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

July 2004

Mark Your Calendar:

Annual Meeting 2004 October 14 - 17
Sally Mangold

The 136th APH Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests will be held in Louisville, KY at the Camberley Brown Hotel, October 14-17, 2004. Please join us as Dr. Sally Mangold sets the tone for the theme, "Opening the Doors of Opportunity," with her Thursday evening keynote address.

For more information, check our web site Annual Meeting page or call 800/223-1839, ext. 300. A tentative agenda and registration information will soon appear on the site.

Early Literacy Focus Group

Books for emergent and beginning readers were the focus of a recent group meeting at APH. Suzette Wright, Research Associate in the Educational Research Department, coordinated the June 13-15 visit. Participants from around the country met to discuss and prioritize the types of books needed for young readers, the availability of such books, the content of those books, and other issues surrounding early literacy for children with blindness and visual impairment.

Participants in the group included Jeanie Brasher (KY), Anna Swenson (VA), Frances Mary D’Andrea (GA), Dotta Hassman (IA), Wendy Sapp (GA), and Tanni Anthony (CA). APH staff members Sandi Baker, Janie Humphries, and Becki Moody also served as members of the focus group.

Deafblind Group Refocuses at APH

Deafblind Focus Group

Cortical Visual Impairment. Assessment. Literacy. No Child Left Behind. Web Chase. Product Videos. These are just a few of the many topics discussed by APH staff and faculty from teacher training programs in deafblindness at the second Deafblind Focus Group Meeting held at APH June 20-22. Faculty from 5 personnel preparation programs, along with graduate students in those programs, met at APH to continue the work that began in June, 2002 at the first meeting of this group.

The focus of this meeting was to gather feedback from participants on work that has been done and projects that are underway at APH, as they relate to students who are deafblind, and to get input regarding future APH products. APH staff, including project leaders from educational research, shared information about current projects and looked at ways products might benefit students who are deafblind. APH learned of many challenges that face teacher training programs in deafblindness, and there was much discussion on the impact of "No Child Left Behind" on their programs.

The meeting ended with new friends made, new partnerships formed, and much enthusiasm generated about what’s happening at APH!

"I want to thank you for providing me with such a rich and rewarding experience at APH. I learned so many new things, starting with the quota system." Effie Laman, doctoral student, Texas Tech.

APH Staffers Receive Training in Deafblindness

APH staff members were treated to an educational and entertaining morning as they were asked to communicate, to the (simulated) deafblind person sitting next to them, what they were planning to have for dinner that night — without speaking.

On June 23, University of Alabama at Birmingham faculty Mary Jean Sanspree and Carol Allison, along with graduate students Michelle Blankenship and Mary Coty, shared information on the causes of deafblindness and the challenges presented, specifically with regard to communication and education. Participating APH staff learned how persons who are deafblind communicate, as well as about educational strategies used in the classroom, including the use of many APH products.

We thank Mary Jean, Carol, Michelle, and Mary for sharing their expertise with us, to help us better understand the educational needs of students who are deafblind as we attempt to develop educational materials to benefit them.

Focusing on Early Literacy Textbooks

Focus Group Participants

APH hosted a three-day focus group June 20-23, to discuss and expand the Promising Practices for Transcribing Early Literacy Textbooks and Materials. The meeting focused on tactile graphics and Nemeth code found in textbooks kindergarten through third grade.

This is the third meeting for this group comprised of teachers, transcribers, literacy experts, and the Early Literacy Committee members from the Braille Authority of North America (BANA). Earlier meetings covered topics such as physical page attributes, formatting including emphasis, puzzles, drawings, photographs, part word emphasis, columns, proofreading marks, and more. You can review a current draft of this document on the APH website, on the ATIC web page. Once this document and related research is complete it will be submitted to BANA and become the Guidelines for Transcribing Early Literacy Textbooks and Materials. It is currently being distributed by both APH and BANA for use by teachers and transcribers to gain feedback.

The results of this focus group will be shared at the APH Annual Meeting. For more information please contact Jane Thompson at or call 800/223-1839, ext. 370.

ATIC focus group participants included Dr. Mila Truan, Marsha Dresser, Lynn Vuocolo, Lucia Hasty, Betsy Burnham (ATIC), Jane Thompson (ATIC), Suzette Wright, Rose Zinious (ATIC), Warren Figueiredo, Betsy McBride, Susan Christensen, Edie Mourre, Dena Garrett (ATIC), Jean Moore (ATIC), Yan Zhang (ATIC), Janie Humphries.

Members of Hall of Fame to Appear at AER Conference in Orlando

Louis Vieceli

Alice Raftary

Alice Raftary (MI) and Louis Vieceli (IL) have graciously agreed to greet AER conference attendees at a display spotlighting the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field in Orlando this July.

Please take a moment to stop by and visit these honored AER guests in person while at the conference. Mr. Vieceli will also appear at the Division 2: Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling & Employment Services meeting where an award, named in his honor, will be presented.

Would you like to learn more about Mrs. Raftary and Mr. Vieceli and their impact on the history of our field? You can by reading their biographies, and those of the other initial inductees, at the Hall of Fame Web Site.

While in the display area, please stop by the APH booth to see the latest products.

APH Salutes the National Braille Challenge Invitational

Claire Stanley, first place winner in the Junior Varsity group

Fifty-seven students from around the country and Canada brought their parents, families, friends and teachers to the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles June 25 – 26, 2004 for the second annual National Braille Challenge Invitational. Once again APH was proud to be a part of this outstanding event. Janie Humphries, Director of Field Services, and Field Services Representative Sandi Baker, were on hand to display products and materials in a very busy APH booth. Parents and other family members were eager to examine products available from APH that would make appropriate gifts for their children and grandchildren. Grandparents from as far away as China were excited to see new APH products like Web Chase and Talking Glow Dice, and eager to order books from the APH Chrissy’s Collection for their grandchildren. Teachers of the visually impaired were equally as impressed with the array of APH products on display.

Congratulations to all of the students who competed in the Challenge, and to their families and teachers. If you would like more information about how your students can be a part of this event, please contact Janie Humphries, 800/223-1839, or contact Vicki Liske at the Braille Institute of America, 323/663-1111.

Photo: Claire Stanley, first place winner in the Junior Varsity group

Louis News

Louis Database Accessible Materials and APH File Repository

We have increased capacity so that we can accommodate the growing number of searchers using the Louis Database!

It became apparent in late May that we had so many searchers using Louis that we had to improve our ability to handle the volume. By June 14, we were able to make this increased capacity available, and we are continuing to monitor usage.

Louis tip

When using the "new" Louis interface that debuted in December of last year, it is now possible to use the "back" button on your browser. For example, if you download a file from the APH File Repository, after you have completed the download, use your browser’s back button to return to the Louis record. You may then use the regular Louis navigation buttons near the bottom of that screen (e.g. return to search; return to main Louis menu; exit Louis).

APH File Repository

We have received a few requests for files from the APH File Repository by purchase order. We cannot fulfill requests from the repository from a PO.

Files from the APH File Repository are downloaded directly from the repository by registered users. To become a registered user, an individual must qualify as a representative of a recognized entity under the Chaffee amendment or must be an Ex Officio Trustee of the American Printing House for the Blind or a designee of an Ex Officio Trustee.

More information on the APH File Repository is available from our Web site, including a form that may be printed, signed, and returned to us establishing an APH Repository File account for qualifying organizations.

Braille Publisher Contact List

Do you need to know the difference between a national and state edition of a textbook that you are considering having transcribed?

APH maintains a list of publisher contacts for braille-related questions on our web site at

If you need help with a question, you may wish to e-mail or call the appropriate representative from this list.

Babies Count Project Update

The Babies Count Project is on the move! New states have been added with more pending over the next few months. Although minor issues have been found with the new database, the ability to enter surveys on-line has made it much easier to train new participants. The following states have received training: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.

To learn more, please join Dr. Deborah Hatton, Research Scientist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina, and Burt Boyer, Field Services Representative and coordinator of the Babies Count Project for APH, at a session on the topic at the AER International Conference in Orlando, Florida in July.
Dr. Hatton is preparing a report on the data collected from approximately 1,600 surveys that have been entered into the database.

Congratulations, and thanks, to the following states for submitting surveys: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky (by VIPS), Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio,
Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Please contact Burt Boyer, email hidden; JavaScript is required, for additional information, or to set up training on the project.

National Family Conference Planned for 2005!

Exciting news! The National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI), the Hadley School for the Blind, and the American Printing House for the Blind are joining forces to sponsor a National Family Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, August 12-14, 2005. Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) and the Kentucky School for the Blind will also be major players in this effort. The conference will be held at the Galt House in Louisville. It is anticipated that tours will be offered for those wishing to visit the American Printing House for the Blind and the Kentucky School for the Blind.

A planning committee is being formed and will meet for the first time in early August, 2004. Information will be made available as soon as the program is finalized. Please check the websites of each of the three sponsors for updates on this exciting event.

Souvenirs from the APH Callahan Museum Collection

A temporary exhibit of souvenirs from the museum collection is now available for viewing in the Museum Reception Room. Some souvenirs date to the early 1900s, when leisure travel was on the rise and with it a demand for mementos of places visited. Especially popular were items made of china and silver decorated with colorful images and embossed designs. Among them were souvenirs featuring schools for the blind, as well as other blindness-related interests. The museum exhibit also includes historic postcards of the same schools as depicted on the souvenirs. A descriptive handout is available in braille.

Souvenirs in the exhibit from left to right: (front row) New York State School for the Blind spoon, New Mexico Institute for the Blind spoon, New York State School for the Blind ashtray, Louis Braille spoon, New York Institution for the Blind mug; (back row) Iowa College for the Blind cup & saucer, South Dakota School for the Blind dish, Iowa College for the Blind plate and cream pitcher.

Directory of Ex Officio Trustees – Find It on the Web, New and Improved!

For each residential school for the blind, state department of education, or agency for the blind that participates in the Federal Quota Program, an Ex Officio Trustee (EOT) must be designated to administer that program.

A new and improved EOT Directory, featuring an index of the Trustees sorted by last name with special formatting for printing, is now available on the APH web site.

The print edition of the Ex Officio Trustee Directory has been discontinued.

APH Flea Market Finds

The APH Flea Market

A number of APH products are on sale through September. Many of these items are overstocks rather than discontinued. Many are also new — never advertised before. All are available only while supplies last. Do your sales shopping on line at the APH Flea Market.

Intern Significantly Impacts Map Project

The APH Large Print Color Atlas project is happy to announce the addition of Matt Smith to the staff. Matt is a student at the University of Louisville who is fluent in the mysterious ways of mapmaking via computer. Matt has started making the hundreds of large print maps needed to supply the developing atlas. These maps must not only meet ordinary standards for typical mapmaking, but must meet 69 additional guidelines developed for large print maps by a group of experts proficient in both geography and teaching students with visual impairments. Matt uses a highly-technical piece of software called ArcView to do his magic. The atlas staff is thrilled with the maps Matt has developed so far. They are beautiful, simple, and VISIBLE! Other atlas staff are, Elaine Kitchel, Monica Vaught, Ann Travis and Bridgett Johnson. The first section of the atlas, covering one-third of the world, will be ready for field testing at the end of September. If you are interested in field testing and have at least three middle or high school geography students, please contact Elaine Kitchel at email hidden; JavaScript is required

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

Nancy Niebrugge, Braille Institute of America, replacing Victoria Liske

Janet Ford, Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, replacing Gwendolyn Etienne

Teachers Assist with the Revision of "Patterns"

During the Week of June 28 to July 2, APH invited six PATTERNS veterans to Louisville to begin writing the Post Tests and Review Worksheets for the PATTERNS revision. These six teachers joined APH Project Leader, Eleanor Pester, and APH Consultant, Betty Modaressi, for this intensive week of writing.

The teachers were invited based on their knowledge of not only PATTERNS, but other braille reading instructional methodologies. They have teaching experience in various geographical locations, have been trained in Blind/VI in a variety of vision programs, and represent school districts of various sizes and demographic makeup. APH is fortunate that these individuals were able to give us a week of their time to complete a crucial piece of the PATTERNS revision. If you would be interested in serving as a field study site or as an expert reviewer, please contact Eleanor Pester at email hidden; JavaScript is required

Pictured are: (left to right) Robin Mengel, Itinerant Teacher, Santa Barbara County Education, California; Betty Modaressi; Diane Stockman, Itinerant Teacher, St. Louis County Special School District, St. Louis, MO; Candy Lien, Braille Instructor, North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind; Ralph Bartley, APH Research Department; Eleanor Pester; Merrilee Petersen, Vision Itinerant Teacher, Davis School District, Bountiful, Utah; Gail Wilson, Itinerant Teacher, North Suburban Special Education District, Highland Park, Illinois; and Kate Dilworth, Itinerant Teacher, Northwest Regional Program, Hillsboro, Oregon.

Make Note of Survey on Braille Music!

In response to the serious concern about the availability of braille music and "the dearth of qualified music braillists," the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union is conducting a survey to examine the status of braille music transcription in North America. The results of this study will assist in measuring the need to increase the capacity to produce braille music and in identifying practical strategies that can increase the capacity to produce it. Dr. Tuck Tinsley and Mary Nelle McLennan of APH are coordinating the survey development and processing.

We encourage participation in this survey by everyone who is involved in teaching, transcribing, or purchasing braille music or who has an interest in the future of braille music. Readers of APH News can play a key role in disseminating this survey to appropriate parties who have valuable knowledge and experience in the area of braille music, and we are counting on your help in doing so!

There are several methods of responding to the survey:

  • On-line through the APH website.
    Simply visit and respond right there.
  • Email using an electronic copy of the survey.
    A copy of the survey in a WORD file is available up request from Respondents can reply by saving this file, completing the survey electronically, and returning it as an attachment to an email sent to the address given on the form.
  • Hardcopy survey forms.
    A copy of the form is available upon request from or by phoning Mary Nelle at 412-367-9085. Hardcopy can also be produced from a WORD file which Mary Nelle can email you. The completed survey should be mailed to the address indicated on the form.

The deadline has been extended till August 16, 2004, for submitting completed surveys.

We appreciate your help in shaping the future of braille music in North America. Please contact Tuck ( or Mary Nelle ( if you have questions about the survey or to offer suggestions for the success of this project.

APH Travel

on the road with APH


July 2-10, 2004
ACB 2004 Conference;
Birmingham, AL

July 8-11, 2004
NOAH Conference;
Atlanta, GA

July 9, 2004
Kentucky Department of Education’s BIAS Review Committee;
Lexington, KY

July 12, 2004
Maryland Rehabilitation Center Summer Technology Training;
Baltimore, MD

July 13-14, 2004
Maryland School for the Blind Summer Technology Training;
Baltimore, MD

July 13-19, 2004
AER International Conference;
Orlando, FL

July 26, 2004
Seeing Hand Association Summer Technology Training;

July 28-29, 2004
Legislative Visits;
Washington DC

July 28-29, 2004
Summer Technology Training;
Ashville, NC

July 30-31, 2004
Western Michigan University Product Training;
Kalamazoo, MI


August 3, 2004
Summer Technology Training;
Columbus, GA

August 12, 2004
Idaho School for the Blind Technology Training;
Goodin, ID

August 19-21, 2003
Visions National Conference;
Chicago, IL

August 20, 2004
VIPS Athlete Luncheon;
APH, Louisville, KY

APH Announces the Greatly Anticipated Web Chase Board Game!

Web Chase Game

This APH designed game provides a fun way for students to develop and practice tactile skills with all peers regardless of visual ability. Relying on both luck and skill, players move their spider-shaped playing pieces through the tactile web, collecting insect prey along the way.

Concepts and skills developed include:

  • Visual and tactile scanning
  • Identifying point symbols
  • Discriminating textures and shapes
  • One-to-one correspondence
  • Turn taking
  • Problem solving

Intended for ages 5 and older, Web Chase can be tailored to fit player’s abilities. WARNING: Web Chase contains small parts that can be a choking hazard for young children. Do not use with children under 5 years old without adult supervision.

Web Chase: 1-08460-00 — $149.00

Note: Replacement pieces are available. Call 1-800-223-1839 or for details.

Stumped? Get UN-Stumped!

Stumped trying to use an APH product? Try one of these solutions to help you get UN-stumped!

A manual is included on product CDs. View it on-screen, read it with your screen reader, or print a hard copy. We also include a quick-start sheet in braille.

APH provides technical support for:

  • Book PortTM
  • Braille ‘n Speak
  • ColorTest
  • Handi-Cassette
  • Light Boxes
  • Orion Scientific Calculator
  • Portable Sound Source
  • Table-Top Recorders

On-line discussion groups
Send an email with questions, problems, or suggestions, and receive replies from APH staff and other product users. Email to find out how to subscribe to discussion groups.

On the phone
Our friendly Technical Support staff will be happy to answer questions about our high-tech products. Call 1-800-223-1839 and choose "Technical Support" from the menu. Available 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

Non-Electronic Products
If you need help with a non-electronic product, please call 1-800-223-1839 and choose "Customer Service" from the menu.

APH Demo Disc 2004 Now Available

It’s bright! It’s purple! The new edition of our popular APH Demo Disc is now available. This free-of-charge CD-ROM is jam-packed with software demos and accessible product information.

A few of the many items on the disc are:

  • Verbal View of Windows® XP software info and demo
  • Book Wizard Reader software info and demo
  • Products Catalog 2004-2005, Text File Edition, HTML Edition, PDF Edition
  • Information on national prison braille programs

To order your free copy of the demo disc, email or call 1-800-223-1839 and select the "catalogs" item from the voice menu.

APH News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

Malcolm Turner, APH Web Site Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Sandi Baker, Field Representative, Field Services
  • Karen Blaker, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Burt Boyer, Field Representative, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Tony Grantz, Business Development Manager, Finance
  • Janie Humphries, Director, Field Services
  • Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project leader, Research
  • Mary Nelle McLennan, Executive Advisor to the President
  • Becki Moody, Communications Support Specialist
  • Julia Myers, Director, Resource Services
  • Artina Paris, Assistant, Field Services
  • Carol Tobe, Director, APH Callahan Museum

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

June Issue –
May Issue –
April Issue –

Archive of all previous issues –

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