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APH News: July 2017

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

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

Cover of Six Little Dots

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

Indoor Navigation: The Next Frontier

Photo depicts Paul independently finding his way to the audio book section in a library, using Nearby Explorer on an iPhone
Indoor Explorer, an upcoming function of APH’s Nearby Explorer app, will allow detailed navigation within buildings that have been mapped and equipped with beacons. Photo depicts Paul independently finding his way to the audio book section in a library, using Nearby Explorer on an iPhone.

by Larry Skutchan

Videos: Take APH’s new Indoor Explorer on a trip to the library!

Accurate indoor location capabilities are the next frontier in mobility apps for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Even after decades of improvements, GPS reception is still obstructed without a clear view of the sky. Industry experts predict better indoor coverage, but it has been slow coming. Alternative sources of location information include numerous technologies, but each has its weaknesses. Ultimately, precise location information will use a combination of technologies.

Beacons for Indoor Location

One method of determining one’s place indoors includes the use of beacons that periodically transmit small bursts of data. If an app watches for those transmissions, it can correlate that beacon’s identification with information about its precise location. The app uses this information along with the signal strength of the beacon and other beacons that may be in the vicinity to help determine the user’s location. Once the app has a location, it can access the traditional points of interest (POIs) just as it does with outdoor features.

While this method sounds obvious and simple, there are some conditions that make it less than optimal. The most onerous obstacle for using beacon technology is the fact that the beacons must be configured and installed in every location that provides coverage. A more ideal solution, like GPS, would provide coverage universally.

The second obstacle is the lack of indoor maps and standards. Numerous commercial entities continue to work on increasing indoor coverage, but progress seems much slower than the days when Google mapped the world by driving it. Many want to ensure public indoor mapping information also remains free and available to all. Some differences between indoor and outdoor mapping include provisions for individual floors in a building, large rooms, and access to floor plans. It takes even more of a coordinated and grass roots effort to map this diverse space. And it takes a well-executed, scalable platform.

photo of a yellow beacon
Small beacons, often placed above doorways, help Indoor Explorer guide you through a building.

OpenStreetMap is an online map platform designed to be edited by the community. It includes support for beacon placement. It is free to use, and already includes an ecosystem with tools. Mapping a building involves comparing floor plans and physical observations with a satellite view of the building, then drawing and labeling features of each floor into OpenStreetMap with the Simple Indoor Tagging scheme. Finally, determining beacon placement, configuring the beacons, and adding their information to the map must be done. As you can tell, this is quite a bit of work. Fortunately, the infrastructure, standards, and tools exist to enable this dream. All that is left to make it happen is a lot of hard work.

Indoor Explorer Coming to Nearby Explorer

Nearby Explorer™ is a full-featured GPS app from APH designed for use by people who are visually impaired. This app can now make use of beacons and indoor information in OpenStreetMap. When the app detects a beacon, it searches for it in OpenStreetMap. If it is there, the app looks up the beacon’s latitude, longitude, and floor number from the database. It also looks up points of interest on that floor of the building and reports their name, distance, and position as you move, or it lets you use the GeoBeam feature to point to features inside the building. When using the app indoors, the compass, in addition to reporting the direction, names all the building features in that direction.

So far, APH has mapped parts of the APH building, a neighborhood branch library, a Louisville civic innovation hub, and the hotel in Pittsburgh that is hosting the AER O&M conference, where Project Leader Keith Creasy will speak and demonstrate the app. Before the conference begins, APH will release an update to Nearby Explorer™ that includes support for indoor locations that anyone can map. In addition to using these indoor maps while at the venue, app users can move virtually to that location and explore the building’s points of interest. While these features will appear first in Nearby Explorer™, APH plans to create a free app that anyone can download on the spot. Venues can advertise their accessible map with signage that displays a QR code to directly download the app.

The distribution goal is to create a library that any app developer can use to include this capability and to document and promote a simple process for mapping the building and configuring the beacons using existing infrastructure and making it available for anyone to use.

APH President Dr. Craig Meador has shared that part of APH’s strategic plan is to make a bigger impact locally, nationally, and internationally. Part of the local impact can be to help make Louisville, Kentucky, the most accessible city in the world to blind and visually-impaired citizens and visitors. Louisville’s open data policy, engaged community, and progressive mayor provide the ideal environment to create this reality.

While it is important for public buildings to be accessible, most places outside the home include businesses, museums, medical, or transportation venues. It is important to work with community leaders, business owners, and the community to identify the places to start, map the building, and obtain feedback about its effectiveness.

One of the earliest facets of the project is refining the map creation and determining where beacons will be placed. As part of that effort, APH plans to work once again with Civic Data Alliance to align the missions of both organizations then publish outcomes, recommendations, and tutorials, so the model spreads nationally and internationally. We recognize that most locations will not elect to map venues themselves, so exploration of business models to support this work will be of interest to many.

This summer, APH is sending researchers to three summer conventions to help determine what makes an accessible city to you and what indoor spaces would be most useful to map. Each participant expresses his or her opinion on a few short questions and is invited to take the full online survey or call a number to take it with a friendly human. You can take the survey, too, at or by calling 800-322-1839 ext. 705 to participate. Survey closes August 18, 2017.

Other interesting aspects of the project include continuing to work with others and to find ways to use beacons that already exist for other purposes, and making the beacons from this project available to other technology that may wish to use their position and metadata as an aid. A complete solution may even include the ability to emboss or interactively graphically represent floor plans to public places.

In addition to beacons, computer vision, artificial intelligence, magnetics, Wi-Fi triangulation, and using whatever possible source of input to help more accurately determine one’s position in GPS-denied environments will be essential. And while many of these technologies are less mature, their impact will be much more profound than the beacon-based system described here. The beacon-based technology may be relatively short lived while better alternatives evolve, but the maps created in this project can serve as a foundation to any of those additional technologies.

Future Plans

Future considerations include combining technologies to eliminate the need for floor plans, and instead, interactively map a venue by walking through it. It is startling how close we are to this reality, with technology like Google’s Vision Positioning System, Microsoft’s Guide Path app, and the still unrealized universal GPS coverage.

As all these technologies evolve and mature, APH must stay engaged.

Mapping public spaces and using beacons is something that works today. Much research, in fact, continues on methods of determining a beacon’s distance and triangulating among beacons in various environments. We already know we can use a beacon to mark a point of interest, and that alone is incredibly useful and can be enough for many venues. More interestingly, however, using a beacon’s position in space and combining that with the user’s proximity to it and other points of interest can provide surprisingly detailed amounts of information in GPS-denied environments.

To keep informed and converse about the subject, consider subscribing to the indoor discussion list by sending a blank email to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

For additional information about the techniques used, see the Nearby Explorer User’s Guide.

Video: Take APH’s new Indoor Explorer on a trip to the library!

NEW! Six Little Dots – UEB, 2018

6-77954-00 — $139.00

Cover of Six Little Dots

Rich tactile illustrations invite exploration and offer important learning opportunities for young children.

This children’s storybook features charming text and tactile illustrations that invite exploration. "Meet Little Dot…he can hop from spot to spot!" begins this texture-rich book about braille fundamentals and the six most famous and versatile dots in all of literacy. Each 1/2 inch dot is a different and distinctive texture and color. Little Dot 1–sliding on elastic–even hops and moves about, exploring different dot positions along the way. The print/braille text introduces and names Dots 1 through 6, as they take their place in the braille cell.

The last pages of the book provide a display and a game wheel for the child to turn to play "Which Little Dot Am I?"

A Foundation for Literacy

Six Little Dots was written by Philippe Claudet. At its simplest level, it encourages fingertip texture discrimination and exposure to spatial concepts—top, middle, bottom, above, below, and under. For students ready to be introduced to dot positions and names, it offers a fun approach to this step in their learning. It is intended to be read aloud and shared with children ages three years and up who are visually impaired and blind.

For emergent print readers, pictures act as an important bridge that supports the child in taking an active role in reading, as a listener and as a reader. Tactile illustrations in Six Little Dots serve this purpose. In addition, they offer critically important opportunities to build tactual exploration and discrimination skills.

A High-Quality Book

The book’s text is provided in large print and contracted Unified English Braille (UEB). The clear, silkscreened braille is of high quality and extremely durable. Originally produced in French, the English version is produced for APH by Les Doigts Qui Rêvent (LDQR) workshop in Dijon, France. Since its beginning in 1994, LDQR has produced more than 40,000 tactile illustrated books in multiple languages.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up.

WARNING: Choking Hazard—Small Parts. Not intended for children ages 5 and under without adult supervision.

NEW! Protein Synthesis Kit

1-08975-00 — $289.00

Replacement Items

Set of Amino Acid Pieces: 61-358-022 — $62.10

Set of tRNA (Transfer RNA) Pieces: 61-358-021 — $56.50

Set of Stop-Start Pieces: 61-358-023 — $47.95

photo of the Protein Synthesis Kit

This kit builds upon APH’s DNA-RNA Kit and provides students who are blind and visually impaired with another sturdy and dependable model for molecular biology.

The Protein Synthesis Kit is an accessible, interactive model that adds to the molecular biology concepts introduced by the DNA-RNA Kit. After a messenger RNA molecule is prepared with the DNA-RNA Kit, students decode the RNA nucleotide sequence and build transfer RNA molecules that carry amino acids in the correct sequence. The Protein Synthesis Kit includes jigsaw puzzle-like pieces representing transfer RNA nucleotides, Stop and Start subunits, all twenty amino acids, and the APH Genetic Code Large Print Braille. The nucleotide subunits have color, large print, braille, and tactile indicators for the sugar and base (A, C, G, and U) components of the transfer RNA nucleotides. The amino acids are identified by shape, braille, and large print. Start and Stop subunits are identified by shape, tactile indicators, large print, and braille.

Use the Protein Synthesis Kit for classroom demonstration, student-student interaction, and testing and assessment activities.

Protein Synthesis Kit Includes:

  • 64 transfer RNA subunits
  • 6 Stop Release factor subunits
  • 4 Start Methionine subunits
  • Two sets of all 20 amino acids
  • APH Genetic Code Large Print Braille
  • Large print guidebook
  • Storage/carry-box, large enough to hold this kit and the DNA-RNA Kit
  • Accessible HTML and BRF versions of the guidebook are available for download through the APH website.

NEW! Match-It-Up Frames

Small Set: 1-08828-00 — $141.00
Large Set: 1-08827-00 — $219.00

Replacement Items

Tactile Connections Card Packs (15-pk):

Note: These cards were originally created for Tactile Connections and are also used in Match-It-Up Frames.

Match-It-Up Frames cover
Match-It-Up Frames: Large Set

Use these frames in a variety of ways to facilitate learning tasks related to matching, sequencing, patterning, counting, and much more!

Match-It-Up Frames: Large Set and Small Set activities can be custom-designed by teachers and parents to address specific learning needs of students who are blind and visually impaired, as well as those with multiple disabilities.

How to Use

The six frames included with Large Set are designed to fit conveniently on APH’s All-In-One Board (1-08836-00). The three frames included with Small Set are designed to fit on APH’s All-In-One Board, Student Model (1-08833-00). The matching frames included in each kit differ in color (yellow, white, and black), number, and size of "windows." Rectangular cutouts from each frame are provided and can be used as masking overlays to block out selected windows depending on the task. All frames consist of a raised/visual bar that separates the top and bottom rows of the windows.

Starter packages of durable card packs are provided in a variety of colors. These cards can be used by the instructor to construct permanent, readymade matching cards, or other cards (e.g., letter/word cards, tactile symbol/communication cards, sequencing cards). Starter packages of hook coins and magnetic tabs are also provided; the coins and tabs can be applied to the back of constructed matching cards depending on the intended working surface (hook-receptive or magnetic). Some real objects (or flat shapes) with applied hook or magnetic tabs can be positioned within the open windows of the frames, directly against the chosen surface. Magnetic- or hook-backed components available in other APH products may be used in combination with the Match-It-Up Frames sets.

The Instruction Booklet presents many illustrated examples of possible uses, including color matching, number sequencing, spatial concepts, patterning, literacy activities, story retelling, calendar activities, etc.


Match-It-Up Frames: Small Set

  • White frame (window columns x rows): 3×2
  • Yellow frame (window columns x rows): 3×2
  • Black frame (window columns x rows): 3×2
  • Card packs in a variety of colors, 5 sets of 15-pk
  • 18 Frame cutouts
  • Adhesive-backed hook coins (on strips)
  • Adhesive-backed magnetic coins, 100-pk, 2 sets
  • Storage bag
  • Large print and braille Instruction Booklets

Match-It-Up Frames: Large Set

  • White frames (window columns x rows): 5×2 and 3×2
  • Yellow frames (window columns x rows): 5×2 and 3×2
  • Black frames (window columns x rows): 5×2 and 3×2
  • Card packs in a variety of colors, 5 sets of 15-pk
  • 48 Frame cutouts
  • Adhesive-backed hook coins (on strips)
  • Adhesive-backed magnetic coins, 100-pk, 2 sets
  • Storage bag
  • Large print and braille Instruction Booklets

Recommended ages: 3 years and up.

WARNING: Choking Hazard—Small Parts. Not intended for children ages 5 and under without adult supervision.

NEW! Slapstack Math (for iOS Devices)

Available on the App Store

Note: Slapstack Math is a free download from the Apple App Store. It cannot be downloaded directly from APH.

Slapstack Math Logo

Slapstack Math is an action and memory game that uses math flash cards instead of playing cards.

Slapstack Math™ is fully accessible for users who are blind, visually impaired, or typically sighted. The goal is to collect the most points by pulling in the most cards. Two to eight players can play on the iPad®, or two to four players on the iPhone®.

How to Play: When the game starts, cards with single numbers are dealt and announced. At first, the only rule is to slap the table when an 11 comes up on the screen. The first player to slap the table gets to claim all the cards that have been dealt up to that time.

You may want to add more rules – for example, players have to raise their arms and yell “Whee!” when an 8 comes up, and clap their hands when a 3 appears (and still slap the table on 11’s). You may add as many new rules as you want, making the game a little crazier each time.

The real challenge with Slapstack Math comes when you change the single number cards to math flash cards. Choose one of the following game variations:

  • Addition – displays addition problems with sums from 2-12.
  • Subtraction – subtraction problems with differences from 1-11.
  • Multiplication – multiplication problems with products from 1-12.
  • Division – division problems, using numbers up to 24, with quotients from 1-12.
  • Addition and Subtraction – a mixture of problems from these two operations.
  • Multiplication and Division – a mixture of problems from these two operations.
  • All Four Operations – a mixture of problems from all of the operations.

When playing the games using math operations, players have to calculate the answer to the problem before doing any required action. For example, if the problem is 7+4, players must come up with the answer, 11, and then slap the table (which is the required action for 11’s). If several numbers have actions assigned to them, players will have to do a lot of calculation, mental association, and even physical movement to play the game!

Recommended Ages: 7 and Up

IOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license. Apple, iPad, iPhone, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Scholastic News® Subscriptions 2017-2018 Now Available!

For decades, APH has been proud to offer braille and large print editions of Weekly Reader®. Weekly Reader® is now Scholastic News® and you can order your 2017-2018 subscription via APH offers accessible Scholastic News® at a cost comparable to regular print subscriptions. And Federal Quota funds may be used!

Note: To facilitate our internal processing, please order magazine subscriptions on separate orders from other APH products and books.

Subscription Rates for the 2017-2018 School Year, Per Student

Braille Scholastic News® No. of Issues Catalog No. Annual Price
Grade 2 32 ZW-SN2-B $5.50
Grade 3 24 ZW-SN3-B $5.50
Grade 4 24 ZW-SN4-B $5.50
Grade 5-6 24 ZW-SN5-B $5.50
Junior Scholastic® (Grades 6-8) 16 ZW-JRS-B $8.49
Science World® (Grade 6-10) 12 ZW-SSW-B $9.49
Large Print Scholastic News® No. of Issues Catalog No. Annual Price
Grade 2 32 ZW-SN2-LT $5.50
Grade 3 24 ZW-SN3-LT $5.50
Grade 4 24 ZW-SN4-LT $5.50
Grade 5-6 24 ZW-SN5-LT $5.50
Junior Scholastic® (Grades 6-8) 16 ZW-JRS-LT $8.49
Science World® (Grades 6-10) 12 ZW-SSW-LT $9.49

You may start ordering subscriptions on-line using the above catalog numbers on 07/5/2017. Orders may also be mailed or faxed to 502-899-2284. To facilitate our internal processing, please order magazine subscriptions on separate orders from other APH products and books.

Orders will be accepted July 5, 2017 through February 28, 2018. If you have any questions please call us at 1-800-223-1839. Ext. 2.

Scholastic News, Junior Scholastic, Science World, and Weekly Reader are registered trademarks of Scholastic, Inc.

Order Fall 2017 Textbooks Now!

Painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River with the slogan 'order fall 2017 textbooks now!' superimposed on the right side

Help us help YOU receive your textbooks on time! Place your textbook orders as early as possible. We currently have the capacity to take on plenty of orders. If your Quota funds are running low, don’t worry. We will work with you to make sure the order gets placed, regardless of your Quota fund balance.

Field Tests and Surveys

Survey for Future Kit, Similar to Carousel of Textures

Carousel of Textures

In 2010, APH introduced Carousel of Textures (Catalog No. 1-08863-00) that provides an assortment of sheets in a variety of textures and colors for teachers, parents, and transcribers to use to adapt storybooks, games, graphic displays, and other collage-like materials for students with visual impairments and blindness. As APH embarks on the development of a second similar kit of textured sheets, APH would like to hear from current users of Carousel of Textures to learn which textures in the kit are frequently used and which types of textures are still needed. APH invites teachers, parents, and transcribers who are current users of Carousel of Textures to share their ideas and feedback by completing this short survey. Karen Poppe, Tactile Literacy Project Leader, thanks you for your time and ideas.

Help Us Test a New Online Typing Tutorial

Help us put web and accessibility standards to the test! APH is creating an online typing tutorial designed to work with any compatible screen reader and web browser using web accessibility standards. How many browser/screen reader combinations can we support with standards alone? Let’s find out and encourage all the major players to support web standards along the way.

If you are interested in beta testing our online typing tutorial app, please fill out the APH Beta Tester form. Be sure to indicate online typing tutorial as the product you are interested in testing.

What Makes a Community Accessible?

photo of a talking crosswalk signal

APH is passionate about accessibility, and we would like to examine what it takes to make our cities and communities fully accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired. We’d like to know what an accessible city means to YOU! The results of this survey will help to shape APH’s accessibility priorities, so your input is incredibly important to us. Please consider taking our short survey. It will be open through Friday, August 18th. Eligible participants can be entered to win an Orbit Reader 20.

APH’s Websites: We Want Your Feedback on Accessibility!

When accessing the web, are you a synthetic speech user, screen magnification user, or user of other accessible technologies? APH would like your feedback on the accessibility of our websites! If you have thoughts about the accessibility of the following:,, or, please email your comments to email hidden; JavaScript is required. We appreciate your time!

APH Sizzlin’ Summer Savings Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Sizzlin’ Summer Savings Sale 2017, July 1—September 30. As always, first come, first served.

“A Daring Adventure Awaits” at the 2017 APH Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests!

Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” APH is committed to turning our faces toward change and embracing the daring adventure that is the future.

If you are daring enough to join us for this year’s annual meeting, you’ll find enough adventures to last a life time as you explore new products, services, processes, technology, trainings, initiatives, and related meetings. You’ll also meet new colleagues and reconnect with old friends.

ACVREP Credit! New this year: ACVREP credit will be available for interested Annual Meeting attendees.

Mark your calendars to be with us October 11 – 14 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Louisville. Online registration will be open by early August. If you do not receive an email invitation to register, please contact Janie Blome, email hidden; JavaScript is required.

APH Proudly Announces Our 2017 Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker

Jack Levine
Jack Levine

Jack Levine, founder of the 4Generations Institute, will present the keynote address at this year’s Annual Meeting.

After a 25-year tenure as president of Voices for Florida’s Children, a statewide advocacy network, Levine founded 4Generations Institute to promote intergenerational policies and innovative programs that benefit the young, their parents, and more experienced family members…also known as grandparents! He holds a master’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies from Purdue University and an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Hunter College, City University of New York.

A graduate of Leadership Florida, Levine was the recipient of that organization’s first Distinguished Alumnus Award. He was named Floridian of the Year by The Orlando Sentinel and received the Voices for Children Award from the Children’s Home Society of Florida.

Jack Levine promises a keynote that will be a “positive, emotional and inspiring address…with some humor and a sprinkling of tears.” It’s sure to be a daring adventure!

Braille Badges Contest Begins This September

examples from the collection of braille badges include dog guides wearing holiday hats and several speech bubbles with phrases in braille and roman letters

APH launched Braille Badges in November, 2016 and received a huge buzz. If you’re not familiar with Braille Badges, they are APH’s accessible version of Apple’s iOS iMessage® Stickers. These fun, expressive badges include themes related to visual impairment and are connected to holidays, special events, APH products, characters, and more.

APH is excited to announce a contest starting in September, 2017, and we need the help of all our imaginative artists from schools across the country! We’re looking for creative young people to help APH stock our Braille Badges archive. We will choose three winners from each level (Elementary, Middle, and High school) and award first, second, and third place prizes based on originality and creative style.

First place winners will receive one of the following APH products: Nearby Explorer app, DRAFTSMAN, Web Chase, Interactive U.S. Map with Talking Tactile Pen, or Picture Maker and Game Kit together. Second and third place winners will receive a certificate and a $50 or $25 voucher good toward APH products. ALL contestants will have their submission transformed into a digital Sticker and added to the Braille Badges archive for download.

So get creative, get busy, and later this year, iMessage users everywhere may be sending messages with YOUR sticker!

Please direct any questions about the contest to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The APH Unforgettable Star Contest is back!

Unforgettable APH Star

Record a video about how you use your favorite APH product. It’s easy! Use your phone, tablet or other recording device and upload the video directly to our contest page.

The deadline for entries to the Fall 2017 Video Contest is Wednesday, October 18th. For complete contest rules and examples from past competitions, visit our contest page.

In addition, connect with us via the APH FaceBook page to get up-to-the-minute information about the contest and submit your vote!

Cash prizes up to $150.00 will be awarded to the top three videos selected by APH judges. NEW IN 2017 is a People’s Choice Award to the video that receives the most votes from the public. There will also be an APH t-shirt for the teachers, parents or co-workers who record the winning videos.

The APH Unforgettable Star Contest is a fun way for students and teachers to give feedback on our products. We encourage you to promote this competition within your community!

Deadline Approaches for Tactile Illustrated Book Competition

Typhlo and Tactus 2017 logo

The deadline for submissions to the Typhlo & Tactus Tactile Illustrated Books Competition is August 10, 2017. That’s not too far away! Now is an excellent time to start assembling your entry to this international competition. The American Printing House for the Blind is the U.S. contact for this competition.

The Typhlo & Tactus Competition showcases the world’s best tactile illustrated books made for children ages 3 to 12 who use touch to read a story. Contest information, rules, and hints about creating tactile illustrated books are detailed at

Questions about Typhlo & Tactus? Contact APH’s Robert Guillen, 502-899-2242 or

Tactile Town Helps Adults Learn Orientation and Mobility

Lea Ann Myers and George Strempel
Lea Ann Myers and George Strempel

At the Braille Institute of America (BIA) in California, APH’s Tactile Town is a big hit with Lea Ann Myers, CAOMS, who teaches adults who’ve recently lost their vision to safely cross intersections. Lea Ann, from the Laguna Hills Center, is pictured here with George Strempel, 90, who came to BIA after losing a significant amount of sight to glaucoma and macular degeneration. Before stepping out into the street, they spent two sessions with a model streetscape created with Tactile Town and discussed intersection travel and using signal crossings.

Lea Ann said, "I use it with all of my adults now. I used to use my own homemade version, but now I don’t have to; I use Tactile Town all of the time. I like it because you can talk about the driver’s point of view and the pedestrian’s point of view."

George said, "As a pedestrian, it helped show me how to cross safely at the right time, and to not get in anyone’s way." By using Tactile Town beforehand, he felt safer exploring a real intersection. Lea Ann agreed. George has a slight hearing impairment, so it was easier to teach him inside first, where he could hear her instructions better. It also enabled Lea Ann to show George how drivers often come up to an intersection in a hurry to make a right turn or go straight through, not looking for pedestrians. She used Tactile Town to demonstrate the importance of going with the flow of traffic, and how George will stay safest if he waits for the flow to begin before stepping off the curb.
After two sessions with Tactile Town, the pair went out into the field. Lea Ann explained, "It took about 12 crossings. After 10, George did it by himself. When he went out to the street, George said, ‘Oh, it is true. The traffic flow protects me!’"

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

  • Beth Ramella, the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children
  • Almecia Pillers, the Lighthouse for the Blind in New Orleans, Inc.
  • Michelle Reed, the Rehabilitation Center in Colorado
  • Leslie Bello, the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired

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

Treasures From the APH Libraries

From the Migel Library: Kossick, Rodney J. "Activating a Program for the Blind in South Vietnam." Blindness: AAWB Annual (1970)

Rod Kossick working with a South Vietnamese student
Rod Kossick working with a South Vietnamese student.

This article documents Rod Kossick’s experience creating the very first rehabilitation program for the blind in the history of the country of Vietnam. It was recently discovered when its author asked APH to help locate it. In a time when rehabilitation programming was being done by a very few schools and religious organizations, this formal rehabilitation program was built from the ground up specifically to help the country’s many newly blinded veterans. The accomplishment is inspiring – especially considering all of the people and organizations that offered assistance in its inception. But the cultural adventure that the author presents is just as interesting. In the article, Kossick shares that his wife and four children moved from the United States to Malaysia while he visited them monthly from Vietnam. He was able to see a great part of the country traveling on Air America. The author often had to carry a submachine gun with him for protection, and was considered missing by his employers during the chaos of the Tet Offensive. His incredible experience has been digitized by Internet Archive at

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

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

Social Media Spotlight

Social Media Spotlight logo

APH on Instagram!

We are pleased to announce that APH now has a presence on Instagram! Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. Individuals, organizations, and businesses use it to share products, stories, happenings, and much more.

Instagram Logo

APH may use Instagram to introduce or demonstrate products, show photos from APH events, post interesting Throwback Thursday museum items, and more. We also may take footage of events at APH so you can follow some of our activities. To find and follow us, you can search for “American Printing House Blind”, search for our username @AmericanPrintingHouse or go to Please follow us and “like” and comment on our posts. We hope you enjoy APH on Instagram.

"Like" APH at Our Facebook Page!

Facebook Logo

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

APH Braille Book Corner

APH offers a number of recreational books in braille (Quota funds can be used). Each of these titles was originally transcribed and produced by APH for the National Library Service which has graciously granted permission for this offering. As usual, these titles have been added to the APH Louis Database where you can find thousands of titles produced in accessible formats.

Note: all books are produced upon receipt of orders, therefore, please allow several weeks for delivery.

Splat the Cat: Books 1-4
by Various Authors: T-N2168-80 — $42.50
Based on the bestselling books by Rob Scotton. A compilation of four books in the series written between 2011 and 2014. Includes: Splat the Cat Makes Dad Glad; Splat the Cat Up in the Air at the Fair; Splat the Cat Sings Flat; and Splat and Seymour, Best Friends Forevermore. Grades K-2.

Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life
by Peter Ackroyd: T-N2177-20 — $147.00
Fat, lonely, burning with fear and ambition–Hitchcock’s childhood was an isolated one. As an adult, Hitch rigorously controlled the press’s portrait of him, drawing certain carefully selected childhood anecdotes into full focus and blurring all others out. Ackroyd reveals a jolly man fond of practical jokes, who smashes a once-used tea cup every morning to remind himself of the frailty of life. The result is a gripping biography of one of the most respected directors of the twentieth century.

Savor the Moment
by Nora Roberts: T-N2168-40 — $145.50
Laurel is the cake baker at Vows, the Connecticut-based wedding-planning company she runs with friends Parker, Emma, and Mac. Though she has been in love with Parker’s older brother since childhood, Laurel is afraid to act on her feelings. Some Adult Content.

by Neal Shusterman: T-N2165-30 — $176.00
Connor, Risa, and Lev, from UnSouled, begin the final battle against the corporation that created the unwinding procedure, and they are horrified to learn that the company is suppressing the technological advancements that could end the practice. Some Adult Content.

Great Reckoning
by Louise Penny T-N2168-30 — $211.00
When an old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it seems no more than a curiosity at first. After being given to Armand Gamache the first day of his new job, however, the map eventually leads him to unearth shattering secrets. Some Adult Content.

*Accelerated Reader quiz number, book level, and point value. For more information on the Accelerated Reader program, see the January 2006 APH News or

Your Quick Tips Guide to Summer Reading!

Quick Tips Corner logo features a post with two street signs

Looking for some cool summer books to read? APH Quick Tips can provide some great reading ideas whether you’re looking something for yourself or a child or student in your life.

  • The Barr and Miguel Libraries – These two libraries at APH have excellent references on a variety of subjects encompassed in the broad field of blindness.
  • Parenting with a Visual Impairment – This comprehensive book covers everything you need to know about parenting for those with visual impairments!
  • Squid Tactile Activities Magazine – There are seven volumes of Squid, a magazine designed especially for practicing tactile literacy skills. Squid is full of fun games and activities to help make increasing tactile proficiency enjoyable.
  • Braille Tales – Find out if your child qualifies for six free braille books a year!

Summer is also a perfect time to catch up on your Quick Tips viewing! Go to to binge-watch all the brief, educational, APH-centric videos you may have missed! And, as always, contact Kerry at email hidden; JavaScript is required if you’ve got any Quick Tips questions.

APH Quick Tips logo: Short videos from APH

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


July 1 – 7, 2017
ACB Conference
Sparks, NV

July 10-15, 2017
NFB Convention 2017
Orlando, FL

July 16-22, 2017
AER International – O & M Conference 2017
Pittsburgh, PA

July 17-22, 2017
AHEAD 2017
Orlando, FL

July 26-29, 2017
Envision 2017
Glendale, AZ

July 27-30, 2017
CHARGE Syndrome Conference 2017
Orlando, FL

August 14-18, 2017
BVA 2017
Jacksonville, FL

September 15, 2017
Independence Science Learning a New Direction-2017 IsLAND Conference
West Lafayette, IN


July 7-9, 2017
Council for Exceptional Children’s Leadership Summit
Alexandria, VA

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APH News Credits

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

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Maria Delgado, Field Services Representative
  • Paul Ferrara, Social Media Coordinator, Communications
  • Justin Gardner, Special Collections Librarian, Resource Services
  • Rob Guillen, Special Programs Coordinator, Public Relations
  • Rosanne Hoffmann, STEM Project Leader, Research
  • Kerry Isham, Field Services Representative
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Drew Lueken, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field Services
  • Larry Skutchan, Director, Technology Product Research

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