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APH News July 2003

Your monthly link to the latest information on APH products, services, and training opportunities.

APH President Dr. Tuck Tinsley Announces:

Research Position Appointment

Dr. Ralph Bartley

Dr. Ralph E. Bartley was appointed Director of Research on an interim basis on June 16. Ralph, who was recently superintendent of the Kentucky School for the Blind brings a wealth of expertise and experience to his role at APH. He and Jane, his wife of 33 years, met in 1966 at the Missouri School for the Blind when they were university students serving as dormitory proctors. Ralph was later a teacher at the Missouri School; moved to the Kansas State School for the Blind as principal and later as superintendent; then to the Arizona Schools for the Deaf and the Blind as superintendent; and finally, to the Kentucky School for the Blind as superintendent in January 1995. Ralph and Jane have four children, Jennifer, Ben, Jodi, and Jessica. They also have two grandchildren, Madison and Jack. Jessica, their youngest child, will be a high school senior at Sacred Heart in Louisville next year. Ralph has been well received by the Research staff and we feel he will be a strong addition to APH.

Two Key Position Titles Change

Bob Brasher

To more directly reflect their roles at APH, the titles of two key staff members have been updated. Bob Brasher’s title is now Vice President of Advisory Services and Research, rather than Vice President of Products and Services. Janie Humphries’ title is now Director of Field Services, rather than Director of Advisory Services. While Janie’s role remains the same as it has since she was named to her position in January of 2002, Bob’s role has expanded. He now directs and coordinates the activities of the Research Department, in addition to his previous supervisory responsibilities over Advisory Services (Field Services, Resource Services, and Communications), the Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC), and the Accessible Tests Department.

Janie Humphries

Bob and Janie are both passionate, energetic advocates for all the good things about APH. We are fortunate their roles continue to focus them on networking APH with parents, teachers, Ex Officios, and others in our field.

Photos: Top—Ralph Bartley; Right—Bob Brasher; Left—Janie Humphries

ATIC Textbooks Now Available for Download!


More options are available for obtaining braille textbooks. Recently APH listed 130 ATIC textbook titles on the APH File Repository for download. These braille-ready files can now be downloaded at the local level, bound and delivered to students in a fraction of the time.

Since ATIC (Accessible Textbooks Initiative and Collaboration) is known for producing complex materials such as algebra, trigonometry, geometry, physics, and anatomy, you may wonder what good it would be to have only the braille for such highly graphical textbooks? We have the answer! You can now download the braille ready file and purchase the graphics for each of the listed books. The graphics will be produced at APH and shipped to you ready to bind with the braille!

To find these graphics you can search Louis for the ATIC catalog number (example: A-B0001-00), and replace the suffix -00 with -GR as the suffix (example: A-B0001-GR). We will continue to add ATIC textbook files, as translations are complete. Graphics may be purchased with Federal Quota dollars.

For those Instructional Material Centers or school districts that do not have the equipment or support staff to emboss braille files, you can still order any ATIC textbook by sending APH Customer Service a Federal Quota order form or by ordering from the APH web site.

If you have any questions please contact Jane Thompson at email hidden; JavaScript is required or Matt Witten at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Updated ATIC Textbook Order Forms

When ordering new braille transcriptions of textbooks through ATIC, please use the updated ATIC Textbook Order Form.

The ATIC Department requests that all Trustees throw away your old textbook order forms and begin using the updated form immediately, found on the ATIC web page by using this link:

If you have any questions please contact Jean Moore at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

LA Loves Loving Me

Thirty teachers, students, parents, rehabilitation professionals and family members joined APH and the Braille Institute of America for a presentation of Loving Me, the APH product authored by Billy Brookshire. The NIP event was held June 23 -24, 2003 at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles, CA.

Billy guided the audience through a number of the activities found in Loving Me, a manual for presenting workshops designed to increase self-esteem for students and clients with visual impairment. Participants in the workshop were led through activities from Loving Me to increase self-awareness, self-advocacy, body language, spatial awareness, social skills and other areas crucial to self-esteem. Billy also shared ideas, tips and techniques for using the Loving Me manuals to lead workshops with students and clients in other settings.

If you would like to partner with APH to host a "Loving Me: Secrets of Self-Esteem" workshop or another NIP event in your area, contact Janie Humphries at email hidden; JavaScript is required, or call 800-223-1839, ext. 367.

National Braille Challenge Honors North America’s
Best Braille Readers

The National Braille Challenge Invitational

Fifty-five students from the United States and Canada competed in the first-ever National Braille Challenge Invitational June 27 – 28, 2003 at the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles. Students in five age groups participated in contests of reading speed and accuracy, reading comprehension, spelling, proofreading, and chart and graph reading. The top performer in each age group was awarded a trophy and a savings bond.

Students were chosen to participate based on their performance in individual and regional competitions, and were accompanied to Los Angeles by parents, siblings, other family members, and sometimes, their teachers of the visually impaired.

Parents and teachers were offered the opportunity to attend workshops while their children were competing, and APH exhibited products and materials over the course of the event. Janie Humphries, Director of Field Services at APH joined Frances Mary D’Andrea, Director of the AFB National Literacy Center, Dr. Cay Holbrook, Professor, the University of British Columbia, and Karen Ross, Vice President, The Carroll Center, on the National Advisory Committee for the event, which was headed up by EOT Vickie Liske of the Braille Institute.

Teachers wishing to include their students in next year’s competition can contact Janie at APH, or call Vicki Liske at 323/663-1111. This wonderful opportunity to celebrate Braille and the accomplishments of our outstanding students who read Braille should not be missed!!

Prison Braille Program

Over the past several months APH has gathered information on prison braille production facilities across the country and has learned much about how these programs operate and the customers they serve. For a copy of this written report, please contact Nancy Lacewell, APH Director of Government and Community Affairs, 800/223-1839, Ext. 339.

Blind Parents Front and Center!

APH is working on a project designed to provide accurate, positive information about blindness and parenting. The project is based on telephone interviews with visually impaired parents. If you are a legally blind parent with at least one child still living at home, or if you know of such parents, we’d like to tell you more! Please call or e-mail Terrie Terlau, email hidden; JavaScript is required, 800/223-1839, Ext. 381.

APH Flea Market Finds

We have a new APH Flea Market product promotion running now through September 30. Please view your potential bargains at

O&M Model Kit Survey: We Need YOUR Help!

Various groups have constructed three-dimensional models of frequently encountered structures and environmental features such as buildings, intersections, and streets to teach concepts and other information to visually impaired/blind students. Typically, these kits include wooden models of buildings, sidewalks, streets, and various types of intersections. A construct might display one T-intersection, a standard intersection, a street with buildings on it, a block with intersections and buildings, or a small section of a city.

APH would like to learn more about the usefulness and relevance of these three-dimensional models and about the kinds of constructs you would consider essential. To provide feedback about this type of product, please complete the survey posted on the APH web site by August 1. The direct link is

Please share this link with other educators, O&M instructors, and rehabilitation personnel who might have valuable information to share about this type of product. For a hardcopy version of the survey (either braille or large print), please contact Karen Poppe, email hidden; JavaScript is required or Terrie Terlau, email hidden; JavaScript is required. Their phone numbers are 800/223-1839, Ext. 322 and Ext. 381, respectively. Thank you for your prompt response.

National Instructional Partnerships Event: "Cortical Visual Impairment: What You See Is Not Always What You Get"

Dr. Christine Roman

APH is pleased to present this CVI workshop with Dr. Christine Roman, co-sponsored with Ex Officio Trustee Jeanette Wicker and the Kentucky School for the Blind. The workshop will focus on a wide variety of materials for intervention, including selected APH products, along with techniques for assessment and identification. The material covered is appropriate for children of all ages.

The workshop will be held July 14 – 16, 2003, on the campus of the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville, KY. We encourage teachers of the visually impaired, parents, occupational therapists, physical therapists, early interventionists, eye care professionals, and others interested in cortical visual impairment to attend. Although no registration fee will be charged, there is a materials fee of $25.00. Housing for a limited number of participants will be available at the Kentucky School for the Blind.

If you have questions or would like further information, please contact Cathy Johnson, Kentucky School for the Blind, 502/897-1583, or email email hidden; JavaScript is required, or Janie Humphries, 800/223-1839, Ext. 367, or email email hidden; JavaScript is required. All registration information is available on the APH web site,

Photo: Dr. Christine Roman

ABC Braille Study Update

ABC Braille Study

The Alphabetic Braille and Contracted Braille Study (ABC) hopes to determine if there are differences in reading rates and comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, word recognition, and reading achievement levels of children who are initially taught contracted Braille as compared to those who are initially taught uncontracted Braille.

On June 15 and 16, the committee met in Fremont, California at the California School for the Blind. First year results of the data collection were reported and plans were made to continue the project for four more years. Twenty-one potential braille reading preschoolers and kindergarten students have been observed to date. The goal is to eventually involve a total of forty students in this longitudinal study.

Field Test Sites Needed

We will need young braille users (kindergarten through grade 3) and their teachers to participate in this research project in the following ways:

  • MATH
    Primary Math Unit 1 will be sent to teachers of the visually impaired to use with their braille reading students for approximately 3 months. The topic includes Matching, Sorting, and Patterning. Materials will include lessons and a total of 50+ tactile worksheets to be used for all four grade levels.
    For the Braille Production Study, an APH staff member will come to work with your braille reading students individually on four stimulus match activities, each produced by a different production method.

Please call Rosanne Hoffmann at 800/223-1839, Ext. 292 or Eleanor Pester at Ext. 320 for more information on how you can assist with this valuable research project.

Callahan Museum Showing Laura Bridgman Artifacts

Illustration of Laura Bridgman from Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, April 26, 1856.

Photo: Illustration of Laura Bridgman from Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, April 26, 1856.

Laura Bridgman was described as "one of the most interesting pupils at the Perkins Institution of the Blind." The details of her life and education were featured in the popular press and scholars were fascinated with the idea of communicating with a person who could not see or hear.

The new exhibit in the changing exhibit case at the Callahan Museum showcases artifacts relating to Laura Bridgman (1829-1889). Laura Bridgman was the first deaf and blind person to learn language, and in the mid-nineteenth century, one of the most famous women in the world. She was the star pupil of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe who taught her to communicate through finger language and express herself in writing. Laura came to study at Perkins School for the Blind when she was seven years old and stayed at the school until her death.

An outstanding item in the collection is the pair of tiny, "gem tintypes" of Laura Bridgman. These photographs, which are about one inch square, were probably meant to be cut apart. The museum also owns an original letter handwritten in pencil by Laura Bridgman and several original, contemporary newspaper articles about her education and life.

The first biography of Laura Bridgman was written by Mary Swift Lamson, one of Laura’s first teachers. The book, Life and Education of Laura Dewey Bridgman was published in 1878. Laura Bridgman, the Story of an Opened Door, was written in 1928 by Dr. Howe’s daughter, Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards, who was named for Laura Bridgman. The Callahan museum’s copy was embossed in braille, grade 1 ½ in 1929.Two recent biographies, both published in 2001, are The Imprisoned Guest by Elisabeth Gitter and The Education of Laura Bridgman by Ernest Freeberg.

APH Travel Calendar and In-House Events for July and August

on the road with APH


June 28-July 4, 2003
NFB (National Federation of the Blind) Conference;
Louisville, KY

July 5-12, 2003
ACB (American Council for the Blind) Conference;
Pittsburgh, PA

July 5-9, 2003
International Correctional Education Association Conference;
Oklahoma City, OK

July 7, 2003
Database Summer Camp, Clovernook Center for the Blind;
Cincinnati, OH

July 8-12, 2003
AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disability) Conference;
Dallas, TX

July 9, 2003
Database Summer Camp, Maryland School for the Blind;
Baltimore, MD

July 11-14, 2003
Database Summer Camp, San Bernardino/Ontario Schools;
San Bernardino, CA

July 14-16, 2003
CVI: What You See Is Not Always What You Get; NIP Event; Kentucky School for the Blind;
Louisville, KY

July 15, 2003
Database Summer Camp, Montana School for the Deaf and the Blind;
Great Falls, MT

July 17, 2003
Database Summer Camp, Carroll Center for the Blind;
Boston, MA

July 18, 2003
Database Summer Camp, Perkins School for the Blind;
Boston, MA

July 19, 2003
Database Summer Camp, Boston Public Schools;
Boston, MA

July 23, 2003
Database Summer Camp, Lighthouse of Houston;
Houston, TX

July 25-29, 2003
AER Advocacy – Everyone’s Responsibility;
Washington, DC


August 1, 2003
Database Summer Camp, Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped and Educational Services for the Visually Impaired;
Janesville, WI

August 21-23, 2003
WV Vision Teacher/Outreach In-Service,
Huntington, WV

August 25-28, 2003
Blinded Veterans Association Convention;
Myrtle Beach, SC

New APH Ex Officio Trustees Named

APH welcomes the following new Ex Officio Trustees:

Susan Hokama at the Hawaii Department of Education and the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and Blind, replacing Dr. Jeanne Prickett.

Sue Enoch at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, replacing Samantha Hoffman.

Jennifer Ervin at the New York State Education Department, replacing Dan Ryan.

James Kesteloot at The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, replacing Dawn Rose.

Barbara Perkis at the Illinois State Board of Education, replacing Gene Huston.

Federal Quota/SRS Training Set for November

Ex Officio Trustees, please don’t forget the Federal Quota/Student Registration System (SRS) Training scheduled November 3 and 4. This unique training is geared to those people who actually gather and enter the data for the SRS Program. You can register your staff by contacting Karen Blaker (800/223-1839, Ext. 300, or email hidden; JavaScript is required) or by filling out the registration form on the APH web site.

APH will cover hotel and meal costs for attendees while in Louisville.

New Products

NEW! Book Port™

Book Port

Read computer text, web content, and digital audio – anywhere, anytime… Book Port Rules!

Book Port™ is a flexible book reading device that consists of a small, portable unit with a keypad and earbuds, plus accompanying software. It features both text-to-speech capabilities and digital audio support. This means you may read electronic files (with synthetic speech) or digital recorded books (with human speech).

The unit contains state-of-the-art hardware such as a universal serial bus (USB) connector and a CompactFlash® card slot for removable mass storage. The included software and cable lets you use your PC to transfer material to Book Port. You can then disconnect Book Port and take it anywhere you go.

What Can I Read on Book Port?

Thousands of public domain electronic books are available free over the Internet. More recent electronic books are available for purchase over the Internet. In addition, if you have a scanner and optical character recognition (OCR) software, you can scan your own books or other material, load them onto Book Port, then read them anywhere! Note that you must follow applicable copyright laws when scanning material into your computer.

Some of Book Port’s Many Features:

Hand holding a Book Port

  • Read DAISY Digital Talking Books
  • Read contracted braille in Braille Ready Files (.brf)
  • Play MP3s in stereo
  • Send web pages directly to Book Port from Internet Explorer®
  • Record audio memos
  • Navigate among files or within a book
  • Navigate by letter, word, sentence, paragraph, page, or section items
  • Choice of synthetic speech voices; control pitch, speed, and volume of speech

Requirements to Run Book Port Software

  • Windows® ME or higher
  • 64 MB of RAM
  • 15 MB of hard disk space to install software
  • Pentium® 166 MHz or faster processor
  • CD-ROM drive

Book Port: 1-07440-00 . . . $395.00

NEW! Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program: Patterns Library Series Primer Level (Green): Print Edition of Primer Level Pupil’s Books

This print book is for use by parents and teachers and contains the text of 27 braille books in the Primer Level Patterns Library series. These Library Series books correspond to the Primer Level of the Patterns Reading Series and provide students with braille reading practice.

Print Edition of Primer Level Pupil’s Books: 8-78302-00 . . . $12.00

Related Products:

Patterns Library Series Primer Kit: 6-78310-00 . . . $190.00
Includes: Notes for Teachers, 27 Braille Books

Notes for Teachers only: 8-78310-00 . . . $7.00

NEW! BANA Codebook: English Braille, American Edition, 2003, Revised

This is the latest edition of the English Braille American Edition from the Braille Authority of North America (BANA).

English Braille, American Edition, 2003, Revised
Braille: 5-35932-00 . . . $20.00
Print: 7-35932-00 . . . $20.00

First-Ever Book Store Catalog Available Soon!

APH’s first-ever Book Store Catalog will be available later this summer. This consumer-friendly catalog will contain a selection of fiction and nonfiction books in braille and enlarged print. Titles include juvenile fiction, classics, mysteries, cookbooks, biography, self-esteem building, and much more.

In addition, the catalog contains gifts, such as videos, print/braille cards, a special music CD, and a reading stand.

This catalog will be available in print, and on cassette, disc, and the APH web site. Call 1-800-223-1839 and select the "catalogs" option from our automated menu to request your free copy.

APH News Credits

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

Malcolm Turner, APH Web Site Coordinator

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

June Issue –
May Issue –
April Issue –

Archive of all previous issues –

Thanks to the following APH staff members for their contributions to this effort:

  • Sandi Baker, Field Services Representative
  • Karen Blaker, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Tony Grantz, Business Manager, Finance
  • Janie Humphries, Director, Field Services
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director, Government and Community Affairs
  • Artina Paris, Assistant, Field Services
  • Eleanor Pester, Project Leader, Braille, Research
  • Karen Poppe, Project Leader, Tactile Graphics, Research
  • Terrie Terrlau, Project Leader, Adult Life, Research
  • Jane Thompson, Director, ATIC
  • Carol Tobe, Director, Callahan Museum
  • Tuck Tinsley, President