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APH News: April 2002

Your monthly link to the latest products and services information.

Janie Humphries Named Director of Educational and Advisory Services

Janie Humphries, Director of Educational and Advisory Services

After a national search we are pleased to announce that Janie Humphries has been named Director of Educational and Advisory Services. Janie joined APH as the first "official" APH Field Services Representative in August of 2000 after a successful career in Arkansas as a vision teacher, regional preschool consultant, and acting director of Educational Services for the Visually Impaired (Arkansas Department of Education/School for the Blind).

During her tenure at APH, Janie has traveled the country sharing information about the company’s products and services with a considerable amount of her time focused on the development of three new federal initiatives. One of those initiatives has allowed Janie to contract with experts to incorporate their knowledge of APH products into presentations. Topics presented around the country, in partnership with our Ex Officio Trustees, have ranged from teaching math skills to developing a better understanding of cortical visual impairments. A second initiative has allowed Janie to work with APH staff to create special product catalogs and videos. The third initiative includes the University Product Loan System that has proven to be a very successful strategy for university instructors to share APH products.

In her new role, Janie will continue to meet federal initiative goals as well as provide leadership to the Federal Quota Census process and the growing field services responsibilities.

New Products!

Art History Through Touch & Sound: Baroque Art of the 17th Century

Photo of Art History Through Touch and Sound

A sixth title has now been added to our unique Art History series. This multi-sensory system uses sight, sound, and touch to convey the richness of the world of art to people who are visually impaired.

Complete Kit: 1-09005-00 – $99.00

MasterPlan Medical Record Keeper

The MasterPlan Medical Record Keeper is a large print organizational tool for keeping medical records. It provides a system for storing and organizing information on personal identification, medical history, insurance, medications, physicians, and other medical records.

The product is on non-glare, non-bleed paper, with 22 point black type. It’s housed in a three-ring binder for easy access and re-organization. Extra sheets for physicians notes and personal notes are included. Handy folders are included for insertion of invoices, reminders, and prescriptions. Tab pages divide the product into easy-to-locate divisions.

MasterPlan Medical Record Keeper: 1-07930-00 – $29.00

Digital Clock Model

Picture of The APH Digital Clock Model

Demonstrate how a digital clock works with this durable teaching tool. The model has numbers in large print and literary braille on three manually adjustable wheels (hour, ten minute, and minute) and is housed in a black plastic case with non-skid rubber feet. (This is a model only and has no motor.)

Digital Clock Model: 1-03126-00 – $26.00

Open Dates for Booking IN TOUCH WITH KNOWLEDGE

Two "In Touch With Knowledge" Display Kiosks

Open dates for the APH Callahan Museum traveling exhibition, IN TOUCH WITH KNOWLEDGE, Hands-on Reading and Writing, are July 14 through August 24 and September 8 through October 19. In May and June the exhibition will be in Iowa so the open dates are good opportunities for organizations in the Midwest to book it. The rental fee for the exhibit is $500 plus incoming shipping. The exhibit requires a space of 200 square feet or 22 linear feet. For further information contact Carol Tobe at 800/223-1839, ext. 365, or email email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Play Ball with APH!

APH Ex Officio Trustee Don Potenski (NJ) recently generated a nationwide survey regarding APH products. A significant result indicates that 94% of respondents would like a reliable and durable beeper ball. In response to that need, APH and Halter Design are working together to develop a new beeping ball.

To gather additional information, focus groups are scheduled at two upcoming events: the North Central Association of Schools for the Blind (NCASB) 2002 Forensic and Swimming Championships at the Illinois School for the Blind, April 19-20, and Camp Abilities, a developmental sports camp for children who are blind, June 23-29.

We encourage all attendees of the conference championships in Illinois to participate in the sessions. Dawn Chambers, Illinois Athletic Director, is arranging time and space for the groups, with each session to last approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.

For more information on the focus group to be held at Camp Abilities, contact Dr. Lauren Lieberman at or 585-395-5361, or check their web site at

For additional details and a bibliography, contact Tristan Pierce (email hidden; JavaScript is required). Let’s play ball!

Down the Historical Research Road-
or How Acquiring a "Noctograph" Led us to Learn About the Discovery of Carbon Paper!

The latest and most interesting artifact acquired by the APH Callahan Museum is an historic writing device known as a "Noctograph." It looks very much like many of the old pencil-writing guides-a hinged frame with wire guides, but it predates them by many years. In 1806 a patent was issued in England to Ralph Wedgwood for a "Stylographic Writer" which was designed to help blind people write. Because it was difficult for blind people to write with quill and ink, and pencils were not widely available, Wedgwood invented "carbonated paper." This "carbonated paper" was made by soaking paper in printers’ ink and drying it. It was fitted in the writing frame between two sheets of plain paper and a metal stylus was then used to transfer the ink onto the plain paper. The bottom sheet was the "original" which was sent out, while the top sheet, with writing in reverse, was the copy. Later named the Noctograph, our writing guide has with it a booklet labeled "carbonated paper" and a booklet with copies of correspondence (in reverse) dated 1811. The well-known visually impaired historian, William Hickling Prescott (1796-1859), used a Noctograph. We have a published photograph of Prescott writing with his Noctograph in the early 1800s.

Here is another example of an invention originally designed to help blind people-like the typewriter and the long playing record-that led to products that benefited everyone.

"It’s a girl" for Christine Anderson

The Anderson family: Scott, Christine, and Kyra

Christine Anderson, Director of Resource Services, and her husband Scott went to China in February to adopt their daughter Kyra Marie Anderson. Kyra is almost 14 months old now, and Christine reports that she is a wonderful, happy baby. She has two teeth, loves to "cruise," and has already slept through her first IMAA legislation meeting. This picture was taken right after Kyra became a U.S. citizen at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China.

Although Christine is currently working an "abbreviated" schedule at APH, she can still be reached at

Braille Transcription Seminar on Using Publisher Files


The Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC) Division of APH is actively supporting the American Foundation for the Blind’s (AFB) Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum. One of the goals of the Solutions Forum is to offer training in new skills to current braille transcribers. It is essential that transcribers learn to use the files in the most efficient manner with the current proposed legislation requiring the provision of publisher files to those responsible for supplying braille textbooks within each state.

To reach this training goal, a core writing team, including ATIC staff, created a manual and web-based training course on how to use publisher files for braille transcription. It is planned that this self-directed seminar course will be available from AFB’s web-site ( during the Spring of 2003.

The new manual was piloted at a workshop in Houston, Texas, at the Region IV Education Service Center, February 1, with approximately 22 transcribers in attendance. Another workshop for 22 transcribers was held at the conference for California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH) in San Diego, California, March 14. A third training session, for 20 transcribers, is planned for the National Braille Association (NBA) Conference, in Alexandria, Virginia, April 10. A final training session will be offered to the Association of Instructional Resource Centers for the Visually Handicapped (AIRCVH) in Louisville, Kentucky, October 10, just prior to the APH Annual Meeting.

ATIC is proud to be a part of this exciting project that enables transcribers to gain the skills necessary to produce braille textbooks more efficiently. It is hoped that increased skills will generate increased production, thereby insuring that braille readers will receive reading materials at the same time as their print reading peers.

APH FLEA MARKET – April 1 through July 12, 2002

The APH Flea Market provides a listing of overstocked and discontinued products available at reduced prices. Since the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) consumers are very important to us, we have extended the sales period for the upcoming quarter to include their annual conferences in early July. Discontinued products are available while the supply lasts. All products are in mint condition and ready to use. Check out the Flea Market on the APH web site,

Job Posting: Accessible Media Editor Wanted for Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC)

The ATIC team is attempting to grow by searching for another qualified Accessible Media Editor to add to the two already in place. This position will work closely with other ATIC staff to edit print textbooks for transcribers. Experience in editing braille and large print is ideal. Please see the position description and call Jane Lyons at 800/223-1839, ext. 370, or email email hidden; JavaScript is required with any questions.

Burt and the Babies Count

Burt Boyer

I started as a Field Services Representative at APH on March 4, 2002, focusing on early childhood education and family education. I am so pleased to be at APH and look forward to working with the field to improve programs and services to children/students with visual impairments. My first task is to address the Babies Count Project, or, as it’s formally known, the National Registry for Children with Visual Impairments, Birth through Three Years of Age. APH agreed to develop and implement this project in 1999, and progress has been made thanks to former Early Childhood Project Leader Judy Parks. Seventeen states are presently participating. Our goal is to add all remaining states and U.S. territories in the near future. I will be contacting professionals in each state to identify agencies that I need to work closely with to move this project forward. Anyone interested in learning more about the Babies Count Project can contact me at or call 800/223-1839, ext. 264. Be a part of the excitement and get involved! Thank you.    — Burt Boyer

Federal Quota Census THANKS!

Karen Blaker sends a great big thank you to all Ex Officio Trustees who sent their census data to us by the March 15 deadline.

Please be looking for the Data Verification Report that will be mailed to you within the next month or so. This report will indicate students who have been listed by two accounts (duplications) or student records that require correction(s). We will require that these records be corrected and returned to us within approximately three weeks of the mailing date.

Your hard work is appreciated!

APH News is compiled by Bob Brasher, email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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Thanks to the following APH staff members for their contributions to this effort: