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APH News: April 2017

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

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

Talking Typer logo features a cartoon speech bubble with braille letters inside

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

Partnerships: Vital to Providing Products and Services

There’s nothing like being part of an IEP team to remind you of how important partnerships are. And when you’re the only one around that big table talking street crossings and telescopes, partnerships make it possible to teach in an integrated and productive way. At APH, partnerships take on a different look, but their focus is the same: putting the very best products and services into the hands of students, adults, and practitioners to promote independence.

In this month’s news, we feature two important partnerships that have resulted in improving braille literacy for children: Braille Tales and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and LDQR and tactile books. Our partnerships stretch from product innovation and development to supporting the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind to the critical collaboration between Ex Officio Trustees and the staff at APH. Look for future stories as we share evidence that “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller

Dorinda Rife

NEW! Talking Typer™ (for iOS devices)

Quota Purchases: D-30021-APL — $4.99

Individual Purchases: purchase directly from App Store

Available April 14, 2017

Talking Typer logo features a cartoon speech bubble with braille letters inside

Talking Typer™ for iOS® devices is a typing and computer keyboard tutorial app designed for use by an individual or multiple students. It comes with 35 default lessons and many options for teachers and parents to edit and create new lessons, create student and group accounts, assign lessons to students and groups, and track student progress, all within one app. The app also includes Keyboard Explorer, a freestyle typing feature, and Hurry Scurry, a fun, fast-paced typing game.

Talking Typer for iOS uses VoiceOver and is self-voicing. It is compatible with iOS 9.1 and higher and works with the following devices:

  • iPhone® 5 SE and later
  • iPod Touch®
  • iPad Mini® 2, 3, and 4
  • iPad Air®
  • iPad Pro®

Talking Typer for iOS is available both for individual sale and for sale with federal Quota funds! Talking Typer for iOS must be downloaded from the App Store. Visit the APH shopping site for detailed instructions for either an individual purchase or Quota purchase.

IOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license. Apple, iPad, iPhone, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Woodcock-Johnson® IV (WJ IV) Adapted for Large Print Readers

Woodcock-Johnson® IV Large Print Kit: 4-66003-00 — $399.00

Replacement Items

5 Sets of Response Books: 23-201-031 — $292.95

APH Innovations Tote Bag: 4-66001-01 — $19.50

GlaReducers: 1-03062-00 — $14.80

Cover of the large print adaptation of the Woodcock-Johnson IV test booklet
One of the three batteries in WJ IV

The Woodcock-Johnson® IV is a comprehensive set of assessments which are administered individually. This assessment helps to identify learning problems and improve instructional outcomes. It can be administered to persons 2 years to over 90 years of age. The assessment is comprised of 3 batteries: Tests of Achievement (Standard and Extended), Tests of Cognitive Abilities (Standard and Extended) and Oral Language.


  • All tests in each of the 3 batteries are adapted for the large print reader; no content was omitted for this adaptation.
  • All Response Books used by the student have been adapted as stand-alone booklets for ease of student handling.

Woodcock-Johnson® IV Large Print Kit includes:

  • 5 Student Test Books
  • 3 stand-alone Student Tests
  • 5 sets of 11 Response Books (additional sets sold separately)
  • 1 binder for storage of Response Books
  • 1 pack of GlaReducers
  • 1 Innovations Tote Bag for easy carrying and storage

Note: It is strongly suggested that the administrator have approved professional development training in administering the original print Woodcock-Johnson® IV.

Examiners must meet the qualifications for administering this assessment and have purchased the publisher materials. Examiners must have access to publisher materials, including: the test easels, WJ IV Manuals, Individual Test Records, the Woodcock-Johnson® Online Scoring and Reporting Program, and the Audio CD containing tests which are administered orally.

These materials must be ordered directly from the test publisher:

Customer Experience Support–Assessments
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

255 38th Avenue, Suite L
St. Charles, IL 60174
P: 800-323-9540
F: 630-467-7192
Orders: email hidden; JavaScript is required

NEW! Spinner Overlays for the Light Box

1-08692-00 — $249.00

Replacement Item:

Spinner Overlays for the Light Box Stickers Set: 61-157-255 — $36.10

Related Product:

Plexiglas® Spinner and Spinner Patterns: 1-08664-00 — $73.00

Photo of the spinner overlays kit

Designed to support the individual needs of learners with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) or low vision. Using color, light, movement, and increasing levels of complexity, the Spinner Overlays for the Light Box can be adapted and layered for many different purposes.

Learners diagnosed with CVI are challenged in understanding objects and concepts through use of their vision. The Spinner Overlays for the Light Box are unique in that the parent or teacher may design individualized overlays for each learner. Learners who demonstrate many CVI characteristics generally need a simpler design than learners who demonstrate few atypical visual behaviors.

Customize the overlays by creating patterns with the pre-cut stickers from the collection or with commercially available stickers.


  • Transparent overlays in six colors
  • Patterned overlays in many colors
  • Sparkle and holographic overlays in four colors
  • Two sizes of four sticker shapes in four colors
  • Narrow and wide sticker strips in four colors
  • Supplemental cards that are blank or printed with target images that complement the patterned overlays
  • Large Print Guidebook

Accessible HTML and BRF versions of Spinner Overlays guidebook available at

Use these APH products with the overlay and sticker collection:

  • Light Box, 1-08669-00
  • Mini-Lite Box, 1-08661-00
  • Plexiglas® Spinner and Spinner Patterns, 1-08664-00
  • Light Box Materials, Level 1, 1-08670-00

NEW! APH InSights Art Calendar: 2018

APH InSights Art Calendar: 2018: 5-18971-18 — $7.00

APH InSights Art Calendar: 2018, Custom-Printed: 5-18972-18 — $7.00

cover of the 2018 InSights Art Calendar

cover of the custom-printed 2018 InSights Art Calendar, showing the areas available for custom printing

This beautiful full-color calendar features the artwork of visually impaired artists. Suitable for students and adults who are blind or visually impaired–or anyone who enjoys unique artwork.

Months, days, holidays, and moon phases appear in both braille and large print. This calendar can be used at a desk or hung on a wall and is ring bound to allow pages to be folded over easily.


  • Full-color artwork by visually impaired and blind artists
  • Large print and braille
  • Front cover can be imprinted and brailled with your company name, logo, address, website, 800 number, etc.
  • Makes an excellent fundraiser!

Note: A special version of this attractive calendar can be custom-printed with your organization’s name for fund-raising purposes! Please follow the "custom-printed" link above for more information.

Field Tests and Surveys

Teachers Get Creative with APH’s ALL-IN-ONE Board!

Photograph of two All-In-One Boards featuring both the dry-erase magnetic side and the VELCRO brand loop side.

Special thanks to the many Teachers of the Visually Impaired who took the time to complete a brief product feedback survey regarding APH’s ALL-IN-ONE Board. Here are just a few of the creative ways teachers are currently using this product with their students:

  • The white board is used in math class for CVI students to reduce complexity
  • Place hook material on back of pictures for matching, sorting, highlighting major concepts of books
  • Choice-making activities such as selecting food items for lunch or recreation
  • Math problems, counting, storyboards, CVI activities
  • Reducing visual complexity by using the black background for finding objects, choosing PECS icons, and for shape discrimination
  • On-the-fly written materials on the whiteboard side
  • To provide extra contrast between background and items on a CCTV (black side of board)
  • As a slant board to place materials at eye level
  • Teaching shapes and patterns
  • Matching activities, sorting activities, working on writing, color identification, alphabet activities
  • Reviewing positional and directional concepts; map making
  • Teaching math concepts
  • Tracking, matching, sorting, writing, choice making
  • Vision tracking activities, complex background finding, math activities/manipulatives/tactile discrimination activities
  • Positional activities, simple maps, concept development (long, short, etc.).
  • On the dry-erase side—math problems, writing, drawing
  • For assessments when room does not have a wall mounted white board, to demonstrate viewing at angles
  • Black felt side—to help with contrast
  • Used during spelling and language arts class in the regular education classroom
  • Displaying an array of choices
  • Sometimes used as a partition to keep visual distractions down

APH’s Websites: We Want Your Feedback on Accessibility!

When accessing the web, are you a synthetic speech user, screen magnification user, or user of other accessible technologies? APH would like your feedback on the accessibility of our websites! If you have thoughts about the accessibility of the following:,, or, please email your comments to email hidden; JavaScript is required. We appreciate your time!

APH Spring Fever Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Spring Fever Sale 2017, April 1—June 30. As always, first come, first served.

At Home, Abroad—Partnerships Yield a Harvest of Books

Braille Tales logo features a friendly raccoon with a book in its lap

In 2011, APH initiated two partnerships intended to bring more print/braille and high quality tactile books into the homes of young children with visual impairments. Those partnerships, carefully tended, have grown, and six years later have produced a harvest of books. APH’s collaboration with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL), begun with an enrollment of 200 families, now provides six print/braille books per year to more than 1600 families of children with visual impairments, from birth to age six. APH purchases the print books at low cost, assisted by DPIL’s purchasing power. Braille labels are added, and the books are then mailed to each child’s home, free of charge. The program, now dubbed Braille Tales, initially grew from a parent’s request. Today, thousands of print/braille books are now on children’s bookshelves. In addition, a changing collection of 50 to 70 audio books recorded in APH’s Studios are available for free download from the APH website. In 2014, the Royal National Institute for the Blind modeled a program after APH’s Braille Tales in order to provide print/braille books in the United Kingdom. And just to the north, APH shares our recordings of DPIL books with the Canadian Royal Institute for the Blind. It appears one good partnership can give root to others!

the cover of 'Little Breath of Wind' is a painting of white clouds in a blue sky

While print/books are essential in forming emergent literacy skills, tactile books go further in providing an inclusive experience for audiences with and without vision. Tactile and multisensory illustrations support the meaning of a story, bolster exploratory skills, intrigue, and delight, making them tailor-made for a fully accessible read-aloud experience. So it was to APH’s benefit in 2011 to host Philippe Claudet, Director of Les Doigts Qui Rêvent (LDQR), a French producer of tactile books. Recognizing the quality of the books, members of the Research Department began to explore how selected books might be translated, produced by LDQR for US students and distributed by APH. Some years later, the popularity of the books has demonstrated the value of this partnership as well. Four titles have been made available, including Little Breath of Wind. This involved collaboration between APH and LDQR staff to select books, create an English translation, transcribe, and reproduce tactile illustrations fitting the needs of US students. Two more books are purchased and in the process of being produced and shipped to APH.

It would appear that 2011 was a good year for sowing the seeds of partnership at APH–and 2017—a year to celebrate as our “crop of books” reaches the hands of students eager to explore their pages.

Braille in the Modern Age

Photo of the Orbit Reader 20
Orbit Reader 20

A few times each year, articles or shows are published rationalizing how braille is no longer relevant, questioning its usefulness, or misrepresenting statistics. In this modern age, it seems like there must be something better. Without usable vision, information must get to the brain through one of the four remaining senses. Touch and audio are the ones most relevant to literacy. A look at the facts helps explain why tactile instruction will never die out.

Read the full article "Braille in the Modern Age," by Larry Skutchan

STEM Corner

drawing of a green stem with five leaves

The first item this month reminds TVIs and teachers that older APH products are still valuable teaching tools!

Health Education Teachers!

Tactile graphics depicting male and female internal and external anatomy are available in Volume II of the Basic Tactile Anatomy Atlas, a long time APH product (catalog number 1-08845-00). Images include views of the male and female pelvis as well as fertilization and mitosis. These might come in handy for some of your lesson plans.

DNA-RNA Kit Video 3

The third explainer video for the DNA-RNA Kit, demonstrating the process of transcription or the formation of messenger RNA from a DNA template strand, is now available for viewing at the following link:

Stay tuned for more videos about molecular biology after the release of the Protein Synthesis Kit!

Planning Meeting for UEB Research

At APH’s October 2016 Annual Meeting, President Craig Meador announced that the APH Board had approved funding for research into Unified English Braille (UEB) and STEM subjects. In February, members of the Educational Product Research group hosted a UEB research planning meeting. Led by Cay Holbrook, a group including recognized experts in braille literacy, mathematics, science, and research methodology met to identify potential research questions regarding the representation, perception, and concept mastery of math and science materials in UEB. Over two days, the group identified key issues related to UEB in the field and discussed the formation of a bias committee to oversee the research. Members will write up research plans and meet again virtually on May 22nd.

Attendees included Cay Holbrook, University of British Columbia; Holly Lawson, Portland State University; Derrick Smith, University of Alabama; Frances Mary D’Andrea, University of Pittsburgh; Robert Englebretson, Rice University; Joseph Petrosko, University of Louisville; Erin Chavez, Kentucky Department of Education. The meeting was coordinated by Kate Herndon and Cathy Senft-Graves and attended by Dorinda Rife, Janie Blome, Jane Thompson, Rosanne Hoffman, and Jeanette Wicker, staff at APH.

group photo
UEB research planning group: Front row: Joseph Petrosko (KY); Holly Lawson (OR); Erin Chavez (KY); Back row: Cay Holbrook (BC); Frances Mary D’Andrea (PA); Robert Englebretson (TX); Derrick Smith (AL).

NIMAC Version 3 Launched with New Features

Screen capture of the NIMAC home page

The NIMAC is excited to announce the successful launch of our new online system, NIMAC v3. The launch on March 21, 2017 represents the culmination of a year-long development project which involved a comprehensive analysis of our users’ needs and a complete system redesign. As technology advanced over the past several years, new options became available to the NIMAC. Working in partnership with our system vendor, OverDrive Inc., we were able to provide a more robust system architecture—one that would better serve existing needs and position the NIMAC for future growth. At the same time, the redesign project provided an opportunity for the NIMAC to respond to user feedback by offering new features and a more streamlined, intuitive interface. Among other developments, major improvements and enhancements were made in the areas of searching, file downloading, and account management.

Since its beginnings in December of 2006, the NIMAC has now grown to house over 46,000 file sets from 130 educational publishers. The NIMAC’s more than 400 users—including all 50 states and seven Outlying Areas—have downloaded over 26,000 NIMAS files for use in the production of accessible materials on behalf of students with print disabilities. this work going forward with the launch of the new system.

Feel free to visit our new public search at, or for more information, visit our website at

2017 Hall of Fame Nominations are Now Being Accepted

Hall of Fame Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

The nomination process is open through April 30, 2017.

"The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired."

Who should be the next inductees in to the Hall of Fame for the Blindness Field?
If you are interested in learning more about the easy (electronic) process for submitting a nominee to join the 58 inductees, please visit:

What are the Criteria?
Persons who have made significant contributions to improve the lives of those who are blind or visual impaired in such areas as professional practice, research, writing, leadership, direct service, and/or in their professional organizations.

What is Required to Nominate Someone?
Nominators must submit a comprehensive nomination packet including a thoroughly completed Hall nomination form and three letters of support.

Who is Eligible?

  • Persons are eligible five years after departure/retirement from positions where their significant lifetime body of work was made.
  • Individuals from North America are eligible for nomination. (North America is defined as US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean).

Visit the hall of fame website and learn more about the hall and those honored there:

2016 Inductees: Sir Frederick Fraser and Randall Jose

Sir Frederick Fraser's Hall of Fame PlaqueRandall Jose's Hall of Fame Plaque

To be inspired by their achievements, please visit their Hall biography pages.

Greg Goodrich, Chair, Hall of Fame Governing Board, email hidden; JavaScript is required
Janie Blome, Curator, Hall of Fame, email hidden; JavaScript is required

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

  • Jessica Grove, the Orientation Center for the Blind
  • Kim Alfonso, the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind
  • Richard Shults, to the Glenwood Resource Center
  • Lauren Merritt, the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind

Here’s a handy link to the full directory of Ex Officio Trustees.

APH on the Road

APH Helps “Level the Playing Field” at CTEBVI

Staff members representing Field Services, Braille Improvement, Accessible Textbooks and Tests, and Technology Product Research presented and exhibited APH’s wares at the 2017 California Transcribers and Educators for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CTEBVI) Conference, which was held in San Francisco, CA in March. The convention’s theme was “Leveling the Playing Field,” and it drew about 500 attendees, many of whom made it a point to stop by the APH booth to try out our educational products. The event was full of information and networking, and APH was glad to be a part of it.

Social Media Spotlight

Social Media Spotlight logo

Collaborate with APH on Pinterest

Did you know that ten of our current 35 Pinterest boards currently are group boards? This means that APH, other organizations, and individuals work together to curate the greatest variety of content possible…and you can join us! It’s easy.

Check out all 35 boards, including the newest edition, "Creative Ideas for Using APH’s Carousel of Textures," at If you wish to suggest topics for additional boards or want to contribute to any of our existing boards, please email Paul Ferrara, APH’s Social Media Coordinator, at email hidden; JavaScript is required. Happy pinning!

"Like" APH at Our Facebook Page!

Facebook Logo

We invite you to visit our Facebook page and "Like" us! You can find APH at these social media sites: Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, and at our blog, Fred’s Head from APH.

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 several weeks for delivery.

Immortal Guardians
by Eliot Schrefer: T-N2144-90 — $70.50
Series: Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts, Book 1
When an ancient dark force emerges from a centuries-long slumber, Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan must stop it from sweeping through Erdas and destroying their spirit animals–and the world. Grades 3-7

Spell It Out: The Curious, Enthralling, and Extraordinary Story of English Spelling
by David Crystal: T-N2141-20 — $143.50
A linguist chronologically examines the history of spelling in the English language to unearth the stories behind the rogue words and irregular spelling rules that confound so many.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family
by Amy Ellis Nutt: T-N2160-60 — $137.50
Chronicles the lives of the conservative Maines family who, having adopted identical twin boys as babies, were destabilized by the realization that one of the boys identified as a girl. The author details the emotional fallout, resistance and accommodation within the family, and the fight for Nicole’s rights.

Behind Closed Doors
by B. A. Grace: T-N2165-00 — $114.00
Jack has looks and wealth, and his wife Grace has charm and elegance. It’s difficult to get to know Grace better, however, because Jack and Grace are never apart. Grace never answers the phone and can never meet for coffee. And there are bars on the bedroom windows. Some Adult Content.

Vision In White
by Nora Roberts: T-N2163-30 — $145.00
Wedding photographer Mackensie Elliot is most at home behind the camera, but her focus is shattered moments before an important wedding rehearsal when she bumps into the bride-to-be’s brother–an encounter that has them both seeing stars–and has Mac turning to her three best friends and business partners to see her way to her own happily ever after. Some Adult Content.

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

APH Quick Tips: Partnerships

Quick Tips Corner logo features a post with two street signs

In keeping with this month’s theme on partnerships, here are some APH Quick Tips that show how we work with others, both within APH and in the field:

Keep up with APH Quick Tips at To provide feedback or send us your own Quick Tip, contact Kerry at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

APH Quick Tips logo: Short videos from APH

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH

NIP Events

April 19, 2017
The APH Intervention Continuum
Newark, NJ

April 23-25, 2017
Strategies for Teaching Students with Cortical Visual Impairment
Minneapolis, MN

CIP Events

April 17, 2017
Illinois State University Training
Normal, IL


April 2-5, 2017
POSB Math & Science Institute 2017
Austin, TX

April 5-7, 2017
Tactile Reading Conference
Stockholm, Germany

April 5-8, 2017
NCTM 2017
San Antonio, TX

April 19-22, 2017
Council for Exceptional Children 2017
Boston, MA

April 23-26, 2017
GREAT: Gulf Region Education AT Conference 2017
Doha, Qatar

April 26-28, 2017
Penn-Del AER Conference 2017
Harrisburg, PA

June 28-30, 2017
CCSSO National Conference on Student Assessment
Austin TX


April 25-27, 2017
National Leadership Consortium on Sensory Disabilities (NLCSD) Mentoring Meeting
San Antonio, TX

STC Summit 2017
National Harbor, MD

June 25-July 1, 2017
DeafBlind Young Adults in Action Leadership Class
Washington, DC

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APH News Credits

Dr. Craig Meador
email hidden; JavaScript is required

Dorinda Rife, Vice President, Educational Services and Product Development
email hidden; JavaScript is required

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
  • Paul Ferrara, Social Media Coordinator, Communications
  • Nicole Gaines, NIMAC and Digital Accessibility Manager
  • Kate Herndon, Director, Educational Product Research
  • Rosanne Hoffmann, STEM Project Leader, Research
  • Kerry Isham, Field Services Representative
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Drew Lueken, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field Services
  • Mary Robinson, Assistant, Field Services
  • Larry Skutchan, Director, Technology Product Research
  • Monica Vaught-Compton, Project Consultant, Research
  • Suzette Wright, Research Associate

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

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