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APH News

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

July 2006

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

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

Adjusting the Sails in Louisville

Adjusting the Sails Annual Meeting 2006 October 12-14 Louisville, KY

"We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails."

Have you calendarized the APH 138th Annual Meeting, October 12 through 14 in Louisville, Kentucky? Registration information for this exciting event will soon be available at the web link (

Braille ChallengeTM Showcases Braille Readers

Braille Challenge A National Program of Braille Institute

Fifty-eight students from twenty-two states and three Canadian provinces met in Los Angeles June 23 – 24, 2006 for the National Braille Challenge Invitational. Students earn the right to compete in the national event, held at the Braille Institute of America, by obtaining the highest scores in their age category at regional and preliminary events. Congratulations to Caitlin Hernandez of California, this year’s overall winner in Los Angeles!

Braille Challenge Participants

APH was proud to exhibit at the event, and Field Services Director Janie Blome demonstrated APH products to parents, teachers, family members, transcribers and contestants. Favorite products included the Draftsman and the new Periodic Table of the Elements.

Janie joins Ex Officio Trustee Stuart Wittenstein (California School for the Blind), Mary Ann Siller (American Foundation for the Blind), Cay Holbrook (University of British Columbia) and Karen Ross (Carroll Center for the Blind) as a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Braille Challenge, which is a national program of the Braille Institute of America. Ex Officio Trustee Nancy Niebrugge, Braille Challenge Director, heads up a team of dedicated Braille Institute employees who make this a first class event from beginning to end!

NIP News

The National Instructional Partnerships

Approximately forty teachers, early interventionists, parents, occupational and speech therapists and others were on hand to hear Dr. Chris Roman present a recent National Instructional Partnerships (NIP) event in Alabama. Dr. Roman presented techniques and strategies for identification, assessment and intervention of students with cortical visual impairment. Intervention strategies featured the use of a variety of APH products.

In future NIP events, Dr. LaRhea Sanford will present her upcoming APH product on functional vision learning media assessments in Louisville on July 25, 2006. The event, held in partnership with Ex Officio Trustee Cathy Johnson and the Kentucky School for the Blind, will provide attendees with a day long workshop in the use of the functional vision assessment developed by Dr. Sanford and Dr. Rebecca Burnett. Registration information is available from Cathy Johnson, 502-897-1583, x232, email hidden; JavaScript is required, or by contacting Janie Blome, 800-223-1839, email hidden; JavaScript is required

Ex Officio Trustee Barbara McCarthy, the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, and the Prince William County Schools are partnering with APH to offer a second NIP event, "Cortical Visual Impairment: There’s More To It Than the Eye Can See". The event will be held in Woodbridge, VA, August 16 – 18, and will feature Dr. Christine Roman presenting a wide variety of materials for assessment and intervention, including APH products.

Registration information for this event is available from Carmen Ateca-Valdes, 703/791-8530,, or from Janie Blome, 800-223-1839, ext. 367, Registration for this workshop is also available online at

If you are interested in hosting a NIP event to showcase the use of APH products across areas of the Core Curriculum and Expanded Core Curriculum, please contact Janie Blome at APH.

New First Grade Patterns Field Test Opportunity

APH is offering another exciting field test opportunity as we revise the popular product, Patterns. We have already received an excellent response from field testers of the Kindergarten Level of the new Patterns prototype. We are now making preparations to field test the First Grade Level of the new Building on Patterns: The Primary Braille Literacy Program. This part of the program also includes many features intended to make the new series more user friendly, more appropriate for an integrated setting, and more accurately geared toward building an appropriate vocabulary, as well as improve testing readiness by the end of third grade. The first grade curriculum includes:

  • Focus on phonemic awareness and phonics, reading comprehension and fluency, and vocabulary building
  • Braillewriting instruction for new contractions and braillewriting applications for practice throughout
  • Emphasis on common spelling patterns and the spelling of contracted words
  • Additional words for student word banks and spelling lists for home practice and personalization
  • Sections on braille knowledge centering on elements unique to the braille code and the introduction of additional upper cell contractions, dot 5 words, shortforms, and common punctuation and composition signs
  • Additional tactile graphics and concept development
  • Practice tests serving as checkpoints for continuing instruction

Full-sized braille textbooks with braille on both sides of the page are showcased with colorful tactile covers that more closely resemble the textbooks of sighted peers. Separate worksheets will allow the student to write answers directly on the sheet with a braillewriter.

We will be ready to send the prototype of the revised First Grade level of the Building on Patterns Reading Program in the late fall of 2006. If you have a first grade braille reader and are interested in becoming a part of this evaluation process, helping to ensure that APH truly meets the needs of students and teachers, send your contact information along with details about your student’s age, grade, and current reading abilities to Rosanne Hoffmann (email hidden; JavaScript is required), or call 1-800-223-1839.

Talking Glow Dice in Las Vegas?

It was a gamble taking so many APH products to Las Vegas for a day of training with the Clark County School District of Las Vegas, NV teachers of the visually impaired. The morning of the day-long training on May 26 was devoted to APH products for students who are visually impaired and have multiple disabilities, and the afternoon was spent talking about products for students who are visually impaired with no additional disabilities.

The new Sensory Learning Kit and the CVI Perspectives DVD generated much interest and discussion in the morning session. Book Port stole the show in the afternoon, with much attention also focused on SQUID and Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding.

Other products presented by APH’s Sandi Baker were the Tangle Toy, ENVISION, Draftsman, Web Chase and the Talking Glow Dice.

Universal Design in Assessment Summit

Accessible Tests staff, Barbara Henderson and Carol Allman, participated in a summit on universal design in assessment sponsored and funded by the National Center on Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota. The purpose of the summit was to bring together researchers, educational practitioners, and test vendors who could share their ideas and experiences, and develop a plan for identifying common ground and language for application of universal design to K-12 large scale assessment.

On days 1 and 2, the researchers and practitioners presented current and future efforts in universal design application to assessment, discussed definitions and best practice strategies in universal design, and developed a common understanding of universal design principles. On day 3, various test vendors joined the summit for a review of the researchers’ and educational practitioners’ work, a discussion and review of drafted processes and definitions, and an identification of their needs in implementing universal design in assessment.

Two key definitions resulting from the summit discussions were: Universal design is not a product, but a process that must have documented evidence of implementation; and universal design is a process for ensuring that tests will be developed and administered to provide the widest range of students with the opportunity to demonstrate their construct-relevant skills, knowledge, and abilities, using techniques that do not compromise the validity of inferences drawn from test results.

The partners invited to this important event were American Printing House for the Blind, Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), Center for Research on Evaluation, Student Standards, and Testing (CRESST), Center for the Study and Analysis of Validity and Evaluation (C-SAVE), National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), National Alternate Assessment Center (NAAC), and the Behavior Research and Training Group at the University of Oregon. The test developers participating in the summit were CTB/McGraw-Hill, Data Recognition Corporation, Educational Testing Service, Measured Progress, NorthWest Evaluation Association, Pearson, and ThinkLink.

APA Task Force to Address Access to Test Materials

The American Psychological Association (APA) Council of Representatives requested discretionary funds to support a one-year Task Force on Training Issues in Psychological Testing and Assessment for Graduate Students with Disabilities. The funds were awarded, and Debbie Willis. Director of APH’s Accessible Tests Department, was appointed to serve on this special task force. The first meeting was held via conference call on May 23. The initial charge of the task force is to determine how to facilitate the acquisition of test instruments and manuals in electronic format for use by graduate students who are blind or visually impaired. The logic for focusing on visual impairments is related to the number of persons in graduate school who have visual impairments, the disproportionate impact of visual impairments on instruction and training in the area of testing, and the need to define the focus for addressing access to training materials by persons with disabilities. Members of the task force will meet face-to-face one time during the year in Washington, DC. The task force and its meetings are being coordinated by Anju Khubchandani, Director of APA’s Office on Disability Issues in Psychology. If anyone has information, resources, or personal experiences to relay, please call Debbie at 800/223-1839, ext. 311, or email email hidden; JavaScript is required

APHont Attracts Corporate Interest

Elaine Kitchel and Dr Kazunori Mano

Dr. Kazunori Mano, Panasonic engineer from Japan, recently visited APH to talk with Low Vision Project Leader Elaine Kitchel on the existing research and standards for large format documents and products. He has been researching APHont as a guide for labeling Panasonic products for persons with vision impairments.

In the discussion, Dr. Kazunori shared that Panasonic has completed research on features of Japanese characters that make them most readable and useful by Japanese persons with vision impairments. Their result is virtually the same as Elaine Kitchel’s research on the features of large print letters and punctuation for persons with low vision.

Dr. Kazunori showed Elaine Japanese characters in a new font designed to make the characters more readable. Even though Elaine could not read the characters, she could definitely tell that they were, indeed, more readable than the standard characters. Dr. Kazunori stated that Panasonic was interested in continuing the study of APHont during development of their own font.

Elaine stated, "It is very validating to learn that the research and conclusions that led us to the development of APHont, have been duplicated and validated by a company such as Panasonic." APHont is being used world-wide in the preparation of documents in English for persons with vision losses. We at APH have every reason to be proud of APHont.

A Full House in Cyberspace for APH’s First Tactile Graphics Web Cast

APH was excited to recently present our first webcast on tactile graphics. "Tips and Techniques for Creating Quality Tactile Graphics" aired June 13 with Accessible Textbook Department presenters Betsy Burnham and Yan Zhang.

The purpose of the webcast was to increase the base knowledge and understanding of how tactile graphics are crafted and produced. Other topics included current graphics production methods, materials used in each method, common questions to ask to help decide if a print graphic should be included in tactile form, tactile graphic designs, and proofreading strategies.

The webcast allowed us to reach an audience of more than 480 participants that included transcribers, teachers of the visually impaired, Instructional Material Center personnel, University program personnel and students, orientation and mobility specialists, and others.

This webcast format allows participants to email questions to the presenters and converse with other participants in real time. Due to the number of questions, we were unable to answer them all during the webcast so we have posted the entire webcast along with the answers to all participant questions on the APH website.

If you would like to view the webcast or the answers to your questions you can find it at or search for archived webcasts at If you have questions regarding the webcast please contact Betsy Burnham at email hidden; JavaScript is required or Yan Zhang at email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 800-223-1839.

APH Museum Exhibit Reaches 5,000 in Iowa

In Touch With Knowledge, the Callahan Museum’s major traveling exhibition, was seen by almost five thousand visitors to the University of Northern Iowa Museum in Cedar Falls, Iowa this spring. In Touch documents the history of education for the blind in an unique accessible format.

"Most of the exhibits we have don’t have a lot of things you can touch," said Kay Thuesen, the museum’s public relations officer. "With this, there really isn’t too much that is untouchable." Much of the exhibit’s success is attributed to the incredible outreach the UNI Museum created around it. The exhibit was part of a focus on vision by eleven Iowa businesses, libraries, schools, and philanthropic organizations called Project InSight. "UNI really took advantage of the resources in their local community," said Callahan director Mike Hudson. "This was a record for attendance for our traveling exhibits program and a lot of that had to do with terrific auxiliary programming."

The Iowa museum hosted an "A to Z Institute" in April that introduced children firsthand to the lives of blind people, braille, the inner workings of the eye, famous blind people, and devices that assist blind people in their daily lives. Other programs included lectures on eye health issues, orientation and mobility, and assistive technology; panel discussions on educational options for the visually impaired and success stories from the community; a bus tour to the Iowa Braille School; and children’s programs at neighborhood public libraries.

"More people need to know and have an appreciation for learning this way," said museum director Sue Grosboll. "I’ve never seen anything like this before. The loss of sight is not an impediment from learning and pursuing a passion."

Iowa sets an excellent example for other organizations seeking to focus attention in their area on visual impairments. To book In Touch With Knowledge for your own community, call Anne Rich at (502)899-2364 or email email hidden; JavaScript is required

Welcome Joon!

Joon Lee

APH and the Resource Services Dept. would like to welcome its newest employee, Joon Lee, as the new Resource Services Specialist. Joon originally hails from South Korea and made her way to Louisville via Charlotte, NC and then Lexington, where she earned her Masters degree in Library Science from UK. With undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Journalism and experience in cataloging, Joon will be a valuable addition to the Resource Services staff. We are pleased that Joon was able to join us just in time to help out with Large Print permissions and Louis cataloging during the summer rush.

AER Announces New Director

The Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) announces the appointment of James Gandorf, CAE, as the association’s executive director.

Gandorf comes to AER with over a decade of association experience. In his most recent position, Gandorf served as associate executive director of the Mathematical Association of America.

For more information, visit the AER web site:

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


July 1-7, 2006
National Federation of the Blind (NFB 2006);
Dallas, TX

July 8-15, 2006
American Council of the Blind-45th Annual Convention (ACB 2006);
Jacksonville, FL

July 12, 2006
Summer Enrichment Seminar/Product Training-Western Michigan Univ;
Kalamazoo, MI

July 15-17, 2006
American Association of Home Based Early Intervention;
Norcross, GA

July 15-18, 2006
AER International 2006;
Snowbird, UT

July 20-21, 2006
In-service Training for Parent Advisors Working at the West Virginia School for the Blind in the Early Intervention Outreach Program;
Romney, WV

July 22, 2006
Portland State University Teacher Training;
Portland, OR

July 26-July 28, 2006
Arkansas Special Show 2006;
Hot Springs, AR


August 14-18, 2006
Blinded Veterans of America (BVA 2006);
Buffalo, NY

August 16, 2006
ISAVE Training;
Ogden, UT

August 16-18, 2006
CVI Event;
Woodbridge VA

August 24, 2006
Envision Product Training;
Pittsburgh, PA


September 12-13, 2006
NIMAS Development Committee Meeting;
Dallas, TX

September 21-24, 2006
Envision 2006 Low Vision Conference;
Kansas City, MO

Get "Hands On" with APH Products at the NFB and ACB Conferences

We invite you to come by our booth this July at the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) conference in Dallas, Texas, or the American Council of the Blind (ACB) conference in Jacksonville, Florida. APH will display many products for demonstration and sale. This is your chance to get a first-hand look at such items as the Book PortTM, Colorino Talking Color Identifier, Talking Calculator, the newest print/braille children’s books, and much more. Come visit, we’d love to meet you!

Summer 2006 APH Demo Disc Available!

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:

  • The upcoming Toodle TilesTM game software, info and demo
  • Money TalksTM bank account management software, info and demo
  • Daily Living Catalog 2006-2007 (formerly Adult Life), Text file and PDF Editions
  • APH Products Catalog 2006-2007, Text File and PDF Editions
  • Link to APH News monthly on-line newsletter

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

APH Flea Market of Surplus and Discontinued Inventory:
On Sale July – September, 2006

The APH Flea Market

A new listing of overstocked and discontinued APH products is now available at This discounted inventory is available on a first come, first served basis. Please order early to take advantage of the extra dollars off.

NEW! ZeitGeist® Talking Time Machine

ZeitGeist: 1-03974-00 — $99.00

This portable electronic device combines a number of time-related functions and speaks through either its integrated speaker or headphones (not included). Comes with instructions on audiocassette as well as a braille and large print quick-start sheet.


  • Tells time (including dual time zone) in hours, minutes, and seconds
  • Automatically adjusts to Daylight Savings Time and leap years
  • Calendar tells the current day of the week, date, calendar week, number of days passed and remaining in the year, and the current zodiac sign
  • 10 different alarms are possible, each with a separate signal, along with a stopwatch, two count-down timers (seven day and one hour)
  • Manages up to 10 non-recurring or recurring appointments
  • Calculates age in years, months, days, minutes, and seconds or the day of the week for any date
  • 4.5 x 1.25 x 1 inches, fits in pocket or carry around neck on attached lanyard
  • Uses 2 AAA batteries (included)

Now Available! 2007 Calendars

Braille DateBook 2007

Braille DateBook 2007: 1-07899-07 — $53.00
Calendar Tabs for 2007:1-07898-07 — $13.00

Braille Datebook

The Braille DateBook is a planner/organizer developed exclusively for braille users of all ages. A sturdy, burgundy padded vinyl binder with a hook/loop material closure offers the look and feel of a planner and protects 4" x 6" braille pages that are stored inside. It can be used with either a braillewriter or a slate and stylus. Additional features include:

  • Pockets for storing a braille slate and stylus
  • Tabbed braille calendar and organizer for storing appointments
  • Filler paper
  • Organizer tabs
  • Print and braille guide book.

APH InSights Art Calendar 2007
Order Soon — APH Art Calendars Sell Out!

APH InSights Art Calendar 2007: 5-18971-07 — $7.50
These calendars are available on Federal Quota; customized calendars are not.
APH Custom InSights Art Calendar 2007: 5-18972-07 — $7.00
Not Available on Quota

APH InSights Calendar 2007 American Printing House for the Blind Featuring Artwork by Visually Impaired and Blind Artists

These print/braille calendars always sell out quickly, so guarantee your purchase by ordering early. Each of the 12 monthly calendar pages features artwork by a visually impaired artist and includes holidays and moon phases. The spiral-bound calendar can be used at a desk or hung on a wall. These calendars are available for purchase with Federal Quota funds.

These calendars also make a great fund-raiser for your school or organization. Your group’s name will be printed and brailled on a special version of the calendar cover. If you have questions about fund-raising or if you wish to place an order, please contact Contract Administration at 800-223-1839. Note that calendars ordered for fund-raising purposes may not be purchased with Federal Quota funds.

Sensory Stimulation Kit (SSK) Has Been Discontinued

Effective immediately-This product is discontinued. As you know, it was replaced last October by the new and exciting Sensory Learning Kit (SLK).

Our current inventory of the Sensory Stimulation Kit (SSK) is nearly depleted.

We continue to produce and will have available the modalities that make up the discontinued SSK; thus, as you have a continuing need for these you may purchase them individually as follows.

SSK Visual Kit: 1-08620-00 — $135.00
SSK Tactual-Kinesthetic Kit: 1-08630-00 — $155.00
SSK Auditory Kit: 1-08640-00 — $136.00

These three kits are being upgraded. We will announce replacements as they are available.

The Olfactory/Gustatory Kit (1-08650-00) is discontinued and will not be upgraded. The SSK Product Specific Survey (2001) revealed that the Olfactory/Gustatory Kit no longer fulfilled a need. Tangible items within the home and classroom are better suited to facilitate the development of this sensory channel in children with visual and/or multiple disabilities.

In addition to the three remaining modality kits, you may want to purchase these items which are sold separately.

Teacher’s Guidebook: 8-11850-00 — $15.00
Activity Cards: 8-11860-00 — $32.00
Variable Beam Flashlight with Color Discs: 1-08390-01 — $25.00

Sensory Learning Kit

If you have not investigated the SENSORY LEARNING KIT (SLK) – 1-08611-00, please do so at once. It is featured on page 29 of the new APH Products catalog, or you may review these details on our website

Please contact the APH Customer Relations Department should you have additional questions.

APH Braille Book Corner

APH is now offering a number of new 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 approximately 8 weeks for delivery.

Rumpole and the Primrose Path
by John Mortimer: T-N1536-40 — $61.00
Six stories featuring British barrister Rumpole, including the title piece in which Rumpole investigates a fellow patient’s death at the Primrose Path convalescent home. (Adult — Fiction)

The Ironwood Tree: Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 3
by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black: T-N1574-60 — $14.50
Twins try to rescue their kidnapped sister from evil dwarfs who want to make her their queen but face an impossible task when their Field Guide turns up missing. (*AR#77859, RL 4.3, Points: 1.0)

Manatees: Returning Wildlife
by John E. Becker: T-N1563-80 — $13.00
Describes the physical characteristics, behavior, and history of the manatee and attempts to ensure the survival of the species. (AR#67154, RL7.9, Points 1.0)

What is the World Made of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases
by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld: T-N1574-90 — $8.50
Introduces the states of matter and their attributes. Gives examples and simple science experiments. (AR#41750, RL 3.7, Points: 0.5)

*Accelerated Reader number, reading level, and point value. For more information on the Accelerated Reader program, see the January APH News or

Correction: Book Port Has a One-Year Warranty

Page 146 of the Products Catalog 2006-2007 states two different warranty lengths for the Book PortTM. The correct length of the limited warranty is one year.

APH News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

Malcolm Turner, APH Web Site Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Sandi Baker, Field Services Representative
  • Ralph Bartley, Director, Research
  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Maria Delgado, Field Services Representative
  • Brian Dougherty, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Tony Grantz, Business Manager, Finance
  • Rosanne Hoffman, Research Assistant, Research
  • Mike Hudson, Museum Director
  • Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader, Research
  • Becki Moody, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field Services
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research
  • Jane Thompson, Director, Accessible Textbooks
  • Debbie Willis, Director, Accessible Tests

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 –

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

Thank you.

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