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

December 2008

APH Product News

Read on to learn about these products – now available!

World Blind Union Group Hosted by APH

APH hosted a meeting of delegates of the North American/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union (WBU) on Thursday, November 13. WBU is a non-political organization representing over 160 million blind and partially sighted persons in 177 member countries. It is a worldwide movement of blind and partially sighted people acting on their own behalf to 1) eliminate prejudice, 2) promote belief in the proven abilities of blind and partially sighted people, and 3) achieve full participation and equality in society.

A General Assembly of all delegates of WBU is held every four years; however, most of WBU’s work is carried out by its six regions: Africa, Asia, East Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America/Caribbean. The eighteen delegates of the NA/Caribbean Region include ten from the United States, four from Canada, two from Haiti, and two from the Caribbean islands.

Photo: Left to right, front row: Mitch Pomerantz (ACB), Maureen Matheson (AFB), Penny Hartin (WBU Exec. Dir.), Mary Ellen Jernigan (NFB), Cathy Moore (CCB), Kurt Cylke (NLS), and Lola Marson (CCBI); back row: Carl Augusto (AFB), Jim Kutsch (NIB), Marc Maurer (NFB), Tom Miller (BVI), Chris Gray (ACB), Susan LaVenture (NAPVI), Jim Sanders (CNIB), Tuck Tinsley (APH), and Linda Sobey (CCB)

Assessing High Interest/Low Vocabulary Book Interest

APH is assessing the need for High Interest Low Vocabulary books for students who are blind or visually impaired. This survey is in response to the interest expressed by Ex Officio Trustees, focus groups, and individuals who have submitted Product Submissions for specific reading materials. Help us determine the need for this type of book by completing a brief survey.

The Game of Squares

Would you like to help us make something old, new again? Please contact Karen Poppe if you are willing to complete a survey regarding the design of one of APH’s oldest board games-the Game of Squares. The product is currently being modernized and input from teachers and parents would be helpful in determining needed improvements. If you are familiar with the original design and have played the game with your students/child, your feedback is especially needed. Please contact Karen at email hidden; JavaScript is required or 800/223-1839, ext 322, to receive a copy of the survey.

Fire Interrupts APH Product Production

Products Out of Stock

A major APH subcontractor recently suffered a devastating fire which destroyed their inventory, their building, and several APH molds–thereby affecting the availability of 30 APH products. We are diligently reviewing alternative sources but anticipate that the following groups of products will be unavailable for many months.

A full list of the affected products is on our website.

APH Welcomes New Advisory Committee Members

Thanks to the good work done by the 2008 Nominations Committee at Annual Meeting, APH will soon be seeking the guidance and counsel of the new members of our two standing Advisory Committees.

Michael Bina (MD) was elected chair of the Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) and newly elected members Marjorie Kaiser (ND) and Barbara McCarthy (VA) will join current members Angyln Franquemont (AR) and Frank Simpson (NY) to carry on the work of this important committee.

Chair Jim Downs (GA) and current Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) members Suzanne Dalton (FL), Stacy Grandt (WI), Nancy Niebrugge (CA), and Steven Rothstein (MA) will be joined by new members Marty McKenzie (SC) and Jim Oldham (TN) to provide their important input and advice.

Barbara Perkis (IL) will serve as the alternate member of the ESAC committee, and Dean Stenehjem (WA) will serve as the EPAC alternate.

APH thanks each of these outstanding Ex Officio Trustees for sharing their time, knowledge, talents and expertise to help us improve the work that we do. Our thanks also to the ad hoc Nominations Committee for their excellent work-Bernadette Kappen, Chair (NY), Carol McCarroll (TN), and Stuart Wittenstein (CA).
The full EPAC and ESAC member lists, with contact information, are available on the website.

Visit APH on YouTube and Facebook

There are new ways to find out what’s going on at APH. APH has recently created YouTube and Facebook sites. Join us at these sites, add your comments, and become a subscriber.

On YouTube, you can see a short version of the new video, "Gateway to Knowledge." It replaces the old "Wings" video and gives a general overview of APH. Videos that show braille production and Talking Books production are also posted there. Visit these links:

Tweets from Fred’s Head

APH’s Fred’s Head Database and Companion blog have added another exciting way for you to get the latest news from APH and informative articles for folks who are blind or visually impaired. Fred’s Head posts can now be found on Twitter!

Wikipedia defines Twitter as "a free social networking and micro-blogging service, that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length."

You can follow Fred’s Head in a number of ways using the free Twitter service: on our profile page at; by using RSS, SMS, email; or through a variety of third-party applications. To get started, simply visit Fred’s Head and click on the "follow me on Twitter" link toward the bottom of the page.

New Name for APH Museum and Museum Gallery

APH’s award-winning museum first opened in 1994. It features books, printing equipment, and vintage educational aids that tell the story of the education of students who are blind or visually impaired. In 1999, in recognition of a generous gift, the museum was renamed the Marie and Eugene Callahan Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind. Although Eugene Callahan never worked at APH or used our products, he was the most generous living donor that the company ever had. His estate plan allowed APH to fund the museum for many years prior to his death in 2005.

The full Callahan museum name is a bit long if you’re printing it on a brochure or using it in a conversation with a group of school kids. By 2007, as the museum was finishing up a study of its audience and public perception, it became obvious that branding the museum with that name would be difficult. As we planned new exhibits for the APH 150th anniversary, we decided to rename the original gallery after the Callahans, and return the museum as a whole to our original name. So on your next visit to Louisville, we hope you’ll remember the generosity of the Callahans in the newly named Marie and Eugene Callahan Gallery during your trip to the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind.

Louis Braille Bicentennial Celebration

Louis Braille

Vive la France! Et Vive Monsieur Louis Braille! The father of true literacy for the blind and visually impaired, Louis Braille, is turning 200 and we’re celebrating with all things French! Come to the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind on Saturday, January 3 from 12:30-3 p.m. to explore the tastes, sights, and sounds of Louis Braille’s Paris home. Experts on Braille’s life, and the music, food, literature, and fashion of France in the 1820s will share some of the influences that helped shape this boy genius and hero of book lovers everywhere. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate and commemorate one of the most significant inventers of the nineteenth century (or any other century, for that matter). Registration is recommended. Call 800/223-1839, ext. 365 or email email hidden; JavaScript is required by January 2 to register.

2009 Nomination Process for the Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Hall of Fame Plaque of Richard Welsh
Hall of Fame Plaque of Richard Welsh

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is now accepting nominations for 2009 induction consideration.

If you are interested in learning more about the qualifications for nominees or the process for submitting a nominee to join the 42 inductees, please visit:

The nomination process will close Friday, March 27. Nominees first submitted in 2008 remain active.

"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."

Registration Now Open for the 9th Annual Braille Challenge® Reading, Writing & Spelling Contest

The Braille Challenge®, Braille Institute’s national reading and writing contest in braille, is a great way to motivate blind and visually impaired students to practice their literacy skills. Students test their skills in reading comprehension, braille speed and accuracy, proofreading, spelling and reading tactile charts and graphs. More than 500 students from first through twelfth grades participated in the Preliminary Round last year. The top-scoring 65 came to Los Angeles in June for the Final Round-two days of competition, camaraderie, and fun!

There are two ways students can participate–teachers can register their students to take the contest individually, or students can take part in one of the regional events held throughout the U.S. and Canada. There are 32 regional Preliminary Round events planned for early 2009. A regional event brings kids, families and professionals together as a fun way to celebrate braille literacy.

Registration for students taking the contest individually begins November 3, 2008 and runs through December 19, 2008. Teachers may submit an online form to register students by visiting the Challenge website at WWW.BRAILLECHALLENGE.ORG. (If you are unable to access the online form, please call 800/BRAILLE for assistance.) Please register all your students on one form. Students must be registered by their teacher or attend a regional event, as all Challenge contests must be proctored by a teacher for the visually impaired. Preliminary Challenge contests must be taken and returned to Braille Institute between January 1 and March 9, 2009.

Looking for practice materials to get started right away? Visit the website to access sample contests available for download.

For further information, please contact: Nancy Niebrugge, Braille Institute
741 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029

"If Anyone Can, You Can!"

This is Dr. Natalie Barraga’s story, from her beginnings in Troy, Texas to her travels across the globe. Dr. Barraga is probably best known for her writings on low vision and visual efficiency. She has received over 20 national and international honors and awards, and has earned the respect of students and colleagues around the world.

She began her career in education by teaching home economics in the public schools. She also taught kindergarten for two and a half years at the New York Institute for the Blind. After returning to Texas, she taught home economics at Texas School for the Blind and accepted an appointment to the special education faculty at the University of Texas. After retiring from The University of Texas, she has remained very active by teaching, researching, and advising at the University; by consulting nationally and internationally; and by advocating for continued improvements in services for blind children and their parents. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.

To order this wonderful autobiography ($30.00), visit the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired website:

To view Dr. Barraga’s biography and videoed acceptance of the 2008 Wings of Freedom Award, please visit her Hall of Fame biography page on the APH website.

Technical Research Welcomes an Administrative Assistant

Nancy Etter

In October, Nancy Etter joined the Technical Research Division as an Administrative Assistant. Nancy comes to Technical Research with a wide variety of experience. She began her career at APH in the data entry department (the old IBM department). In the nearly 29 years Nancy has been with APH she has worked in the electronic assembly department, the educational aids department, the braille production department, and, most recently, in the braille translation department as a certified braille transcriber.

Nancy’s addition to the department is the first increase in the staffing level of the department (from a staff of 4 to a staff of 5) in its nearly 20 year history. Please join us in welcoming Nancy to her new position in Technical Research.

APH’s Perkins Brailler a Hit at Conferences

APH's Perkins Brailler

The new APH Perkins Brailler was a big hit when it was exhibited at both the Tennessee Statewide Unity Conference in Nashville, TN Oct 30 and 31, and at the Indiana AER Conference in Spencer, IN on Nov 7. Nearly 200 teachers and Vocational Rehabilitation teachers from around the state of Tennessee attended the conference at the Tennessee School for the Blind, where Dr. Karen Blankenship gave the keynote address. And about 50 teachers of the visually impaired and Rehabilitation teachers in Indiana traveled to McCormick’s Creek State Park for Indiana AER’s conference, titled CAMP-IN-AER, where Dr. Paul Bither gave the keynote address.

Teachers, students and consumers alike were thrilled to have the opportunity to get their hands on the new and improved braillewriter. They especially like the smaller, lighter features, and of course the built-in eraser!

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

Janet Szlyk, the Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired, replacing James M. Kesteloot.

Julie Kagy, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, replacing Tom R. Winton.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


December 7-10, 2008
International Reading Association 26th Southeast Regional Conference;
Nashville, TN

December 8-12, 2008
Legislative Visits on Capitol Hill;
Washington, DC


January 8-11, 2009
2009 International Consumer Electronics Show;
Las Vegas, NV

January 9-14, 2009
American Correctional Association Winter Conference;
Kissimmee, FL

January 28-31, 2009
ATIA 2009;
Orlando, FL

January 20-22, 2009
BANA ELMP Committee Meeting;
APH in Louisville, KY


February 12-13, 2009
New Mexico AER (NMAER) 2009;
Albuquerque, NM

February 24-28, 2009
National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Conference;
Boston, MA


March 12-15, 2009
Burlingame, CA

March 16-21, 2009
CSUN 2009;
Los Angeles, CA

March 18-20, 2009
KAER 2009;
General Butler State Park, Carrollton, KY

March 31-April 4, 2009
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance 124th National Convention and Exposition (AAHPERD);
Tampa, FL

APH Harvest Sale 2008

Reap a harvest of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Harvest Sale 2008, October 1 through December 31. As always, first come, first served.

Sony EVI-D70 Pan-Tilt-Zoom Camera:
Optional Accessory for MaximEyes Video Magnifier

Related Product:
MaximEyes Video Magnifier
1-03915-00 — $3,495.00

The MaximEyes™ Video Magnifier offered by APH is a desktop CCTV magnifier with many features, including a large 19-inch LCD monitor, 60X magnification, and the unique PenTracker™ device.

One of the most exciting optional accessories for use with the MaximEyes Video Magnifier is the SONY® EVI-D70 pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera. This is the only external camera that works with the MaximEyes. The camera allows the MaximEyes user to access picture-in-picture features to:

  • View the teacher and read a textbook at the same time
  • View the blackboard and a worksheet at the same time
  • View a video or PowerPoint® and a paper document at the same time, etc.

The Sony EVI-D70 pan-tilt-zoom camera is also ideal for applications such as videoconferencing, distance learning, and internet communications — just about any application that requires a high-quality color video camera with remote pan-tilt-zoom. The hands-free PTZ camera combines a high-speed, quiet pan-tilt motor with a wide-angle view and 40x zoom (10x optical + 4x digital). It has innovative features such as auto focus, auto white balance, and automatic exposure control to keep the video image sharp when the camera changes positions.

APH does not sell the Sony EVI-D70 pan-tilt-zoom camera. Listed below are several websites that carry this camera. Prices vary. APH does not endorse any particular vendor.

There are other vendors, not listed, who sell this product as well. If you make a purchase from a vendor and you have a positive experience, we at APH would appreciate it if you would share the vendor’s name and product price with us.

Revised! APH Alphabet Card Folder

Pack of 50: 1-04000-01 — $6.50

Not available with Quota funds.

This print/embossed card is designed to raise the awareness of braille and large print among regular print readers. It includes an embossed braille alphabet, a sample of braille, a sample of large print, and a brief history of APH. It now has a refreshed design. Makes a great educational give-away. Measures 3 5/8 x 6 3/8 inches folded. Now sold in packs of 50, no longer sold individually. Note that the catalog number has changed.

As an educational service, up to five individual copies are available free on request by phone.

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.

After the Dinosaurs: Mammoths and Fossil Mammals
by Charlotte Lewis Brown, Braille: T-N1734-30 — $8.00
Describes ten unusual animals that lived long ago, including the woolly mammoth, the saber-toothed tiger, and the hyracotherium–the ancestor of all horses. Beginning readers, Grades K-3. * (AR Quiz #110324, BL 3.6, Pts. 0.5)

Playing for Pizza
by John Grisham, Braille: T-N1733-90 — $76.50
Third-string quarterback Rick Dockery of the Cleveland Browns disgraces himself in a championship game and is fired. Dockery insists that his agent, Arnie, find him another job. When Arnie comes through, Dockery heads to Parma, Italy, where he faces culture shock. Bestseller, 2007. Fiction, Upper Grades and Adult readers. * (AR Quiz #119110, BL 5.7, Pts. 11.0)

Black and White
by Paul Volponi, Braille: T-N1659-30 — $35.00
Long Island. Black Marcus Brown and white Eddie Russo, best friends and high school basketball stars, stick up people for easy money. When a holdup leads to an accidental shooting, the two find unequal justice in a biased system. Strong language and some violence. Fiction, Senior High readers. * (AR Quiz #87550, BL 4.9, Pts. 6.0)

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir
by Bill Bryson, Braille: T-N1692-90 — $74.00
Travel humorist reminisces about growing up in 1950s middle America. Recalls the simple pleasures of family life and teen culture under the shadow of the Cold War. Biography, Adult readers.

Winds of Change: A Richard Jury Mystery
by Martha Grimes, Braille: T-N1691-10 — $101.50
London, England. Superintendent Richard Jury investigates a five-year-old girl’s murder. Evidence of sexual abuse leads him to a ring of pedophiles and to the body of a woman on a wealthy businessman’s estate. Strong language and some violence. Bestseller, 2004. Fiction, Adult readers.

*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
  • Sandi Baker, Field Services Representative
  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Tony Grantz, Business Manager
  • Frank Hayden, Manager, Technical Research
  • Mike Hudson, Museum Director
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, Research
  • Gwynn Stewart, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Roberta Williams, Public Affairs and Special Projects Manager

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

November Issue –
October Issue –
September 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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