Visit Our House!

Don’t Miss a Single Issue!

APH News: December 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!

Color by Texture CIRCUS cover image features a circus tent

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

APH Approaches Major Milestone: 160 Years in Business

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

On January 23, 2018, the American Printing House for the Blind will celebrate 160 years of being in business. Even though the daily lives of Americans and our culture have changed significantly since 1858 when APH was founded in Louisville, KY, the need for more accessible educational and daily living tools for people with vision loss continues today. APH is still committed to providing the highest quality products and services to “level the playing field” for people around the world who are blind and visually impaired.

To celebrate this significant milestone, APH will host a community-wide Open House on Tuesday, January 23, from 10:00AM until 3:00PM, offering visitor tours every half hour, product demonstrations, and opportunities to “meet and greet” many of our 300+ employees. Elected officials, including Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, have been invited to APH to speak to employees and our guests on that day.

During the day’s festivities, we will kick off a National Writing Contest for students and adults who are visually impaired and the professionals who work with them every day. The deadline to submit work for this contest will be June 1, 2018, and we will celebrate the winning essays in each age group at APH’s 160th Anniversary Banquet to be held on October 5, 2018 during our Annual Meeting. Cash prizes will be offered for first, second, and third place winners.

Staff at APH understand the critical role that our Ex Officio Trustees, our customers, and professionals in the field of vision across the country continue to play in the successful implementation of our mission: To promote independence of people who are blind and visually impaired by providing specialized materials, products, and services needed for education and life. Stay tuned for more details and anniversary event photos as the new year gets underway. Come celebrate with us, and give us a chance to thank you for being an important part of the APH story.

Federal Quota Census Data Continues to Be Taken Out of Context

In today’s world of data-driven decision making, we are constantly on the lookout for information that will support or negate the position or direction we have chosen. The relatively small population of people who are blind or visually impaired makes counting—and statistics—especially challenging.

Accurately depicting the number of braille readers relative to that population is also difficult. A frequently misused statistic comes from the federal Quota census: writers apply data which is gathered by APH to meet federal requirements and to inform APH product development to scenarios that are not connected to the intended use of the data. We want to help researchers better understand the data we provide and its appropriate use, so the following statement will appear on the APH website and other communication sources.

Appropriate Use of Federal Quota Census Data

NOTICE: For Press Members and Researchers: The number of students who read braille in the United States CANNOT be determined from these data.

Before citing these data in a publication, please contact the American Printing House for the Blind at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The specific purpose of the annual Federal Quota Census is to register students in the United States and Outlying Areas who meet the definition of blindness and are therefore eligible for adapted educational materials from APH through the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind.

Statements regarding student literacy, use of appropriate learning media, and students taught in a specific medium cannot be supported using APH registration data.

NEW! Color-by-Texture CIRCUS Coloring Pages

1-03333-00 — $27.00

Related Product

Color-by-Texture Marking Mats Kit: 1-03332-00 — $119.00

Color by Texture CIRCUS cover image features a circus tent

Color-by-Texture CIRCUS Coloring Pages offers theme-based coloring pages to complement APH’s Color-by-Texture Marking Mats. This packet includes 25 print/tactile coloring pages of a circus tent, juggler, cotton candy, tightrope walker, unicycle, popcorn, clowns, and much more. Each illustration is identified with a braille/print label.

CIRCUS Coloring Pages is ideal for promoting shared art experiences within a variety of instructional settings with sighted peers. For additional coloring page packets and coloring materials from APH, visit:

Free downloadable coloring pages can be located on APH’s Tactile Graphic Image Library (TGIL):

Recommended ages: 3 years and up.

NEW! AnimalWatch Vi Suite (for iPad)

AnimalWatch VI Suite logo features a green tree frog

Free-of-Charge, Visit

This app and accompanying materials support students in building their math word problem solving skills.

The AnimalWatch Vi Suite package includes an app available from the App Store® online store with accompanying braille and print materials. The app and materials are available for free! Students at the pre-algebra level (grades 5-7) build their math word problem solving skills while learning about endangered and invasive species such as the black rhino, cheetah, gray wolf, and white shark.

Math Content

In addition to an introductory unit about the giant panda, there are 24 math units that align with the 6th grade Common Core Math Standards. Sample math topics include: multiplication and division; like and unlike fractions; speed, time, and distance; converting units of measurement and more.

AnimalWatch Vi Suite Includes

  • An accessible app
  • Optional print graphics for students who prefer a hard copy graphic to the screen version
  • Braille graphics designed to be used with a fuser on microcapsule paper
  • Optional braille ready files of app

App Features

  • Accessible via Apple’s VoiceOver screen reader
  • Built-in feature that emulates VoiceOver
  • Ability to enlarge content using Zoom
  • Built-in scratch pad
  • Glossary of terms found in the app
  • Scaffolded hints to support students in solving word problems
  • Engaging information about the animal species
  • Extensively tested with both print and braille users

Recommended ages: 5th to 7th grade (math level).

To receive AnimalWatch Vi Suite free-of-charge, go to which will direct you to a link on the App Store, along with the user guide, braille & print graphics, and braille ready files in addition to a FAQ page, information about the development of the product, etc.

Or you may download the app directly from the App Store:

The AnimalWatch Vi Suite was developed through a U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (R324A120006) research grant awarded in 2012 to Dr. Carole R. Beal and Dr. Jane N. Erin, both at the time at the University of Arizona. Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum served as the Project Director.

IOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license. Apple, VoiceOver, iPad, iPad mini, 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. Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners.

Field Tests and Surveys


Cover image of MATCH-IT-UP Frames

In June 2017, APH released the product MATCH-IT-UP FRAMES: Large Set (1-08827-00) and Small Set (1-08828-00). If you have used this product with students with visual impairments and blindness, we would love to hear from you in order to find out how this product is meeting your needs. Please consider taking this Product Feedback Survey at Thank you for your time and thoughts.

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 Fall Harvest Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Fall Harvest Sale 2017, October 1—December 31. As always, first come, first served.

Create Your Own Braille at Home!

image has a picture of a boy reading braille with his father on the left and the BrailleBlaster logo on the right. Centered across the bottom is the phrase 'Create Your Own Braille at Home!'

BrailleBlaster™ Question and Answer Day Coming from APH and AFB

BrailleBlaster™ software is a revolutionary new tool for braille transcribers who need to produce high-quality braille material quickly and efficiently. And BrailleBlaster™ is not just for transcribers! This advanced yet easy-to-use braille translation program is available to parents, students, and teachers – and it’s FREE!

Learn more about BrailleBlaster during a Q&A day on the American Foundation for the Blind’s

On Wednesday, January 10: Read the FamilyConnect blog post about BrailleBlaster and send us your questions! Then on Wednesday, January 17: Return to the blog to participate in a Q&A day!

For more information about BrailleBlaster, please visit For questions about BrailleBlaster or this event, please email email hidden; JavaScript is required

Event Presented by

Logo: American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.Logo: FamilyConnect: AFB: American Foundation for the Blind®

APH InSights Art Competition 2018 Now Open!

Picture of the Mona Lisa as rendered in simulated braille dots

APH warmly invites artists who are blind or visually impaired to submit artwork for the 2018 APH InSights Art Competition and Exhibition. For 27 years, our renowned international contest has delighted the senses, provoked discussion, and most importantly, allowed artists who happen to have vision loss the opportunity to share their creative imagination with the world.

Artists may enter original artwork created in any medium, including (but not limited to) painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber, metal, and wood. This year’s deadline for student artists from preschool through high school is March 16, 2018. The deadline for adult artists is March 23, 2018.

Complete rules and entry forms are now available for download on the APH InSights Art webpage.

Winning artwork in nine categories and other selected pieces will be displayed at the APH InSights Art Exhibit during APH’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Louisville, October 4-6, 2018.

We look forward to your participation in our competition. For more information, please e-mail email hidden; JavaScript is required, or call Rob Guillen at 502-899-2242.

DEADLINE AROUND THE CORNER: December means last month for Braille Badges Contest!

2017 Braille Badges Contest Logo

December is here! That means warm holiday celebrations in many traditions. For us at APH, that means the last month for Braille Badges submissions! Now would be the time to get those entries in for your chance to win APH products, certificates and/or cash prizes.

All you have to do is send us your best digital illustration or drawing, and we will create an animated masterpiece that will be added to the Braille Badges library — one that will be downloaded by anyone who has the Braille Badges app.

We will be taking submissions until December 31, 2017. Please submit them to email hidden; JavaScript is required or visit our landing page at for details.

Remember, first place winners will receive one of the following APH products: Nearby Explorer, Draftsman, Web Chase, Interactive U.S. Map w/ talking pen, or Picture Maker and Game Kit. Second and third place winners will receive a certificate and a $50 or $25 voucher good toward APH products. All contestants will have their submission created and added to the Braille Badges archive for download.

If you have questions, please email email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Winner Announced! We Have a New Unforgettable APH Video Star!

We have a winner for the Fall 2017 Unforgettable APH Star Video Contest! Olivia Rios, a 3rd grader whose video is titled “The Joy of Painting,” won first place in this year’s competition. Watch the video to see how Olivia uses APH’s Paint Pot Palette to create her masterpiece.

The Unforgettable APH Star Video Contest is a biannual competition that invites students, parents, teachers, administrators, rehabilitation instructors, and all APH customers to create a video about their favorite APH product. Cash prizes are awarded to the winning entries. For more information on the Unforgettable APH Star Contest, visit

Typhlo & Tactus—International Competition with Many Winners

group photo
Judges from Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland,
and United Kingdom and meet to examine books entered in the international T&T competition and hear presentations on tactual learning.

Typhlo & Tactus (T&T) is a biennial tactile book competition, initiated in 2000 by Les Doigts Qui Rêvent (Dreaming Fingers, France), together with members from eight European countries. The competition’s goals are to:

  • Increase the supply of illustrated tactile books at an affordable price
  • Raise awareness of the need for this type of book
  • Advise and guide the authors of tactile books
  • Share ideas, resources, and information
  • Participate in research in the field
  • Stimulate the quality of these books through the organization of national competitions and an international competition and prize

In making progress toward these goals, T&T has truly become a competition with many winners—children who now have improved access to a greater number and variety of quality tactile books.

In 2017, APH again acted as the T&T contact organization for the U.S., joining 17 other countries in staging national competitions resulting in the collection of more than 450 book entries. Selected entries from each country were sent to the international competition held this October in Dijon, France. Judges from the eight member countries (teachers, early interventionists, librarians, parents of children with visual impairments) selected winners from 71 submissions.

  • 1st Place: Una Storia Imprevedibile (An Unexpected Story), Valentina Lungo – Switzerland
  • 2nd Place: Tana (Dens), Lucia Macchiarini , Ilaria Macchiarini – Italy
  • 3rd Place: Captain Seo’s Sea Tale, Kirył Konowałow, Patrycja Zalejska – Poland and Bouli and the Red Dragon, Christine Donzé – Switzerland

To view photos of the award-winning books, visit the T&T website at These and books from past competitions have expanded ideas about ways to design tactile illustrations that connect to the experiences of tactual learners, ages 3 to 12 years.

Please join APH in spreading the news about the next competition in 2019. This year, Italy alone welcomed 258 entries; the U.S. has some distance to go to rival this participation rate! It’s not too early to start nurturing that creative thought to become the next winning entry.

A past T&T competition winner, Little Breath of Wind by Elisa Lodolo, is currently available from APH. It has been produced for APH in contracted UEB by Les Doigts Qui Rêvent (Dreaming Fingers, France,

STEM Corner

Picture of National Geographic Geode Kit

Here is a STEM-themed item from that may come in handy for holiday shopping this December! National Geographic offers several kits that include geodes, safety goggles, a display stand, and a Geodes Learning Guide. Children with visual impairments could tactually explore the geodes and be amazed by the crystals inside.

Adult guidance is recommended for all children using these kits.

Social Media Spotlight

Social Media Spotlight logo

Follow APH on Instagram to Get Updates and Fun!

Follow us on Instagram where you’ll find introductions or demos of products, pictures of people at APH events, interesting museum items, and much more.

Instagram Logo

To find and follow us, you can search for “American Printing House Blind,” search for our username @AmericanPrintingHouse, or go to Please follow us and “like” and comment on our posts. Let us know what content you’d like to see on Instagram!

"Like" APH at Our Facebook Page!

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.

January Joker
by Ron Roy: T-N2082-90 — $20.00
When first-graders Bradley, Brian, Nate, and Lucy are awakened by strange lights outside, they believe aliens have invaded. The four set off to investigate. Grades 2-4. *(AR Quiz No. 134713, BL 2.9, Pts. 1.0)

A Shiloh Christmas
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor: T-N2128-60 — $76.50
Marty and his canine best friend, Shiloh, have remained inseparable since Judd Travers helped them out in Saving Shiloh. When a dangerous fire is set in the woods, Judd is back in the spotlight. Marty races to find answers and a Christmas miracle. Grades 4-7.

Mere Christianity
by C.S. Lewis: T-N2169-20 — $108.50
A timeless and thought-provoking spiritual work from the author of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters, one of the leading Christian writers and thinkers of our age, this beautifully illustrated anniversary edition includes a new foreword and fascinating background information on the story behind the book, and remains fresh and relevant for the modern reader.

Musicophilia: Revised and Expanded Tales of Music and the Brain
by Oliver Sacks: T-N2158-00 — $221.50
Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition sharing a variety of what he calls "musical misalignments." Among them: a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty-two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hypermusical from birth; people with "amusia," to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds – for everything but music.

Sisters of Mercy Flats
by Lori Copeland: T-N2133-20 — $109.50
The McDougal sisters can swindle a man faster than it takes to lasso a calf. When the wagon carrying them to jail falls under attack, each sister is picked up by a different man. Unfortunately for Abigail, she’s grabbed by a twit of a shoe salesman, Mr. Hershall Digman. She steals his horse and rides off to the nearest town, not giving him another thought — until she discovers secret papers in his saddlebags. 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

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

Great Holiday Gift Ideas!

Looking for something unique and APH-ish to give that special someone for the Holidays? Here are some great ideas from your friends at Quick Tips HQ!

Go to to for more gift recommendations, and don’t forget to share your Quick Tip ideas with Kerry at email hidden; JavaScript is required!

Wishing you the happiest of Holidays and a joyful 2018 from APH Quick Tips!

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


December 6-9, 2017
Getting in Touch with Literacy (13th Biennial)
New Orleans, LA

January 7-10, 2018
Craig Hospital National Brain Injury Summit 2018
Vail, CO

January 9-12, 2018
Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
Las Vegas, NV

January 22, 2018
Training for LP Assessments and APH Early Childhood Products
Las Vegas, NV

January 30, 2018
Perkins Innovation Advisory Group
Watertown, MA

February 7-10, 2018
CEC 2018 National Convention & Expo
Tampa, FL

February 12-15, 2018
Los Angeles, CA


January 30-February 3, 2018
2018 ATIA Conference
Orlando, FL

February 13-16, 2018
Chicago, IL

February 28-March 3, 2018
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Washington DC

Subscribe to the APH News!

Get convenient email reminders every month when a new issue of the APH News is released.

It’s Easy!

  1. Prepare an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required.
  2. Leave the subject blank.
  3. Type the word ‘subscribe’ (without any quote marks) in the body of the message.
  4. Send it!

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
email hidden; JavaScript is required

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Paul Ferrara, Social Media Coordinator, Communications
  • Justin Gardner, Special Collections Librarian, Resource Services
  • Rob Guillen, Special Programs Coordinator, Public Relations
  • Rosanne Hoffmann, STEM Project Leader, Research
  • Kerry Isham, Field Services Representative
  • Anthony Jones, Art Production/Design Manager, Research
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director of Government and Community Affairs, Public Affairs
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Drew Lueken, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, Research
  • Mary Robinson, Assistant, Field Services

Visit APH on Like us on FacebookFollow us on InstagramFollow us on TwitterBlog: Fred's Head from APHFollow us on Google PlusSubscribe to our channel on YouTubeFollow us on PinterestFollow us on LinkedIn

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

The APH News is a monthly publication from the American Printing House for the Blind:
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

Please share this web link or any items that appear in this publication with anyone who might benefit.

Thank you.