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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.

January 2012

Exciting APH Product News!

BE A STAR! The Deadline is Just a Month Away!

You can still be a Winter 2012 Unforgettable APH Star. The deadline to send your Unforgettable Videos featuring APH products is February 13th, 2012. Remember you can be the winner of the $150.00 cash prize, as well as eligible to enter the drawing of gift certificates.

For more contest information and to watch the Winter 2012 Promo Video go to:

We can’t wait to see your video creations!

Evaluating the NEW Geometro Manual and Workbook!

Attention all teachers who have used (or would love to use) Geometro with their elementary students!! You have asked and APH has listened. APH is now working to bring to you a Teacher’s Manual, a tactile Student Workbook, and a set of manipulatives as a supplement to the very popular Geometro. Now field evaluators are needed!

The Teacher’s Manual provides background and supporting information for using Geometro, while the tactile Student Workbook and manipulatives include activities to help your students better understand geometric concepts. We are specifically looking for teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired, in grades 1-6, who are learning about geometry.

Evaluators will be provided with the Teacher’s Manual, Student Workbook, and a set of manipulatives. Evaluators must have their own Geometro tiles with the following shapes: triangles, squares, pentagons, hexagons, rectangles, and isosceles triangles.

The evaluation period will begin March 1, 2012 and run approximately 8 weeks. If you would like to be considered for participation, please contact Sandi Baker at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Please feel free to forward or circulate this request to teachers who might be helpful to this evaluation. Thank you!

Start Now! Get ready to enter APH InSights Art Competition 2012

A Framed Foreshadowment
Artist: Cody Shaw
First Place Winner, Grades 10, 11, 12 Category
APH InSights 2007

Visually impaired or blind artists of all ages are invited to submit artwork for our twenty-first annual international art competition, APH InSights 2012.

Last year, nearly 400 entries were received. From these, jurors selected 83 pieces for the exhibition, which was shown in Louisville at the Annual Meeting last October. From the 83 works selected for display, 32 award winners were chosen and 13 of them came to Louisville to receive their awards in person at the annual meeting.

Artists may enter original artwork created in any medium, including (but not limited to) painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber, metal, or wood.

The deadline for entries from students in kindergarten through high school is March 26. Adult artists have until April 2 to send in their entries.

Complete rules and entry forms will be posted on the APH website by the end of February 2012. You may also contact Roberta Williams at 502-899-2357 or email hidden; JavaScript is required to receive a copy of the rules and application forms by email, or a hard copy in print or braille.

Mobile Buzz: What’s ‘APPening @ APH

APH News about iPad and Other Mobile Devices

Did you know that you can read many of APH’s free Downloadable Manuals on your iPad? Once you download the PDF file from or simply select "Open in iBooks" from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be able to view your PDF using the iBooks app, and the PDF will be saved in your iBook collection.

A complete list of available Downloadable Manuals is available here:

Order Fall Textbooks Now!

BOP Bunch Comes to Town!

Front Row: LeAnn Alexander (AR); Jo Ellen Croft (AR); Ralph Bartley (APH); Mila Truan (TN); Marjorie Ward (OH); Back Row: Izetta Read (CA); Kate Dilworth (OR); Kristen Buhler (OR); Robin Wingell (CA). Missing: Cay Holbrook (BC); Deanna Scoggins (KY); Eleanor Pester (APH); Cathy Senft-Graves (APH)

The Building on Patterns (BOP) group was in town in December to discuss BOP 2nd Grade Unit 7 and to give the attendees of the Getting in Touch With Literacy Conference an overview of the BOP literacy program. The BOP group, which includes APH staff, consultants, and writers (who are also TVIs) from three states, made significant progress on the plans for BOP-2 Unit 7, the last unit of the program! Everyone participated in the presentations at the BOP pre-conference workshop and concurrent session, which were well attended.

Graphics Survey

APH is working cooperatively with the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC, Canada, on a research project. Phase I involves completion of an online survey regarding the use of graphics-based materials for instructional, as well as high stakes testing, purposes.

Input is needed from teachers and students with visual impairments in grades 4-12, who use, or have used, printed or embossed graphics.

To go to the Teacher Survey, follow this link: By beginning the survey, you are consenting to participate. You may, however, leave the survey at any time. No personal identifying information will be linked to your responses. Please take the survey in one sitting, as there is not an option to save your responses and return to the survey. It should only take about 10-15 minutes to complete the form.

To access the Student Survey, follow This link is the one students need to click on to access and complete the survey. No personal identifying information will be linked to a student’s responses. By entering the survey, students are consenting to participate, but they can leave the survey form at any time. The questions in the survey ask for students’ opinions and practices when using graphics in the classroom and in a high stakes test environment. There are no personal questions on the survey. Students need to complete the survey form in one sitting, as there is not an option to save responses and return later to the form. The survey is estimated to take about 15 minutes to complete; the time depends on each student’s reading speed and familiarity with completing electronic surveys.

For students planning to participate in the survey, an electronic email message has been prepared and should be sent to each student’s parent(s) or guardian(s). Thank you in advance for helping us to obtain “the student voice”!

If you have questions or need further information regarding the study, please call Kim Zebehazy at 604/822-4506, or mail Dr. Kim Zebehazy, Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia, 2155 Main Hall, Vancouver, BC V6T 2G3 Canada, or email email hidden; JavaScript is required

Thank you very much for your help and support!

From the Field:

New from the Archives at the Perkins School for the Blind

Perkins is pleased to announce that a new collection of digital images from the Perkins Archives is now available to be viewed online at Physical Education at Perkins

Perkins School for the Blind pioneered the first physical education program in the United States for students with blindness or visual impairment. When Samuel Gridley Howe opened the school’s doors in 1832, he was immediately troubled by his students’ poor health. In that era, children who were blind were customarily treated as invalids and were prevented from doing anything for themselves. Fearing they might be injured, their families discouraged them from enjoying physical activity. As a result, children who were blind were often weak and vulnerable to every illness.

Perkins looks forward to sharing more of their online collections with you, as they become available. For more information about their archival collections, see

Video Description Webinar

Through a U.S. Department of Education grant to the Smith-Kettelwell Eye Research Institute, the Video Description Research and Development Center (VDRDC) was recently formed with the mission to identify, prototype, and evaluate promising techniques and technologies for adding description information to Web-based video resources as used in the classroom.

One phase of the work of the VDRDC will be to host a series of free educational Webinars. The first webinar in the series will be hosted by the VDRDC and Described Caption Media Program (DCMP) ( on January 24, 2012 at 2:00 EST. The focus of Video Description for the 21st Century Classroom Webinar will be to give educators and parents new resource information about web-based multimedia curriculum in the classroom.

Here is the link to the VDRDC that you may use in your communication or posting on agency or school websites:

Thank you for sharing this information.

It’s Snow Time!

For your information, here are winter sports camps in California, Colorado, and Michigan for your students:

  • Camp COOL Sacramento, CA
    Access Leisures AC, Contact: Jenny Yarrow
    (916) 808-6017 – email hidden; JavaScript is required
    Camp Dates: January 21-22, 2012

  • National Camps for Blind Children Christian Record Services

    • Winter Camp – Snow Mt. Ranch Camp
      Winter Park, CO, Contact: Peggy Hansen
      (402) 448-0981 ext. 224
      Camp Dates: February 12-19, 2012

    • Winter Camp – Au Sable
      Grayling, MI, Contact: Pat Page, (905) 436-6938
      Camp Dates: February 5-12, 2012

TVIs Who Teach or Support Advanced Mathematics* Are Needed for a Survey

Teachers of students with visual impairments are needed to participate in a research study regarding experience in use of technology to teach advanced mathematics to students who are blind (no functional vision/braille readers). The research is being conducted by the Special Education Program of the College of Education at Texas Tech University as part of a doctoral dissertation.

This survey takes 10-30 minutes to complete and allows for skipping questions and exiting at any time. Participation is voluntary and anonymous.

Participants must have experience as:

  • A TVI teaching advanced mathematics in a residential school or
  • An itinerant TVI who has supported a student in an advanced class in a public school.

*Advanced mathematics is defined as Algebra 1 or beyond at the secondary school level.

Please complete the online survey by January 20th, 2012, by going to:

Your time and willingness to share your expertise in efforts to best support the study of mathematics by students who are blind is greatly appreciated.

Thank you, Vicki DePountis, M.Ed., TVI, COMS, Texas Tech University, Doctoral Candidate, 512-297-0300, email hidden; JavaScript is required

APH Benefits from 10th Biennial Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference!

Held in Louisville, KY, December 7-10, 2011, the GITWL conference drew 350 attendees from the US, Canada, and other countries! APH was pleased to have had a prominent role with staff members and consultants actively involved throughout the four-day conference. Beginning with three Pre-conference Workshops, APH presented the featured topics highlighting the Braille Plus 18, Building on Patterns, and the Sensory Learning Kit, Symbols and Meaning, and Tactile Connections. APH also hosted 100 visitors on tours of the plant and museum as part of other pre-conference activities. Our role continued with staff presenting six concurrent sessions, five posters, and participating in one of the showcase sessions. Finally, APH had a noticeable presence in the exhibit hall with our larger-than-usual exhibit featuring many literacy-related products!

ITS For Literacy

Karen J. Poppe, APH Tactile Graphics Project Leader, presents "ITS for Literacy: Important Tactile Skills for Literacy" at the Getting In Touch with Literacy Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. The focus of this presentation was on products that help transition young children from real objects to tactile illustrations. In this photo, Karen demonstrates Flip-Over Concept Books: Parts of a Whole.

Oldies but Goodies: The "Established" APH Product Series

Time for Art: Art Projects and Lessons for Students with Visual Impairments is a handbook for teachers and parents that explains how to instruct visually impaired students in art, how to handle the media being explored, and points to consider in art program planning. Time for Art consists of a regular print guidebook and a CD-ROM containing an HTML edition of the guidebook, accessible to visually impaired users.

The projects included in the guidebook are:

  • Fake Fossils
  • Raised Line Drawings
  • Sandscript
  • Mural
  • Aluminum Repoussé
  • Papier-Mâché Bowls
  • Free-Form Fuzzy Wire Shapes
  • Fuzzy Wire Animals
  • Mixed-Media Puzzle of Me
  • Weaving
  • Wire Sculpture
  • Pinch Pot
  • Coiled Pot

Each project includes objectives, a list of needed materials, the step-by-step instructions, and a companion lesson that often explores other curriculum areas such as science, history, or mathematics. A comprehensive list of suppliers is offered at the end of the guidebook to aid teachers and parents in finding materials for the projects.

Instructors may want to consider using Time for Art as they work with students who are interested in submitting art work for the annual APH InSights art contest. For more information on this contest, visit the APH Museum website.

If you have any suggestions for other products you would like to see highlighted in this monthly feature, please send your comments to Monica Turner at

2012 Nomination Process for the Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

The Hall of Fame is now accepting nominations for 2012 induction consideration. If you are interested in learning more about the process for submitting a nominee to join the 48 inductees, please visit: The nomination process will close March 30, 2012.

"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."

Legendary Fred Gissoni Retires from APH

Fred Gissoni has retired from APH after 60 years of working in the field of blindness, 23 of them at APH.

Fred was born blind and used products from APH beginning with the early years of his education. Later, he became such an important and knowledgeable force in the field that APH created a blog to capture the content of "Fred’s head."

A brilliant intellect, inventive and knowledgeable, Fred has always been drawn to technology. He became a licensed radio amateur in 1946. He came to Kentucky in 1956 to work at the Kentucky Department for the Blind and later became head of the Assistive Technology Unit there.

In the 1960s, Fred worked on several projects, including infra-red and ultrasonic obstacle detection devices, the Cranmer Abacus, and a braille electric typewriter. In the 1980s Fred, along with Wayne Thompson, created a prototype device called the Portabraille. This revolutionary device laid the foundation for a succession of electronic notetakers and their work is still reflected today in APH’s new APH Braille Plus 18.

Fred retired from his position as Product Support Specialist in APH’s Customer Service Department. He assisted thousands of customers with their questions about APH products and how they work–especially technology products.

"Fred’s impact on the lives of blind and visually impaired students and adults cannot be measured," said Gary Mudd, Vice President of Public Affairs at APH. "He has had a positive influence on generations of people around the world. I am one of those fortunate people. He encouraged me throughout my high school years, college, and still today. He’s just as kind as he is good."

We wish Fred a happy retirement!

A New Role at APH for Michael McCarty

Many of you know Michael McCarty from his work in the APH Communications Department as our Social Media Coordinator. Michael started with APH in 2005 and led many advances in our social media, including greatly expanding and improving the Fred’s Head blog, building our Facebook page, and sending frequent tweets to our very active Twitter followers.

The legendary Fred Gissoni has now retired from the APH Customer Service Department, but we are happy to report that Michael is the new Product Support Specialist. He will be fielding phone calls and communicating directly with customers on a wide variety of product support topics, from low-tech to high-tech.

Michael states: "Saying goodbye to Fred’s Head is a very difficult thing for me. You, the online community, are going to be missed as well. I look forward to talking with some of you in the coming year. Please feel free to call and ask questions about your APH purchases. I don’t really like saying goodbye, so let’s just say that our communication will continue, over the phone instead of over the internet."

We are very glad that we’re keeping Michael’s talents at APH in his new Customer Service role. You can reach Michael at 1-800-223-1839, ext. 309 or at email hidden; JavaScript is required

"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, YouTube, Flickr, and at our blog, Fred’s Head from APH.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


January 17-18, 2012
Jefferson County Public Schools Visually Impaired Program CVI Workshop;
Ramada Plaza in Louisville, KY

January 26-28, 2012
ATIA 2012;
Caribe Royal located in Orlando, FL

January 31, 2012
Caveland Educational Support Center Assistive Technology Cadre;
Caveland Educational Support Center in Bowling Green, KY


February 4, 2012
Long Island Regional Braille Challenge 2012;
Long Island, NY

February 8, 2012
FVLMA Workshop;
South Central Service Center in North Mankato, MN

February 27-March 3, 2012
CSUN 2012;
Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA


March 1, 2012
APH Products, Services, Resources, and More Training;
Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, MD

March 14, 2012
Focus on Vision Impairment & Blindness Conference: Meeting the Needs of Individuals with Intellectual Disability and Vision Loss;
Four Points by Sheraton in Norwood, MA

March 15-18, 2012
CTEBVI 53rd Annual Conference (California Transcribers & Educators for the Blind & Visually Impaired;
Los Angeles Airport Marriott in Los Angeles, CA

March 21-23, 2012
KAER Conference;
Cumberland Falls State Park, KY

March 29-30, 2012
APH Product Fair;
Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, MA

March 22, 2012
NIP Event – SLK;
Ocean City, MD


April 11-14, 2012
CEC 2012;
Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO

April 26-28, 2012
J.W. Marriott Indianapolis in Indianapolis, IN

April 26-28, 2012
NBA Professional Spring 2012 Development Conference;
St. Louis, Missouri

April 30 – May 1, 2012
NIP Event – CVI;
New Hampshire

APH Winter Wonderland Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Winter Wonderland Sale 2012, January 1—March 31. As always, first come, first served.

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 Case of the Stinky Socks
by Lewis B. Montgomery: T-N1831-70 — $12.50
Detectives-in-training Milo and Jazz join forces to tackle their first big case, finding out who stole the lucky socks from the high-school baseball team’s star pitcher. Grades 2-4. *(AR Quiz #129263, BL 3.2, Pts. 1.0)

The Houdini Box
by Brian Selznick: T-N1833-10 — $11.00
A chance encounter with Harry Houdini leaves a small boy in possession of a mysterious box — one that might hold the secrets to the greatest magic tricks ever performed. Grades 3-6. *(AR Quiz #5906, BL 5.0, Pts. 0.5)

Little Wing
by Joanne Horniman: T-N1834-10 — $34.00
Australia. Emily, a young mother, struggles to find a way out of postpartum depression and leaves her baby, Mahalia. Along her emotional journey she meets Martin and his son, whose relationship reminds her of what she left behind. Grades 11-12.

A Matter of Justice: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery
by Charles Todd: T-N1847-00 — $93.50
Somerset, 1920. Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge is attending a wedding when he’s ordered to investigate the nearby murder of London businessman Harold Quarles. Rutledge, shell-shocked and haunted by the Great War, uncovers a crime committed twenty years ago during the Boer War. Some descriptions of violence.

Promises of Change: The Ladies of Covington
by Joan Medlicott: T-N1836-60 — $91.00
The women of Covington face challenges in their routines after Hannah’s volatile stepson Zachary unexpectedly returns from India with a pregnant wife. Meanwhile Grace helps Randy Banks, a traumatized veteran who has come back from Iraq, and Amelia fears her stepdaughter and grandchild may leave the area.

*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 News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

Malcolm Turner, APH Website Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Sandi Baker, Core Curriculum Project Leader, Research
  • Ralph Bartley, Director, Research
  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Maria Delgado, Field Services Representative
  • Cathy Johnson, Field Services Representative
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Drew Lueken, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field Services
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research
  • Becky Snider, Coordinator, Public Affairs
  • Linda Turner, Technical Services and Digital Resources Manager, Resource Services
  • Monica Turner, Field Services Representative
  • Roberta Williams, Manager, Public Affairs and Special Projects
  • Debbie Willis, Director, Accessible Tests
  • Suzette Wright, Emergent Literacy Project Leader, Research

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

Visit APH on

Read our blog: Fred’s Head from APH.

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

December Issue –
November Issue –
October 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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