Due to popularity, Perkins is offering each workshop twice and have made on-campus accommodations available for all workshops:

  • Sight City
    May 8-10, Frankfurt, Germany

    Wisconsin AER Collaborative Vision Conference
    May 9-10, Stevens Point WI

STEM Corner

Accessible Periodic Table of the Elements on the web and via mobile apps

In March, we learned that 2019 was the 150th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev’s Periodic Table of the Elements. Since the introduction of mobile devices, accessibility to STEM, including the periodic table, has improved greatly. For example, check out the screen reader-accessible periodic table presented by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Physical and chemical facts about each element are provided including group, period, atomic number, electron configuration, oxidation states, and isotopes, to name just a few. Viewers are invited to download the free Royal Society of Chemistry Periodic Table apps on their iOS and/or Android devices. For a simpler periodic table of the elements, search for “Elements Periodic Table by SusaSoftX” on your Android device, or “Periodic Table by iExamonline” for either iOS or Android devices.

Calling all STEM Field Testers!

APH is conducting field testing for an Accessible Electronic Maker Kit. If you are involved in coding and/or electronics instruction and are available to test this product during the summer months with one or more students, we want to hear from you! Testing will begin in June and will require a few hours of commitment, along with the completion of a short survey for each student who tests the product.

This would make a great summer project for you and your students!

Social Media Spotlight


A great way to stay up to date on happenings in the field on social media is to use industry-specific hashtags! Use these accessibility hashtags to connect with other leaders and be part of the conversation:


It’s easy to stay connected with other professionals when you use social networking. Follow APH on Twitter for the latest updates on products and resources!

Have a social media tip worth sharing or a question? Email our social media specialist:

Treasures from the APH Libraries

  • Allman, Bob. “We Blind Have Fun.” Saturday Evening Post, 22 June 1940.

    Before graduating as valedictorian, Robert Allman spent much of his time at Overbrook School for the Blind playing football, wrestling, and developing and adapted game of baseball that became popular across the US. Robert continued to have academic and athletic success at the University of Pennsylvania, where he wrestled on the college team, and graduated in the top 4 students of his class. Despite his successes, Allman consistently found that he had to demonstrate his abilities to his sighted colleagues before anyone would believe in him. Sighted classmates, instructors, and even family often objected to his participation in such rigorous sports. But eventually, those who had been the most opposed to his participation became his biggest supporters. As the article closes, Robert was setting his next goal: becoming a lawyer. Further research shows that he not only went on to practice law, but also to found the Mid Atlantic Blind Golf League. This article has been digitized for Internet Archive.

  • Department of Educational Research, School and Classes for the Blind. (1955) Liaison Report, Introductory Meeting, October 6 and 7, 1955. Louisville: American Printing House for the Blind

    This month’s submission comes from the Instructional Materials Resource Center (IMRC) collection of the Barr Library. The Liaison Report, Introductory Meeting, October 6 and 7, 1955, in its own words, “summarizes the first meeting of liaison representatives of schools for the blind working with the Department of Educational Research of the American Printing House.” The conference was in response to APH’s desire to undertake the development of a liaison program to implement research activities and develop a closer working relationship between APH’s Department of Educational Research and the schools and classes that it served. The program was envisioned as a way to not only identify topics that warranted research, but also communicate and integrate research activities among and between schools and APH. The goal of the conference was to lay the foundations for that liaison program and establish future Educational Research projects for collaboration. In attendance were APH and AFB research leaders, educators, and luminaries of residential schools for the blind, including future Hall of Fame members Georgie Lee Abel and Sam Ashcroft, founder and first Director of Educational Research here at APH.

    The Liaison Report chronicles the discussions of the group, acknowledging the limitation of communicating in writing the spirit and enthusiasm of their conversations. Within the report both AFB and APH recapped current research projects within each organization, including APH’s Braille Research Program, sponsored by the Library of Congress, which spurred a conversation among the attendees regarding braille-reading materials. Additionally, the report provides a brief glimpse of how the Department of Education Research came into being, conversation on research techniques, topical discussions, and areas identified as noteworthy for introductory projects by APH’s Educational Research. It is interesting to see many of the conversations and threads of thoughts from this gather are still prevalent and in discussion today. The report offers a fascinating view into APH’s past, highlighting the individuals, projects, and efforts that we are built upon and in many cases are still continuing.

    The APH Barr Library supports research initiatives at APH, while the Migel Collection is one of the largest collections of nonmedical information related to visual impairment in the world. Although the collections do not circulate, an ongoing digitization effort means APH will make materials available online at the M.C. Migel Internet Archive page. The digitized texts are available in a variety of accessible formats, including DAISY, Kindle, EPUB, PDF, and read-aloud. Contact Library staff:, 800-223-1839, ext. 705