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APH News December 2003

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

Happy Holidays from your friends at APH!

CVI NIP Events Sweep the Nation!

National Instructional Partnerships

A cheering throng of 120 participants greeted Dr. Christine Roman in Hot Springs, Arkansas for "Taking Another Look: Building Visual Behavior in Children with CVI", sponsored through APH’s National Instructional Partnerships program (NIP). Ex Officio Trustee Jim Adams of Arkansas Educational Services for the Visually Impaired partnered with APH to present the workshop November 11 -13, 2003. The event allowed Dr. Roman to demonstrate the use of APH products in techniques and strategies to build visual attention and increase visual behavior in students with cortical visual impairment (CVI).

A slightly smaller but equally enthusiastic crowd of 60 greeted Dr. Roman in Las Vegas, NV, on November 20 – 21, 2003. The NIP event was held in partnership with Franchesca Soriano and the Nevada Early Intervention Services. Chris presented techniques for assessment and identification of children with CVI, as well as strategies for intervention featuring the use of APH products, to an audience of early interventionists, teachers of the visually impaired, occupational and physical therapists, and parents.

Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU) in Springfield, MO was the site of another NIP event, "Making It Count: Math Skills for Students with Visual Impairment," presented by Susan Osterhaus of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Held in partnership with Dr. Chris Craig, Associate Dean, College of Education, the event attracted over 75 participants from Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The participants were from local school districts, the Missouri and Arkansas Schools for the Blind, and rehabilitation agencies. Among those attending were local transcriptionists, university personnel, paraprofessionals, O & M specialists, and consumers. An array of APH products was demonstrated, along with non-APH products that relate to mathematics. Each participant left the conference with new ideas, new skills, and new sources of information.

If you are interested in hosting a NIP event in your area, please contact Janie Humphries,, or call 800/223-1839, ext. 367.

SMSU recently announced that they anticipate an August, 2004 opening for a tenure-track Assistant Professor in special education. They require a background in visual impairment and mild/moderate disabilities. If interested, contact Dr. Chris Craig, 901 S. National Avenue, Springfield, MO, 65804,

APH Art Presentation at the Indiana AER Conference

Suzette Wright and Fred Otto, project leaders in APH’s Research Department, presented several art-related products at the conference of the Indiana chapter of AER in November. The attendees were evenly divided between school and rehabilitation professionals and were interested in art activities for both education and recreation. Suzette and Fred also demonstrated a prototype of the Invisiboard, a CVI-related product under development.

The NEW Louis and AMP Interfaces

Louis Database

Last month, we announced the pending roll out of a new interface for the Louis Database of Accessible Materials for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired and the Accessible Media Producers Database. This new interface offers many enhancements to assist low vision and speech software users. It also incorporates many suggestions that we have received from Louis searchers over the last few years. Changes will improve searching, purchasing APH products, printing reports, downloading files from the repository, and displaying search results.

AMP: Accessible Media Producers Database

Look for the new Louis AND the new AMP interfaces to be available in December! The week of December 8, a demo of the new Louis and AMP interfaces will be available on the web. Then, on December 15, the new Louis and AMP interfaces will be available!

Although all Louis searchers will be able to use Louis, only those with IE 6 or better, or Netscape Navigator 7 or better, will be able to use the new interface. Please upgrade soon so that you can check out all the new features in Louis!

Watch the web site for more news on the new Louis interface! Currently, we plan on maintaining access to the old Louis interface through March 31, 2004.

Using the APH Hundreds Board

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) publishes the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. These standards delineate six Principles that should guide school mathematics programs and 10 Standards that propose content and process goals. Did you know that these standards include an Algebra Standard for Grades Pre-K-2? One of the examples of an algebraic activity involves the Hundreds Board. It states, "Skip-counting by different numbers can create a variety of patterns on a hundred chart that students can easily recognize and describe. Teachers can simultaneously use hundred charts to help students learn about number patterns and to assess students’ understanding of counting patterns."

This activity can become accessible to your students who read braille by offering alternative instructional teaching strategies to the classroom math teacher and by using the APH Hundreds Board and Manipulatives.

For more information contact Ralph Bartley at

APH Participates In Bridging the Gap (BTG) Leadership Summit

Halloween fun was had by all...

BTG was held Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, 2003 in Atlanta. Co-facilitators of the conference, sponsored by the American Foundation for the Blind’s National Literacy Center, were Tina Tucker and Karen Wolffe.

General sessions included a review of the goals and design of the "Bridging the Gap: Best Practices for Instructing Adults Who Are Visually Impaired and Have Low Literacy Skills 2001" workshops. Breakouts included sessions on Advocacy, Grantsmanship, and Technology. Two half-day work group sessions addressed topics currently considered "high priority" in the field of adult basic education for persons who are visually impaired: accessible tests and materials and programs for English as a Second Language (ESL) Learners.

Barbara Henderson, APH Accessible Tests Department, and Marie Amerson, AFB Solutions Forum Work Group Leader, facilitated and presented the work group session on accessible tests and materials.

BABIES COUNT: The National Registry for Children with Visual Impairments, Birth to Three

Babies Count is moving along very nicely. The new database has been loaded on the APH server, and the process of entering the data from surveys collected since January 1, 2001, has begun. There are 1,103 surveys from twelve states to be entered into the database. Those states are: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Utah.

Eleven additional states have been trained on the procedures and will be submitting data in the near future. These states include: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Our goal is to "leave no babies behind."

APH Focuses on Family Education

Twenty agencies have been identified to participate in a project sponsored by APH to solicit information from parents that will assist APH to identify products and specialized materials that may
be developed with parents in mind. Ten schools for the blind, six private/nonprofit agencies, and four public school systems will participate in this project.

APH is discussing the possibility of co-sponsoring a national conference for parents in 2005 with the National Association of Parents of the Visually Impaired (NAPVI) and the Hadley School for the Blind.

Training for Transcribers
Beyond the Guidelines: Phase II

APH’s Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC) hosted a transcriber workshop in Louisville, November 17-19, 2003. The workshop was attended by 26 NLS certified transcribers who transcribe textbooks, tests, and other educational materials.

Workshop participants

The workshop included topics such as ATIC Textbook Transcription Specifications, Creating Tactile Graphics for Mass Production, and Guidelines for Test Transcription. The highlight of the workshop was a day of training on the Promising Practices for Transcribing Early Literacy Textbooks. The Promising Practices document is an associated effort between APH and the Braille Authority of North America (BANA).

This was a great opportunity for APH to get feedback and input on the Promising Practices document. All comments are being taken into consideration and a revised document will be posted on the ATIC web page by mid December. Transcribers are encouraged to use these guidelines when transcribing textbooks for grades K-3. APH and BANA certainly went beyond the guidelines as set forth in the Braille Formats: Principles of Print to Braille Transcription.

Additional workshops will be held in Colorado Springs, CO, Los Angeles, CA, and Orlando, FL during Spring 2004. If you are interested, please contact Jane Thompson at or call 800/223-1839, ext. 370.

Photo: Workshop participants.

Another Callahan Museum Collection Goes Online

The Callahan Museum is pleased to announce that selections from our collection of postcards, photos, and illustrations of schools for the blind are now on our web site at Introduced at this year’s annual meeting, the collection is also available to organizations as a small traveling exhibit. The focus of the exhibit and the web pages is the history and architecture of the school buildings. It is presented chronologically in order of the founding dates of the schools and there is also an alphabetical list for locating specific schools.

Oleg Stepanovic, Blind Boy with Rocking Horse, ca. 1922
From the Callahan Museum Collection: Historic Images of Blind People

Boy with white cane poses beside rocking horse

We seldom know the identity of, much less have information about, the blind people whose portraits we have in our collection of historic photographs and art depicting blind people. When we purchased this charming photograph of a little boy and his rocking horse, we received the unexpected bonus of the boy’s history provided by the seller. The boy in the picture was Oleg Stepanovic and he was born and lived in Belgrade. He was born blind into a wealthy family who provided him with a private tutor so that he was well educated. The mother of the man who sold us the portrait was a distant relative of Oleg. She saw last saw him in 1939 when she was attending college in Vienna and remembers him as a "very handsome and charming boy with dark glasses." After W.W.II, she searched for Oleg and his family, but never found them. She feared that the family was sent to the German concentration camps, but no one knows. We can only hope that Oleg is alive somewhere and has had a happy and fulfilling 81 years.

We are actively searching for additions to our historic images collection and welcome contributions of photographs and works of art about blind people.

Now Available!
ENVISION Braille Teachers’ Instruction Manuals


The ENVISION line of products is now complete with the addition of the braille teacher’s manuals! The ENVISION training program uses high-interest characters such as Emmy the Emu to teach students to use optical devices. Covering skills such as tracing, tracking, and scanning, it includes stories, practice activities, and clinician reports.

There are separate ENVISION programs for distance and near-magnification devices, with each further divided into materials for younger and older students.

Braille Teachers’ Instruction Manuals:

  • ENVISION I, Ages 10 and Under: 5-08551-01…$23.00
  • ENVISION I, Ages 11 and Over: 5-08551-02…$23.00
  • ENVISION II, Ages 10 and Under: 5-08552-01…$23.00
  • ENVISION II, Ages 11 and Over: 5-08552-02…$23.00

ENVISION Complete Kits:

  • ENVISION I with Telescope Array: 1-08551-00…$540.00
  • ENVISION I without Telescope Array: 1-08553-00…$195.00
  • ENVISION II with Magnifier Array: 1-08552-00…$395.00
  • ENVISION II without Magnifier Array: 1-08554-00…$175.00

Other ENVISION materials are also available. See catalog or web site for more details.

Braille DateBook

Braille DateBook

APH introduces an attractive planner-organizer designed specifically for braille users! The Braille DateBook consists of:

  • Rugged binder with slate pocket, stylus pocket, and a hook/loop fastener.
  • Tabbed plastic calendar pages for organizing brailled filler paper.
  • 250 sheets of 4×6 blank filler paper for brailling appointments or other information to be filed in the date book.
  • Blank plastic tabs to use in creating sections for addresses, class assignments, medical information, etc.
  • Saddle-shaped stylus
  • Pamphlet in print and braille with suggestions on setting up your DateBook.

Braille DateBook Calendar 2004: 1-07899-04…$53.00
Replacement Filler Paper and Tabs: 1-07897-00…$10.00
Replacement Calendar Tabs 2004: 1-07898-04…$13.00

APH News Credits

Malcolm Turner, APH Web Site Coordinator
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Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Ralph Bartley, Director, Research
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Burt Boyer, Field Services Representative
  • Tony Grantz, Manager, Business Development
  • Barbara Henderson, Test/Assessment Project Leader, Accessible Tests
  • Janie Humphries, Director, Field Services
  • Becki Moody, Communications Support Specialist
  • Julia Myers, Director, Resource Services
  • Fred Otto, Tactile Graphics Consultant, Research
  • Artina Paris, Assistant, Field Services
  • Jane Thompson, Director, ATIC
  • Carol Tobe, Director, Callahan Museum

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research
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