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APH News: February 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!

Book cover: Echolocation and FlashSonar Daniel Kish Jo Hook

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

STEM Corner—February 2017

drawing of a green stem with five leaves

Talking to Students About Science

A new study finds that parents who talk with their high school-aged children about the relevance of science and math can increase competency and career interest in the fields. Please see the full article by Mark Peters published in the online UChicago News.

Audiobook With a STEM Theme

Cover image: Celia Science and Anna Art The Computer Code Mystery Justin Taylor Illustrated by Lindsay Hornsby

Let’s get kids interested in STEM education at a young age! Check out this audiobook titled “The Computer Code Mystery,” Volume 1 of the Celia Science and Anna Art series. This title is recommended for boys and girls aged 7 to 10 years and details the adventures of Celia and her mystery tracking abilities along with her sister Anna. This audio book is FREE and available for download or just listening on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Stay tuned for more audiobooks about Celia and her problem-solving adventures that involve all things STEM!

Also, if you think it would be a great idea to make this book available in braille, please email Rosanne Hoffmann at email hidden; JavaScript is required

NEW! Echolocation and Flashsonar

Large Print, 8-75975-00 — $77.00
FREE Braille Files, 6-75975-00 — free downloadable .brf files.

Book cover: Echolocation and FlashSonar Daniel Kish Jo Hook

Provides research, case examples, instructional approaches, and practice exercises that can lead to mastery of echolocation skills.

This guidebook, written by Daniel Kish and Jo Hook, provides instructional strategies for teaching persons who are blind and visually impaired the use of echolocation as a method of gaining information about space and objects/environmental features in the world around them.

Although Echolocation and FlashSonar works well as an instructional manual for O&M specialists, it can also be used by adults who are blind and visually impaired who are working independently.

An extensive list of references and resources is provided for the reader.

Topics addressed in this guidebook include

  • What is Echolocation?
  • How the Brain Develops and Operates
  • Optimizing Learning Conditions
  • How do I Teach FlashSonar to Myself and Others?
  • FlashSonar Exercises
  • The Importance of Echolocation and Future Research

WARNING: FlashSonar skills should be used along with a human guide, dog guide, or cane.

REVISED! Push Button Padlock

1-03990-01 — $20.00

Not available with Quota funds.

Photo of the Push-Button Padlock with two combination cards in large print and braille

You can have a combination lock that is accessible only to you! Each lock comes with two large print/braille cards listing the combination, along with large print and braille instructions. Buttons eliminate the worry of losing a key. Just push five buttons and presto, you’re in!

Note: This revised lock works in a slightly different manner than our previous model (the discontinued 1-03990-00). Please consult the instructions included with the lock.

NEW! VisioBook Carrying Bag

1-03937-00 — $54.00

Related Item

VisioBook: 1-03913-01 — $2,750.00

Photo of the VisioBook Carrying Bag.

Optional item for the VisioBook: Portable Electronic Magnifier and Distance Viewer. This handy padded carry bag with zipper pockets makes it easier to take your VisioBook and power cord from class to class, from home to office, or wherever you use the versatile VisioBook Electronic Magnifier!


  • Protective interior padding lines the front, back, bottom, and sides of the bag
  • Two heavy duty carry handles
  • Adjustable shoulder strap with rubber cushion
  • Zippered exterior storage pocket with keyfob latch, measures 9.5 x 15 inches with plenty of room for the power cord
  • Interior storage pocket measures 14.5 x 8 inches
  • Heavy weight black bag with three bright orange zipper pulls

Bag measures: 14.5 x 12.5 x 2 inches. Made in the U.S.A.

Note: The VisioBook continues to include a protective sleeve. The VisioBook will not fit in the optional Carrying Bag while it is in the included sleeve.

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!

Field Tests and Surveys

Sensory Learning Kit: Feedback Needed!

photo of the Sensory Learning Kit

“That’s the magic of revisions – every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.”
― Kelly Barnhill

In 2005, APH released the Sensory Learning Kit (SLK) and APH is making plans to revise and update it. If you have used the SLK with your students, APH would appreciate your feedback on the routine items included in the kit. Your feedback will help us revise the kit and make it more beneficial to you and your students.

Field Test Opportunity for Early Numeracy Book

photo of the Five Little Speckled Frogs kit

APH is seeking field evaluators with preschool students ages three to five years. Five Little Speckled Frogs is the first book in a series of emergent numeracy titles which we hope will encourage learning between children with visual impairments and their sighted peers. The Five Little Speckled Frogs kit includes the print/braille/tactile storybook, a storyboard with number tiles and manipulatives, and a toy frog and dragonfly. Field testing is forecasted to begin this spring and will last for four weeks. If you are interested in field testing the Five Little Speckled Frogs kit, please visit:

Where Did That Ball Go?

small child holding two IXL RevolutionTM Sport Balls

This lightweight plastic ball produces sound for 20 seconds after the ball stops rolling. The dense foam exoskeleton allows small hands to grasp and hold the ball; it is especially good for young learners who are learning hand movement and exploration. APH sold this ball from 2004-2007.

Please take this short survey to let APH know if you would like to see the return of this lightweight sound ball for toddlers and young children.

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:

  • Echolocation

APH Winter Wonderland Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Winter Wonderland Sale 2017, January 1—March 31. As always, first come, first served.

Annual Meeting 2016 Sessions Audio and Video

Bold. Strong. Together! 148th APH Annual Meeting logo features 10 arms and hands reaching together into the center. One of the 10 is a dog's forepaw

Were you unable to attend the 2016 Annual Meeting or do you want a refresher on a session you attended? On this page, you will find the audio and video for most Annual Meeting 2016 sessions by our expert APH and guest presenters!

Enter the 2017 APH InSights Art Competition!

the Mona Lisa rendered in simulated braille dots featuring a yellow streak across the image at Lisa's eye level

DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION NOW! APH warmly invites artists who are blind or visually impaired, of all ages, to submit artwork for the 2017 APH InSights Art Competition. For over 25 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 24, 2017. The deadline for adult artists is March 31, 2017. Complete rules and entry forms are available on the APH website. We are always deeply inspired and grateful for the unique, artistic expression from each artwork, every year.

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

Teacher-Inspired Uses of APH Products—Visit Paths to Literacy

Paths To Literacy’s “Blog” page showcases a variety of uses of many APH products. For featured products visit the following:

All-In-One Board

APH Sound Pages and Scattered Crowns

ReadWrite Stand

Swing Cell

Tactile Connections and ReadWrite Stand

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit

Wilson Reading System

APH Voted in the Top Ten Technology Stories of 2016

photograph of an Orbit Reader 20 prototype

Each year, Blind Bargains editors and readers vote on the top ten technology stories in accessibility. The top three stories this year were (1) the VFO merger, (2) Microsoft’s new emphasis and progress on accessibility, and (3) the technology products coming from APH.

The panelists all reminisced about their childhood when APH had so many interesting tools and their appreciation and fondness for the APH booth at the consumer conventions. They were all glad to see APH quality evolving through the digital landscape and providing a variety of high interest, specific tools just like in "the old days."

In addition to mentions of Money Talks and the Talking U.S Maps, panelists expressed special recognition of Orbit Reader 20 and Nearby Explorer. The new VFO partnership, Graphiti, and Talking Typer for iOS got a mention as well.

Congratulations to each of the people who make this happen and thanks to the nourishing environment in which such innovations flourish.

To listen to the podcast, go to:

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

  • Leslie Bechtel Van Orman, the Wyoming Department of Education
  • Wendy McLaughlin Stoica, the Ohio State Department of Education

Here’s a handy link to the full directory of Ex Officio Trustees.

Treasures From the APH Libraries

From the Migel Library: Howe, Samuel Gridley. Address of the Trustees of the New-England Institution for the Education of the Blind to the Public. Boston: Carter, Hendee, 1833.

photograph of Howe's Address of the Trustees of the New-England Institution for the Education of the Blind to the Public

Based on a report by Samuel Gridley Howe, this address was written just five months into the operation of what would eventually become the Perkins School for the Blind. This beautifully written plea for the scholarly education of blind people in America uses several examples of European institutions and their work. Even those overseas schools, it was argued, typically taught only “tricks,” rather than intellectual and scientific endeavors. Howe argues for the use of raised type and visually impaired instructors for academic education at the new Institution in Boston. Inserted in the end of the address is an exceptional and early example of American tactile graphics. This raised map of New England claimed to be of such detail that it could not be surpassed by any from Europe. It contains numerical and raised type labels as well as tactile music. This item was discovered un-cataloged on the shelves of the Migel Library during a digitization project. It was removed from its acidic folder, de-acidified, and digitized in-house. It is now available at Internet Archive at

The APH Barr Library supports research initiatives at APH, while the Migel Library is one of the largest collections of nonmedical information related to blindness in the world. Although the collections do not circulate, arrangements can be made to use the materials on-site. In addition, an ongoing digitization effort means APH will continue to make materials available through the online catalog at

APH is working with the Internet Archive to digitize portions of the M.C. Migel Library. Search the phrase “full text” to find these items at The digitized texts are available in a variety of formats, including DAISY, Kindle, EPUB, PDF, etc.

Contact Library staff: email hidden; JavaScript is required, 800-223-1839, ext. 705

Social Media Spotlight

Social Media Spotlight logo

Are You Following APH on Twitter?

We post information about new or recently released APH products, sale items, our interesting Throwback Thursday artifacts from our one-of-a-kind museum, our informative Quick Tip videos, and APH happenings on our Twitter page. We also highlight various resources that benefit the blind and visually impaired community. Find us on Twitter @aphfortheblind

"Like" APH at Our Facebook Page!

Facebook Logo

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

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 several weeks for delivery.

The Boy Who Went Away
by Eli Gottlieb: T-N2136-30 — $91.50
Denny Graubart, child-narrator and “domestic surveillance expert,” is having some terrible suspicions about his mother and autistic brother. It’s the 1960’s and his mother struggles to keep his brother out of an institution. The two brothers find themselves locked into an asymmetrical childhood as a family struggling against the weight of medical ignorance. Some adult content.

Cruel Crown
by Victoria Aveyard: T-N2155-60 — $66.50
Queen Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life. Meanwhile, Captain Farley exchanges coded transmissions with the resistance — and stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to an attack on the Nortan capital.

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. In Musicophilia, he shows us 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.

At the Edge of the World
By Michael Pye: T-N2124-90 — $226.50
An examination of the cultural transformation sparked by events centered in the North Sea region during the Dark Ages, between the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the rise of Europe. The author profiles the technology, science, law, and culture that led up to the emergence of modernity.

After the Fire
by Jane Casey: T-N2155-00 — $174.00
When a fire breaks out at the Murchison Housing Project, it consumes the top floors, leaving three occupants dead. Detective Maeve Kerrigan and her colleagues are startled to learn the identity of one of the victims. A wealthy, notorious, right-wing London politician — the last person they’d expect to find in a place like the housing projects.

*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 Travel Calendar

on the road with APH

NIP Events

February 15, 2017
Key Strategies for TVIs & O&Ms When Children Have Multiple Impairments
Naperville, IL

April 19, 2017
Sensory Learning Strategies for Students with Multiple Disabilities
Newark, NJ

April 23, 2017
Strategies for Teaching Children with CVI
Minneapolis, MN

CIP Events

February 15, 2017
APH Products and Services
California State University, Los Angeles, CA

April 17, 2017
APH Products and Services Training
Illinois State University, Normal, IL


February 8-10, 2017
New Mexico AER Conference
Albuquerque, NM

February 15-17, 2017
Illinois AER Conference
Naperville, IL

February 27-March 4, 2017
CSUN 2017
San Diego, CA

March 2 – 5, 2017
AFB Leadership Conference
Crystal City, Virginia

March 8, 2017
Focus on Vision Impairment
Norwood, MA

March 9-12, 2017
CTEBVI 58th Annual Conference
San Francisco, CA

March 20-23, 2017
KAER 2017
Lexington, KY

March 29-April 1, 2017
American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference
Philadelphia, PA

March 31 – April 2, 2017
Iowa Family Conference
Vinton, IA

April 2-5, 2017
POSB Conference 2017
Austin, TX

April 19-22, 2017
Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention 2017
Boston, MA


February 21-24, 2017
NASP Annual Convention
San Antonio, TX

March 1-4, 2017
SREE (Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness)
Washington, DC

March 8-11, 2017
ATP Innovations in Testing 2017
Scottsdale, AZ

March 14-18, 2017
SHAPE America 2017 Convention
Boston, MA

March 29-April 1, 2017
International Brain Injury Association World Congress
New Orleans, LA

April 26-28, 2017
2017 Penn-Del AER Conference
Harrisburg, PA

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APH News Credits

Dr. Craig Meador
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Dorinda Rife, Vice President, Educational Services and Product Development
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Malcolm Turner, APH Website Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • 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
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Drew Lueken, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field Services
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, Research
  • Mary Robinson, Assistant, Field Services

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Louisville, KY 40206

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