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APH News

Your monthly link to the latest information on the products, services, and training opportunities from the American Printing House for the Blind.

April 2008

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

A small boy in a chair using a Select Switch

Read on to learn about these new products – now available!

Sports Camp Opportunities!

Check out the exciting 2008 Sports Camps listed on the APH PE Website at
If your sport camp for adults or children with visual impairment is not listed, please send the information to Tristan Pierce, email hidden; JavaScript is required

Late Spring/Summer Field Test Sites Needed

Do you have students ready to move from the APH Light Box to the computer? This field test consists of using the new Digital Light Box Artwork for simple cause & effect, matching, and choice making activities. The electronic format of the original Light Box artwork helps pave the way for a smooth transition from Light Box to computer. The easy to follow instructions are for Microsoft PowerPoint XP (Windows) and PowerPoint 2004 (Macintosh).

This should be an ideal activity for those of you who work with students on assistive technology projects during summer camp/school programs. Computer touch screen and switch users are encouraged to participate.

Please contact Tristan Pierce at email hidden; JavaScript is required

APH Calls for Field Testing of SAM

APH seeks 12 teams to field test SAM: Symbols and Meaning during the 2008-09 academic school year. This is a 9-month commitment.

For more details, please see the original announcement in the March APH News.

Nevada Early Interventionists Learn about Sensory Learning

The National Instructional Partnerships

Early interventionists, teachers of students with visual impairments, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, physical therapists and family members flocked to the offices of the Nevada Early Intervention Services March 4 – 5 to hear Mille Smith present on the use of the APH Sensory Learning Kit (SLK). Millie, author of the SLK, presented two days of techniques for using the routines and materials in the kit with students with severe cognitive impairments and other disabilities. Over thirty attendees were inspired by her presentation and eager to use the materials presented.

The National Instructional Partnerships (NIP) event was sponsored in partnership with Franchesca Soriano and Nevada Early Intervention Services. NIP events are designed to showcase the use of APH products across the areas of the Core Curriculum and the Expanded Core Curriculum. If you are interested in hosting such an event it your area, please contact Janie Blome, 800-223-1839, ext 367, or email email hidden; JavaScript is required

Praise for the DRAFTSMAN Tactile Drawing Board!

DRAFTSMAN Tactile Drawing Board

I am an itinerant TVI/O&M instructor. I have used the DRAFTSMAN drawing board quite extensively. For O&M, it has been handy to draw up diagrams of intersections on the fly. For example, I was able to stand at a roundabout and make a diagram while I was standing at the intersection. Or, if I found that a student did not understand a particular aspect of a route or intersection, the DRAFTSMAN is a tool that I could pull out of my trunk. In math classes, it has been very useful for me, the classroom teacher or an IA to draw visuals that the other students are getting on the board. It was used daily when a student of mine was taking HS geometry. In classes where teachers might need to use visuals to help a student who is blind, I will often leave a DRAFTSMAN drawing board for the teacher to use whenever they need to. Even when teaching vision concepts such as JAWS with the PC, I will use the drawing board to illustrate concepts like what the desktop looks like, what is in a MS Word window (menu bar, etc). I certainly use other kits as well like the Wheatly and the raised line drawing kit. But the flexibility of what you can do on the spot with the DRAFTSMAN has been a lifesaver for me.

David Rumer, TVI/COMS, Portland Public Schools/Columbia Regional Program in Portland, Oregon. (Published with permission.)

For more information on the DRAFTSMAN, see the September, 2005 issue of the APH News.

BANA Invites Observers and Dialogue at Spring Meeting

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) invites observers as well as dialogue at the semiannual meeting of its Board of Directors in Raleigh, North Carolina, from May 13 through 15, 2008. A highlight of the two and a half day meeting will be the customary Open Forum in which braille users are invited to provide feedback to BANA. Consumers, teachers, and producers of braille are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to participate in a round-table discussion about braille and to engage in a dialogue with the members of the BANA Board. The spring Open Forum will take place on Wednesday, May 14, 2008, from 4:00 till 5:30 PM in the Lineberry Hall Auditorium on the campus of the Governor Morehead School.

The Open Forum will provide opportunity for participants to learn more about the workings of BANA and to provide feedback on such topics as ideas about the representation of different types of print brackets, formats for braille menus, and several other topics on which BANA is seeking input. To reserve your spot at the Forum and to help ensure accurate counts for handouts, contact Diane Wormsley at 919-530-7693 or e-mail email hidden; JavaScript is required no later than Monday, May 5, 2008.

The business portions of the spring meeting will be held at North Carolina Central University and the Governor Morehead School. BANA sessions begin at 9:00 AM on Tuesday, May 13, and end at 12:00 noon on Thursday, May 15th.

Guests are welcome to attend the BANA meetings and observe the deliberations. Space is limited, so to reserve a seat, please contact BANA Chair Judith Dixon to register your desire to observe any or all of the BANA sessions. She can be contacted by email at email hidden; JavaScript is required or by phone at 1-202-707-0722.

For more information about BANA, its activities, and its various active committees, please visit

APH Joins Kentucky AER’s "Circle of KAER"

Jeanie Brasher

by Dr. Tuck Tinsley, APH President

Over 100 AER members enjoyed a rousing state conference at General Butler State Park, March 26 – 28. Dr. Phil Hatlen, APH’s Scholar-in-Residence, set the tone with a very well received keynote titled, "We Are Family." APH Museum Director Mike Hudson entertained and educated the crowd with "What Thou Livst, Live Well," a one-man play about historical figure Morrison Heady.

APH staff play key roles with KAER – – Burt Boyer is President-Elect and Sandi Baker serves on the Board. A highlight of the conference was the presentation of the KAER Exceptional Service Award to the Kentucky School for the Blind’s premier primary teacher, Jeanie Brasher, Bob’s wife (pictured).

Hall of Fame Adds Historic Event Video

In October of 2002, the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends for the Blindness Field was unveiled at the APH Annual Meeting. You can now enjoy or relive that historic evening that recognized the initial 32 members of the Hall and inducted the ten living legends on the Hall of Fame website. You’ll hear amazing tales from these icons of our field that will make you understand and appreciate why they have been so honored. Find links to the video on the Hall of Fame website.

"THANK YOU AND ALL THOSE WHO MADE THIS POSSIBLE. I was not able to be there, and now, to see the entire induction, it is just wonderful. What a treasure and gift to the field, to be able to see and hear this wonderful induction ceremony. Thank you just isn’t enough." Dr. Kathleen Huebner, PCO

Nine Living Legends of the Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field (October, 2002); left to right: Ruth Kaarlela, Samuel Ashcroft, Natalie Barraga, Cleo Dolan, Eleanor Faye, Louis Vieceli, Alice Raftary, Stanley Suterko, and Donald Wedewer.

APH Presents Summer Workshop: Making Test Items Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments

Accessible Tests and Research Staff are preparing for a two-day workshop on August 18 and 19, 2008, at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, KY. The focus of the workshop will be issues and guidelines relevant to "Making Test Items Accessible for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired." Some topics to be addressed include guidelines for designing tactile graphics, large print, computer-based and audio versions of test items, and needed accommodations. Participants will practice editing test items and much more. The workshop is targeted for members of assessment teams, such as test publishers, state and local assessment personnel, school psychologists, and anyone involved in the provision of tests in accessible media. There is a $25 registration fee; registration deadline is July 7, 2008.

For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Tasha McCoy, email hidden; JavaScript is required, or call her at 800/223-1839, ext. 480. Workshop materials, local transportation and meals during workshop hours will be provided. The workshop is limited to 35 participants.

APH Accessible Tests Department Survey Continues:
Types of Answer Documents Needed

The Accessible Tests Department continues to collect survey information on types of answer sheets needed in instructional as well as standardized test settings. Since many different formats are used, this research expressly addresses requests the department receives for accessible answer documents for students who are blind or visually impaired.

The survey, for regular education teachers, teachers of visually impaired students (TVIs), school psychologists, test administrators (TAs), and other educators and assessment professionals, is currently posted on the Accessible Tests section of the APH website. Your input is valuable and will be extremely useful in determining the most common formats needed. Individuals interested in participating are invited to complete the online questionnaire here:

For further information about this study or to request copies of the form in accessible media, see the Accessible Tests Department web page or contact Kerry Isham at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Many thanks to everyone who has already taken the time to complete the survey! Please pass this information along to TVIs and testing coordinators in your school.

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

James Olson, the Colorado Department of Education, replacing Ann Hicks.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


April 2-5, 2008
CEC 2008;
Boston, MA

April 3-5, 2008
NBA Professional Development Conference;
Dallas, TX

April 4-5, 2008
Jo Taylor Leadership Institute;
Burlingame, CA

April 7-11, 2008
Legislative Visits on Capitol Hill;
Washington, DC

April 9-10, 2008
NIP Event: CVI – A Further Look at Assessment and Intervention;
Kansas City, KS

April 15, 2008
Product Training at University of Arizona;
Tucson, AZ

April 18-20, 2008
Stepping Into the Future;
Des Moines, IA

April 21-22, 2008
Power Up 2008 Conference and Expo;
Osage Beach, MO

April 23-25, 2008
Penn-Del AER Conference;
Grantville, PA

April 25-26, 2008
NIP Event: Making It Count – Math Skills for Students with Visual Impairment;
Fremont, CA

April 26-28, 2008
Outreach Forum;
Nashville, TN


May 5-7, 2008
VAVF 33rd Annual Florida Conference of Volunteers Serving the Visually Impaired;
Orlando, FL

May 7-9, 2008
Dakota AER/Vision Conference;
Grand Forks, ND


June 13-15, 2008
Montana Family Learning Weekend;
Unknown at this time

June 16-18, 2008
Texas Focus Conference;
Austin, TX

June 26-28, 2008
National Braille Challenge;
Los Angeles, CA

June 29-July 5, 2008
NFB National Convention;
Dallas, TX


July 4-12, 2008
ACB 2008 National Convention (BITS) Luncheon;
Louisville, KY

July 22-27, 2008
2008 AER-Lift International Conference;
Chicago, IL

July 26-27, 2008
5th Bi Annual LCA (Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis) Family Conference;
Cleveland, OH

APH Flea Market

Take advantage of significant savings on selected APH products by visiting the APH Flea Market for April – June, 2008. As always, first come, first served.

NIMAC News of Note!

NIMAC/National Instructional Materials Access Center

NIMAC now has more than 5,000 NIMAS file sets available for downloading and conversion to specialized formats, including braille and large print! In operation only 16 months, NIMAC had been expected to receive only approximately 2,400 NIMAS files sets per year.

For more information on the NIMAC see

AFB Partners with National Association of the Deaf on Media Project

The American Foundation for the Blind has partnered with the National Association of the Deaf and its federally funded Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) to create guidelines for the description of educational media.

In 2007, AFB worked with service providers and experts in media description to formulate a set of draft guidelines for educational media description to increase the availability of predominantly visual curricula to children and youth who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind.

AFB encourages feedback on these guidelines and suggestions for items that may need more explanation. The draft guidelines can be reviewed at

For more information contact Dr. Kay Ferrell at email hidden; JavaScript is required or Mary Ann Siller at email hidden; JavaScript is required

National Certification Body for Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals Announces New President

March 17, 2008, Tucson, AZ

Garett Holm has been selected as the third President of the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Educational Professionals (ACVREP). He will succeed Sharon Mikrut as the head of the Tucson based national certification organization. Mr. Holm has most recently been the Manager of Education and Training and an Instructional Design Specialist for the Commission for Accreditation and Rehabilitation Facilities International (CARF).

ACVREP is the only national organization conducting education and examination-based certification programs in the field of blindness and vision loss. ACVREP provides national certification for Certified Low Vision Therapists (CLVT), Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (CLVT) and Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRT).

For more information on ACVREP Certification please go to or contact their office at 520-887-6816.

New Course Offered by Hadley: Business Communications

Hadley’s new course, "Business Communications," teaches students how to develop effective speaking, listening and nonverbal techniques useful in a business setting. Open to students in the Adult Continuing Education and High School programs, this six-lesson course is available in large print, braille, cassette and online.

For enrollment information, visit, or call Student Services at 800/526-9909.

Nominations Sought for Braille Challenge Teacher of the Year

Looking for a way honor a very special teacher? From now through April 18th we are accepting nominations for the Braille Challenge Teacher of the Year Award. All nominees are recognized and the awardee is brought to Los Angeles to attend the Braille Challenge Finals in June, compliments of Braille Institute. The Teacher of the Year also recieves a cash award and a Freedom Scientific PacMate worth nearly $4,000.

Go to and click on the Teacher of the Year link on the menu to your left. The website outlines the criteria for submission and a includes a PDF of the nomination form. Past awardees include Anna Swenson of Virginia, Graham Cook of British Columbia and Sandy Serventi from Florida.

"Receiving the Teacher of the Year award was a high point in my long teacher career." –Anna Swenson.

Don’t wait—the deadline for submission is April 18th!

APH Reviews Product Safety Standards

APH was recently informed by a customer that the Grandstand Reading Stand tested positive for lead content. APH immediately initiated a series of independent lab tests that indicated encapsulated lead within the plastic (Sintra) that fell well below United States/European allowable levels. We, however, immediately discontinued the use of Sintra in any products in favor of a substitute plastic material that tested negative for lead content.

For more information on the study and results, contact Bob Brasher at email hidden; JavaScript is required

A Great Way to Learn About APH Products

The APH website has a great page for learning about some of our most popular products, the APH Products Presentations page.

This page contains brief PowerPoint®-style presentations on over a dozen products. Flip through these accessible presentations at your leisure. Our newest presentations feature: Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding, SQUID Tactile Activities Magazine, and Web Chase.

NEW! Select Switch
1-08617-00 — $125.00

A small boy in a chair using a Select Switch
A small boy in a chair using a Select Switch to operate a toy rooster

The Select Switch includes features that make it useful for individuals with severe motor disabilities and cognitive impairments. This switch is battery-powered, with function control features that enable individuals to communicate and control battery-operated appliances, toys, and devices. Can be used in learning applications and daily living skills.


  • Polarity switch
  • 1/8" (3.5mm) mono plug (adapters may be used)
  • Four modes of control to meet the user’s needs: direct, latch, timed minutes, and timed seconds
  • A low slanting profile to allow easy accessibility
  • Suction cup feet to provide stability
  • Control devices rated from 3 – 12VDC with a maximum current draw of 1.5A
  • Smooth surface adapter plate for individuals who do not like the standard bumpy tactile plate

Note: Select Switch IS available with Federal Quota funds. Batteries not included.

NEW! Braille/Print Yardstick
1-03002-00 — $16.00

Both large print and braille readers can use this yardstick. The yardstick is made of durable white plastic and is drilled for hanging. It has raised-line markings along one edge in 1/4" increments, with braille markings every inch. Black large print markings are along the opposite edge in 1/4" increments.

Recommended ages: 5 years and up.

Related Product: Meterstick (Braille)
1-03000-00 — $14.00

APH Braille Book Corner

APH offers a number of recreational books in braille (Quota funds can be used). 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.

Note: all books are produced upon receipt of orders, therefore, please allow approximately 8 weeks for delivery.

Who Cloned the President? Capital Mysteries, Book 1
by Ron Roy, Braille: T-N1681-20 — $12.50
Since KC Corcoran watches the news on television every day, she notices that the president of the United States is behaving oddly. Deciding he must have been cloned, KC and her best friend, Marshall, set out to investigate. Grades 2-4. *(AR Quiz #49426, BL 3/5, Pts. 1)

by Catherine Fisher, Braille: T-N1673-40 — $62.00
Avebury, England. While his younger sister Chloe lies in a coma after a riding accident, talented teen Rob works at a secret archaeological dig. There he encounters a centuries-old shapeshifting Druid called Vetch, who promises to help retrieve Chloe from her imprisonment. Grades 6-9. *(AR Quiz #110255, BL 4.3, Pts. 9)

An Untamed Land: Red River of the North, Book 1
by Lauraine Snelling, Braille: T-N1672-80 — $108.00
1880. Roald Bjorklund, his wife Ingeborg, and their five-year-old son Thorliff leave Norway in search of a better life in America. They journey to the Dakota Territory where they build a homestead in the Red River Valley with faith, love, and hard work. Senior High. *(AR Quiz #53292, BL 5.4, Pts. 19)

Islam for the Western Mind: Understanding Muhammad and the Koran
by Richard Henry Drummond, Braille: T-N1658-20 — $101.00
Presbyterian minister and religious historian examines the fundamental teachings and cultural impact of Islam from a Christian viewpoint. Discusses the Koran, the founding prophet Muhammad, and the haditha or the prophet’s extra-Koranic teachings, as well as negative feelings between Christians and Muslims and the modern clash of civilizations. Adult.

Saved in the City
by Jacquelin Thomas, Braille: T-N1657-40 — $103.00
New York City. Three beautiful women try to succeed as black models: Macy, who flunked out of college, Patterson, who escaped rural Georgia, and widowed L.A. social worker LaRue. As the three become friends and face inevitable challenges, they trust in God’s plan for their happiness and fulfillment. Adult.

*Accelerated Reader number, reading level, and point value. For more information on the Accelerated Reader program, see the January 2006 APH News or

APH News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

Malcolm Turner, APH Website Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Tony Grantz, Business Manager, Finance
  • Mary Nelle McLennan, Executive Advisor to the President and BANA Board Member Representing APH
  • Julia Myers, Director, Resource Services and NIMAC
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field Services
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, Research
  • Scott Smith, Adm. Assistant, Business Development
  • Gwynn Stewart, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Debbie Willis, Director, Accessible Tests Department

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

March Issue –
February Issue –
January Issue –

Archive of all previous issues –

The APH News is a monthly publication from the American Printing House for the Blind:
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

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