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APH News: July 2018

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!

Book cover: Crossings With No Traffic Control: Teaching Concepts and Skills to Deal With Them

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

Thriving with Vision Loss: Introducing the APH ConnectCenter

Two young children wearing glasses sit on a bench intrigued with a prototype of APH's yellow and black BrailleBuzz device.

“Your site has been an invaluable resource for my family and myself. I am so thankful that you guys take the time to compile information for families that would be impossible to find elsewhere.” – A parent speaking of FamilyConnect

  • A mother gets tips on how to help her preschool daughter who is blind make friends.
  • A father whose son has low vision reads articles written by another parent with similar experiences.
  • A rehabilitation counselor watches his client’s confidence grow in mock job interviews.
  • A senior who is worried about life with recent vision loss finds reassuring information written in Spanish – her native language.

Continuing the Legacy of Independence through Information

In February 2018, the American Foundation for the Blind and the American Printing House for the Blind announced a historic partnership with the mutual goal of improving the lives of children and adults who are blind or visually impaired. As of July 1, APH became the steward of several key information resources founded by AFB. The goal of this partnership is to ensure the continued impact of these critical sources of information. AFB is taking its work to a new level by investing in policy and programs focused on creating a more inclusive, accessible society for people with vision loss.

A senior woman who is a native Spanish speaker sits on a couch and is smiling broadly.

Introducing the “APH ConnectCenter”

Building on decades of work by AFB, APH has now grouped these resources that cover every aspect of life under the name APH ConnectCenter. The APH ConnectCenter includes: – gives parents of children who are visually impaired a place to find resources and support each other.

CareerConnect – provides employment information, career exploration tools, and job-seeking guidance for individuals with vision loss and professionals who work with them. – helps adults who are losing their sight continue to live full and independent lives by providing timely information, step-by-step daily living techniques, and a supportive online community.

Braille Bug – teaches children about braille through games and activities and provides resources to teachers and parents.

APH ConnectDirect information and referral 800 number – provides information by phone on virtually any topic related to visual impairment and blindness. Dial toll-free 1-800-232-5463. You may also submit questions by email at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Directory of Services – lets anyone find services in his or her local area with a simple search. The Directory of Services list over 3,500 agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

Preserving Vital Content, Building for the Future

APH is honored to be preserving these vital sites and building them for the future. Users will notice lower activity on the sites until the fall of 2018 as APH completes technical changes that will make updating content easier. Most current content on the sites will continue to be available, and APH will continue the dialog with users through Facebook and Twitter. New content additions will resume in late fall.

Let us know what topics you would like to us cover in the future in the APH ConnectCenter, please email email hidden; JavaScript is required.

NEW! Crossings With No Traffic Control: Teaching Concepts and Skills to Deal With Them

1-18988-00 – $62.00

Book cover: Crossings With No Traffic Control: Teaching Concepts and Skills to Deal With Them

Independent travelers who are visually impaired need to be able to analyze situations at crossings where there is no traffic control, including recognizing when they don’t have enough warning of approaching vehicles. Crossings With No Traffic Control provides a logical, sequenced approach to teaching what is necessary for people with visual impairments to analyze these situations.

Student content is narrated throughout the software, with instructors taking an active role in their students’ learning by providing direct supervision and engagement. Examples of topics addressed include: Recognizing Situations of Uncertainty (auditory and visual modules included), What to do in Situations of Uncertainty, and Let’s Take this Show on the Road: Teaching Students to Apply Skills in Real-Life Situations.

Important Notice:
The American Printing House for the Blind and Dona Sauerburger, COMS, offer orientation and mobility specialists this product to help students learn the concepts and skills necessary to analyze and negotiate crossings that have no traffic control. Before using this product with students, instructors must read the first section in Chapter One: “How to Use this Product.”

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 2018, July 1—September 30. As always, first come, first served.

Quota Spending for FY 2018

EOTs will be hearing a lot from APH in the coming weeks and months. Additional dollars added to each account based on increased funding from the federal government mean more books and educational aids for babies, students, and clients. We can help you with suggestions for new and trusted products as you plan for the 2018-2019 school year.

APH Products on Backorder

With the new school year fast approaching, APH is committed to getting educational materials in the hands of students and clients so that they can learn and grow alongside their peers. After receiving questions from EOTs regarding outstanding orders and back ordered items, we discovered that a step in our order processing procedure was inadvertently omitted. This step, which triggers notification to order the materials and supplies needed to produce our products, did not occur. Once the issue was identified, we immediately implemented remedies to resolve the issue and looked at ways to speed up our production time to fill the outstanding orders more quickly and reduce back orders.

Improvements we have implemented include:

  • Resumed use of our materials planning software, and trained staff on the correct process to determine if materials need to be purchased for production.
  • Reopened our internal screen printing production line to speed up production.
  • Identified the 100 top sales items (by volume) to prioritize our production process and improve our forecasting of future orders.

These improvements are being done in parallel with other production improvements rolled out by our new Vice President of Production, Steve Paris. Steve assumed the Vice President’s position in late January, and since that time has implemented several quality improvement measures in our production area.

Below is a table outlining the availability date for some key items that are now on back order.

Item Date Available
Mini-Light Box August 2018
Light Box Materials: Level I July 2018
Light Box Materials: Level II July 2018
On the Way to Literacy July 2018
Sensory Learning Kit (SLK) July 2018
Spinner Overlays for the Light Box August 2018
Swing Cell Compact August 2018
Orion TI 84 and 30 September 2018

We sincerely apologize for any delays you may be experiencing. APH prides ourselves on the service we provide to our EOTs, teachers and the students and adults we serve. We are working diligently to resolve this issue and have put safeguards in place to ensure it does not happen in the future.

APH 2018-19 Catalog Update

APH Instructional Products Catalog cover

The new APH catalog will be ready for distribution the last week of July. If you are not currently on our mailing list and would like to receive a copy please send your mailing address to: email hidden; JavaScript is required. For those of you attending AER International, we will have copies onsite for you to review.

Building on Patterns Writers Meet to Continue Kindergarten Revision

The Building on Patterns (BOP) writing group held its annual meeting at APH, June 25–29. The BOP writers are also teachers of students with visual impairments and they traveled from across the country. The group continued their work on the lessons and assessment pieces for the revision of BOP Kindergarten during the five days of meetings. Careful planning and research is required to develop an appropriate progression for the literacy skills taught in the lessons. Some of the writers also worked on a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list for the future BOP Prekindergarten website.

group photo
Front: Cathy Senft-Graves (APH), Jo Ellen Croft (AR), Luanne Blaylock (AR), Anna Swenson (VA), Robin Wingell (CA)
Rear: Izetta Read (CA), Mary Filicetti (VA), Kristen Buhler (OR), Sue Schimmelpfennig (OR), Becky Peek (VA)

Treasures From the APH Libraries

From the Barr Library: Seelig, Tina L. Insight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and into the World. New York: HarperOne, 2015

Insight Out, written by Tina Seelig, is one of a recent bevy of innovation titles inspired from Stanford’s renowned design school of engineering. Seelig incorporates her own design thinking course material, with anecdotes and stories, into a book that seeks to bridge individual notions of imagination and creativity with real world implementation and action. Seelig walks readers through the concepts of imagination, creativity, innovation, and implementation in steps, conquering challenges, seeking opportunities, and growing ideas into something dynamic and full of potential. Perhaps the best lesson one can take from Insight Out is how our ideas have the power to inspire the imaginations and creativity of others when given life. For more information, numerous talks and lectures by Seelig on the topics of creativity and innovation are available on YouTube and other streaming sites. Seeling is also the author of the bestseller What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20.

From the Migel Library: Selected References Compiled in the M.C. Migel Memorial Library, 1965-1972. New York: American Foundation for the Blind.

photo of the first page of the Selected References pamphlet

These simple bibliographies were originally created as pathfinders for the M.C. Migel Memorial library at AFB in New York over 45 years ago. They not only represent trends in the history of research on visual impairment, but also have an interesting journey of their own. They were initially brought to APH and housed in the pamphlet file of the APH Professional Library, which later became the Barr Library. Upon their discovery, they were transferred back to the Migel Collection, which had by this timed moved to APH from New York. They compile some of the most important items in the Migel Library of their day, and include 20 different subject categories. Selected References continues its journey through digitization for Internet Archive at

APH is working with the Internet Archive to digitize portions of the M.C. Migel Collection. 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

STEM Corner

Educational Testing Service (ETS) is seeking science teachers to complete a short survey about how to make instruction, activities, and assessment for students with visual impairments accessible. ETS understands the inherent struggle to make strongly visual content accessible and wants to learn more about how teachers are facing challenges. The invaluable input gathered will guide future research and assessment development.

Below are details from ETS about the survey, which should remain open through July:

ETS is seeking K–12 science teachers who:

  • Use NGSS or similar science standards
  • Have taught one or more students with visual impairments in the past four years

ETS research has developed a 15-minute online survey to learn how teachers are making science content accessible. We would like to learn the strategies you have found to be successful and the challenges you still face. We request your input to learn how YOU teach NGSS-aligned content to your students with visual impairments.

If you are interested, please visit the survey here:

If you have any questions, you may contact, Teresa King, email hidden; JavaScript is required.

BrailleBlaster News

BrailleBlaster logo

APH is pleased to announce an exciting new feature package for BrailleBlaster: Spatial Math Formatting! BrailleBlaster is the first—and only—software of its kind to offer automatic formatting for spatial math. This feature package includes tools for the creation of number lines, matrices, and templates for basic spatial equations. Simply fill in the numbers and BrailleBlaster translates and formats the spatial math for you. The spatial math text automatically updates, retranslates, and reformats when you switch from one braille code to another, just like the literary text features in BrailleBlaster.

BrailleBlaster is free braille transcription software created by the APH that makes transcription quick and easy through the use of automatic formatting tools. It simplifies the transcription process for transcribers and casual users alike, making braille readily available at a lower cost.

APH is very excited to present this new feature package. We are confident that the creation of STEM materials in braille is an easier process because of these new tools. We invite you to try them out in BrailleBlaster under the Math menu and welcome your feedback, comments, and suggestions. Let us know what you think!

You can download BrailleBlaster at To leave feedback, please go to To subscribe to our mailing list, send an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Social Media Spotlight

Social Media Spotlight logo

Did you know? Twitter and Alt Text

We recently discussed the new alt text features Facebook added to help users create accessible posts for those using assistive technology (screen readers, refreshable braille displays, etc.). Did you know this feature is available on Twitter as well? Increase your reach and improve the Twitter experience for assistive tech users by enabling this feature today!

The ability to add alt text to describe images can be turned on in the accessibility portion of the apps settings. A description can then be added to an image by selecting the “add description” button in the bottom left corner of the thumbnail when composing a tweet. Descriptions can be up to 420 characters to ensure room for a comprehensive depiction of image content. APH has been phasing out the image descriptions in our posts and have begun using the alt text editing feature to enhance photo descriptions. We welcome your feedback on this change and look forward to new improvements in accessibility across all social media platforms.

This feature is available for iOS and Android users as well as PC users.

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

APH Braille Book Corner

APH offers a number of recreational books in braille available with Quota funds. 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.

Presidents’ Mane is Missing (Inspector Flytrap, Book 2)
By: Tom Angleberger: T-N2194-20 – $40.50
Hoping to become the world’s greatest detective, Inspector Flytrap, a Venus Flytrap, assisted by his assistant, Nina the Goat, investigates a thrilling mystery at the Capitol Building at the request of President Horse G. Horse. Grades K-3. *(AR Quiz No. 185859 EN Fiction, BL 3.8 Pts: 1.0)

The Hate U Give
By: Angie Thomas: T-N2187-40 – $40.50
When sixteen-year-old Starr Carter witnesses the fatal shooting by a police officer of her childhood best friend, Khalil, she is afraid to speak out. But remaining quiet and safe is difficult with tensions rising between the police and the community.
Grades K-3. *(AR Quiz No. 185859 EN Fiction, BL 3.8 Pts: 1.0)

A Piece of the World
By: Christina Baker Kline: T-N2187-30 – $ 136.50
Christina Olson, whose legs are weakened by a childhood illness, lives most of her life in her family home. There, she is burdened by her family history, until she is visited by painter Andrew Wyeth. As Andrew becomes entwined with her family, Christina reflects on her world.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
By: Neil deGrasse Tyson: T-N2190-60 – $ 82.00
Author of The Sky Is Not the Limit explains astrophysics concepts in a condensed and easily digestible manner intended for people with limited time to read about the subject. Topics covered include the big bang, light, the space between galaxies, dark matter, the solar system, and more.

Power of Love: How Kenneth Jernigan Changed the World for the Blind
By: National Federation of the Blind: T-N2177-50 – $ 188.99
Twenty-nine essays illustrate the impact Kenneth Jernigan (1926-1998) made during his life, which included two decades at the helm of the National Federation of the Blind. Contributors include former director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Frank Kurt Cylke and inventor Raymond Kurzweil.

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

A Message from Quick Tips HQ

Quick Tips Corner logo features a post with two street signs
APH Quick Tips logo: Short videos from APH

As you know, Quick Tips – the brief, informative, APH-centric videos produced in-house – have been created on a weekly basis for the past five years. They have been posted on the APH website, in the APH News, on the Fred’s Head blog, on Facebook, and in other places on the Internet.

These videos have been produced with the busy vision professional who doesn’t have a lot of time in mind. They’ve been quick, useful, and predictable.

As part of our new branding roll-out, APH Quick Tips are taking a hiatus as we look at new ways to provide this important information to our followers. We have had a blast producing these short videos and sharing them with you. We have always been humbled by the charge to educate professionals, as well as consumers, and families about all things APH.

Thank you so much for being the best audience a Quick Tips producer could ever have! And, as always, if you have any feedback, please feel free to share it with us.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


July 3-8, 2018
NFB Conference 2018
Orlando, FL

July 12-14, 2018
NOAH Conference
Kansas City, KS

July 16, 2018
ENGAGE Conference
Clarksville, TN

July 16-20, 2018
AHEAD Conference
Albuquerque, NM

July 17-18, 2018
Gateways Summer Institute
Louisville, KY

July 25-29, 2018
AER International Conference 2018
Reno, NV

August 1-2, 2018
Iowa Summer Institute
Des Moines, IO

August 13-17, 2018
BVA 2018
Sparks, NV

August 22-25, 2018
Envision 2018
Wichita, KS


July 9-12, 2018
US Business Leadership Network Annual Conference
Las Vegas, NV

July 20-23, 2018
International Literacy Association
Austin, TX

September 14-15, 2018
9th Annual IsLAND Conference on Disability
Princeton, NJ

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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
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Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Scott Blome, Director of Digital Content, Sales and Marketing
  • Justin Gardner, Special Collections Librarian, Resource Services
  • Kerry Isham, Field Services Representative
  • Leslie Knox, Director of Marketing and Communications, Sales and Marketing
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Creative Services
  • Katherine Padgett, Accessible Test Editor, Accessible Tests and Textbooks
  • Abby Pullis, Social Media Specialist, Marketing and Communications
  • Mary Robinson, Assistant, Field Services
  • Cathy Senft-Graves, Braille Literacy and Technology Project Leader, Research
  • Jeffrey Witt, Special Collections and Metadata Librarian, Resource Services

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Louisville, KY 40206

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