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APH News: April 2018

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!

Cover of 'A Touch'

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

Nomination Deadline Extended!

Kiosks in the Hall of Fame display plaques of the inductees

The 2018 nomination process for the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field will be open through April 30!

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 nomination packet including a 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).

If you are interested in learning about the easy (electronic) process for submitting a nominee to join the 60 current Hall of Fame inductees, please visit:

Questions? Contact: Janie Blome, Curator, Hall of Fame, email hidden; JavaScript is required or Bob Brasher, Co-Curator, email hidden; JavaScript is required

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

New! A Touch

6-77956-00 — $145.00

Cover of 'A Touch'

What could be simpler than a touch? Or more meaningful for young tactual learners? As the text and tactile illustrations in this book by Carlotta Vaccari show, “just a touch” – soft, smooth, fragrant, tickling—has the power to lift the heart.

A Touch is a colorful, texture-rich book perfect for reading aloud with a very young child. The sturdy pages are small and easy to turn, and the text is extremely brief. Heart–shaped textured pieces can be manipulated and used to stroke the child’s hands and face. And at the end of the book, as promised, the heart takes wing and lifts from the page.

The book’s text is provided in large print and contracted Unified English Braille. The clear, silkscreened braille is of high quality and extremely durable. Originally produced in French, the English version is produced for APH by Les Doigts Qui Rêvent (LDQR) workshop in Dijon, France.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up.

New! Snap Circuits® Jr Access Kit or Access Pack

Access Kit: 1-03041-00 — $129.00
Access Pack (labels and accessible instructions only): 1-03042-00 — $73.00

Cover of the Snap Circuits Jr instruction book
photo of the Snap Circuits Jr Access Kit

Snap Circuits® Jr. is an entry-level product for learning about circuits, current, resistance, switches, motors, and other basic electronics concepts. Sold in stores, it is widely used in classrooms because the parts are durable, colorful, and easy to assemble into projects that light up, make sounds, and more. The Snap Circuits® Jr. Access Kit, which is sold exclusively through APH, includes the commercial product, and makes it accessible to users who are blind or visually impaired by providing parts labeled in braille, along with written project instructions in braille and large print.

The Kit gives instructions for building 101 projects. The parts include a motor with fan blade, a speaker, three integrated circuits that produce sounds, a sound-activated chip, two switches, a lamp, and numerous others to connect and combine in many ways. All the parts snap together on the building surface, called the "breadboard," to form circuits with a perceptible result.

The Snap Circuits® Jr. Access Pack is offered for customers who already own the Snap Circuits® Jr. commercial kit; it contains only the accessible instructions and braille labels for the customer to apply to the parts and storage tray.

Aligns with Next Generation Science Standards 4-PS3-1 through 4-PS3-4 and others related to Energy.

Recommended ages: 8 years and up.

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!

New Downloadable Manuals Available

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:

  • ColorStar
  • Snap Circuits® Jr Project Instructions

APH Spring Fever Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Spring Fever Sale 2018, April 1—June 30. As always, first come, first served.

STEM Corner

Cover of 'Adapting Science for Students With Visual Impairments'

APH is updating the 2006 publication Adapting Science for Students With Visual Impairments!

Do you have tips for teaching any and all aspects of STEM education to students with visual impairments? Content areas include biology, chemistry, physics, Earth science, astronomy, and math.

If you do, please share them with us, and we will consider incorporating them into the revised edition of this handbook.

Please email comments and suggestions to Rosanne Hoffmann at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

New on the APH Physical Education Website

Spring into action with two new Features!

Beep: Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind, by David Wanczyk, is the first book published about this remarkable sport.

Including Young Athletes with Visual Impairment in Track & Field is the third in a series of videos designed to help coaches, sports assistants, and parents with teaching strategies, modifications, and equipment adaptations.

Treasure From the Migel Library

Title page of 'Teachers of the Blind' showing the handwritten inscription: Mr. M. C. Migel with expressions of highest respect Berthold Lowenfeld.

Lowenfeld, Berthold. Teachers of the Blind, Their Status and Salaries. American Foundation for the Blind, 1941.

This 1941 report found that teachers at schools for the blind had the same professional training as public school teachers, but their salaries were far lower. Additionally, teachers of the visually impaired had less professional experience than public school teachers. Researchers speculated that low salaries combined with the challenging workloads forced them to leave the field of visual impairment early in their careers. This copy of “Teachers of the Blind” was signed by the author, Hall of Fame inductee Berthold Lowenfeld. Dr. Lowenfeld inscribed the book to fellow Hall of Fame Inductee M.C. Migel, for whom the library collection would be named 23 years later. “Teachers of the Blind…” has been digitized for the Internet Archive at

160th Anniversary Writing Contest

Logo reads: APH 160th 1858-2018. Words are wrapped in a laurel wreath

We invite you to share your story about the impact of APH products on your life and celebrate your personal successes! Students and adults who are blind or visually impaired*, as well as professionals in the field are encouraged to enter. Cash prizes will be awarded in each category:

First Place — $500
Second Place — $250
Third Place — $100

First Place winners in each category will also be invited to travel to Louisville, Kentucky, to read their entries at the APH 160th Anniversary National Writing Contest Awards Ceremony, to be held in October 2018! APH will cover travel and hotel expenses, as well as APH Annual Meeting registration fees, for each first place winner and one guest.

The deadline for all entries are June 1, 2018. For additional information on writing topics, rules, eligibility, and evaluation criteria, please visit the contest website. Questions? Contact Nancy Lacewell at email hidden; JavaScript is required or 502-899-2339, or Lauren Hicks at email hidden; JavaScript is required or 502-895-2405.

*For the purposes of this contest, visual impairment is defined as corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, or a visual field limited to 20 degrees or less. This includes those who function at the federal definition of blindness (FDB), described above, due to brain injury or dysfunction.

Coming Soon: Different Color…Different Texture…Different Experience

APH Introduces PermaBraille™ for the Production of Tactile Graphic Products, Textbooks, and Test Materials

APH is pleased to introduce a new vinyl material that will make a positive difference in your students’ learning experiences with tactile graphics. APH plans to incorporate the use of PermaBraille, a durable vinyl material, into our tactile products, textbooks, and tests in lieu of other materials on the market. In anticipation of this transition, APH is sharing some common questions and answers about the unique features and applications of this vinyl material.

What color is PermaBraille?
PermaBraille is white and provides an updated, modern look that integrates well with standard paper.

What is the texture of the PermaBraille?
PermaBraille has a very smooth, paper-like quality that is easy on tactile readers’ fingers during braille reading and graphic exploration.

Is PermaBraille durable for repeated use?
PermaBraille is notably tough and resistant to tearing. The tactile integrity of formed braille and graphic elements remain intact throughout multiple uses.

How thick is PermaBraille?
The thickness of PermaBraille is 5 mil.

Is PermaBraille safe to use with students?
PermaBraille is a nontoxic, latex-free, and moisture-proof vinyl material that is safe for classroom use.

Can PermaBraille be used in combination with a table-top thermoform machine?
PermaBraille was successfully tested with tabletop thermoform machines using a variety of tactile masters (e.g., collage, UV-printed diagrams, aluminum foil). Ideal temperature and cycle settings should be tested and adjusted on a specific machine to ensure expected braille and tactile results before multiple copies are thermoformed.

Can PermaBraille be used with a slate and stylus?
A slate and stylus is an appropriate means to add braille text/labels to PermaBraille. The thinness of PermaBraille contributes to an effortless tooling experience, requiring very little hand strength.

Can PermaBraille be used with tactile drawing tools (e.g., serrated spur wheels, point symbol tongs)?
PermaBraille accepts tactile elements and braille labels tooled via cold-forming methods. Always tool from the reverse side of a sheet to transfer needed tactile lines and point symbols to the upright side of a tactile graphic.

Can a student or teacher mark on PermaBraille sheets?
If a student should need to mark on a graphic formed with PermaBraille, or if the teacher would like to add print text next to braille labels, it is best to use a smear-resistant drawing or writing tool (e.g., permanent marker, crayon).

What sheet sizes and styles of PermaBraille are available for APH customers to purchase?
PermaBraille is custom-cut for APH using conventional braille sheet dimensions (11.5 x 11-in.) in both unpunched and 19-hole punched versions, as well as 8.5 x 11-inch sheets offered in 50-sheet packages. APH plans to provide this material in bulk packaging styles (500 sheets per box) that are convenient and suitable for vendors or individuals who mass-produce tactile graphics via table-top-thermoform processes.

Within which types of APH products will teachers and students likely encounter tactile graphics using PermaBraille?
Tactile graphics formed using PermaBraille will become more commonplace and may be encountered in various APH products, including future Building on Patterns editions, as well as transcribed textbooks and tests.

What is the cost of PermaBraille?
APH strives to keep the cost per sheet of PermaBraille competitive with other similar commercially available options used for the same end use. Because PermaBraille sheets are custom designed and packaged for APH customers, packages will be available for purchase with Quota funds.

What do braille readers say about PermaBraille?

  • “pleasant to the touch”
  • “not clingy”
  • “feels more like paper”
  • “doesn’t tear easily”
  • “easy to read for longer periods of time”
  • “hands slide/glide across paper in a smooth motion”
  • “feels nice and crisp”
  • “(produces) nice sharp braille”
  • “great texture and closer (in feel) to embossed paper”

APH wants to know what you and your students think as well. Please keep APH informed about your first-hand experiences with tactile graphics produced with PermaBraille by sending your thoughts and feedback to Karen Poppe (email hidden; JavaScript is required).

PermaBraille should be available to order by late May/early June. More information about this new and exciting vinyl material will be available in future issues of APH News.

Social Media Spotlight

Social Media Spotlight logo

Facebook Announces Alt Tag Editing Feature

About two years ago, Facebook introduced the functionality of adding alt text to photographs in posts. While this was a great step toward accessibility, the alt text, which was automatically generated by Facebook, did not provide a clear description, and was not editable. Because of this, APH continued our practice of adding more comprehensive photo descriptions in our posts.

Fast forward to 2018, and Facebook’s recent announcement that the automatically generated alt text may now be overridden, allowing for a more descriptive caption to be included. This change allows individuals using a screen reader to hear a full photo description, without that content being included in the posts. APH applauds Facebook for this step toward greater accessibility. Since the announcement, we have been phasing out the image descriptions in our posts and have begun using the alt text editing feature to enhance the photo descriptions. We welcome your feedback on this change, and look forward to new improvements in accessibility across all social media platforms.

Apple Proposes A New Line of Accessibility Emoji

a sample of some of the new accessibility emojis include an ear with a hearing aid, a dog guide, and a girl with a white cane.

As reported by Forbes in late March, Apple recently outlined a new line of accessibility emoji. Some of the proposed characters include a guide dog, people using canes and wheelchairs, a hearing aid and prosthetic limbs. For the full story, please follow this link:

"Like" APH at Our Facebook Page!

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

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.

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

Queen of the Shadows (Throne of Glass, Book 4)
By: Sarah J. Mass: T-N2119-40 – $261.00
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire — for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past. She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight. She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return. Grades 9-12. *(AR Quiz No. 177231, BL 6.0, Pts: 29.0)

By: Christopher Paolini: T-N2120-90 – $368.00
The further adventures of Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, as they continue to aid the Varden in the struggle against evil king Galbatorix. Sequel to Eldest. Grades 9-12. *(AR Quiz No. 125940, BL 7.8 Pts: 45.0)

Happy Ever After (Bride Quartet, Book 4)
By: Nora Roberts: T-N2168-50 – $146.50
Connecticut wedding planner Parker Brown falls in love with her brother’s irksome friend, mechanic Malcolm Kavanaugh. Malcolm wonders whether they could possibly be good for each other, but Parker wants the man she loves.

Freedom Found: 7 Seeing Eye Miracles
By: Joseph Dean Klatt: T-N2061-50 – $326.00
Autobiography of Joseph Dean Klatt and the challenges he faced when he lost his eyesight in a tragic car accident at the age of nineteen. Discusses his determination to achieve independence, his academic years, his seven Seeing Eye dogs, and his personal life.

The Transcriptionist
By: Amy Rowland: T-N2073-60 – $77.00
In a forgotten room on the eleventh floor of the Record newspaper, transcriptionist Lena does her work in obscurity. One day, she discovers the picture of a blind woman she’d met days before–dead of mauling by lions. As Lena searches for answers, she questions her work.

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

Quick Tips: More Than Product Information Spots

Quick Tips Corner logo features a post with two street signs
APH Quick Tips logo: Short videos from APH

If you keep up with weekly Quick Tips, you know that many of them are about our plethora of useful and educational products. That, however, is not always the case. Sometimes we focus on services and other not-so-tangible aspects of APH. This month, we’d like to share with you our three core values.

As noted in each video, let us know how we’re doing on these values by providing feedback at email hidden; JavaScript is required. And… if you’ve got a great idea for a Quick Tip, contact Kerry Isham at email hidden; JavaScript is required

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


April 6-7, 2018
Iowa IESBVI Spring Family Conference
Vinton, IA

April 12-15, 2018
Los Angeles, CA

April 23-24, 2018
Charting the Cs: Cross Categorical Conference
Alexandria, MN

June 21-23, 2018
Visions 2018
San Diego, CA


April 4-7, 2018
AFB Leadership Conference
Oakland, CA

April 9-11, 2018
BANA Spring 2018 Board Meeting
Los Angeles, CA

April 13-14, 2018
Perkins Hacks
Watertown, MA

May 8, 2018
Perkins Innovation Advisory Group
Watertown, MA

June 11-13, 2018
M-Enabling Summit
Arlington, VA

June 20-23, 2018
Anaheim, CA

June 27-29, 2018
CCSSO/NCSA Conference 2018
San Diego, CA

CIP Events

April 19, 2018
Kutztown University CIP Event
Kutztown University, PA

June 30-July 1, 2018
Portland State University Presentations
Portland, OR

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APH News Credits

Dr. Craig Meador
email hidden; JavaScript is required

Dorinda Rife, Vice President, Educational Services and Product Development
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Malcolm Turner, APH Website Coordinator
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Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Justin Gardner, Special Collections Librarian, Resource Services
  • Rosanne Hoffmann, STEM Project Leader, Research
  • Lauren Hicks, Internal Communication Coordinator, Public Relations
  • Kerry Isham, Field Services Representative
  • Leslie Knox, Director, Marketing and Communications
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, Research
  • Mary Robinson, Assistant, Field Services

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