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December 2001 APH Communication

Compiled by Bob Brasher, Director of Educational and Advisory Services.

Braille Edition Now Available!
Reach for the Stars, Planning for the Future: A Transition Process for Families of Young Children

A New Braille Edition of Reach for the Stars is now available

Reach for the Stars, Planning for the Future, is a first-of-its-kind guidebook on transitioning young children into preschool or kindergarten settings, aiding families and school personnel in creating educational plans that will lead to inclusive educational programs.

Through mapping a child’s likes and dislikes, hopes, strengths, limitations, communication forms, and surroundings, Reach for the Stars also prepares family members for their initial encounter with school personnel.

Discrete New GrandStand

The Grandstand. This one is yellow, but you can now choose black!

In response to the voice of the customer, the GrandStand is now available in black as well as our popular yellow. Decorators, rejoice! Now you have another choice — BLACK! The black GrandStand has all the same unique and popular features of our original GrandStand. It’s lightweight, it’s adjustable, it’s washable and durable. It’s attractive and easy to store, and now it’s BLACK.

ATIC Position Open

The Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC) proudly announces a newly created position — Tactile Graphics Developer and Trainer. This person will conduct research on tactile graphic production methods as they relate to textbook issues and will work closely with all tactile graphic staff at APH to improve production methods, graphic editing practices, and research. For additional information, view the job description or please contact Jane Lyons at email hidden; JavaScript is required or call her at 800/223-1839 Ext. 370.

APH Toy Team Plays Around

The American Printing House for the Blind has formed a "Toy Team" under the guidance of Rob Wise, Director of Educational and Technical Research. This newly formed committee’s mission is to review and recommend for sale commercially available toys that will require identifiable adaptations for children who have visual impairments or blindness. The Toy Team’s initial efforts have been focused on:

  1. developing a "Toy Submission Flowchart" that details the expected continuum from early evaluation to eventual development, and
  2. devising a "Toy Selection Form" that adequately and thoroughly screens the appropriateness of each potential toy for our target population. Beyond merely assessing a toy based upon its physical features and design elements (visual, tactile, auditory feedback, movement and so forth), selective criteria also rate the toy based upon the skills that it will support and develop, as well as the types of play it will foster.

The Toy Team will be conducting a nationwide survey in the near future to garner feedback from teachers and parents regarding ideal toys, either currently on the market or hard to find, that have proven motivational and educational for children with visual impairments and blindness. So as you are enjoying your holiday shopping, take special notice of toys that might, with a few adaptations, hold some potential for the Toy Team to consider and critique. In the meantime, please feel free to email Rob Wise at email hidden; JavaScript is required with thoughts or if you wish to participate in the survey. Thank you.

Upcoming National Instructional Partnership Event in Georgia

The National Instructional Partnership, administered by the Educational and Advisory Services Department of the American Printing House for the Blind, is pleased to sponsor an upcoming event in partnership with the Georgia Academy for the Blind. "Students with Visual and Multiple Disabilities, Including Autism" will be held on the campus of the Georgia Academy in Macon, GA, February 14 -15, 2002. Featured presenters will be Jay and Marilyn Gense, of the Oregon School for the Blind, and Millie Smith, formerly of the Texas School for the Blind.

Jay and Marilyn Gense’s presentation will focus on strategies and interventions for identifying and serving children with visual impairments and autism. Millie Smith’s presentation will offer information on building communication skills for students with visual impairments and cognitive disabilities. The grand finale for the workshop will feature the three presenters in a panel discussion of techniques and ideas for working with students with visual impairments and additional disabilities.

Registration for the event is $45. View Registration, agenda, travel and lodging info. If you have questions or need details, contact Ex Officio Trustee Marie Amerson at 478/751-6083 or APH Field Services Representative Janie Humphries at 800/223-1839, ext. 367. Please share information about this event with professionals and parents in your area!

If you would like to partner with APH to sponsor an event through the National Instructional Partnership, contact Janie Humphries at the above number, or email her at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

National Instructional Partnership Event To Prepare ISAVE Trainers!!


An April event to be held at APH will offer an exciting opportunity for professionals around the country to become certifiable! Certifiable ISAVE trainers, that is!

A two-day workshop, April 15 & 16, will provide training for teachers, early interventionists, and others interested in learning the skills needed to train their colleagues in the techniques and tricks used to administer the Individualized Systematic Assessment of Visual Efficiency (ISAVE). Hands-on opportunities and demonstrations will allow participants to gain knowledge and confidence in the administration of the ISAVE.

Elaine Kitchel, APH Low Vision Project Leader, will head a team of APH staff and others to provide this exciting opportunity. Registration will be limited to the first fifty applicants, and we request that those wishing to become certified trainers have at least two years experience in conducting functional vision assessments. Application forms and further information will soon be available on the APH web site,, or by contacting Janie Humphries by email at email hidden; JavaScript is required or by phone at 800/223-1839. Again, we ask that you please share this information with interested professionals in your area!

Test and Assessment Survey Results

Results of the first Online Test and Assessment Needs Survey are now available. The “Most Wanted List,” posted August 15 through September 1, 2001, asked participants to rank, in order of most immediate need, five individually administered assessments. The responses were tallied and here is the ranking, in order of greatest to least importance:

  1. WJ-III
  2. WIAT-II
  3. K-FAST
  4. Boehm-3
  5. CAS-2

Thanks for your input.

ISAVE Video Now Available

Good Lookin'...The ISAVE Video

The ISAVE Instructional Video, "Good Lookin’: ISAVE and the Minimally Responsive Child," is now available. This video, written by Elaine Kitchel and narrated by Suzette Wright, shows actual functional vision assessment situations. Children with minimal response topographies are featured in order to present viewers with the real-life assessment situations for which ISAVE is designed. "Good Lookin’ " takes you into the most difficult part of ISAVE, that is, assessment of children with minimally responsive behaviors. Lighting, visual fields, order of presentation, scoring, and numerous other topics are covered. This video is not only instructional, but also presents you with the stories of Timmy and Jacob, two little boys whose bright eyes will touch you deeply and make you feel good about what you do.

Good Lookin’: ISAVE and the Minimally Resonsive Child
1-30001-00 — $25.00

Advisory Committees Evolve

A new advisory committee structure was initiated and approved at the 2001 Annual Meeting. The change, based on the recommendation of the two advisory committees, came after reflection of their roles in the new APH environment where research and publications issues often overlap. The committees also expressed their desire to develop a structure that would further unify the internal operations of APH. Specifically, the request made the Publications Advisory Committee and the Research and Development Advisory Committee in to one committee of seven Trustees, called the Educational Products Advisory Committee. Trustees approved the action at the formal breakfast meeting.

The committee members, and the entire group of Trustees, also approved the development of a new committee to provide oversight and accountability to the two departments of APH primarily providing services: Educational and Advisory Services and Resource Services. The new committee, made up of five Trustees, is called the Educational Services Advisory Committee.

The approved slate of nominees for the two committees, offered by the Nominations Committee, join Trustees still serving to form the following new entities:

Educational Services Advisory Committee:

Educational Products Advisory Committee:

Sadly, we say goodbye to those who have served their terms: committee chairs Lee Robinson (PUBS) and Bill Daugherty (R&D) and committee members Lucia Hasty (PUBS) and Don Potenski (R&D). Also, Rick Welsh (R&D) must leave his committee prior to the end of his term. We are very appreciative of the important contributions made by all of these outstanding Ex Officio Trustees and thank them for their unselfish service!

Fond Farewells and Welcomes

With sincere gratitude we acknowledge the contributions of the Ex Officio Trustees who have served so well and must move on. We also enthusiastically welcome our newest Trustees who pick up their responsibilities. Complete addresses are found on the EOT Web Directory.

Prison Braille Programs

APH has recently launched an initiative to support and promote the work of braille production programs in correctional facilities across the country. Working to develop two such programs in Kentucky, it became clear to APH staff that learning from other professionals with more experience in this area could help significantly in addressing the unique challenges of establishing and maintaining braille programs in prisons.

In an effort to open lines of communication, APH has set up a listserve for professionals working with prison braille programs. A survey of program needs will be conducted in the coming months, not only to compile and share information, but to identify ways in which APH can support and promote the work of these facilities. If you are involved with such an effort in your area of the country, or if you know of others who are, we invite and encourage you to join the listserve. For more information, contact listserve manager Nancy Lacewell at 502/895-2405 ext. 339 or email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Thanks to the following for their contributions to this newsletter: